Death is the central theme of these days, as is each and every early November in Mexico and in the world. It is also the central theme of multiple compositions of all kinds, including the ten that are presented below for the mortuary delight of the reader.
1.- “All Things Must Pass”. George Harrison. In her first solo album, after the separation of the Beatles, Harrison presented an extraordinary collection of songs, among which stands out the one that gives name to the album triple of 1970. “All things must pass”, says the good George, imbued by the philosophy of hinduism.
2.- “In My Time of Dying”. Led Zeppelin. “When you reach my time of dying, I don’t want anyone I cry / the only thing that I ask is that you carry my body home” sings Robert Plant in is a fantastic song-a prayer full of blues, from the album Physical Graffiti in 1975. A gem, with the amazing guitar of Jimmy Page and the resounding drums of John Bonham. Pride.
3.- “Knocking on Heaven’s Door”. Bob Dylan. Touch the gates of heaven, as a metaphor of the death which is approaching inexorably. That speaks to this great composition of Dylan, which was part of the soundtrack of the movie Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, directed by Sam Peckinpah in 1973. The concert version that we present here is simply prodigious.
4.- “Dead Flowers”. The Rolling Stones. A great track full country, content in one of his greatest albums, the Sticky Fingers 1971. “You can send me dead flowers every morning / Send me dead flowers by the mail / Send dead flowers to my wedding / and I won’t forget to put roses on your grave”. Great.
5.- “What’s Good”. Lou Reed. In 1992, Reed produced the album Magic and Loss, with 14 songs that talked about the disease and the death. His great friend, the composer Doc Pomus, had just died of cancer and Lou dedicated the entire album, without falling in atmospheres depressive; quite the opposite: trying to see things the most natural way and sweet as possible. A great concept album at the height of the art.
6.- “Lazarus”. David Bowie. A song is chilling, especially when we put it in the context of what was the imminent death of Bowie, who recorded it knowing that he remained a few months, perhaps weeks, of life. Dramatic, harrowing, harsh, but at the same time resigned and wise, “Lazarus” is practically an epitaph within the last disc of this genius of the universal music.
7.- “Leaving the Table”. Leonard Cohen. When Cohen recorded his last album, the beautiful You Want It Darker of 2016, I knew that not much time left in this world. This song would seem to confirm this, with his letter of abandonment and reconciliation with life. “I don’t need a pardon, no one is to blame / I Leave the table, I’m out of the game”. Sad and convincing. Moving.
8.- “Ain’t No Grave (Gonna Hold This Body Down)”. Johnny Cash. Recorded seven years before the death of the legendary singer-songwriter folk-country, this piece speaks obsessively about the tomb which shall contain the body of the singer. Topic of tints, religious, interpreted austere and full of restlessness.
9.- “Death Letter”. The White Stripes. A huge and amazing blues of the legendary, Are the House in this explosive version of Jack White, from the album De Stijl (2000). Guitar, drums and vocals in a dry and wild interpretation.
10.- “These Are the Days of Our Lives”. Queen. Although Brian May wrote “The Show Must Go On” Freddie Mercury in 1991, knowing that the singer was terminally ill, and this had the arrests of record which would be his farewell song and convert it in the hymn that closed their album posthumous, the Innuendo 1991, this other piece of the same disk, it seems to me more beautiful and simple, with a Mercury AIDS victim, singing with evident fatigue and at the same time with a touching nostalgia to the life that was slipping.