In the age of sabermetrics, they ("they, they who are known as they," as Kenward Elmslie has it), have tallied up the songs (and versions of same) most popular to play in funerals. Click here for a full run-down or take away these teasers.
-- Sinatra leads the pack with "My Way."
-- Both Richard Rodgers and Harold Arlem are represented in the top ten, though the most popular version of "Over the Rainbow" is said to be by Eve Cassidy rather than the star of "The Wizard of Oz" -- and people would apparently rather hear Gerry and the Pacemakers sing "You'll Never Walk Alone" than, say, John Raitt.
-- Nat King Cole's "Unforgettable" comes in at number ten.
-- -- Vera Lynn's "We'll Say Gooodbye" makes the list, which reminds me that the song puts in an appearance at the end of "The Singing Detective" -- which makes exceedingly smart use of songs popular in the year of the action, 1945: "Peg o My Heart," "Accentuate the Positive," "I've Got You Under My Skin," "It Might As Well Be Spring," "Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall" . . .but I see I'm digressing into a different list. --
Meanwhile, I think of the wit of Larry Rivers, at whose funeral they played a recording of the painter singing "Everything Happens to Me." For Sinatra's funeral the choice was inevitable: his signature song onn radio and TV, "Put Your Dreams Away." -- DL