We all know we’re going to die. But only some of us have a sense of when. If those haunted with that knowledge seem cursed, in another way they’re privileged. They have the rare chance to write their own eulogies, to make a statement that gives their final days shape.
Lately, musicians have taken special advantage of this. Actuarial tables, and bad circumstance, have placed an increasing number of them in mortality’s path – and, over the last two years, many have seized that opportunity to speak from the precipice on their final albums. They’re not the first to write from this perspective. In the past, doomed stars like Warren Zevon, Johnny Cash, and Freddie Mercury have put their final thoughts and feelings into song. At the moment, however, the list of musicians in this poignant group is starting to seem as long those who belong to the dreaded “27 Club”, the coterie of artists felled at that tender age from drugs.
This week, the list of musicians who have sung from life’s last stage will add the name of Sharon Jones as her band, the Dap-Kings, release Soul of a Woman, which they recorded with the singer as she faced a spreading cancer in 2016.
Here’s a look at those artists brave enough to record their thoughts as their days ran short.
– Continue reading Jim Farber's feature in The Guardian UK