The Heartwarming Connection Matthew Perry Had To His Funeral Song

On Friday, November 3, actor Matthew Perry was laid to rest in Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery. The "Friends" star died on October 8 at the age of 54. For his final goodbye, Perry was surrounded by friends and family during the burial and the private ceremony that preceded it. 

While the small crowd grieved, a very significant song played during Perry's funeral service, "Don't Give Up" by Peter Gabriel. The song was originally released on October 27, 1986, as a single from Gabriel's fifth album, titled "So." While it wasn't a number-one hit, the tune did have its moment of popularity, staying on the charts for weeks in both the United Kingdom and the USA. 

A duet, the song featured both Gabriel and the haunting vocals of Kate Bush, who sang the chorus: "Don't give up/because you have friends / Don't give up/you're not beaten yet / Don't give up/I know you can make it good." It was a song that resonated with Perry. 

What the song meant to Perry

When the song "Don't Give Up" was originally released, it was a good time in Matthew Perry's life — he was working on his first movie, "A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon," starring River Phoenix. In his book, "Friends, Lovers, and the Big, Terrible Thing," Perry revealed, "It was in Chicago, and on this movie, and with River Phoenix, that I fell deeply in love with acting," shared the Chicago Sun-Times

The song would take on a significant meaning to Perry. During an interview, he was asked what the soundtrack to his memoir would be. "Don't Give Up" was his immediate answer. "Listen to this song when you get home. Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush. It's just beautiful," he explained on Q with Tom Power. "It's saying don't give up. Come on, how am I not going to like that?" 

He also referenced the music video for the song. "It was just them hugging each other, and the camera just went around until the song was over. And it was so cool. And I loved that." 

The song resonates with the actor's lasting message

"Don't give up" was a prevalent theme for Matthew Perry; he struggled with addiction, and he was committed to helping others in similar situations. While touring in promotion of his autobiography, "Friends, Lovers, and the Big, Terrible Thing," he told the audience, "The kind of message that I guess I give out with this book is don't give up," he explained, as noted by The Hollywood Reporter. "There's help out there. I've been helped on a daily basis."

It was such an important message for the "17 Again" star that he included it in his book signings. "I've been writing, like when I sign the book, I always put 'Don't give up' there," he shared with Q with Tom Power. "Because you shouldn't give up."

To honor him, his closest friends made his wishes come true by establishing the Matthew Perry Foundation, its goal to support those needing help with addiction. On the foundation's website, a quote from Perry is prominent on the home page. "When I die, I don't want 'Friends' to be the first thing that's mentioned — I want helping others to be the first thing that's mentioned. And I'm going to live the rest of my life proving that."