Every Sha La La La La… by Emily Smart

At the risk of being boring/predictable/tedious, I find myself again writing about music. I have no qualifications to  talk about the subject matter at any length, having never written a musical score, conducted an orchestra or recorded a track. But, I do love a good tune.

Lately I have been waxing lyrical about Michael Jackson, Gene Pitney and even Nik Kershaw. I was going to have a chat about Karen Carpenter today, but instead I got distracted by the importance of music in life and in death. I will just say a few words of advice to you Karen: (yes, I know she’s not here anymore) first off, maybe don’t aim so high with your blokes; trying to pull a man whose every step makes birds (feathered or human?) suddenly appear, and stars fall down from the sky, might not be the chap who makes for a lasting relationship – he’s gonna have a wandering eye. Also, can you just ease up on the misery?  This morning you were telling me you were saying goodbye to love again. How many suitors have you had? Shall we have a look at who the common denominator in all these songs is, who is the one with great expectations and a penchant for misery? Whilst most of us would agree that rainy days and Mondays can be a party downer, there’s no need to give them a whole song and keep going on about your depression.

I am going off on a tangent, so let me wrap up. I like The Carpenters; theirs is lift musak at its best. ‘We’ve Only Just Begun’ is cheese-tastic and if I ever get married, that’ll be my song of choice as we leave the church/McDonald’s.

That’s my wedding taken care of, but what about my funeral? Now don’t think I’m getting maudlin, but my love affair with tunes began at an early age and it’s one that will be with me until the day I am no longer able to listen. Obviously I’m hoping that will be because of death at a ripe old age, rather than because of hearing loss or losing an ear or two. However, even in death, music will be important, as I am fairly keen to have some great songs played at my funeral. Whether this will happen or not will be beyond my control, but here (in no particular order) is my top 10 run down pop pickers.

  1. Abba – ‘Dancing Queen’. They were/are brilliant and this tune is guaranteed to fill the dance floor every time, clearly a must at any funeral. I have danced and karaoke’d my way around the world to this song and it will always have a special place in my heart.
  2. Michael Jackson – so many, so many what shall I pick? It’s a toss-up between ‘Billie Jean’ (ooh, grab crotch) and ‘Thriller’. Top tunes.
  3. Rolling Stones – ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ – gotta have something religious in there. On full blast this is the mutt’s nuts. Mick Jagger, I’d be pleased to meet you, and look I even remembered your name ooh ooh!
  4. The Beatles – they may have been arch rivals of the Stones, but boy were they good. Again, spoilt for choice, do I go with that heart wrenching Eleanor Rigby who keeps her face in a jar by the door? Or what about der der der der der der der der der der der ‘Day Tripper’ – I’ll always remember that awkward moment in the car recently when one of the kids asked me what that song was about. ‘She’s a big teaser, she took me half the way there.’ To which I responded ‘um, I’m fairly sure it’s about taking a bus trip out for the day. Perhaps they went to Blackpool.’ No bugger it, I’m going with off-your-face-on-drugs ‘I am the Walrus’ coo coo coo choo.
  5. Lily Allen – ‘The Fear’ – yes I know I’m too old to be supporting disenfranchised yoof, but a good song is a good song. I do like a talented girl with a knack for catchy lyrics and a sense of humour… ‘I’ll take my clothes off and it will be shameless, ‘cos everyone knows that’s how you get famous.’
  6. Alright, slightly controversial and not everyone’s cup of herbal, but I’m going with Minogue. Sorry Kylie. Without doubt her life is the story of how to get so much by having so little. I’m not ashamed to admit I have been to a couple of her concerts and loved every second. I can’t really have ‘I Should be so Lucky’ playing at my funeral – I mean I like a good joke, but is that taking it too far? Instead I’ll go for ‘Spinning Around.’
  7. In at number seven is Credence Clearwater Rival – ‘I Heard it Through the Grapevine.’ Bet you’re wondering how I knew? Probably not. This has got to be listened to very loudly. Sorry Marvin, but these guys nailed it big style (I blame Simon Cowell for this terrible new language that X Factor has created).
  8. Barbra Streisand – ‘Don’t Rain on my Parade’. Channelling my inner gay man, you can’t have a good send off without Babs. This is a great song to do the hoovering to if you like acting out old musicals. NB ensure curtains are closed before beginning. Who wouldn’t want to be part of a world where ‘Life’s candy and the sun’s a ball of butter’?
  9. This will change dependent on what mood I am in. So I’ll will review this one every so often and update accordingly. For today, I’m going with David Bowie – ‘Modern Love.’ He’s great, and there always a song to suit your mood/the occasion. Genius.
  10. It was going to be Madonna, after all she’s been a huge part of my life and her greatest hits have never strayed far from my turntable or CD player. But I reckon I need something classical. And so my final choice is Ravel – ‘Bolero.’ Long before Torvill and Dean donned purple outfits and won gold at the Olympics, my dad used to play this every Sunday morning at full volume. It’s spine chilling stuff and always makes me have goose bumps. Gosh, I’m so theatrical. Would it be too much to ask the Royal Philharmonic to turn up and play at the service? This of course will be at the end as the coffin (made of cardboard to be environmentally friendly. Do they have a cardboard that is strong enough?) rolls towards the disco inferno (sorry, couldn’t resist).

Listening to that lot rather than the usual eulogy, dodgy speeches and singing ‘Lord of the Dance’ off key has got to be a more exciting way to say goodbye to someone hasn’t it? As I won’t be there, I won’t lose any sleep over it. The great thing about music is that it is constantly evolving. If I go back to this list in 10 years’ time, I’ll bet there’ll be some moving and shaking going on – though please God don’t let me include Justin Bieber or Miley Cyrus. For now, I’m going back to Karen Carpenter: she may not have been the life and soul of the party, but by gum she could hold a tune.

Footnote aka I am so fickle

Since writing this piece yesterday, I have decided to give Kylie, Michael, Abba and The Beatles the heave ho, and will replace them with:

Radiohead – ‘No Surprises’

Eels (eels) – ‘Novocaine for the Soul’

Echo and the Bunny Men – ‘The Killing Moon’

And a little ditty to get your toes tapping after all that gloom and doom, Kelly Marie – ‘Feels Like I’m in Love.’ Yes my knees are shaking, my heart feels like a drum pooo pooo, pooo, pooo (that’s a laser gun noise and not poo by the way).

Amen Kelly Marie!

2 Comments on “Every Sha La La La La… by Emily Smart

  1. As I probably won’t be around when it’s your funeral and hopefully you’ll be around for mine, I request (and I know this is probably old hat) “Wish me luck as you wave me goodbye”

    • Yes a popular choice I gather. You’ll be interested to know that Deana’s dad has also requested that. A humanist funeral organiser I know said she hears quite a lot of Monty Python’s ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life’!

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