All the music played at Paul O’Grady’s funeral and the deeply personal reasons each piece was chosen

21 Apr 2023, 15:23

Funeral, Paul O'Grady

The funeral of showbiz legend Paul O’Grady took place yesterday (Thursday April 20) – and the music that played during the service was as distinctive and unique as the great man himself.

Paul’s funeral music contained many nods to aspects of his career and life. And the range of pieces that featured during the “moving occasion” at St Rumwold’s Church in Bonnington, Kent spanned from Sergei Rachmaninoff to Elvis Presley.

Here is more detail about all the music played at Paul O’Grady’s funeral, as well as the deeply personal reasons each piece was chosen.

Paul O’Grady funeral featured music from Elvis and musicals (Credit:

Paul O’Grady funeral music

According to reports, mourners entered the church to You Gotta Get A Gimmick from the 1993 Bette Midler musical film adaptation Gypsy.

The flourish of trumpets in the number was memorably once performed by Paul as Lily Savage. He had teamed up with pals Cilla Black and Dame Barbara Windsor for a rendition of the tune. It was for the 2001 Royal Variety Performance.

Meanwhile Meditation from the opera Thais by French composer Jules Massenet played shortly after. Composed for solo violin and orchestral performances, Paul chose it as his all-time favourite piece when he appeared on Desert Island Discs in 2003.

Additionally, the Salvation Army Band reportedly also played songs such as Tomorrow from Annie. Paul was known was playing the role of Miss Hannigan on stage. He was starring in a touring production when he died last month.

Much-loved Paul sadly passed away last monyh aged 67 (Credit:

Nods to Paul’s career

Later in the service, Latin and jazz orchestra Pink Martini’s tune Una Notte A Napoli played. Paul often played the American band’s work during his BBC Radio 2 show.

Other music played included the theme from Upstairs Downstairs. Composed by Alexander Faris, it featured in a special Paul hosted for the BBC titled Lost TV Themes.

And following the eulogy by Paul’s friend Julian Clary, those in attendance took a moment as Rhapsody Op 43 Variation No 18 by Sergei Rachmaninoff was heard.

Following the commendation was Trouble by Elvis. An emotional Paul previously indicated on his radio show in 2015 how it was a song that reminded him of late friend Cilla. Paul said at the time Cilla “absolutely used to love” it and the track “sums up our relationship”.

Read more: Inside Paul O’Grady’s ‘very fitting send-off’ with ‘entertaining’ eulogy from pal Julian Clary

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