I guess we all sometimes think about the songs we’d like to have played at our funerals. Well, at least I do. Maybe I shouldn’t admit that.
I already have two picked out. One is “Victory In Jesus” which is one of my all-time favorite hymns and the other is “Precious Lord Take my Hand.” When I first started attending the Arcadia Valley United Methodist Church, I was in choir for a while. Rulan Maul was one of our choir members. She was elderly even then, but her voice was an angel’s. In fact, the angels are probably listening to her in rapt awe in heaven because I know that’s where she is. She sang this song as a solo in church one day. I could barely breathe as I listened to it. She wasn’t just singing, she was channeling God. I knew that she had lived this song, and I still get chills when I think about her singing it. I can still hear it in my mind.
I’ve always wanted to do a popular song too because I’ve been a rock and roll fan since, well, since I discovered Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band. I thought about several meaningful songs to me. Most of them are frequently used in funerals. Songs like Freebird, Stairway to Heaven, Dust in the Wind are examples. I’ve always loved them, but I kept coming back to Bob Seger. He has always been my favorite. Always.
Many of his songs don’t go well with funerals. I considered one, The Famous Final Scene. Though I liked it, I didn’t have the same fervor for it as I did many other Bob Seger songs. I was jamming to Bob Seger one day, and this, “Beautiful Loser,” one of my favorite songs came on. OMG, I thought to myself. This is me. Before you think I’m just feeling sorry for myself and playing this song at my funeral to make everyone feel guilty, I want you to hear me out.
The title is a “Beautiful” oxymoron. Though the word loser is in the title, it isn’t really about a loser, it’s about someone who just isn’t the star of the show. I think the title is awesome in an ironic kind of way, but once you really listen to the lyrics, the song really isn’t insulting anyone. It’s talking about people like me. Decent human beings who do the right thing, but the right thing is never anything superheroish (A word that I just made up.)
I don’t know if I can quote many lines legally here, but I will give proper credit. Bob Seger wrote and performed the lyrics of this song. The version I heard came out through Capitol Records in 1976. Punch Andrews and Bob Seger are the producers.
Read some of these lyrics. These are me.
He wants to dream like a young man
With the wisdom of an old man
He wants his home and security
He wants to live like a sailor at sea (verse 1)
He’s your oldest and your best friend
If you need him, he’ll be there again
He’s always willing to be second-best
A perfect lodger, a perfect guest
He’ll never make any enemies, enemies, no
He won’t complain if he’s caught in a freeze
He’ll always ask, he’ll always say please
Not only are these lyrics describing me, but I don’t consider them to be that bad. I “ain’t no” rock star. I “aint all that.” But, I am what I am. And if I am a beautiful loser, then so be it. There are worse things to be.