Captain Tom’s anthem laps the others as most popular funeral song of the pandemic

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The coffin of Captain Sir Tom Moore is carried by members of the Armed Forces during his funeral at Bedford Crematorium - Joe Giddens/Pool
The coffin of Captain Sir Tom Moore is carried by members of the Armed Forces during his funeral at Bedford Crematorium - Joe Giddens/Pool

You’ll Never Walk Alone has become the most played song at funerals after gaining popularity during the pandemic.

The 1960s hit by Gerry and the Pacemakers was number one in Co-op Funeralcare’s annual music chart of the most popular farewell songs, after not even making the top 10 the previous year.

The popular ballad was covered by Sir Captain Tom Moore, Michael Ball and the NHS Voices of Care Choir last April to raise money for charity.

The annual music chart data revealed that the song was played at an estimated 9,500 funerals in the one-year period starting August 2020.

The emotional anthem was also played at Captain Tom’s own funeral in February this year. The service for the 100-year-old, who raised almost £33 million for NHS charities by walking laps of his garden during the first lockdown, opened with his rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone.

Captain Tom died after a battle with Covid-19 and pneumonia. The veteran inspired the nation, with the Queen among the thousands to pay tribute to the man dubbed a “Great British hero”.

As well as Captain Tom’s rendition for charity, You’ll Never Walk Alone is also famously the team song for Liverpool FC, who won the Premier League in 2020.

The historical music chart, which was first launched in 2002, has only seen two other years – 2002 and 2014 – where Frank Sinatra’s My Way did not take the number one spot.

In another shift, the top 10 features a number of upbeat new entries, including Tina Turner’s Simply the Best at number four and Fleetwood Mac’s The Chain at number seven.

The Greatest Showman’s This is Me has also entered the chart for the first time at number 10, which suggests melancholic songs at funerals may be falling out of favour.

Among more controversial requests received by Co-op Funeralcare colleagues were W.A.P by Cardi B ft. Megan Thee Stallion, Girl on Fire by Alicia Keys and Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead from the Wizard of Oz.

Potentially offensive songs are often refused by a third-party, such as the chosen funeral venue or person ordaining the funeral.

Co-op Funeralcare did not provide an annual music chart in 2020 due to the fact that Covid-19 restrictions prohibited large funeral services with music during much of the year.

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