Friday, June 24, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge, Day 24: A Song You Want Played At Your Funeral

IT'S A TWO-FER TODAY in the 30 Day Song Challenge!! I just couldn't pick one so I'm giving you both of my picks for today. That may be kind of a sad commentary on the things I think too much about, since today calls for me to pick a song that I want played at my funeral... but, whatever. This has been the most fun category so far.

And I'll go ahead and say that it was very hard for me, like a lot of people I'm guessing, to NOT choose "Another One Bites The Dust." Hey! They're gonna get you too!

My first pick, I have to admit, is one that I stole from the early-80's movie The Big Chill. If you haven't seen that movie, you should watch it. Besides having a star-studded cast and being a pretty decent mid-life crisis existential flick, it's also got one of the best soundtracks of all time. The basic premise of the film is that a bunch of long out-of-touch adult friends have gathered for the funeral of their friend who has committed suicide-- and also who, by the way, is played in the film by Kevin Costner, although you only see him for a second (and in a casket). In the movie, this is the song that is played at his funeral. It's The Rolling Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want" from their 1969 album Let It Bleed. In case you've been living under a rock for the last 40 years and have never heard this song, here it is:



Now, I was pretty young when I saw The Big Chill-- certainly not old enough to appreciate the delicious irony of having this song played at one's funeral-- but even then I remember thinking what a great song it was. And as weird as this sounds, I remember thinking what a great funeral song it was. Maybe it's that haunting boys' choir at the opening, I'm not sure. At any rate, I got older and "got" it eventually, and the selection only became more solidified in my mind. I suppose that I particularly like the "ah well, those are the breaks" kind of attitude behind playing this at your funeral. I like that it's unorthodox, maybe even a little ironic, and I like thinking that people might chuckle a little when it started to play. I mean, if you're going to leave people with one last memory of you, it might as well be funny.

Which brings me to my next selection: this one is from the musical Chicago. If you don't know the story, it takes place during the Chicago 1920s, when the combination of liquor, celebrity, and jazz produced equal numbers of scandals and scoundrels. The protagonist is a young jazz singer facing trial for "accidentally" shooting her lover. She's placed her fate in the hands of a oil-slick lawyer who manipulates the newspapers, the jurors and the public and who makes a mockery of the entire judicial process. In this song, the lawyer and his (very obviously guilty) client are about to go into trial. She's worried that they can't win their case, but he knows they will. Why? Because he's going to give them the ol' "Razzle Dazzle." Here it is (the actual song starts about a minute in):



It's all a circus, a three-ring circus. This trial, the whole world. It's all show business. That's what he tells his client when, quite literally, her life is on the line. Just give 'em the ol' razzle dazzle. Razzle dazzle 'em.

I know it might seem a little cynical to want this played at my funeral, but I like it for the same irreverent feel that the Stones' song has. I mean, I don't want people to be all sober and sad at my funeral. I'd prefer they snicker a little and shrug their shoulders when they hear these songs and say to themselves, "well, she's got a point." You can't always get what you want. Might as well razzle dazzle 'em.

Now that I have officially documented my funeral song selections, I expect all of you to make sure this happens.

2 comments:

Tory said...

This mostly just reminded me of High Fidelity...namely this conversation:

Barry: Top 5 songs about death. A Laura's Dad tribute list, okay? Okay. Leader of the Pack. The guy fuckin' beefs it on his motorcycle and dies, right? Dead Man's Curve... And, uh, You Can't Always Get What You Want.
Dick: No. Immediate disqualification because of its involvement with The Big Chill.
Barry: Oh God. You're right!

AngieJ said...

I will have to admit, that my pick was actually a song I heard at the conclusion of a friend's parent's funeral. It's "Here Comes The Sun". I thought it was beautiful, and now every time I hear it I think of them and smile. That's how I want to go out--people smiling when they hear a good tune and remembering me.