My father died three years ago on the 6 September 2004. Lee’s recent poignant post about aging and the relationship with his also deceased father led me to create this. Rock music is full of tragic and avoidable deaths, and when they happen they are inevitably high profile. I doubt very much whether my father would have appreciated any of the tracks I feature, but I would be happy beyond words for just one more chance to hear him tell me to turn it down or off, or (on one occasion) to turn off the electricity. By way of a small tribute to him, and to the DJ who died in the same year, these are some of the Festive Fifty artists who can create no more: their recorded legacy is all we have.
But as it were an after dinner sleep
Dreaming on both, for all thy blessed youth
Becomes as aged, and doth beg the alms
Of palsied eld; and when thou art old and rich
Thou hast neither heat, affection, limb nor beauty
To make thy riches pleasant. What’s in this
That bears the name of life? Yet in this life
Lie hid mo thousand deaths; yet death we fear
That makes these odds all even.
[Shakespeare, Measure For Measure]
I have been half in love with easeful Death,
Call’d him soft names in many a mused rhyme,
To take into the air my quiet breath;
Now more than ever seems it rich to die,
To cease upon the midnight with no pain,
While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad
In such an ecstasy!
Still wouldst thou sing, and I have ears in vain–
To thy high requiem become a sod. [Keats, Ode To A Nightingale] Jimi Hendrix Experience, All Along The Watchtower (FF 1976 #5, All-Time FF 2000 #37)
For Lycidas your sorrow is not dead,
Sunk though he be beneath the wat’ry floor.
So sinks the day-star in the ocean bed,
And yet anon repairs his drooping head,
And tricks his beams, and with new-spangled ore
Flames in the forehead of the morning sky:
So Lycidas sunk low, but mounted high,
Through the dear might of Him that walked the waves,
Where, other groves and other streams along,
With nectar pure his oozy locks he laves,
And hears the unexpressive nuptial song,
In the blest kingdoms meek of joy and love.
There entertain him all the saints above,
In solemn troops, and sweet societies,
That sing, and singing in their glory move,
And wipe the tears for ever from his eyes.
Now, Lycidas, the shepherds weep no more;
In thy large recompense, and shalt be good
To all that wander in that perilous flood. [Milton, Lycidas]
Joy Division, The Eternal (All-Time FF 1982, #48)
The passion-winged Ministers of thought,
Who were his flocks, whom near the living streams
Of his young spirit he fed, and whom he taught
The love which was its music, wander not, -
Wander no more, from kindling brain to brain,
But droop there, whence they sprung; and mourn their lot
Round the cold heart, where, after their sweet pain,
They ne’er will gather strength, or find a home again.
Doors, Riders On The Storm (FF 1976, #22)