RIP (musically speaking)
November 26, 2017 9:02 AM   Subscribe

While listening to Greg Allman's last album Southern Blood I found myself crying.

The song selection, the performance and of course the fact that he had already passed made it feel so personal and so filled with emotion, as only music can do to ones soul.

Then I started to ponder albums that were released on the verge of the artist passing or posthumously, but with the clear "say goodbye" message. Like BlackStar by David Bowie or The Wind by Warren Zevon.

What an incredibly cathartic way to leave as an artist.

So, my question is, what is the history of artist doing this, because I imagine it is quite a list.
posted by silsurf to Media & Arts (16 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Leonard Cohen - You Want It Darker
posted by maudlin at 9:20 AM on November 26, 2017 [7 favorites]


I don't know if Wildwood Flower, released 4 months after June Carter Cash's death, was conceived as a farewell album, but it does feel very elegaic.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 9:26 AM on November 26, 2017 [2 favorites]


I don't understand whether the OP wants more examples or "the history" of this.
posted by mean square error at 9:52 AM on November 26, 2017


A recent list, courtesy of the Gruaniad: Dying words: when musicians turn their last albums into self-eulogies
posted by Mister Bijou at 9:53 AM on November 26, 2017 [2 favorites]


This is not QUITE the same, but Bill Monroe wrote My Last Days on Earth (youtube) when he was seriously ill and I believe with the same intent. He eventually recovered, however, and lived a while longer.
posted by selfnoise at 10:32 AM on November 26, 2017 [1 favorite]


Glen Campbell did this with beauty and grace.
posted by 4ster at 10:39 AM on November 26, 2017 [3 favorites]


Freddie Mercury and Queen's last album, especially the last track (it isn't that song from Highlander)
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 10:57 AM on November 26, 2017 [1 favorite]


Sometimes it is more prophetic than elegiac. Witness Chuck Willis' last single, "What Am I Living For?", backed by "Hang Up My Rock & Roll Shoes".
posted by Chitownfats at 11:51 AM on November 26, 2017


Pink Moon, Nick Drake
posted by MinPin at 12:09 PM on November 26, 2017 [1 favorite]


Kurt Cobain, Nirvana and In Utero
posted by effluvia at 12:22 PM on November 26, 2017 [1 favorite]


Tangentially related, so feel free to flag if it's not close enough to what you're looking for, but I recently saw this done very well on television: Catherine Coulson's final scene in Twin Peaks: The Return was very clearly written and filmed with the knowledge that she was going to die soon. It was heartbreaking and beautiful.
posted by rhiannonstone at 4:32 PM on November 26, 2017


The Wind by Warren Zevon. I still tear up at the last track, Keep Me In Your Heart.
posted by Homer42 at 8:18 PM on November 26, 2017


"I don't understand whether the OP wants more examples or "the history" of this."

I was looking for a little bit of both I guess, sorry if the post was not specific enough. I am interested in this type of saying goodbye historically? artist, even non musical, who defined a last work for there lifespan?

thanks for all the contributions.

Henry
posted by silsurf at 8:27 PM on November 26, 2017


Sharon Jones and the Dapkings - soul of a woman
posted by WeekendJen at 9:31 AM on November 27, 2017 [1 favorite]


Sublime's self-titled album was written and recorded while Bradley Nowell was alive and well, but he died from a drug overdose before the album's released. It gives a poignant tinge to some of the songs.
posted by kevinbelt at 5:18 PM on November 27, 2017


Irvin Yalom's new book Becoming Myself is his final book, and his memoir. He has said it is his last one - he is 86.
posted by fairlynearlyready at 10:52 AM on November 28, 2017


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