Song Lyric Sunday – Funeral Songs

I guess the older we get the more we think about things like this. Funeral Songs. Have you ever? A few years back I remember visiting my family back in the UK and my cousins were remarking on a time when they had all got together and after several drinks discussed their own funeral songs. I thought that was hilarious as it was something that had never occurred to me. Fast forward a few years and now I seem to hear about it all the time. It certainly got me thinking and so I was very prepared for today’s Song Lyric Sunday prompt, provided by Di from the blog Pensitivity 101. In fact I am sharing at least two that I would appreciate being played at my funeral. I can’t wait to see what everyone picks today.

The First Song – Dust In The Wind

Kansas guitarist Kerry Livgren wrote this after reading a book of Native American poetry. The line that caught his attention was, “For all we are is dust in the wind.”

This got him thinking about the true value of material things and the meaning of success. The band was doing well and making money, but Kerry realized that in the end, he would eventually die just like everyone else. No matter our possessions or accomplishments, we all end up back in the ground.

Kerry Livgren wrote this song when he was under pressure to write a follow-up to the group’s hit, “Carry On Wayward Son.” While playing his acoustic guitar exercises, his wife suggested that putting lyrics to the patterns would yield his hit song. “I didn’t think it was a Kansas-type song,” he told Bruce Pollock. “She said, ‘Give it a try anyway.’ Several million records later, I guess she was right.”

Kansas was almost done writing and rehearsing the Point of Know Return album when their producer, Jeff Glixman, asked if they had any more songs. Livgren reluctantly played this song for his bandmates on acoustic guitar, insisting they wouldn’t like it because it was notKansas. To his surprise, they loved the song and insisted they record it. Livgren then fought against his own song, but was overruled. “Dust In The Wind” became their biggest hit, but Livgren never did think very highly of it. “I tend to like the more bombastic things, like ‘The Wall,’ he said in his interview with Pollock.

This slow, acoustic song was not typical of Kansas, whose previous singles included “Carry On My Wayward Son” and “Point Of Know Return.” It put the band in the position of having their best-known song be one that doesn’t reflect their sound

The phrase “dust in the wind” shows up in the Bible:
You are dust, and to dust you shall return
Genesis, 3:17-19

Kerry Livgren became an evangelical Christian in 1980. He says of his songwriting in the ’70s, “I was only expressing my own searching for something,” adding, “If you look at my lyrics, even ‘Dust in the Wind’ is a song about the transitory nature of our physical lives. That falls under the umbrella heading of God.”

This was the second big hit for Kansas, following “Carry On My Wayward Son.” With two hits under their belt, they were able to headline arena rock shows into the late ’70s. Later hits for the band include “Play the Game Tonight” (1982, #17 US) and “All I Wanted” (1986, #19 US).

In the movie Bill And Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Bill and Ted go back in time and share philosophy with Socrates, who is impressed when Ted, played by Keanu Reeves philosophizes “All we are is dust in the wind.”
This was the first acoustic Kansas song, and perhaps the most famous acoustic rock song ever recorded. It crossed over to a variety of formats, as Rock, Country, and Adult Contemporary radio statins all played it.

Courtesy of Songfacts

The Lyrics

I close my eyes, only for a moment,
and the moment's gone
All my dreams pass before my eyes,
a curiosity
Dust in the wind
All they are is dust in the wind

Same old song, just a drop of water
in an endless sea
All we do crumbles to the ground though
we refuse to see
Dust in the wind
All we are is dust in the wind
Oh, ho, ho

Now, don't hang on, nothing lasts forever
but the earth and sky
It slips away
And all your money won't another minute buy
Dust in the wind
All we are is dust in the wind
All we are is dust in the wind
Dust in the wind
Everything is dust in the wind
Everything is dust in the wind

The wind

Writer/s: Kerry Livgren 
Publisher: Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

The Second Song – Into The Mystic

This is about a sailor at sea thinking about returning to his lover, who is back on land. Normally a foghorn signals danger, but in this case it means he is close to home and his love.

There is room for interpretation beyond the superficial meaning. It might be interpreted as expressing an understanding that life is finite (the ship sailing on its round trip) and must be lived to its fullest (“I want to rock your Gypsy soul”), and an acceptance of its inevitable end (“We will magnificently float into the mystic, when the foghorn blows I will be coming home”). When you have seen the world and loved someone, you should have no reason to fear the end because you have lived your life to the fullest. >>
The original title was “Into the Misty.”

According to Morrison, he couldn’t decide whether the first line should be “We were born before the wind” or “We were borne before the wind.”

This was played in the 1989 Mary Stuart Masterson movie Immediate Family. She played a woman who was young and pregnant and planning to give her baby to Glenn Close and James Woods, who couldn’t have a baby of their own.

According to a BBC survey, because of this song’s cooling, soothing vibe, this is one of the most popular songs for surgeons to listen to whilst performing operations.

Jen Chapin, the daughter of Cat’s In The Cradle singer-songwriter Harry Chapin, covered this on her 2008 CD Light of Mine.

The Lyrics

We were born before the wind
Also younger than the sun
Ere the bonnie boat was won
As we sailed into the mystic

Hark, now hear the sailors cry
Smell the sea and feel the sky
Let your soul and spirit fly into the mystic

And when that foghorn blows
I will be coming home
And when the foghorn blows
I wanna hear it

I don't have to fear it
And I wanna rock your gypsy soul
Just like way back in the days of old
And magnificently we will float into the mystic

When that foghorn blows
You know I will be coming home
And when that foghorn whistle blows
I gotta hear it

I don't have to fear it
And I wanna rock your gypsy soul
Just like way back in the days of old
And together we will float into the mystic
Come on, girl

Too late to stop now

Writer/s: Van Morrison
Publisher: BMG Rights Management, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner Chappell Music, Inc.
Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

  15 comments for “Song Lyric Sunday – Funeral Songs

  1. ghostmmnc
    July 3, 2023 at 3:08 pm

    Love the Kansas song ever since I first heard it years ago. Perfect choice. I’d not heard the second song before, but it is so good, too. 🙂

    • Christine Bolton
      July 4, 2023 at 7:04 am

      Thank you Barbara. Yes, i think Dust in the Wind is beautiful. Im happy you liked both songs. ☺️💕

  2. July 2, 2023 at 11:11 pm

    Excellent choices. I’m a great fan of both these artists; Dust In the Wind seems especially appropriate.

    • Christine Bolton
      July 2, 2023 at 11:51 pm

      Yes I always thought Dusting in the Wind wound be the perfect song. I particularly like the violins in the middle.

  3. July 2, 2023 at 5:08 pm

    Into the Mystic is such a fantastic song

    • Christine Bolton
      July 2, 2023 at 10:30 pm

      It certainly is one my favorites of Van’s ☺️💕

  4. July 2, 2023 at 4:45 pm

    Good songs Christine.

    • Christine Bolton
      July 2, 2023 at 10:32 pm

      Thanks Di. It was a great prompt you came up with ☺️💕

  5. July 2, 2023 at 3:57 pm

    Both great songs.

    • Christine Bolton
      July 2, 2023 at 10:30 pm

      Thank you ☺️

  6. July 2, 2023 at 9:58 am

    Welcome back, Christine. Dust In The Wind always reminds me of Ash Wednesday where the priest would rub ashes on my forehead and say, “Remember man that thou are dust, and unto dust you shall return.” Great Van song.

    • Christine Bolton
      July 2, 2023 at 12:43 pm

      Yes that’s all we really are at the end of the day. It’s good to be back Jim ☺️

  7. July 2, 2023 at 9:45 am

    I’ve never heard that Kansas one before. It’s rather nice, isn’t it. As for Van the Man, you’ll be hearing that one again on Tuesday if you drop in 😉

    • Christine Bolton
      July 2, 2023 at 12:44 pm

      Oh great Clive! I’ll stop by ☺️

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