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Hymns fall from favour with over 50s

New research by financial services company SunLife has found that 82% of people over 50 don’t want a hymn at their funeral.

The same survey also found that Always look on the bright side of life by Monty Python is the song most would choose.

Songs with a comedy twist given the circumstances are popular, with Queen’s Another one bites the dust and Meatloaf’s Bat out of Hell also making the top 10.

Queen were far and away the most popular choice of artist; one in 25 over-50s said they would choose a Queen track and five made the top 20.

The most popular song choices included hymn Abide with me in second place, and Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven third.

Hymns formed the most popular genre overall but only accounted for 18% in total, except in Northern Ireland, where 57% of most over-50s would still choose one. More than a third of the over-50s questioned would prefer a rock, pop or country track.  

The age group most likely to still chose a hymn are the over-65s – a quarter would – while only 12% of the 50-54s would want a hymn at their funeral. Women over 50 are more likely to have a hymn than men. Men are also twice as likely as women to choose a sports theme or a ‘funny’ song.

“The research shows that the over-50s have a sense of humour when it comes to thinking about their own funerals,” said Ian Atkinson, head of brand at SunLife.

“Sadly, what it is also telling us is that, while most funerals do still include hymns, more than eight in 10 people would not choose a hymn, which means people are not getting what they would have wanted at their funerals.”

Top 10 funeral songs for over 50s
1. Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life
2. Abide With Me
3. Stairway To Heaven
4. Jerusalem
5. My Way
6. Lord's My Shepherd
7. Another One Bites The Dust
8. Bat Out Of Hell
9. Beethoven’s 6th Symphony
10. I Vow To Thee My Country

Top ten funeral song genres for over 50s

1. Hymn

2. Classical

3. Pop

4. Rock

5. Country

6. Funny/comedy

7. Blues

8. Song from a musical

9. Dance

10.  Folk

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