The past few months have seen a truly horrific rollcall of deaths in the performing arts, and today Umberto Eco joined the list.
Last night BBC6music again showed why they are the top digital radio station when Tom Robinson’s show asked listeners to suggest songs to remember those we have lost. The show began with the current single by Viola Beach, a young upcoming band who died last week in a road accident. What followed is one of the most beautiful, thoughtful list of songs, not just about death, but about loss.
Billy Bragg’s Tank Park Salute is a homage to his late father.
Gil Scott Heron’s On Coming From a Broken Home is about being raised by women and not knowing he was disadvantaged.
Kristen Hirsch’s Your Ghost is about lost love.
A listener said they could include anything by Kirsty Macoll, who died so tragically young.
Into My Arms by Nick Cave was chosen by a couple who had just buried their 3 month old son, and who had found comfort in the song which they played at the funeral. Added poignancy by the fact that Cave lost a teenage son last year.
Marvin Gaye’s Abraham Martin and John is a classic song of loss of a nation’s innocence.
Frank Turner’s Long Live the Queen is about the death of his grandmother, a fantastic homage to a real character and a family who helped her to die as she chose.
Johnny Cash & Joe Strummer sing Marley’s Redemption Song. Wow.
The Beatles Let it Be another classic.
The Decembrists’ 12/17/12 is a father talking to his young child. Fantastic, touching.
The Undertones Teenage Kicks is a raucous celebration of life, so at first seems an odd inclusion. But it was the favourite song of John Peel, the godfather of indy music and a fantastic champion for young musicians. Robinson told how at Peel’s funeral the song burst out as the coffin was being carried down the aisle of the packed cathedral. A fantastic send off, but I’ve no idea how the pall bearers could manage it.
Fleetwood Mac’s Don’t Stop seems another odd inclusion, but the listener told of how her father had taken the family climbing every weekend and got them to sing along with it in 4 part harmony. They sang it in 3 part at his funeral.
The Flaming Lips Do You Realize is a strange, ethereal song. Lovely.
The Streets’ Dry Your Eyes does what it says.
Here’s the full playlist. I defy you not to find something you like on it.