© Madeline Bocaro, 2020. No part of this site may be reproduced or re-blogged in whole or in part in any manner without permission of the copyright owner.
All things must pass
It’s not always gonna be this gray…
George Harrison sang a melancholy yet spiritually uplifting song called ‘All Things Must Pass’. Of course, he believed in reincarnation and infinity. The triple solo album of the same name was released in November 1970. The song was considered for, but not included on The Beatles’ album Let It Be. It could partly be a commentary on the breakup of the band. A soulful version was first released by Billy Preston prior to George’s own recording with an orchestral arrangement by Phil Spector. (Billy also recorded George’s song ‘My Sweet Lord’).
The song is titled after LSD guru Timothy Leary’s poem All Things Pass, his adaptation of an ancient Chinese inspirational text. The lyrics are an optimistic reflection upon the transience of being.
Listen – Billy Preston: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2B7feC9xdi4
Listen – George Harrison: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVx_8mj-UyE
Listen – The Beatles demo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0IgO0So2BU
Listen – The Beatles Anthology: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ODEhwaU2Uw
Also on All Things Must Pass, George includes ‘Art of Dying’, also about reincarnation.
There’ll come a time when most of us return here
Brought back by our desire to be
A perfect entity
Living through a million years of crying
Until you’ve realized the Art of Dying
Do you believe me?
‘The Ghost Song‘ by Salty Holmes was a single in 1954. This creepy little novelty song by the American Country & Western singer/actor has some cool vocal effects. I especially love the screeching cats!
‘Endless Sleep’ was a 1958 hit for Jody Reynolds. It’s a slow, echoing and haunting tune based upon Elvis Presley’s ‘Heartbreak Hotel’. The singer’s girlfriend is missing after they have a fight. She is found dead in the ocean at the end – but the lyrics were changed to have her saved by her boyfriend from an “endless sleep.” It’s been recorded by many others including Vince Taylor, Billy Idol and Marc Bolan who performed a rockabilly version on his television show Marc in 1977, the year of his death. Marc sings the original lyrics, “Come join me baby in my endless sleep.”
Listen – Jody Reynolds: https://youtu.be/aORD1aRz_qI
Watch – Marc Bolan: https://youtu.be/aORD1aRz_qI
‘The Leader of the Pack’ by The Shangri-Las (1964) is the tragic tale of forbidden love between a school-girl and the death of her biker boyfriend. How tough could he be if she met him at the candy store?! This is by the infamous teenage band of girls from Queens, NY. The dramatic, cinematic revving motor and screech of his motorcycle crash in the rain (after she rejects her true love by obeying her parents’ rules) is devastating. We’ll never know if the accident was deliberate or not. The BBC banned the song from Top of the Pops although it was No. 1. due to the disastrous ending. (It’s as sad as the haunting ghostly cries of the dead girl singing the chorus of John Leyton’s ‘Johnny Remember Me’ with its galloping beat, produced by the genius Joe Meek).
The spoken opening line, “Is she really going out with him?” is also at the start of ‘Trash’ by The New York Dolls on their 1973 debut album. It’s also the title of a song by Joe Jackson on his 1979 debut Look Sharp. The Shangri-Las song was written by Shadow Morton (who also produced the New York Dolls’ second album) along with Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich.
Watch & Listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8UKf65NOzM
‘Johnny Remember Me’ by John Leyton is a 1961 duet with the ghost of the singer’s drowned girlfriend. Her haunting voice is otherworldly. It’s a really beautiful song with a galloping beat and echoing vocals produced by my favorite knob-twiddler, the great Joe Meek – his first No. 1 production.
One of the saddest and sappiest songs on the radio was ‘Honey’ by Bobby Goldsboro in 1968. A husband gazes at a large tree that his wife Honey planted as a seedling before she passed away. The orchestration swells as the song sadly goes on and on, with memories of her playing with puppies and crying over sad movies, Honey dies in the spring and he misses her… This out-sold ‘Hey Jude’ worldwide that year! It’s been hailed as both the best and worst song of the year, of the decade (and of all time), in the same way the New York Dolls were later voted Best New Group and Worst New Group of the year in the Creem Readers’ poll of 1973.
‘Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)’ is about a couple of kids playing the game Cowboys & Indians. They grow up to be doomed lovers. It was written by Sonny Bono and sung by Cher in 1966 on her solo album The Sonny Side of Cher. It was her first million-selling single as a solo artist. This was on the soundtrack for their failed film, Chastity. Cher did a rock re-make of this song for her Cher album (1987) featuring backing vocals by Jon Bon Jovi. Nancy Sinatra does a gorgeous moody, twangy cover version of this Sonny Bono song – which I like much better than the original hit version performed by Cher.
Watch – Cher: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KfyBHZc9rK4
Listen: Nancy Sinatra: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OEFa4ztm9P0
‘The Black Angel’s Death Song’ written by Lou Reed and John Cale is on the 1967 album The Velvet Underground And Nico. The use of a viola gives this strange Dylanesque dirge an air of depraved beauty.
‘And When I Die‘ was written by Laura Nyro. Peter, Paul and Mary were the first to record it in 1966. Nyro released the song on her debut album More Than a New Discovery in February 1967.
Blood, Sweat & Tears made the song widely popular in 1968 when it went gold and peaked at No. 2 on Billboard’s Hot 100 in the USA.
Listen: Peter, Paul and Mary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75nW_uMU5dM
Listen: Laura Nyro: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gzyHe3Y87v8
Listen: Laura Nyro demo + Interview https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GDX27aWnL88
Listen: Blood, Sweat & Tears: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=70CXfTQXz-A
An early David Bowie song from his 1967 debut self-titled album (when he was still in his Anthony Newly phase) was morbid and creepy. On ‘Please Mr. Gravedigger’ Bowie sings (and sneezes) in a childlike voice to an old gravedigger. He saw the man pocket a locket of a little girl whom he is burying. He agrees not to tell about the locket if ‘Mr. GD’ won’t tell HIS own secret – that he is the young killer of the 10-year old girl whose grave he visits every day. The song becomes even more weird as the singer kills the gravedigger…
Bowie performed Jacques Brel’s ‘My Death’ – several times live; at Santa Monica Civic in 1972, live on TV on the Russell Harty show, and this incredible version at the final performance of Ziggy Stardust at Hammersmith Odeon on July 3, 1973.
Dana Gillespie recorded ‘Dead’ on her debut album Foolish Seasons in 1968. This is a wonderfully jazzy piece by David Bowie’s teenage cohort whom he later produced. The music belies her impending suicide, razor in hand. If I were despondent, I would delay my death by at least three minutes to hear this great tune once again!
‘My Mummy’s Dead’ is the closing statement on John Lennon / Plastic Ono Band. This was John’s first solo album, released in December 1970 (celebrating its 50th anniversary this year). The album opens with the primal scream of ‘Mother’ and closes with another song about John’s mother Julia who was hit by a car and died when John was only sixteen. This is a quiet, pure and simple 3-chord tune on an acoustic guitar. It’s almost like a nursery rhyme – with the melody of ‘Three Blind Mice’. John’s fragile faraway voice and his emptiness is devastating.
My mummy’s dead
I can’t get it through my head
Though it’s been so many years
My mummy’s dead
I can’t explain
So much pain
I could never show it
My mummy’s dead
My story about John’s album: https://madelinex.com/2017/12/11/john-lennon-plastic-ono-band-december-11-1970/
The Doors have several songs that take us to the edge – and even to the other side. ‘Five To One’ is from their album Wating For the Sun released in 1968
Five to one baby / one in five
No one here gets out alive
The cool and creepy Bossa Nova ‘Break on Through (To the Other Side)’ was the first track on The Doors’ debut album.
Listen – ‘Break on Through…’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NFeUko-lQHg
The ultimate song about death is ‘The End’ – a frightening epic 12-minute long piece with Freudian lyrics on The Doors’ first album. It was also performed in an even more chilling voice by Jim Morrison’s lover Nico, on her album which was also titled The End in 1974.
“Nico doing The End was so chilling, it really was. It was incredible. She invests it with so many levels of meaning I didn’t hear in the Doors’ one. She underplays it… there’s just the harmonium, me playing synthesizer— almost doubling the harmonium part— and her singing… which is just like a rich, kind of non-specific miasma of sound”
– Brian Eno, Creem Magazine
“Jim Morrison tells me that people are looking at the streets while I am looking at the moon. I do not feel connected enough [with the issues] to throw stones at a policeman. I want to throw stones at the whole world.”
Listen: The Doors: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXqPNlng6uI
Listen – Nico: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WciOwj7L2zE
‘Grunewald’ is a killer track with a hypnotic fuzzy Stooges-like vibe by Tess Parks and Anton Newcombe. It’s titled after the cemetery where Nico is buried.
‘Patches’ from 1962 was recorded by Dickey Lee. It’s a Romeo and Juliet stye tale of forbidden love and teen suicide.
Another song called ‘Patches’ was made popular by blind blues singer Clarence Carter who won a Grammy for his soulful 1970 version recorded at Muscle Shoals studio. This was first recorded in more of a country style by Chairman of the Board and produced by Holland Dozier Holland. It is sung by a dying father who implores his son to be responsible and take care of his family and their farm. The song becomes sadder and sadder with the grown man being alone in the end.
Listen – Clarence Carter: https://youtu.be/IvfsfS6NVUc
Listen – Chairmen of the Board: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zP2-TNdk1go
The grand finale on The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars is ‘Rock N’ Roll Suicide’. This is David Bowie’s beautifully dramatic anthemic waltz. It is the space-age album’s pinnacle, graced by the gorgeous arrangement and stunning guitar work of Mick Ronson and the production of Ken Scott and Bowie. The song begins acoustically with intimate up-front vocals, escalating with sweeping strings. Bowie’s (Ziggy’s) voice rises louder and louder, becoming desperate. His screams are followed by one final note, played by a multitude of strings – sustained and suddenly silenced at the end. Bowie’s sweeping score and cinematic lyrics paint a picture of angst and despair, making us feel as though we are in a film…
MY STORY all about ‘Rock N’ Roll Suicide’:
The Flamin Groovies’ ‘Slow Death’ (1972) was an anti-drug song. Ironically it, was banned by the BBC for using the word ‘morphine’. Canadian band Teenage Head (formed in 1975) were named after the third Flamin’ Groovies album title. They had not yet heard the Groovies’ music, but they decided to form a band with that name.
Singer Chris Wilson knocks ‘Slow Death’ out of the park in the live version. Watch below!
Watch a great live version!!: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EL3pP29N-Wc
The Pleasure Seekers was Suzi Quatro’s first band. Here is ‘What a Way To Die’.
On the title track of Iggy and The Stooges’ Raw Power album (1972), we can ‘Dance to the beat of the living dead.’ The album closes with the psychotic ‘Death Trip’
Interlude: WATCH – The Skeleton Dance
‘Death May Be Your Santa Claus’ is on the great album Brain Capers by Mott The Hoople (1972). Written by Ian Hunter and Verden Allen of Mott, it’s a raucous rocker that was always fantastic live!
See my story about Mott’s album Brain Capers: https://madelinex.com/2018/11/19/mott-on-the-brain/
Another gorgeous song from Mott The Hoople is the beautiful ‘Rest In Peace’ which first appeared on the Broadway side of their 1974 live album:
And if my dreams were willing to come true,
oh I would not even try to let them through.
I’m sure there’s things I’ve missed, that others preached.
The goals they reached, they weren’t for me.
Rest in peace,
even though the worries seem to mount,
don’t let them count.
Rest in peace.
‘Funeral For a Friend’ opens Elton John’s 1973 album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. It’s a stunning, epic instrumental.
Paul McCartney recorded this orchestral soundtrack song to the James Bond film ‘Live & Let Die’ in 1973.
The Alice Cooper Group’s album Killer includes ‘Dead Babies’. The lyrics scold parents for leaving their child unattended with a bottle of aspirin. A highlight of Alice’s live gigs was when a baby carriage is wheeled onstage during the song. We never know what kind of hideous baby creature Alice will pull out of there, and skewer on the edge of his sword… and how many heads it might have!
‘I Love the Dead’ from Alice Cooper’s Billion Dollar Babies (1973) is about necrophilia. Only Alice could get away with singing about this stuff – most likely because he has a great sense of humor! It’s great to see the number of ways in which Alice is executed during his concerts; by guillotine, hanging, lethal injection… up to three times in one night!
Another great Alice song for Halloween is ‘Cold Ethyl’ on his solo album Welcome to my Nightmare. It’s also about necrophilia with his ‘frigid’ girlfriend by the refrigerator light, in refrigerator heaven!
Dead Babies: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkbS2Zrcl6g
I Love the Dead: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UpKGfFw8FEA
Cold Ethyl – WATCH: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XtinXsXWeaA
I would make up any excuse to include Brian Eno’s ‘Dead Finks Don’t Talk’ on a playlist. It’s from his masterpiece Here Come the Warm Jets (his first post Roxy-Music solo album).
Another Eno gem is his obscure 1974 single ‘Seven Deadly Fins’.
Watch Eno performing this on Top Pop in Holland! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zTXYW0nVvn4
On his 1974 album Diamond Dogs, Bowie is now the character Halloween Jack. He sings ‘We Are the Dead’ another of Bowie’s references to George Orwell’s book 1984. It’s one of my favorite Bowie songs, but he never performed it live.
MY STORY about Diamond Dogs: Back to the Future!
Mick Jagger dances with the devil in the graveyard in The Rolling Stones’ creepy song ‘Dancing With Mr. D’ (and with Mrs. D)on Goat’s Head Soup. I wonder if the devil appreciated Mick’s blue eyeshadow and shiny gold Ossie Clark jumpsuit! Mick is singing about Mr. D, but it is Mrs. D who gets him in the last dance!
Here’s the official music video for Rod Stewart – “The Killing Of Georgie (Part I & II)” from ‘A Night On The Town‘ (1976). There have been comparisons made to the melodies of John Lennon’s songs ‘Give Peace a Chance’, ‘Don’t Let me Down’, and Dylan’s ‘I Want You’!! This song is so sad – and ahead of its time. The “Doo da doo’s” remind me of Lou Reed’s ‘Walk on the Wild Side’!
Rod Stewart – The Killing Of Georgie (Part I & II) (Official Video)
‘Death on Two Legs’ is a killer track on the breakthrough album by Queen, A Night at the Opera in 1975. It’s a diatribe against their manager.
‘All Dead, All Dead’ is a ballad on Queen’s album News of the World released in 1977.
See my story about the album:
Queen vs. the Sex Pistols/Queen Still Rock You
See my concert review: Queen live in 1977 @ Madison Square Garden
Talking Heads had a great song called ‘Psycho Killer’ which was great to see them performing at CBGB in the early days. It appears on their very first album Talking Heads 1977. The simple album cover was perfect for the autographs I got from the band when I met them in 1977!
We can’t have a death list without something from Cleveland’s Dead Boys! Here is ‘Sonic Reducer’ from their debut 1977 album Young, Loud and Snotty.
‘People Who Died’ is a deceivingly upbeat song by poet Jim Carroll on his 1978 debut album Catholic Boy. It’s a sadly true song about his friends who died, citing the various ways in which they perished. John Cale covered this with Chris Spedding on guitar, plus The Velvet Underground’s Sterling Morrison and Mo Tucker! It appears on the Antártida soundtrack (1995)
Listen (John Cale with Sterling Morrison and Mo Tucker ): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWVt0AupICk
Watch: Jim Carroll with Lou Reed Live at The Capitol theater, NU 9/25/84: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0oxJmvSpap0
Blondie’s great album Eat to the Beat (1979) has a fun reggae song called ‘Die Young, Stay Pretty’.
I love the line, “Deteriorate in your own time.”
‘English Civil War’ (a take on ‘When Johnny Comes Marching Home’) appears on the second album by The Clash, Give Em Enough Rope. It was especially spectacular seeing them perform this live on Broadway 14 times in 1981!! Yes, I was insane and went to most of the shows, until I became so sick that I couldn’t attend the last one.
‘Death or Glory’ by The Clash is on the great London Calling album.
‘If You Were Still Around’ is a gorgeous piece co-written by John Cale and playwright Sam Shepard. It’s on his 1982 album Music for a New Society. In 2014, Cale released a new version in tribute to his former Velvet Underground bandmate Lou Reed after Lou’s passing. Other deceased band members and Warhol Factory members are included in the video. Maria McKee of Lone Justice covered this. They also did a great cover of ‘Sweet Jane.’ Two more recordings of the song were made in 2016 when he re-made his Music For a New Society album, one with a choir reprise, previously released in 2014.
Listen – Album version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xokKGDe1C48
Listen – Choir Reprise: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z4HDxhf_pUk
Watch (2013): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ln77F25hXVQ
Watch live: https://youtu.be/hEnjTeXyhQ0
Listen – Maria McKee: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MkK_jsuG5rk
Listen (1982 version): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-lrUCBnVIlM
Watch (2014): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ln77F25hXVQ
The Godfathers song ‘Birth, School, Work, Death’ is on their 2nd album of the same name, released in 1988.
‘When I Was Dead’ was the B-side of a 1981 single called ‘Big Time’ by the first punk band from Belfast called Rudi,who formerly played Glam covers. ‘Big Time’ is another great song, with melodic guitar lines. This single was released in 1978.
The band got their name from the single “Oo Oo Rudi” by the Jook, which consisted of Ian Kimmet, along with Chris Townson and my buddy Ian Hampton (formerly a member of John’s Children with Marc Bolan). Ian later played bass for Sparks!
Listen – Big Time: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=huYMaysP9LU
On ‘TV Set’ singer Lux Interior makes a television set from the parts of his dead girlfriend! Her eyeballs make great dials! He keeps the rest of her remains in his Frigidaire for a midnight snack. It’s on The Cramps 1980 album Songs the Lord Taught Us.
In 1985 The Cramps recorded a one-off track, ‘Surfin’ Dead’ for the horror movie The Return of the Living Dead. The song is included on their 1982 live album, Smell of Female. ‘Zombie Dance’ is on my Halloween playlist.
There’s nothing on the radio when you’re dead
There’s nothing at the movie show when you’re dead
Here are some songs by Lou Reed…
‘The Bed’ from Berlin is one of the saddest songs of all time. Read all about it in my story about Lou’s masterpiece.
This is the place where she took the razor
And cut her wrist that strange and fateful night…
My story about Lou Reed’s Berlin album: The Berlin Wall of Sound
‘Kill Your Sons’ is on Sally Can’t Dance (1974). It’s about Lou’s own parents putting him through electroshock therapy because he was a disturbed teenager. Nice.
‘Cremation – Ashes to Ashes’ is on Lou’s album Magic and Loss. This was his sixteenth solo album, released in early 1992. It was a tribute to the passing of his friend, the great Doc Pomus – writer of many incredible songs, including the autobiographical ‘Save the Last Dance For Me’ and ‘This Magic Moment’ (which Lou also covered). The album also honors the memory of Rotten Rita, a denizen of Andy Warhol’s Factory. The chilling song is about the coal black sea awaiting to carry away the ashes of the dead. Yet Lou illustriously crafted this beautiful, comforting tune – almost like a nursery rhyme – to envelop the listener in the peacefulness of death and our oneness with the glory of nature.
*Be sure to see the 2012 documentary film A.K.A. Doc Pomus!
Watch the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8oOG3vUkKUM
The debut 1990 LP by Sinead O’Connor was called I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got. It contains the stunning track ‘I am Stretched on Your Grave’.
The first album by Suicide (1977) includes ‘Frankie Teardrop’.
My Suicide story:
‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead’ by Bauhaus (1979) is over 9 minutes long. The scratchy dub sound on this very early Goth piece is mixed with the eerie deep vocals of Peter Murphy, who resembles a cross between David Bowie and a bat. Murphy has performed this live by hanging upside down for the entire duration of the song. It was featured in the opening sequence of The Hunger – a horror film about vampires starring Bowie and Catherine Deneuve in 1983.
Adam and The Ants have a track called ‘Killer in the Home’ on their breakthrough album Kings of the Wild Frontier released in 1980.
‘The Cold Song’ from Henry Purcell’s 17th century baroque opera King Arthur appears on the late, great Klaus Nomi’s 1981 debut album. The stunning gothic aria was sung by Klaus during his final orchestral performance, very shortly before his death. His costume bears an Elizabethan ruff collar. This is a poignant performance by a dying man which leaves you chilled and trembling, as if he is singing at his own funeral.
What power art thou, who from below
Hast made me rise unwillingly and slow
From beds of everlasting snow
See’st thou not how stiff
and wondrous old
Far unfit to bear the bitter cold
I can scarcely move or draw my breath
Let me, let me freeze again to death
Watch – Live performance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnkVgKzKPt8
Listen – Album version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnkVgKzKPt8
‘Death’ is an aria composed by baroque English Henry Purcell from Dido & Aeneas Act II Dido’s Lament. It is performed by Klaus Nomi on his second album, Simple Man in 1982. Klaus also performs Purcell’s ‘Wayward Sisters’ on this album.
MY STORY: Klaus Nomi – Riding the New Wave:
Halfway To Sanity is the 10th studio album by The Ramones. It was released in 1987 and includes the song ‘Death of Me’.
2 from Prince:
‘I Would Die 4 You’ is on the epic Prince soundtrack album for Purple Rain released in 1984.
‘Dig U Better Dead’ is a really cool track on Prince’s 18th album Chaos and Disorder released in 1996.
‘Switchblade Sister’ is a wonderful song released in 1992 by Redd Kross – featuring theMcDonald brothers. I don’t think anybody gets killed in this song, but I love it!
‘Feels Like Suicide’ is by the great band DGeneration!!! This is killer – from their debut 1994 album!
Lenny Kravitz released his 4th album Circus in 1995. Here is a killer cut, ‘Rock n’ Roll Is Dead’.
Watch the stunning video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yw8_5OYKQNA
‘The Way’ was a 1998 No. 1 single in 1998 by Fastball from their album All the Pain Money Can Buy. Although it is a wonderfully upbeat pop tune, the lyrics are about an old couple who pack up their car and go on a long drive. When their car breaks down, they walk aimlessly – quite possibly toward heaven. The band’s bass player wrote the song based on a much sadder and true story of an inseparable old couple in Texas (Lela and Raymond Howard) who planned to attend a festival but never arrived. After two weeks of searching, their distressed families were told that the old couple’s dead bodies were found in their car, several miles off-course.
Anyone could see
The road that they walk on is paved in gold
And it’s always summer, they’ll never get cold
They’ll never get hungry
They’ll never get old and gray
You can see their shadows
Wandering off somewhere
They won’t make it home
But they really don’t care
They wanted the highway
They’re happy there today, today
‘Dead Meat’ is on Sean Lennon’s amazing second solo album Friendly Fire released in 2006. This waltz begins with calliope keyboards. The album’s songs are mostly based on Sean’s girlfriend’s relationship with his best friend from childhood. Tragically, the friend died in a motorcycle crash before they could reconcile.
Watch – official video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yBe2ZSQm95A
Here is Sean’s beautiful, heartbreaking song about his father called ‘Listen’.
Ian Hunter included ‘Life After Death’ on his great album You’re Never Alone with a Schizophrenic in 1979, made along with his pal – the late, great Mick Ronson.
Listen: 2009 remaster: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kiNCqO0hmQc
‘Death of a Nation’ was on Hunter’s stunning 2001 album Rant.
Was having a drink with Prince Charles and the Queen
When Winston Churchill stepped into my dream
His head it was heavy, his voice was shakin’
He said, “Look what they’ve done: it’s the death of a nation.”
I followed his shadow right out of the bar
And we talked all night ‘neath the light of the stars
He said, “This used to be a cradle of civilization
Now look what they’ve done: it’s the death of a nation.”
Everything’s illusion now, nothing’s what it seems
Money isn’t everything when you’re turning your back on a dream
I held you together when you were breakin’
You can pull down the flags; it’s the death of a natio…
‘Dead Man Walkin’ (Eastenders)’ is also from Ian Hunter’s 10th solo album Rant . He uses the lines he wrote for the Mott the Hoople song ‘Sea Diver’ to close the song. “Ride on my son, Ride on, my son, Ride on, my son, Ride until you fail”.
I’ve been here before, this is where nothing happens anymore, anymore, anymore
Someone else’s rage, someone else’s pain, someone else’s ego, you will believe, oh you will believe
This ain’t Eastenders, this ain’t Eastenders, this ain’t Eastenders, it’s the real thing
But what am I supposed to do now? Crawl down the hole to eternity, eternity, eternity, eternity.
It’s a foregone conclusion, a fait accompli
It’s all taken care of, so you don’t have to worry
If I should lose, If I should win
It doesn’t really matter anymore, dead man walkin’.
‘In the Death Car’ by Iggy Pop has a lovely, calming Caribbean reggae rhythm. A version of this with different lyrics is in the 1993 film Arizona Dream.
Watch – Arizona Dream: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=iggy+pop+in+the+deathcar+official+video
Iggy sings ‘It’s Nice To Be Dead’ on his 2009 album Preliminaires, released in
Read my review of Preliminaires: https://madelinex.com/2009/06/03/pardon-my-french-iggy-pop-preliminaires/
I love this 2006 song by Dirty Pretty Things, ‘Bang Bang, You’re Dead’. It’s just on the verge of Glam!
‘Death of Samantha’ is a gorgeous and prescient song on Yoko Ono’s double album Approximately Infinite Universe (1973) “It’s the death of your soul really.”
Listen – Approximately Infinite Universe: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cuq_-b-VlBk
Watch – Flipside 1973: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0fHMzmneKY
My story about the song: https://madelinex.com/2007/02/26/yoko-songs-death-of-samantha/
‘I’m Dying’ appears on Yoko Ono’s album Rising. This is one of the wildly glorious totally improvised pieces. It reaches back to the old days of Yoko’s vocalizing of one or two words over an incredible beat, reminiscent of ‘Why’ (1970) or ‘Don’t Worry Kyoko (Mummy’s only looking for a Hand in the Snow)’ from 1971. It’s especially wonderful to see her perform this two-word song live – keeping a lyric sheet in front of her! It’s also a miracle that she has produced a virtual clone of her husband in Sean, who allows his mom to thrive musically – inciting and nurturing the magnificence of her work, just as his father did. They are both her biggest fans.
“Playing music with my mom is the greatest thing I could do… I mean, we’re dealing with one of the greatest artists of the 20th century… In terms of what I owe my dad and my family for what I have in my life, this is the perfect opportunity to give something back… This is my ultimate destiny, playing my mom’s music and bringing her to the people. There’s nothing better I could do.”
- Sean Ono Lennon, The San Francisco Chronicle March 17, 1996.
My story about Yoko’s album Rising:
The mind-blowing opening track on Yoko’s album Between My Head and the Sky is ‘Waiting for the D Train’ has a heavy and wild plodding groove similar to that of ‘Don’t Worry Kyoko’ with the bass line of Yoko’s amazing track ‘Why’ (1970). D = Death, and Yoko at age 76 knows that we are all waiting for that train. It’s the one that arrives after ‘Mind Train’. So why not sing about it?
“The ‘D’ stands for death, so the thing is you’re waiting for death in a way. And while you’re waiting for death, a lot of things go on in your life. Separations or pain or some beautiful joy, all this stuff happens. And then in the end [of the ‘Between My Head And The Sky’ album is] the song called “Higa Noboru,” which means “The Sun is Rising.” After the D Train, The Sun Is Down. And then the sun is rising, and I’m saying “I’m still alive.” It’s going into the new era, a new age. We’re gonna go to a new age together. That’s what it means.” – Yoko
Watch – Live with Iggy Pop – Los Angeles 2010: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mx0jP0srv1Q
And here is Yoko singing ‘Hedwig’s Lament: ‘Exquisite Corpse‘ from Hedwig and the Angry Inch featuring Yo La Tengo. It’s on the Hedwig album Wig in a Box.
Death Valley Girls included ‘More Dead’ on their third album Darkness Rains. The album also features the song ‘Disaster is What We’re After’. Iggy Pop eats a hamburger (a la Andy Warhol) in their video.
Watch – ‘More Dead’ video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fVZ05rNbuxs
Watch – ‘Disaster is What We’re After’ with Iggy Pop: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IS0FKkih81k
I’m adding this one from Peter Alexander Jobson. I love hearing songs from the viewpoint of a dead person. ‘Just ‘cause I’m Dead’ is amazing lyrically and beautiful sonically! He sings in the phrasing of Tom Waits and of Lou Reed, offset by the loveliness of a super-intimate piano and theremin, and a ghostly chorale. This is from his 2021 EP The Piano Tuner. Jobson plays keyboards for Elbow on tour. His album, which will be released in 2022 supposedly took him 50 years to make.
Just ‘cause I’m dead it doesn’t mean I’m not around anymore
Just ‘cause I’m dead it doesn’t mean I don’t care…
I especially love the line,
And the wind blows through me on its way to you
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See more in my Playlist category:
About A Song
Eat to the Beat