Memorial Songs: “All Things Must Pass” by George Harrison

Music for funerals can be uplifting, as heard in this beautiful tune from the late Beatles guitarist
George Harrison sitting in a field with text in the sky that says all things must pass

Credit: georgeharrison.com

Letting go is one of the most difficult things in the world, but George Harrison might make it a little easier. His song, “All Things Must Pass,” off of his solo album of the same name is a subtle take on the meaning of death and suffering.

Harrison was never one to shy away from death. His friends and family say in the 2011 documentary about his life that he was preparing for the moment he would shuffle off the mortal coil for years. His study of Hinduism taught him to accept the reality of death while making the most out of his living moments. Harrison died in 2001 from lung cancer, his ashes scattered along two rivers in India in a private Hindu memorial service.

“All Things Must Pass” reflects George Harrison’s philosophy on death. Death is inevitable. We cannot ignore it, so we must embrace it warmly. The song encapsulates life and death all at once, giving hope to those who have experienced a loss. It follows the stages of grief, focusing on accepting the darkness knowing that morning will come again.

Harrison coos the words over a piano track, singing:

Now the darkness only stays the night-time
In the morning it will fade away
Daylight is good at arriving at the right time
It’s not always going to be this grey

All things must pass
All things must pass away
All things must pass
All things must pass away

The song is about keeping the world in perspective. Although it seems that the world can’t possibly go on turning, it still does. Harrison’s song says death is an end, but it doesn’t mean the end of everything. It serves as a reminder for those experiencing a significant loss of a loved one that joy and beauty have not been swept out of the world. This makes it a powerful piece of music for funerals.

Read more of the lyrics to Harrison’s “All Things Must Pass” right here.

For more information about Hindu cremation or traditional Hindu ideas about death, visit this page.

Listen to George Harrison’s memorial song “All Things Must Pass” in the video below.

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