By Graeme Thomson
What do the gangsta rap devotee, the grizzled blues enthusiast, the bearded people fan, the goth and the indie child have in universal? Ask and they'll all say an analogous factor: dying and renowned song have endlessly danced hand-in-hand in funereal waltz time. track charts and nearly all of radio playlists may well conspire to persuade a person listening that the area spins on its axis to the music of "I love you, you like me" and standard issues of the guts. the remainder of us be aware of that we are living in a global the place crimson roses will someday develop into lilies and that loss of life is the motor that drives the best and such a lot exhilarating track of all. yet 'death tune' isn't really only a byword for bookish solemnity, or the glorification of homicide, medicinal drugs and weapons. Over the process the final hundred years it has additionally been approximately teenage ladies weeping over their highschool boyfriend's deadly vehicle damage; ordinary failures sweeping entire groups away; the ever-evolving possibility of illness; altering attitudes to outdated age; exhortations to suicide; remembering the lifeless; compiling definitely the right playlist for a funeral; and the thorny query of what occurs after the fats girl ceases to sing. So for each "Black Angel's loss of life tune" there's a "Candle within the Wind"; for each "Cop Killer" there's "The residing Years". demise, like song, is a unifying strength. there's something for each flavor and inclination, from murderous vengeance to camp sentimentality and every little thing in among. Drawing upon unique and exact interviews with artists reminiscent of Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney, Richard Thompson, Ice-T, Neil Finn, Ron Sexsmith, Mike Scott and should Oldham, the publication explores how well known song bargains with dying, and the way it files the altering truth of what dying skill as either artists and audiences get older. it really is as transfixing as a educate smash, and also you can't positioned it down. As an epilogue, I Shot a guy in Reno provides the reader with the forty maximum loss of life
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Extra info for I Shot a Man in Reno: A History of Death by Murder, Suicide, Fire, Flood, Drugs, Disease and General Misadventure, as Related in Popular Song
Tell Laura I Love Her’ is a song about two people very much in love,” says Jeff Barry. “None of it has anything to do with sex, which is how it should be. It ends badly for the lovers but it ends well for love. It doesn’t say she is doomed to be alone, but will Laura forever love Tommy? ” On the cusp of the era of the Pill, free love, and greater social and racial integration, these songs mark some of society’s final _________ • 35 • I SHOT A MAN IN RENO attempts at keeping its teenagers in line.
Better to offer up vague platitudes, political tub thumping, or sentimental arias to those who have gone than look at why someone is prepared to kill and be killed. Earle was roundly attacked for glorifying and sympathizing with a “traitor,” when what he was trying to do—and he succeeded, brilliantly—was to get into the mind of the kind of people that the US and much of the west now fear the most: suicide bombers, fundamentalist terrorists, people who take their cues, however distorted, from a culture that looks upon death very differently than the one in which pop music usually swims.
You might want to bring it up with Bob Dylan the next time you bump into him. In this way, death becomes just another metaphor, rather than the natural and inevitable end it really is. And as a result, we end up with music, such as Paul Simon’s Surprise or Bruce Springsteen’s The Rising, that is inspired, if that’s the right word, by events like 9/11, incorporating the impact of the event into the writer’s existing worldview rather than placing the writer within the events themselves. It is fuel for the fire rather than the fire itself.