Peter Gabriel’s “Don’t Give Up” Brought Matthew Perry’s Funeral to Tears

As family and close friends gathered to lay actor Matthew Perry to rest on Saturday (November 4) at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Los Angeles, California, those at his funeral reportedly broke down in tears when his favorite song was played. “Don’t Give Up,” Peter Gabriel‘s 1986 song, featuring Kate Bush, was played in honor of the late actor and brought everyone to tears.

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The song was a favorite of the actor, who died at 54 on Saturday (October 28). Perry openly spoke about its impact on him and called it “the soundtrack” to his 2022 memoir Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing: A Memoir, while he was promoting the book.

“It’s just beautiful,” said Perry of “Don’t Give Up” during a 2022 interview during his book tour. “I don’t know if you’ve heard it as this was a long time ago but it’s beautiful and it’s saying don’t give up. I mean come, how am I not gonna like that?”

He went on to describe the simple music video for the song, featuring Gabriel and Bush embraced. “The music video of that was just them hugging each other and the camera just went around until the song ended,” added Perry. “It was so cool and I loved that.”

When signing books, Perry said that he was also using the title of the song. “I’ve been writing when I signed the book, I always put ‘Don’t Give Up’ there because you shouldn’t give up.”

Written by Gabriel and released on his album So, the lyrics of “Don’t Give Up” always held a strong meaning for Perry, who had struggled with addiction throughout his life: Don’t give up / ‘Cause you have friends / Don’t give up / You’re not beaten yet / Don’t give up / I know you can make it good.

“The sensitive treatment Kate gave our give-and-take on that song was gratifying because it’s not just a song about a woman supporting a man in a demanding relationship,” said Gabriel of the song in 1986. “The chief thing dragging them down is unemployment, which is presently tearing the social fabric of Thatcher’s England apart.”

Gabriel added, “Without a climate of self-esteem, it’s impossible to function.”

The song also spoke to Perry’s mission of helping others with addiction later in his life. Following his death, the Matthew Perry Foundation was initiated to support those struggling with addiction.

“When I die, I don’t want ‘Friends’ to be the first thing that’s mentioned,” reads a quote by Perry on the Foundation website. “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. Addiction is far too powerful for anyone to defeat alone. But together, one day at a time, we can beat it down.”

Perry’s Friends co-stars Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, David Schwimmer, Lisa Kudrow, and Matt Le Blanc, were also in attendance at his funeral. The cast shared a joint statement following Perry’s surprising death.

“We are all so utterly devastated by the loss of Matthew,” read the statement. “We were more than just cast mates. We are a family. In time we will say more, as and when we are able. For now, our thoughts and our love are with Matty’s family, his friends, and everyone who loved him around the world.”

Photo: Phillip Massey/WireImage

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