Page last updated at 00:20 GMT, Thursday, 16 April 2009 01:20 UK

Scots 'bucking funeral pop trend'

Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra's My Way has become a funeral classic

Scottish mourners are bucking a trend for pop music at funerals with more and more choosing traditional hymns, a study by a funeral director suggests.

In Scotland the number of funerals with hymns rose from 54% to 56% last year, according to Co-operative Funeralcare.

But its survey of 242 funeral homes and 30,000 services showed 58% of people in England and Wales chose pop music.

Frank Sinatra's My Way was most played song at funerals last year and The Lord Is My Shepherd the top hymn.

1 My Way - Frank Sinatra/Shirley Bassey
2 Wind Beneath My Wings - Bette Midler/Celine Dion
3 Time To Say Goodbye - Sarah Brightman/Andrea Bocelli
4 Angels - Robbie Williams
5 Over The Rainbow - Eva Cassidy
6 You Raise Me Up - Westlife/Boyzone/Josh Grobin
7 My Heart Will Go On - Celine Dion
8 I Will Always Love You - Whitney Houston
9 You'll Never Walk Alone - Gerry and the Pacemakers
10 Unforgettable - Nat King Cole

The Co-operative Funeralcare survey found that since its last study four years ago, the number of people in England and Wales choosing hymns to be played at funerals dropped by 6%, from 41% to 35%, while the number opting for pop music rose from 55% to 58%.

In Scotland the number of funerals accompanied by hymns rose from 54% to 56% and those with pop music fell from 37% to 36%.

The funeral top 10 was headed by Frank Sinatra and included My Heart Will Go On, sung by Celine Dion, I Will Always Love You, by Whitney Houston and You'll Never Walk Alone, sung by Gerry and the Pacemakers.

Alexandra Burke's chart-topping cover version of Hallelujah appears at number 26, two months after it first aired on television.

More than a quarter of funeral homes surveyed received unusual requests during the year, including television themes from Emmerdale, Top Gear and Only Fools and Horses; Doctor and the Medics' Spirit in the Sky, AC/DC's Highway to Hell and So Long, Farewell, from The Sound of Music.

'Many options'

The study also revealed about one in every 10 requests for pieces of music were rejected because clergy conducting the funeral felt the choice was inappropriate.

1 The Lord Is My Shepherd
2 Abide With Me
3 All Things Bright And Beautiful
4 Old Rugged Cross
5 Amazing Grace
6 How Great Thou Art
7 The Day Thou Gavest, Lord, Is Ended
8 Jerusalem
9 Make Me A Channel Of Your Peace
10 Morning Has Broken

The Co-operative Funeralcare's Lorinda Sheasby said the study reaffirmed that trends in funerals were changing.

"Today's tear-jerking chart topper is extremely unlikely to be tomorrow's funeral classic, but it's quite possible it will figure highly in the months or even years to come," she said.

"As more people choose non-religious funerals, so they incline towards contemporary songs with which they closely identify," she added.

"Our aim is to make more people aware of the options and choices open to them, so that ultimately the funeral service reflects the life of the individual, which is of great benefit to the bereaved."

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