An important part of funeral services at funeral homes in Warren, MI is the music that is chosen and played to honor and pay tribute to the deceased. While there are usually some similarities in the songs that are chosen, there is almost always one or two songs that belong specifically to the deceased and their life.
Celebrities are no different. Many choose traditional funeral music, but almost all of them add an unusual twist that belongs to them.
When Whitney Houston’s funeral was held at the New Hope Baptist Church, where Houston got her singing chops, in Newark, NJ, the church was surrounded by thousands of fans and admirers who wanted to pay their respects to the later singer.
Houston’s funeral songs included the Sam Cooke classic, “A Change is Gonna Come,” “I Really Miss You,” and “Ribbons in the Sky.” As Houston’s coffin was carried outside the church, her own best-selling version of the Dolly Parton song, “I Will Always Love You,” played to underscore the bittersweet poignancy of her untimely death.
Actress Carrie Fisher died of cardiac arrest in 2016. Fisher’s memorial service was held in her living room, with Meryl Streep leading the 125 mourners (including George Lucas, Meg Ryan, Richard Dreyfuss, Tracey Ullman, and Gwenyth Paltrow) in singing. The final song they sang was the 1930 hit, “Happy Days are Here Again,” which was Fisher’s favorite song.
When actress Elizabeth Taylor died in 2011, she, according to her wishes, arrived fashionably late – 15 minutes – to her own funeral. With a handful of family and friends present, Taylor’s funeral service included “Amazing Grace” played on a trumpet by her grandson, Rhys Tivey. When a private memorial service for Taylor was held later, Elton John paid tribute to her with his song, “Blue Eyes.”
Beau Biden, son of former Vice-President Joe Biden, died from brain cancer in 2015. The music selections ranged from classic hymns – “Ave Maria,” “Amazing Grace,” and “Be Not Afraid” – to Broadway hits – “Bring Him Home” from Les Miserables – to contemporary rock – “Til Kingdom Come,” performed live by Coldplay’s lead singer, Chris Martin. The last song played at Biden’s funeral was fitting for the former Army officer: “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”
Country music legend George Jones died in 2013. One of country music’s original bad boys, Jones left a musical legacy that still ripples through alternative rock and country music, as well as pop country and rock music. Since music was Jones’ life, it’s no surprise that music took center stage at his funeral.
Patty Loveless and Vince Gill performed “Go Rest High on That Mountain,” while Randy Travis sang “Amazing Grace.” But the final song was one of Jones’ most famous and well-known hits, “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” performed by Alan Jackson.
When musician Prince died in 2016, he was cremated and a private memorial service was held at Paisley Park, Prince’s famous estate. Prince, unknown to most people, was a devout member of the Jehovah’s Witness church. A later memorial occurred at Prince’s regular place of worship, the Kingdom Hall in Minnetonka, Minnesota.
The music performed were the hymns, “He Will Call” and “See Yourself When All is New.” Lyrics from Prince’s song, “Beautiful, Blessed, and Loved” were included in the memorial program for his service.
For music ideas for funeral services at funeral homes in Warren, MI, talk with our compassionate and experienced staff at Lee-Ellena Funeral Home. You can come by our funeral home at 46530 Romeo Plank Rd., Macomb, MI, 48044 or you can contact us today at (586) 412-8999.