When? Freddy Mercury When he heard the news, it was as if he was in his pocket, folded on hospital letterhead, giving the death sentence. That’s exactly what AIDS was in 1987. David Bowie understood this right away liver cancer was fatal and that he won’t have much time to see “Blackstar”, the album he started working on right away. Johnny Cash He recorded his last 50 songs while sitting in his wheelchair, his face like an old soccer ball and pressing on glaucoma. As Leonard Cohen explained to his friend Alberto Manzano, he was barely getting out of bed while working on “You Want It Darker” before he left this world. As they are, George Harrison and warren zevon Knowing that they were coming to an end, they took on the recording of an album.. Known as the translator and scholar of rock poets, Manzano analyzes the last (and some posthumous) works of these great music masters in a book called “El rock de la muerte” (Cúpula).
It’s time to break a stereotype: those who didn’t know how to die in the history of music became more famous, 27 clubsFor example, those who have reached the end of their life and are at peace with themselves. So, while talking about disks at the edge of existence may seem like a daunting topic, it isn’t at all: “This is a very revealing book for me because it deals with the fact that acceptance is necessary for a peaceful separation. They’ve had a full life and they’re going without fuss, without major drama, without writing songs like they’ve been doing all their lives,” says the car.r. “These six are a good example of how having a spiritual life is crucial to bringing death into our consciousness,” he explains. Each had very different beliefs.connecting them with spirituality: Mercury, Zoroastrianism; Harrison, Hinduism; Cash, Christianity and Cohen, originally Jewish and his fan Jesus ChristBuddhism Zen: “Life and death go hand in hand, and their spiritual formation helped them prepare their consciousness for death gear when they were diagnosed with a terminal illness.”
let’s take the case Freddy Mercury. Queen’s health was already very bad for her latest album “Innuendo” (1991). I could barely walk. Still, he wanted to leave a vital message in the form of one of the most important songs in the band’s history: “The Show Must Go On” loads a double message in Mercury’s vital context. And the words say: “Let the show go on / My heart is breaking / Maybe my makeup will crack / But I’ll keep smiling / My soul is painted / Like butterfly wings / I can fly guys.” This was one of the messages that a singer, who was already very weak and blind, wanted to leave out loud. As the weight of existence is lightened as she sings in “Ima”: “If there is God or if there is any justice under heaven / If there is a reason, a reason to live or die / If there is an answer to the questions we always ask ourselves / Oh yes , we’ll keep trying / We’ll keep walking a tightrope / Yes, we’ll keep smiling / And whatever it takes, it will be. As Manzano assures, there is “no suffering, just “good rock & roll” in Mecury’s voice and words.
George Harrison took the blow in 2001. After a series of unfortunate events (including the attack on his home) and a very long period of illness, the word tumor arose. Surname, cerebral. A quick Google search was all it took to know what happened next. Recording his failures for two decades, Harrison takes a trip to India to follow the ritual of bathing in the Ganges. he devoted his last strength, his last days on earth, to writing and recording new songs., “searching for words and notes that will distill the essence of truth”. Describing how Harrison was, Alberto Manzano says, “I felt like I had reached a higher spiritual level in accordance with the peace I signed with death.” In the garden of his house, I saw confirmation that life goes on when he is no longer there to take care of her.. He passed away in November 2001 and did not see the release of “Brainwashed”, which was “one of the best he has done alone” for Manzano. Songs with a peaceful look at death that conclude with a quote from Krishna in the “Bahavad Gita”: “There has never been a time when you and I did not exist. Nor will there be a future where we cease to exist.”
Johnny Cash His face is swollen and sunken, half-blind from glaucoma, and his hands are shaking. A body battered by years of amphetamine addiction and diabetes plus various surgeries – heart, eyes, jaw –As Manzano mentions, he transformed The Man in Black into a battered but “voice of experience, authority of fortitude” to get one last recording opportunity. We are at the beginning of the new millennium, and thanks to Rick Rubin, country legend finds an artistic way by American standards and even dares with modern versions that sound like old whiskey and the dusty road just by saying it. However, in 1997 he was diagnosed with multiple system atrophy, a degenerative neurological disorder similar to Parkinson’s. Cash recovers and records “That Man Is Coming” in 2002, With a chilling version of “Hurt”, a song by Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails) who even says that song “don’t belong to him anymore”. The songs sound so good that he insists on continuing to record with Rubin. These are the “American Records” sessions that I combined with the Christian fellowship over the phone. In 2003, his wife, June Carter, died and it just wants to register again after three days. He moves with a higher duty and therefore records 50 songs from a wheelchair before he passes away just four months after his wife. Rubin will release five albums with “Unearthed” (2003). There is a poem from that year, “Forever”: “You tell me I must perish / Like the flowers I love / Nothing will be left of my name / Nothing will remember my fame / But the trees I planted / They are still young / And the songs I sing / They will go on being sung.”
David Bowie He was silent for ten years when he released “The Next Day” in 2013, which made him “number one” in the UK two decades later. He was diagnosed with liver cancer in 2014 and released “Blackstar” on his 69th birthday the following year. He dies two days later in New York. Bowie dedicated the last year of his life to this record, the one with the black star: “I am a black star, I am a black star / How many times does an angel fall? / How many people lie rather than speak out loud? / He stepped on the holy ground and shouted into the crowd.” However, as Manzano attests, “testament” are examples of musicians who don’t record: “I actually think it’s a kind of report on things that are important in life and that we often forget. This is a continuation of his work. Another job where they describe what happened to them with a nuance. They know this is their last chance. They’re not dramatic recordings and they’re not making a fuss.” Keep doing what you’re doing. Until a rocket takes him back to the planet from which he came to Earth.
Finally, this Leonard Cohen, the most special occasion for the book’s author, translator and friend of the Canadian poet. In 2016, Cohen told The New Yorker: “I’m working on new songs but I don’t think I can finish them. (…) I have work to do. I have to take care of my job. I am working and prepared for the nearness of death. I hope it’s not too annoying. That’s all I can say about myself.” Cohen did as he said: he began working on the songs that would be part of “You Want It Darker,” barely finished producing, and endured excruciating pain that denied he was ready to die. Three weeks after the album’s release, Cohen died at the age of 82. . In the days before he died, he left a few poems for his son, Adam, to compose. After all, Cohen never sang, he recited. They were published under the title “Thanks for the Dance”. In one he wrote: “Thanks for the dance / It was hell, it was great / It was fun / Thanks for all the dancing.”
Perhaps less well known to the public Warren ZevonThe nettle and genius singer-songwriter also received a pre-engraved granite slab with the name inoperable cancer. She refused to take any medication except to prevent nausea and pain. But there was only songwriting as a cure. “The Wind” was released in August 2003, two weeks before his death. A hint of seriousness on the album: “Will you stay with me until the end / when it’s just you, me and the wind?” she sings “Please Stay”. But above all his legendary sense of humor: “I don’t know how, I became some kind of travel agent of death, a spokesperson for the damned”, from interviews he gave about his terminal health condition or to his musicians, “Guys, we’re going too slow… Just in case, do you know if EPs are still out?” What I’m telling myself is that I think it’s a good idea to be able to say goodbye to yourself and be at peace with the people you meet,” she said before she died.
Manzano argues that thanks to their own spiritual work and artistic creation, they all found a good way to leave: “These musicians had this honor at the end of their lives. They had to walk on a stony road full of traps. but the spiritual practice pursued by these artists, above all Cohen, Harrison, Cash, and slightly less Mercury, was essential to the acceptance of life. There is a great blues saying “Everyone wants to go to heaven but no one wants to die”. And in that sense, we all have a pending problem,” he explains. well they parted peacefully: “I am convinced of this. They agreed and no doubt left peacefully. I have no doubts,” he said.
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