The Final Cut by Pink Floyd is both disturbingly prophetic and harrowing to listen to. Granted, the album was protesting the 1982 invasion of The Falkland Islands by the UK, but the track "Get Your Filthy Hands Off My Desert" features Roger Waters screaming, "Hey! Get your filthy hands off my desert!", followed shortly by the sound of an airplane flying over and an explosion.
It is a little-known fact that in the early 1970s, the People's Temple Choir released a gospel album called He's Able, a collection of hymns that would otherwise be typical religious passion. Unfortunately, everyone involved in the gospel recordings is presumed to have died in Jonestown, and the album was reissued on CD as a morbid curiosity (like Charles Manson's recordings). The CD release contains Jim Jones's suicide sermon as a bonus track.
The Thrash/Hardcore band Early Graves was on tour with fellow Californian band The Funeral Pyre when a van accident took the life of Makh, their vocalist. The name and the fact that they had recently released an album entitled Goner didn't help much.
Many things surrounding Kurt Cobain became this after this suicide.
At least one DJ, shortly after Kurt's suicide, quipped, "Well, you lied, Kurt. You did have a gun" in reference to a repeated line from "Come As You Are".
He also wrote "I'd rather be dead than cool".
Nirvana also recorded a song titled "I Hate Myself and Want to Die", which was supposed to be released as a B-side to the "Pennyroyal Tea" single. The title of the song was chosen as a rather sarcastic in-joke, at least according to an interview Cobain gave Rolling Stone in January 1994. When Kurt died, the single was immediately shelved, though the B-Side had already been released a year before on the compilation The Beavis And Butt-Head Experience.
The metal band Slayer recorded the song "Disciple", featured on God Hates Us All, contains heartwarming lines such as these:
"Pessimist, terrorist targeting the next mark Global chaos feeding on hysteria"
"Man made virus infecting the world Self-destruct human time bomb."
On the God Hates Us All note, it was one of a handful of albums released on September 11, 2001, although that's just unfortunate timing more than anything else.
Progressive metal band Dream Theater originally released their live album Live: Scenes From New York with artwork showing the NYC skyline, including the Twin Towers, in flames. The album was released on September 11, 2001. It was quickly recalled, and the artwork was changed — but some copies with the original artwork were sold.
The Replacements, in 1981, recorded a song called "Johnny's Gonna Die" about New York Dolls guitarist Johnny Thunders, who had a notorious drug addiction. Ten years after the song was released, Johnny Thunders did indeed die, presumably of drug-related causes. Replacements guitarist Bob Stinson died a few years afterwards, largely due to the toll years of drug and alcohol abuse took on his body.
In the music videos for his solo songs "Misery" and "Oblaat", X Japan guitarist hide posed hanging from a tower at one point in "Misery" and sticking his neck into a noose near the end of "Oblaat". In 1998, he would die in an accidental suicide involving self-inflicted asphyxiation.
His solo song Drink or Die!!! - at the time of his death, he was also suffering from alcohol poisoning - which possibly ensured his death as in he most likely passed out from the alcohol before he could free himself to breathe again.
His character's role in X Japan's original PV for Week End involved being stabbed or shot in the chest/torso, collapsing and dying as a result. It was later noted after his death that despite the official story that he hung himself with a bedsheet, he had no scars on his neck - but he did have tape marks on his face, combat wounds, and a small red mark/slash on his chest.
His work on the lyrics of Voiceless Screaming for X Japan and the various remixes of it he made for his solo bands - though Toshi was the main writer - foreshadowed his downward spiral into illness and addiction.
His song for Loudness, Black Widow, - because of Kitami Terumi and her involvement with stealing the last of his money, trying to scam people in his phone contacts for money as he was dying, and likely with his death at least by inaction (not informing anyone of his epilepsy) or even possibly via directly getting someone to kill him in jail.
His song for his solo band D.T.R., Empty Room, a poignant description of depression/loneliness/mental illness/falling through the cracks of mainstream society. Which was how he lived, right up until he died.
The line "I'm not like other boys..." in the prologue of the "Thriller" video.
The video for Thriller, knowing that Michael Jackson has left us.
Or "The Girl Is Mine", his Thriller duet with Paul McCartney. Michael Jackson says: "You know, Paul, I'm a lover, not a fighter..." When Linda McCartney was alive, all of Paul's love songs were for her. That perspective makes "The Girl Is Mine" painful for Paul's fans.
Another example from Thriller is the song "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)." It's obviously about a young woman, but that title!
Similarly, his concert series scheduled to start July 2009 was called This Is It. It doesn't help that the very last public interview he gave was announcing the tour to his fans, in which he repeatedly said, in reference to the concert title, "this is it, this is really it! This will be my last concert ever, I mean it! This is it!"
''Who Is It" contains a now very unsettling set of lyrics in the second verse.
"I am the damned I am the dead I am the agony inside a dying head."
This even managed to affect other groups' music. The first two lines of U2's "The Playboy Mansion", punning off of MJ's greatest hits album title:
"If Coke is a mystery And Michael Jackson, HIStory"
"The training wheels come off your bike, you start to notice boys you like"
Practically the whole Simpsons episode that had Michael Jacks—sorry, "John Jay Smith"—voicing the big, bald white mental patient who thought he was Michael Jackson is either uncomfortable to watch because of all the scenes of the guy hanging out with underage kids (Bart and Lisa) or heart-breaking because of "John Jay Smith"'s death.
Not sure of the authors, but I remember reading in a list of things kids of the twenty-first century would not look forward to seeing, one thing was the decline into old age of Michael Jackson. Turned out they didn't.
A good portion of Paul McCartney's solo album Driving Rain can cause headaches now for those who know the backstory because he included multiple love songs to Heather Mills. Songs declaring eternal love to someone you have since broken up with are by definition painful.
This also happened to his song "Nineteen Hundred And Eighty-Five", presumably written for Linda, once he remarried.
"No one ever left alive in nineteen-hundred-and-eighty-five will ever do She may be right, she may be fine, she may get love, but she won't get mine, 'cause I've got you..."
The Beatles' song "When I'm 64". This is Paul McCartney's song, and its verses end, "Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm 64?" Anyway, one month before his 64th birthday, he and Heather Mills separated.
Another McCartney album, Chaos and Creation in the Back Yard, released in 2005, was recognized immediately as a Concept Album and recognized immediately as having Heather Mills as a primary subject; but they thought it was mostly an album of mere Silly Love Songs (Paul is a believer in Death of the Author, usually, so his analyses aren't always helpful). The album was critically acclaimed when it was released. There was one unambiguously vicious song on the album, "Riding to Vanity Fair", but it was considered Mood Whiplash, and there was much speculation towards who it was about... Then Paul and Heather separated in May 2006. Some quickly realized what Chaos and Creation (as an album) was really about. Others never recovered from the Logic Bomb (there areSilly Love Songs on there — it's just that most of them have darker interpretations) and lost respect for the work.
John Lennon once told the press that he acted silly so that he wouldn't become a martyr. It didn't work.
It gets worse - on the day John Lennon was murdered, he recorded an interview, in which he made a reference to "when I'm dead and buried - which I hope is a long, long time from now." In the same interview, Lennon also talked of how much hope he had for the 1980s and how he looked forward to the new decade.
The lyrics "First you must learn to smile as you kill" in Lennon's song "Working Class Hero" acquired a touch of creepiness as Lennon's killer, remained calm, smiling and politely replying, "I just shot John Lennon."
Double Fantasy closed with the Ono-penned song "Hard Times Are Over". Lennon was gunned down just under three weeks after its release.
"Beautiful Boy", about his son Sean:
"I can hardly wait to see you come of age, so I guess we'll both just have to be patient."
Jann Wenner, in 1971 while interviewing John, asked him how he expected to die. John's answer:
"I'll probably be popped off by some looney."
The repeated line "shoot me" in "Come Together" (a Beatles song that John wrote) is hard to overlook.
Then there's the song "Happiness Is a Warm Gun":
"When I hold you in my arms And I put my finger on your trigger I know nobody can do me no harm..."
An official picture of The Beatles shows John dead and the remaining three being worried about him. What makes it worse is that George is wearing John's glasses—and he was the next Beatle to bite the dust.
A song he wrote for Ringo is called "Life Begins at 40".
Lennon made a cynical observation in a rare interview from 1980 found on YouTube (start at 8:22), about those who criticized him for being in seclusion for five years, not releasing any music, and not calling any of his rock star drinking buddies to party, was that when John dies, the rock community who criticized him for hiding would say nothing but nice things about him when he's dead, but the fact that he didn't die in L.A. from his "lost weekend" excesses in the mid-1970's meant that they were free to judge John for settling down and for not partying with his rock star friends until he became a "rock casualty".
He's a Rebel, a Phil Spector biography by Marc Ribowsky, recounts an incident where Spector fired a gun in the studio, which led John to protest, "If you wanna shoot me, go ahead, but don't fuck with my ears! I need them!" It's doubly harsher with Phil Spector's conviction.
In a Rolling Stone interview conducted three days before his death, John said of his fans, "what they want is dead heroes, like Sid Vicious and James Dean. I'm not interesting in being a fuckin' dead hero." The same interview had John saying he may go back to touring someday, but he wasn't doing any serious planning at the moment because "there's plenty of time."
There's also the line in "Nobody Loves You When You're Down and Out":
Everybody loves you when you're six feet in the ground
""I love my life now because I'm doing much more ordinary things, and to me that brings great joy. We're more ordinary than ordinary people sometimes. In New York, we go to Harlem on the subway — a great evening at the Apollo. We walk through Central Park after hours. You may find us murdered one day."
According to Dr. Stephen Lynn, the surgeon who tried to save Lennon the day he died, the Beatles song "All My Loving", whose opening lines are "Close your eyes and I'll kiss you, tomorrow I'll miss you...", started playing on the hospital radio just when Lennon was pronounced dead.
In the late 1980s, George Harrison was once asked if he feared for his own safety after Lennon's murder. In a bit of self-deprecating humor, he answered that he wasn't important enough to kill. Near the end of 1999, a crazy fan decided the exact opposite, broke into his home, and stabbed him repeatedly in the chest, nearly succeeding in killing him.
In an early run through of the then unfinished "Maxwell's Silver Hammer", Paul sings "bang bang, Maxwell's silver hammer came down upon his head/bang bang, Maxwell's silver hammer made sure that George was dead". George died in 2001, a time when downloading music was becoming increasingly easy, and this and other demos started circulating on file-sharing networks.
Guns N' Roses' most famous song, "Sweet Child o' Mine", was Axl Rose's declaration of love for then-fiance Erin Everly. A few years later, Axl and Erin were involved in a bitter divorce battle where Erin accused Axl in court of hitting her.
The They Might Be Giants song "Meridian" contains the lyric, "I'm sleeping in the Astrodome!" A year after it was written, Hurricane Katrina hit, resulting in hundreds of evacuees being bused to the Houston Astrodome, while the less fortunate ones who were trapped in New Orleans' own Superdome.
The initial album cover for the 1977 Lynyrd Skynyrd album Street Survivors depicted the band members surrounded by an outdoor fire. Unfortunately, the tragic plane crash that killed Ronnie Van Zandt and Steve Gaines occurred three days after the album was released. As a result, the album was reissued with the fire cover replaced by a solemn cover depicting the band members in a black space, illuminated by a spotlight. In 2008, when Street Survivors was reissued in a Deluxe Edition CD set, the original fire cover was chosen instead of the spotlight cover.
Many songs were hit by Hurricane Katrina, including:
"When The Levee Breaks", by Kansas Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie, later versioned by Led Zeppelin. The song refers to one of the most destructive river floods in United States history, though New Orleans was largely spared. It becomes harsher post-Hurricane Katrina. While levees did break before that, it was never quite on that scale.
The blues song "New Orleans":
"where the magnolia blossoms fill the air Oh, you ain't been to heaven till you've been down there!"
"Proud Mary", whose aftermath covers omit the second verse.
Chris Thomas King's "Flooding in the Delta".
Canadian rock band The Tragically Hip did this twice, in 2003 with "If New Orleans is Beat" and in 1989 with the disturbingly prophetic "New Orleans is Sinking".
The standard "Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?" note Now that we know, many find it intolerable.
Even a band name got hit by this trope - Katrina and the Waves.
The Blues Brothers' opening to "A Briefcase Full of Blues" starts with a little dialogue stating that how (in 1978, when it was released) you hardly ever hear the blues, and "by the year 2006, the music known as the blues will exist only in the classical records section of your public library". This was not made funnier by Hurricane Katrina.
Katy Brand's parody of the pop group Sugababes. One year later, Keisha Buchanan left the band, leaving none of the original members in the group.
"Miami 2017" by Billy Joel is about the violent destruction of New York City. Lines like, "I've seen the lights go out on Broadway/I watched the mighty skyline fall..." are clearly reminiscent of the WTC attacks on 9/11/2001, despite being written in the 1970s. After the attack, Billy Joel sang the song to defy this trope.
To a lesser extent, the opening line of "Miami 2017", "I've seen the lights go out on Broadway." It was written in the 1970s. The lights going out on Broadway, then, was the first sign of the destruction of New York City. After New York got through its bankruptcy issues that decade, the song came to seem silly. Then, in the winter of 2007, the writers' strike did shut down Broadway.
Shortly after the deaths of Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin in 1970, The Doors singer Jim Morrison, before he died, allegedly quipped, "You're drinking with number three."
He also once said that when he died, he wanted to "be there" (as he put it) and experience it, "not die in [his] sleep or of an OD or something". Knowing he felt this way makes his manner of death doubly sad.
Perhaps this isn't exactly Hilarious in Hindsight, but you know, if you really don't want to die of an OD, maybe you should stop doing heroin.
Though Hendrix certainly didn't live the cleanest life, no traces of heroin were found in Hendrix, according to the autopsy. Hendrix died choking on his vomit while OD'ing on sleeping pills. He may have also been laid in the ambulance taking him to the hospital incorrectly as well.
Also, one of the lines in the Doors song "Roadhouse Blues" is "The future's uncertain and the end is always near." The song was released in 1970 and for Morrison, who died the following year, the end actually was near.
Joplin's reaction to Hendrix' death was, reportedly, "Goddamnit, he beat me to it."
That makes me sad for my friends who have taken their own lives, because I know that if your time is not finished here, and you end it yourself, then you gotta finish it somewhere else.
Why do people keep taking drugs? Don't they hear my music? Don't they understand the words?
I'm scared of death, especially death by my own hand. I'm scared of where I would go.
The Luther Vandross song "Dance With my Father", about his wish for himself and his mother to be reunited with his father, came only a few years before both Vandross and his mother would pass on.
At one New Order show, Peter Hook dedicated a song to Ian Curtis, producer Martin Hannett and manager Rob Gretton, all deceased. Then he joked dryly, "Tony Wilson'll be next". And he was.
Depeche Mode songwriter Martin Gore wrote and sang the sardonic but generally lighthearted "A Question of Lust" for the band in 1986. It contains the line, "And I need to drink more than you seem to think before I'm anyone's". Twenty years later, after alcohol had destroyed his marriage, he would write "Precious" as an apology to his children.
There are also quite a few of their songs that play very differently in light of the lead singer's near-death experience.
Country singer Patsy Cline was nonchalant about the possibility of her death in a plane crash, saying to a member of her entourage, "Don't worry about me, Hoss. When it's my time to go, it's my time." A week before, she said to another singer, "Honey, I've had two bad ones (accidents). The third one will either be a charm or it'll kill me."
The Notorious BIG's 1994 song "Juicy" includes the line "...Blow up like the World Trade", which took on a rather different meaning seven years later (he was referring to an attack on the towers in 1993 that, while deadly, was mostly limited to the parking garage and didn't cause the towers to fall). When "A Dream" by Jay-Z samples the iconic verse, that line is blanked out.
There's the title of his first popular album: Ready to Die. Ouch.
His final album, released after his death but planned out before it, was called Life After Death and featured a photo of him standing next to a hearse. For the final touch, a track on the album is titled "You're Nobody Til Somebody Kills You".
He also shoots himself at the end of the song. Both Biggie and Tupac Shakur were unusually, almost preternaturally obsessed with their own deaths (possibly due to the big "East coast/West coast" rap rivalries); when they were both gunned down, it was almost a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy.
In Ol' Dirty Bastard's relatively upbeat 1999 track "N***a Please", there is a line referring to how ODB "gets that cocaine to clean out my sinuses". This got a lot less funny after he died of a cocaine overdose five years later.
"Father, father, we don't need to escalate You see, war is not the answer, for only love can conquer hate".
In the little known AC/DC song "Carry Me Home", Bon Scott sings about getting so drunk he can't move and is pretending to be drunk while singing. Also the last lines:
"I'm dead drunk and heaving hanging upside down And you're getting up and leaving, you think I'm gonna drown."
And then there's every line of "Highway to Hell"... especially the last one.
"And I'm going down... all the way! On the highway to hell..."
In October of 2007, a popular Christian singer named Steven Curtis Chapman released an album that included a song titled "Cinderella". The song is about Steven's daughters and is about how someday they'll eventually grow up and get married. But in May of 2008, the song's lyrics took on a tragic meaning when the youngest of Chapman's adopted daughters—she was just five—was killed when her older brother accidentally ran her over in the driveway. The last half of the chorus goes like this:
"Oh, I will dance with Cinderella I don't want to miss even one song 'Cause all too soon the clock will strike midnight And she'll be gone..."
blink-182's Music Video for "All the Small Things" was one of the funniest music videos of its time. But the opening shot of drummer Travis Barker nonchalantly walking off a plane is kind of painful to see, considering he was severely burned by a jet crash.
One song from Queen's debut album, "Great King Rat," features an apparent Author Avatar who quotes several other songs on the album and "died syphilis, forty-four on his birthday." Two decades later, the writer and lead singer would be dead, at forty-five, of a venereal disease.
An even worse moment came in their Live At Wembley Stadium concert, where Freddie Mercury told fans that "we're going to stay together until we fucking well die, I assure you." This became the saddest section of the concert and its album release.
"I'm Going Slightly Mad" seemed like another lighthearted Queen song when it appeared on their final album, Innuendo- before Freddie's illness was widely known about. When later replayed during the tribute concert, the possibility of its reference to some form of AIDS-related dementia (something which has apparently been confirmed since) was more obvious and chilling.
Since Queen's popularity in America had been flagging in the late eighties, Freddie Mercury reportedly said to Brian May, "I'll probably have to die before we're popular there again." This turned out to be true.
"Who Wants to Live Forever" seems a lot more awkward when you realize that, apparently, Freddie Mercury didn't want to hard enough.
Speaking of which, the song (along with other Queen's songs) was used in Highlander II: The Quickening which was given its American Release Date of November 1, 1991. Freddie died in November 24 of the same year.
Sure, it's a Brian May song, but it's difficult not to associate the title (and, to a lesser extent, the lyrics) of "Too Much Love Will Kill You" with Freddie's illness. As a 1984 Freddie Mercury solo song called "Love Kills".
"My Love Is Dangerous" was a track from Mercury's 1985 solo album Mr. Bad Guy.
Made In Heaven, the posthumous album, start to finish. "Let Me Live", "Made In Heaven", "My Life Has Been Saved", "Too Much Love Will Kill You", "It's A Beautiful Day", and "Mother Love".
Ironically, despite popular belief, many the album's tracks aren't Freddie's final (post-Innuendo) recordings, of which there wasn't an album's worth. They're based on previously-released tracks and unreleased demos, some dating back as early as 1980 ("It's a Beautiful Day"), long before his likely HIV diagnosis. Whether this makes the content more or less poignant in hindsight is open to question.
A good chunk of Innuendo is like this, Songs in particular: "Delilah" (about one of Freddie's cats), "I'm Going Slightly Mad", "The Show Must Go On"
"Play The Game" contains "My love is flowing through my veins". Seeing as most people associate AIDS and blood this line can be a little bit uncomfortable...
Listen to the album track "Khashoggi's Ship" from Queen's 1989 album The Miracle, and lines like "I'm in pretty good shape" and "no one stops my party" play as FA Ms in light of Mercury's death a few years later (Mercury was already diagnosed with HIV in 1988).
"Hollywood's often tried to mix show business with politics from Helen Gahagan to... Ronald Reagan?" (audience laughs)
"We Will All Go Together When We Go" is a Zig-Zagging Trope version of this, while the particular Cold War-era brand of paranoia about nuclear war isn't with us anymore, every time a country like North Korea threatens to bomb the North American continent it suddenly becomes not so funny.
Another Lehrer song, "Smut," contains the lines (in reference to supposed hidden obscene material in classic books), "Why, I could tell you about Peter Pan/and The Wizard of Oz—there's a dirty old man!" This scans as a lot creepier knowing what we know now about a certain aficionado of Peter Pan...
On The Darkness' 2003 album "Permission To Land", there was a song about heroin addiction ("Giving Up"). Later, the lead singer got addicted to crack and had to go into rehab.
Soul Coughing's "Is Chicago, Is Not Chicago", recorded in 1994, repeats the line, "A man drives a plane into the Chrysler Building." For obvious reasons, Mike Doughty refused to play the song after 9/11 for a long time, before he brought it back by surprise at a late 2008 solo gig. He has played it occasionally since then, mostly in 2010.
A particularly horrifying example would be The Coup's "Party Music" and it's original album artwork◊; the album was scheduled for release in September 2001.
Hank Williams' last single released before his death was called "I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive".
T. Rex's Marc Bolan stated in a number of interviews, in an off-hand manner, that he was scared that he wouldn't live to the age of thirty and never learned to drive because of his fear of premature death. Despite this, cars were mentioned with varying degrees of prominence in most of the band's songs. Two weeks before his thirtieth birthday, he was killed in a car crash. Another band member was killed in the same way a few years later.
It doesn't end there. He was once asked what exactly made him decide to stop the self-destructive lifestyle he once lived. He replied that it was because of his young son Rolan, and that if he had continued in that lifestyle, he'd be unable to take care of him. Due to circumstances that not only had nothing to do with his lifestyle but were also entirely beyond his control, that happened anyway.
The line "It's better to burn out than to fade away" from Neil Young's "My My, Hey Hey" became something of a Stock Shout-Out, appearing in places up to and including Def Leppard songs. They came to an abrupt end when it showed up in Kurt Cobain's suicide note. Since then, even classic radio stations don't want to touch the half of the song containing that lyric.
Ironically, that reference supposedly applied to Sex Pistols' singer Johnny Rotten ("The king is gone but he's not forgotten/ This is the story of Johnny Rotten..."). But Rotten is still alive today, even if he isn't using that name anymore. (He reverted to John Lydon.) The dead Pistol was Sid Vicious, who replaced original bassist Glenn Matlock. The "King" would have been Elvis Presley.
The music video for Eminem's anti-gang war song "Like Toy Soldiers" show D12 member Proof dying in a drive-by. Two years later, Proof did die when he was shot at a night club. It's a little freaky to see him in a hospital dying of gunshot wounds.
"Exodus'04" in Utada's 2004 album Exodus is a beautiful love song that Hikaru most likely wrote about her marrying Kazuaki Kiriya, fifteen years her senior, when she was only 19 and had just recovered from an ovarian cancer. It's about how her family and people around her saw that move as rushed and immature, but she's glad of her decision because their love is true. The couple didn't make it to their fifth wedding anniversary.
Barenaked Ladies' "Sell Sell Sell", released in 2000, is about an actor who stars in a film about either (depending on your interpretation) the Gulf War or a fictitious second war in Iraq. The second interpretation is eerie enough, but it also works disturbingly well as an allegory for, and condemnation of, the second war itself: "A bad guy who's not there", "a smoking gun" that "distracts us while the actor takes the stand," and this choice bit:
It goes like this: "We have no choice" The minarets, the wailing voice And vaguely Celtic music fills the air We choose a foreigner to hate The new Iraq gets more irate We really know nothing about them, and no one cares"
On the other hand, the song works even better as an allegory for a real event that had already occurred, in 1998: Bill Clinton, in the midst of controversy over his affair with Monica Lewinsky, ordered an airstrike on Iraq, which has been seen as a desperate attempt to distract the country from the affair and subsequent perjury trial and, like the invasion in 2003, has been viewed as unprovoked by the critics of the President that ordered it. History repeats itself mighty fast these days.
Snot's only album features the song "Joyride," an energetic song about driving irresponsibly that ends with the sound of a car crash. Snot's singer Lynn Strait (along with his beloved dog and band mascot Dobbs) died in a car crash one year after the album's release.
"Short Ride in a Fast Machine" by John Adams was scheduled to be performed at the Last Night of the Proms in 1997, but was removed because of the death of Princess Diana in a car crash. It was on the schedule again in 2001, but was removed once more because the September 11th attacks had occurred just a few days before the Last Night.
The early Beach Boys song, "I'm Bugged At My Ol' Man" is the lament of a teenager who has been grounded by his father for staying out too late, with the specifics of his punishment exaggerated and Played for Laughs. At least, we hope they were exaggerated. It would later come out that Murry Wilson, father of three members of the band, including the song's vocalist and songwriter Music/Brian Wilson, had a history of physically and emotionally abusing his sons. This makes lines like "I wish I could see outside/ but he tacked up boards on my window" seem less humorous than they were originally meant to be.
A comedy sketch on a Beach Boys album, "'Cassius' Love Vs. 'Sonny' Wilson", has Mike Love and Brian Wilson engaged in a mock-insult war in the studio. Later on, Mike would sue Brian for publishing royalties and song credits over songs with lyrics Mike wrote, after Brian got control of his '60's publishing company back.
The Electric Six album Flashy. On the album, there is a song called Transatlantic Flight, a darkly humorous song about a transatlantic flight crashing into the sea in the middle of the night. One of the lines of said song is "In the event of a water landing, you can use my body as a flotation device". Then, the Brazil-France flight in the early hours of June 1 crashed somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean.
Rihanna's 2008 hit song, "Disturbia", was written in part by Chris Brown. Lyrics such as "A disease of the mind/It can control you/I feel like a monster" are truly disturbing in light of Chris Brown's arrest for physical abuse against a woman later identified as Rihanna.
Rihanna's song "Take a Bow" is sung from the point of view of someone strong enough to leave a lover who was mistreating them and betraying the relationship. It became bitterly ironic once she decided not to leave Chris Brown after he hit and choked her.
And another disturbing Rihanna song is "Hate That I Love You" which is all about staying in a very bad relationship. Yeah...
Maybe worst of all is her 2007 song "Breakin' Dishes" about physically attacking a cheating boyfriend. It contains the repeated line "Imma fight a man tonight."
Eazy-E did his own take on Bootsy Collins' I'd Rather Be With You, called...well, I'd Rather Fuck You, with lyrics such as "I'd rather fuck with you all goddamn night 'cause your pussy's good" and "We can do it doggy style, or you can get on top!" The song, as well as many of his others, have taken on a whole new light after Eazy's death from AIDS.
When asked in an interview what he'd say to his teenage self if he could go back in time and meet him, Malice Mizer's drummer Kami answered "Just hurry up and die." A few years later he did, aged just 26.
The song Jordan's First Choice from folk-punk band Against Me!'s first album features "Tell me where was your head when you broke that promise to yourself?" amongst its first lines. They were very strongly committed to anarchist politics and remaining on indie labels. They discarded both principles and the song is now difficult to listen to.
"Punk Rock Classic" from the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The song takes swipes at bands (specifically Guns N' Roses) that claim to be underground but really want to be on MTV, make videos, and release radio-friendly ballads. After "Under the Bridge" came out and the band got big, the Chilis became exactly what they had mocked. To add to that irony, GNR's Slash originally didn't like "Sweet Child O'Mine" - the riff mocked at the end of "Punk Rock Classic" - because he felt it was too poppish.
The title track to The Dandy Warhols' 2003 album Welcome To The Monkey House featured the line "When Michael Jackson dies, we're covering 'Blackbird'", which was just meant as a flippant joke about Michael Jackson controlling the publishing rights of The Beatles. Shortly after Jackson's death, they did announce on their website that they were in fact planning to cover "Blackbird" when they got the chance, and they put a version out as a standalone single later that year.
Every other song 2Pac wrote was about him dying before his time (same thing with Biggie Smalls as mentioned above). Case in point: Troublesome '96.
The Grass Roots' "Let's Live For Today". Now that people are a lot more concerned with the environment and economy...
Metallica recorded "Trapped Under Ice" in 1984. Two years later, bassist Cliff Burton died in Sweden - crushed instead of frozen, but the lyrics are still unsettling ("Freezing, can't move at all, screaming, can't hear my call, I am dying to live").
During an early interview, when the band was asked who out of them was likely to die first, Cliff jokingly said he would die first.
The lyrics credited to Burton on the song "To Live is To Die." Most of those "lyrics" are actually cribbed from the film Excalibur; Burton's original contribution read:
"All this I cannot witness any longer/ Cannot the kingdom of Heaven/ Call me home?"
Frank Zappa wrote a decidedly tongue-in-cheek song called "Why Does It Hurt When I Pee", about the title character of his Joe's GarageConcept Album contracting an "unpronounceable disease," then years later died of prostate cancer.
Some of the songs on Zappa's We're Only In It For The Money are based on the absurdity of the idea of cops killing hippies. The album was released in 1968- two years before the Kent State massacre.
Syd Barrett, founding member of Pink Floyd, gave the band their first hit with a song entitled "Arnold Layne", which is about a crossdresser. Not too long afterwards, after Syd Barrett began his mental decline, he developed similar tendencies.
Similarly, the 1965 Syd Barrett composition "Lucy Leave" is a pretty run-of-the-mill song about a cruel girl who takes advantage of the narrator's love for her. Nothing creepy there. However, since the term "Lucy" is slang for LSD, which is generally thought to have either caused or exacerbated Syd's mental breakdown two years later...yeah.
Another Barrett-written early Floyd song, The Scarecrow, is a piece of whimsical psychedelia which now has sinister overtones as it's about a scarecrow who's "resigned to his fate" and just sits in a field all day. It has eerie future echoes of Barrett's breakdown and retreat into isolation from society.
Courtney Love (controversial wife of Kurt Cobain) was in a band called Hole, which released an album called Live Through This on April 12, 1994 - only four days after Kurt Cobain was found dead in his home. To make matters worse, one of the songs (entitled "Rock Star", a thing Kurt was never comfortable with being) has a line "Barrel of laughs to be Nirvana, hope you'd rather die". Even if you're aware that the album was completed before Kurt died, it's still pretty creepy (especially if you believe that Courtney murdered Kurt). It's possibly worth noting that Hole's bassist, Kristen Pfaff, died of a heroin overdose several months later. The unfortunate release date, much like the Slayer example listed above, was just bad timing.
The album took its title from a line of the song Asking For It, which at some point was a duet between Courtney and Kurt (the recording still exists in bootleg form). The full line goes "if you live through this with me I'll die for you". Yes, they both sing it. It's damn creepy.
With the death of Patrick Swayze, the line "And I'm Ghost like Swayze" in The Lonely Island's Lazy Sunday takes on a whole new meaning.
And so does Mistah Fab'sGhost Ride It, with the verse "Who's that driving? Patrick Swayze!"
The Who's album Who Are You has Keith Moon sitting on a chair labeled "Not to be taken away"◊. About one month after its release, Moon passed away.
The line "Hope I die before I get old" in "My Generation".
Their concert DVD The Who At Kilburn 1977 features Keith saying he's going to go backstage and OD. A year later, he overdosed on pills he taking to try and cure his alcoholism.
Warren Zevon wrote many songs dealing with death. A line from "Life'll Kill Ya" (from the album of the same name) says "Some get the awful, awful diseases." Later in the album, he sings "Don't let us get sick, don't let us get old." The cover of his next album, My Ride's Here, showed him riding in a hearse. Zevon died of mesothelioma at the age of 56.
In his song "Play it All Night Long," Zevon mocked "country livin'." The chorus goes "'Sweet Home Alabama'/ Play that dead band's song," a jab at Lynyrd Skynyrd. Thing is, Lynyrd Skynyrd survived the deaths of most of its original members. Zevon has not outlived that band.
Kid Rock later Covered Up "Werewolves of London" with "All Summer Long" in a song that sampled both "Werewolves" andLynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama." The song was exactly what "Play It All Night Long" was mocking — the narrator is reminiscing about the good old days in northern Michigan, "singing 'Sweet Home Alabama' all summer long."
"My Shit's Fucked Up", the song about being diagnosed with a terminal illness.
On a cold night in February in 1959, J.P. Richardson (aka The Big Bopper), ill with the flu, asked his friend Buddy Holly if he could get a seat on his plane to their next gig. Holly's bassist Waylon Jennings gave up his seat for Richardson. Holly jokingly yelled, "I hope your bus freezes up", and Jennings shot back, "Well, I hope your damn plane crashes!" Tragically, Jennings got his wish, as the plane crashed, killing Holly, Richardson, and Ritchie Valens. It was decades before Jennings forgave himself.
Released in 2001, "Apology Song" by The Decemberists features the line "Guess we'll never see poor Madeleine again." It's the name of his friend's bicycle that the narrator was looking after while said friend was on holiday and was stolen because he left it unlocked while he ran into a shop. The meaning of it has changed somewhat since 2007 and Madeleine McCann's disappearance...
Johnny Cash and June Carter sang a duet about dying & meeting in heaven, called "Far Side Banks of Jordan". Johnny sings the first verse, then June sings, "If it proves to be His will that I am first to go/And somehow I've a feeling it will be". June died four months before Johnny.
The Dead Milkmen had a fair amount of darkly humorous upbeat sounding songs about death and suicide that became a little unnerving after bassist Dave Blood's suicide (The self-explanatory "I Hate Myself" and "Death's Alright With Me" for instance). The last verse of "Life Is Shit" even becomes kind of a tearjerker:
And when my friend and I were done
we went to rest upon the sun
'cause life takes from us the things we love
and robs us of the special ones
and puts them high where where we can't climb
and we only miss them all the time
Jermaine Stewart is most famous for his song "We Don't Have To Take Our Clothes Off". Stewart later died of AIDS. Yeah.
The eponymous album by The Moldy Peaches was released on September 11, 2001 and features a song titled "NYC's Like A Graveyard"
The Smiths' "Paint a Vulgar Picture" gets less amusing and more depressing with every best-of album. It'll hit rock bottom when Morrissey becomes the dead star himself.
Avenged Sevenfold's song "Brompton Cocktail" has the back-up vocalist/drummer say something about meeting his maker, which takes on a WHOLE new meaning now that he's dead.
Their song, "Unbound (The Wild Ride)," also deals with death (in a less direct way). It has a section where a girl sings "There's nothing here to take for granted with each breath that we take, the hands of time strip youth from our bodies and we fade. Memories remain as time goes on" which was eerie sounding before The Rev died but has now moved up to freaky.
And their song A Little Piece of Heaven", where The Rev sings "Everybody's gotta die sometime". As well as the original name of the last song he wrote, "Death". The song (now called "Fiction") is all about someone dying and apologizing to the ones they love. He gave the demo to the band's singer on Christmas 2009. Three days before he died''.
Synyster Gates: "Yeah, he fucking planned it all, that crazy fuck. Knew he was gonna be gone before 30. He told my dad that he was fucking out. He said, "I know two things: I'm gonna be in a famous rock band, and I'm gonna die before I'm 30." He told my dad that at 15."
Jello Biafra, of the seminal Hardcore Punk band Dead Kennedys, penned the typically blunt DK anthem "Nazi Punks Fuck Off" as his reaction to skinheads wrecking the LA Punk scene. Years later, he was hospitalized by a pack of skinheads... supposedly for "selling out" and "not being hardcore enough".
For several years, copies pressed after 9/11 re-branded the album as being self-titled, and the titled track was renamed "Salt Sweet Sugar".
Elton John songs like "White Lady, White Powder" (1980) and "Heavy Traffic" (1988) both of which denounce cocaine abuse, "Idol" (1976), which describes a fallen idol (Elvis Presley, very likely) and "Social Disease" (1973), a bittersweet look at alcoholism, take on a new meaning when one realizes Elton's own debilitating cocaine and alcohol habits from the mid-seventies to 1990. Granted, Bernie Taupin, who had similar habits from the mid- to late 1970's, wrote the lyrics to both songs, but still...
Other examples are Rocket Man ("And I'm gonna be high as a kite by then...") and The Bitch Is Back ("I get high every evening, sniffin' pots of glue")
The "Weird Al" Yankovic song "Why Does This Always Happen to Me?", becomes this after the Haitian earthquake during the first verse, which describes a man's lamenting missing The Simpsons when it is interrupted by a special report on a "Devastating earthquake".
While a song with the lyrical content of that one is somewhat susceptible to this, and I'm sure people named Robert have died in car crashes, I was actually coming here to write about this too.
There's also 1985's "Christmas at Ground Zero" which is actually more about nuclear war than 9/11, but...
His song "Traffic Jam", after his parents' deaths from carbon monoxide poisoning. The song opens with the line "Carbon monoxide making me choke."
The music video for "TMZ" depicts an actress running into humiliation everywhere after photos of her naked butt leak onto the internet. The album it was on was released just a few months before the same exact thing happened to Scarlett Johansson.
Back when "Trigger Happy" was released in 1992, it was a darkly humorous song about gun nuts. But two decades later, when mass shootings are a nigh weekly feature on the news...
"Buckingham Blues" after the death of Princess Diana.
"Canadian Idiot": The song includes a line "Never even bring their guns to the mall", a thinly veiled reference to mass shootings in the U.S. In 2012, a mass shooting at the Toronto Eaton Centre made this line less funny.
Outkast's "Bombs Over Baghdad", released in late 2000/early 2001. A few years after it was released, and...
Jeff Buckley covered The Smiths' "I Know It's Over," with the repeated line "I can feel the soil falling over my head." He drowned in 1997, aged 30.
He also wrote a song titled "River of Dope". The New Orleans flood and his own death makes it sadder.
Allusions to water and drowning were fairly common among Jeff Buckley's career, especially with the aptly titled "Nightmares by the Sea"
"Stay with me under these waves tonight\''
Irish band The Thrills released a single called "Whatever Happened to Corey Haim?" in 2004 referencing the 80's star's diminished profile. On March 11th 2010, he died of overdose.
In the early 1980's, comedienne Julie Brown released a novelty song called "The Homecoming Queen's Got a Gun," about a girl winning homecoming queen then blasting away at her classmates. The song itself is an over-the-top parody of fifties "tragedy songs" like "It's My Party," and contained lines like "An hour later, the cops arrived/By then the entire glee club had died (no big loss)." After Columbine, even SHE was uncomfortable with it.
New Orleans based metal band Down had a song on their 2002 album titled "New Orleans is a Dying Whore." Oops. They play it live as of 2009, but one imagines they took it out of rotation for a year or two following Katrina.
Thin Lizzy's closing track of their final album, entitled Heart Attack, features the lyrics "Mama I'm dying of an overdose". The group's frontman, Phil Lynott, would die of "blood poisoning", which was likely an indication of being related to heroin abuse, less than two years after its release.
The popularity of "Fire Burning on the Dance Floor" in the Philippines kinda gets a little uncomfortable if one is old enough to remember the Ozone Disco Club Fire (the worst fire in Philippine history) in which 162 people burned to death, most on the dance floor, because of poor fire exit design and the number of people in the club at that time.
Bonus aneurysm for the even worse Santa Maria Disco fire (if you happen to be a German, just look up the lyrics "Santa Maria" by Roland Kaiser...Uck.)
In a PR stunt, the band Type O Negative started propagating a rumor in 2005 that their frontman Peter Steele died. Five years later he did for real. There's also the fact that their final two albums were entitled Life Is Killing Me and Dead Again.
Any jokes from TV appearances by former Morning Musume member Iida Kaori about Motherhood or Childbirth are this as she had a son who sadly died at only 6 months old.
Tenacious D's song "Dio" lost a decent bit of its humor after he died of stomach cancer in 2010, as did all the jokes among metalheads about how Dio would kick the ass of some personification of cancer as befitting his Memetic Badass status.
Telefon Tel Aviv's third and last album is called "Immolate Yourself". One day after it's release, Charles Cooper, half of the duo, went missing and was found dead a week later.
Once upon a time, in a magical land called Lollapalooza, Eddie Vedder sang a song encouraging the audience to boycott a particular gas company, BP. It plays differently after the Texas City's chemical leak and Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010.
In the 1970s, Gary Glitter was one of the most popular acts around and a star of the glam rock scene. Now, after his prosecutions for child pornography and soliciting children for sexual purposes in Thailand, the revelation that when he was in his mid-50s he dated a VERY young Denise van Outen (who was one of his backup dancers at the time and all of 17 when this happened), and his 2012 arrest in connection with the Jimmy Savile revelations? "Do You Wanna Touch Me" is, in spite of its catchiness, not quite a jolly song to listen to.
He's the leader, he's the leader, he's the leader of the gang, he is...Get two aneurysms to the price of one when realizing that the distinctive "yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah" of "Do You Wanna Touch Me" was musically cited in "Bloodsports for All" by...Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine. (Carter USM couldn't know - their single came out years before Glitter got busted.)
AC/DC had a track on its debut album about groupie sex called "Little Lover" that featured the lyric "You had my picture on your bedroom wall / Next to Gary Glitter, yeah." While the reference was almost certainly intended as a comment on AC/DC's growing popularity, combined with the song title it sounds Squicky in light of the allegations against Glitter.
A song by "Vărul Săndel" starts with the line ”Oh boy, did it rain hard in Tecuci...” and is eventually played for laughs. It gets a nasty twist when in this period, Tecuci is under risk of being flooded. This risks falling well into Dude, Not Funny! territory if you think the area Galați-Tecuci is often flooded because it's close to the Danube's falling into the Black Sea.
"Mary" by the Scissor Sisters is about Jake Shears' platonic love for his friend Mary. The song itself sounds a bit mournful, though it was released in 2004. It was two years before she died of an aneurysm.
The Aquabats are primarily known for being silly; their shtick is that they're really superheroes from the land of Aquabania, and "The Cat with Two Heads!" is typical of their work. They have a song called "Pizza Day!" about how great government-assisted school lunches were. It ends with a bit where one of the band members pretends to read a letter from Michael Jackson, of Encino, California. Aside from "Michael Jackson is weird!" jokes not being funny anymore, the line "When he's not at his his little theme park, he's eatin' pizza with the kids!" is cringe-inducing because of the charges against Jackson a few years after the song was released.
There's a cover of "Baby It's Cold Outside" done by Alan Cumming and Liza Minnelli. It's cute and funny, until you remember that Liza's mother who is supposedly "pacing the floor" was Judy Garland. ("Say, what's in this drink?")
David Bowie's "Kooks", a number from Hunky Dory dedicated to his just-born son Zowie (aka Duncan Jones, later a filmdirector), seems to have been meant as a light breather between the dramatic "Life on Mars?" and the existential "Quicksand". Knowing the bitter decline and demise of David's marriage to Angie (who wrote a tell-all book on the matter) and the toll that it and other personal problems of his took on his relationship with his son makes it much less cheerful.
Slipknot songs with titles such as "The Virus of Life", "Everything Ends" and "No Life" becomes this after the death of bassist Paul Gray.
The debut single off Shania Twain's breakthrough album The Woman in Me, "Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under", a song about a cheating lover (which she co-wrote with her husband/producer Mutt Lange). 15 years later, Twain and Lange were divorced.
"You're Still The One", "I Ain't No Quitter" or "Forever and For Always", or any of her songs at all for that matter, seeing as she and Lange wrote all those songs together back when they were Happily Married.
And then there's the Cledus T. Judd parody written back in 1996:
Oh, I'd love to seduce her But she married her producer Now all I do is pray Pray, pray She'll get a divorce someday
The Lemon Demon song "Behold, the Future!", written in 2003, contains a list of tongue-in-cheek predictions for the years 2004-2013. Two in particular are rather sad in hindsight:
One seems prescient of the 2008 recession...
In the year 2005, stopwatch futures took a dive Leaving us with nothing more than cents and dimes.
Another describes how "In the year 2008, Don LaFontaine sealed our fate". 2008 was the year La Fontaine died.
Laurie Anderson recorded a live album in New York one week after 9/11. "O Superman", written 19 years earlier, suddenly went from being oddly creepy to full-on Tear Jerker without changing a word:
This is the hand, the hand that takes. Here come the planes. They're American planes. Made in America. Smoking or non-smoking? So hold me, Mom, in your long arms. So hold me, Mom, in your long arms.
Primus' album Frizzle Fry came out in February 1990 and included a jokey Protest Song called "Too Many Puppies", which mentions "too many puppies in foreign lands" and needing to "protect our oil fields". Six months later, the Gulf War broke out.
Britney Spears' songs "Lucky" and "Mona Lisa (Demo Version)" both have extra meaning after her publicized erratic behavior and meltdowns spanning from 2006 to 2008.
She's so lucky she's a star, but she cry, cry, cries with her lonely heart, thinkin', "If there's nothing missing in my life, then why do these tears come at night?"
and Mona Lisa:
About Mona Lisa, and how she suddenly fell (huh) See everyone knew her, they knew her oh so well Now I am taking over, to release her from her spell
Don't have a break down you will hit the freaking wall
Cuz she's gone, cuz she's gone, gone
She recorded a song called "Oops, I Did it Again".
Though released in 1988, Edie Brickell and New Bohemians' "Little Miss S." reads today as eerily prescient of Britney at her worst, even getting one of the initials right.
Lindsay Lohan's songs "Rumors", "A Beautiful Life", "Fastlane", "Disconnected" and "Anything But Me", since everything has seemed to got worst since she recorded these songs in the better times in her career, before she went off the deep end in every way possible. It's a strange experience either way.
"My Innocence" and "Confessions Of A Broken Heart" also are harder to listen to since she deleted her father from her life again after beating up another girlfriend/wife again.
In an example that features a slightly less disturbing coincidence than many of the 9/11 related songs and albums, Rammstein's music video for "Ich Will" begins with the band getting off of a prison bus going to a television awards ceremony in their honor. The rest of the video is what happened before: the band plays as a group of terrorists, and they rob and then blow up a bank. The whole video was intended as a Take That statement to the media for giving large amounts of attention to people who do bad things and then become famous. The part that makes it a Funny Aneurysm Moment is that it was a music video featuring terrorists released September 10, 2001. Osama Bin Laden, the head of Al-Qaeda and responsible of both attacks, was one of the most recognized, and hated, individuals in the world.
During the recording of the song "Gimme Shelter" for The Rolling Stones, guest vocalist Merry Clayton hit some very high notes, and broke her voice during the bridge. She shortly after had a miscarriage, due to the stress that she put on her body during the recording. It probably wasn't very wise for the Stones to have named the album it is listed on as Let It Bleed.
There is a filk song called fire in the sky which refers to the space shuttle Columbia, among other things saying "see her big jets burning, see her fire in the sky." The inspiring line became more tragic after the Columbia spectacularly burned up on re-entry.
Some versions include a verse memorializing the crew of Challenger - spaceflight-inspired filk songs have never shied from acknowledging the risks of exploration.
A weird example from Gorillaz canon: in the MTV Cribs bit, a quick gag shows a signed note from Dennis Hopper that says, 'Murdoc is a nob.' Murdoc glances at it and slinks away, snarling, "I'll get him..." Not so funny since Hopper's death a few years later.
Pre-9/11, KOMPRESSOR released a cover of Tunak Tunak Tun, with some added lyrics:
KOMPRESSOR crushing American people
KOMPRESSOR driving cars into stores
KOMPRESSOR crushing all of Manhattan
KOMPRESSOR flying plane into building
The first two lines of the Soviet National Anthem were "An unbreakable union of free republics/Great Rus' joined together forever". Then came the USSR break-up.
Lady Gaga's single "The Edge of Glory" features a saxophone solo from Clarence Clemons from the E Street Band. The music video premiered on June 16, 2011 and featured Clemons. The combination of the premiere, the fact that the song is about the last few moments of life before death, and the fact that Clemons died on June 18, two days after the video was released...
The inside gatefold photo of Chicago's eleventh album, released in late 1977, depicts the band, in an antique car, being chased by a group of policemen in another car, some of whom are firing guns. One policeman's gun appears directly aimed at the head of guitarist Terry Kath, who is driving the band's car. In January 1978, Kath would accidentally kill himself by a self-inflicted gunshot to the head.
Amy Winehouse's song "Rehab" (which centers on Amy refusing to get help for her drug addiction) is a whole lot darker now that she's dead.
Her song "You know I'm no good" isn't easy to listen to anymore, either.
Relatedly, the first line of The Midnight Beast's career-making parody of Kesha's "Tik Tok" opened with the line "Wake up in the morning feeling like Winehouse... not so funny anymore.
Space had a song called 'Drop Dead' on their first album, sung from the point of view of a crazed stalker. One year later, when the band were touring America, Tommy Scott had a stalker of his own, who turned up at every gig, sent him death threats and told him he was going to hell.
Early in his career, Randy Travis promised in "Forever And Ever, Amen" that he would love his wife forever. They divorced in 2011.
A couple of years back, the Capitol Steps released a song online called "We Arr The World", featuring an impersonation of Michael Jackson as one of the famous personalities. He died the same week, and was quickly replaced by Cher, then Christine O'Donnell, then finally after enough time had passed, he was put back in as "back from the afterlife".
One of the first hits by Mexican showman Juan Gabriel is El Noa Noa, a song about a night club in Ciudad Juarez where he began his career. Now that the Noa Noa club is closed and Ciudad Juarez has become a Wretched Hive... eeeeeeeep.
It's get better: the song describes the titular night-club as a "Lugar de ambiente", which maybe at the time meant "the It place" but in many Spanish-speaking places is slang for "Gay Bar". Juan Gabriel's act is Campier than Liberace's, and the popular perception of him is that of a Camp Gay, but he denies every accusation of being gay himself, either by deflecting the question or claiming that he just doesn't want his and his partner/mother of his kids' private lives exposed to the tabloids.
Rapper Poetic performed as a member of Gravediggaz as "The Grym Reaper". And he was the one that died.
In Stevie Wonder's song "Master Blaster (Jammin')", he happily sings the line "Peace has come to Zimbabwe". It was true at the time: the song was first released in 1980, not long after the end of the end of the Rhodesian Bush War. A couple of decades later, however...
After The Mamas and the Papas got back together for the first time they recorded "Creeque Alley," the story of the band, which included the line "No one's getting fat except for Mama Cass" a reference to Cass Elliot, who was very well known as being an overweight woman in pop. The final refrain changes the line to "And everybody's getting fat except for Mama Cass." Given that Cass Elliot died in 1974, of a heart attack, allegedly due to her size, and she was the first of the Mamas and the Papas to die...
Back in the 80s a magazine made a speculative guess on what certain then-current stars would be like in the future. There one on◊ Michael Jackson shows him looking like an older version of his young adult self and with the line "In number, his fans will have grown tenfold by the year 2000".
The song "The Ghost At Number One" by power-pop band Jellyfish tells of an underappreciated rock star who is only vindicated at death (possibly Roy Orbison, who would get his only #1 single posthumously with "You Got It"). Jellyfish would break up in 1994 following low sales of their second album (which feature that song), and much of their work would be reappraised decades after their breakup.
Sugarland's "It Happens" is a bouncy song about not wallowing in self-pity when things go wrong and instead learning to roll with the punches; that blunders, accidents, etc. are just part of life. This isn't so cheery when one considers that their attorneys' response to legal claims brought against them after high winds caused the stage to collapse before their scheduled performance at the 2011 Indiana State Fair — a disaster that killed seven and injured 58 — was to claim that not only was the band not responsible for what had happened, but that it was partially the fault of the waiting concertgoers for not leaving as the weather grew worse.
The Beach Boys' 1988 hit "Kokomo", with its references to Caribbean vacation-paradise islands, lost some of its charm when Montserrat ("...that Montserrat mystique...") was economically and geographically devastated by the Soufriere Hills volcano in the '90s.
Aruba, the very first place mentioned in the lyrics, is now best known to Americans for the Natalee Holloway disappearance.
In the same vein, Jimmy Buffett's "Volcano" was RECORDED on Montserrat...
Sparklehorse's Mark Linkous committed suicide by gunshot in 2010. All of a sudden, a whole slew of songs from his career became TearJerkers - but the hardest to take was Pig. "I wanna try and die, I wanna try and die..." And that's not counting this brief documentary.
Bob Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues" includes the line "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows." While the line is iconic of the 1960s in its own right, it gained some undesirable subtext when terrorist group The Weathermen named themselves after the line.
Dylan is also another artist who happened to release an album on 9/11 2001, which included the apocalyptic "High Water":
High water risin’, the shacks are slidin’ down
Folks lose their possessions, folks are leaving town (...)
Coffins droppin' in the streets like balloons made out of lead (...)
"Don't reach out for me," she said, "Can't you see I'm drownin' too?"
It's bad out there, high water everywhere.
The cover of Riot's 2011 album Immortal Soul features a pair of ghostly arms in a graveyard reaching toward a guitar. Just a couple of months after the album's release, founding guitarist and band leader Mark Reale lost his lifelong battle with Crohn's Disease, adding a major sense of tragedy to both the title and the cover of the album.
Lil Wayne's video for "My Homies Still" features him dancing in a movie theatre full of skeletons and was released just before the The Dark Knight Rises shooting in Aurora, Colorado.
The Kleptones' 2004 mashup album A Night at the Hip Hopera included a song called "Bite", featuring samples of Queen's "Another One Bites The Dust" and Ol' Dirty Bastard's "Got Your Money", and ending with a clip from an "Honest Obituary" segment from TV Offal. ODB died shortly after the album's release, making it almost seem as though the track was mocking his death.
Speaking of the Wu Tang Clan and Funny Aneurysm Moments, may I present the video to their song, "Triumph" , which features a lot of things that these days, can be taken as reminiscent of 9/11 (people panicking on the streets of Manhattan due to what can only be described in the video as a terrorist attack [the bees are implied to be the Wu Tang Clan and there's no clear reason why they're wreaking havoc in Manhattan], Old Dirty Bastard hurling himself off the building as SWAT teams have him cornered note also an F.A.M for ODB, since ODB is dead, and the World Trade Center towers in the New York skyline), and the whole "killer bees" thing is a lot less funny thanks to colony collapse disorder (in which bees are actually disappearing).
You Say Party! We Say Die! drummer Devon Clifford died after suffering a brain hemorrhage on stage in 2010. Naturally their band name no longer seemed appropriate - the band continued on without him, but shortened their name to You Say Party out of respect.
Music videos have a habit of falling into this trap, namely:
Soul Central. feat. Kathy Brown - "Strings of Life" (youtube video)
Manic Street Preachers' 1999 hit "Tsunami" was not performed by them at the Tsunami Benefit Concert at Cardiff's Millenium Stadium in 2005, although they have played it live since then.
The 1998 single "If You Buy This Record Your Life Will Be Better" by Italian House Music act The Tamperer featuring Maya Days, the title was a Take That at the consumerism of 1998. Now, though, 15 years on... it's a darkly "Funny Aneurysm" Moment, and the actors in the video (including a blonde with hair extensions wearing a gold bikini) are largely obscure actors now, although people actually want to know who is in the video.
Sinead O'Connor infamously tore a picture of Pope John Paul II on Saturday Night Live in 1992 to protest what was then an unremarkably unknown case of corruption in the Catholic Church (specifically, that some priests were molesting children). This was inspired by a similar scene in Top of the Pops in which Bob Geldof tore a picture of Bob Dylan. Just two decades later, the incident is wrong for a completely different reason...note Guess what Jimmy Savile was doing in his off time?
In 2003, Australian Punk Rock band Freznal Rhomb released a song called "Tapeworms and Grass in a Piss-based Sauce". In 2013, frontman Jay Whalley collapsed due to a tapeworm.
A line in the rap break by Nicki Minaj in Justin Bieber's 2012 hit, "Beauty And A Beat" mentions "gotta keep an eye out for Selen-ur", referencing his very high profile romance with Selena Gomez. A year later, the pair would split up.
They Might Be Giants' "Marty Beller Mask" is a tongue-in-cheek song about Whitney Houston escaping from the limelight by posing as TMBG drummer Marty Beller with the aid of a Latex Perfection mask. Houston's death, which occurred just six months after the song's release, caused them to permanently retire the song from their live sets - they also temporarily pulled the music video from youtube, but later re-uploaded it.
Bel Amour's self-titled song "Bel Amour" (video here) was considered funny at the time. It was also considered as Squick back then, now it's downright creepy and verges on the Uncanny Valley due to the Japanese predilection for replica dolls, which is seen as downright weird in Western Europe due to Values Dissonance. The song was popular back in 2001-2002, but the video's notoriety is probably why it's better known now.
Remember how Jim Croce once noted that you "don't pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger"? In 1981, ITC Entertainment did just that by trying to stop Clayton Moore, who played the role on TV back in the day, from reprising the character in other media and public appearances. No points for guessinghow that went down.
British reggae musician Smiley Culture was famous for his 1984 song Police Officer, in which a policeman nearly arrests him for drug possession, but lets him off when he realises he's a famous musician. In 2011, Smiley Culture stabbed himself to death whilst the police were searching his house for drugs. It seems that he tempted fate with the song.
Swedish artist Ted Gärdestad recorded a light-hearted song called "Eiffeltornet" ("The Eiffel Tower"), where he threatens to jump off the aforesaid tower if his girlfriend lets him down (though he hopes that she'll stop him before that). Not so funny after Gärdestad committed suicide in 1997, by jumping in front of a train.
While the video was released in about 6 months after Jenny survived a home invasion, one of the songs recorded Ace of Base debut album was titled "Living in Danger", which was done in 1993. The video had a woman in fear that she was about stalked by a man a former fighter pilot seeking redemption, and Jenny was watching the woman in question. It was a woman who attacked Jenny in real life, who targeted Malin. Malin wasn't there at the scene but it did have an effect on her mental health.
The Bonnie Ship the Diamond is a cheery sea chanty about going whaling on a (real) ship named The Diamond.
Here's a health to the Resolution
Likewise the Eliza Swan
Here’s a health for the Battler o'Montrose
And the Diamond, ship of fame
Within a few years at most of the song being composed (the Diamond was launched in 1825), only the Eliza Swan was still afloat, and her barely. In 1830, a major weather event sunk most of the British whaling fleet, including the Resolution, the Diamond, and the Rattler of Leigh (the name of that ship appears to have been changed for the song to make up scansion).
Beyoncé's single Love On Top for 2012 is now not as funny as it once was considering the song has been associated with causing dancefloor brawls in North-West England (mainly Manchester and Liverpool). The video was full of Fanservice, which became Memetic Mutation, and that's probably what caused the brawls.
American Eurodance and pop singer Melanie Thornton died in a plane crash a few months after releasing her solo album "Ready To Fly".
On the D12 song 40oz D12 member Proof says the line "I am in the club to beef you, got to murder me there". He ended up being killed in an altercation in a night club.
Ke$ha's single "Timber" credited as Pitbull feat. Kesha was released in January 2014. However, the song's ended up being stereotypically associated with the playlist of Real Radio, a radio brand which is being replaced with Heart, as it's often played on there, and the fact that Kesha has been associated with the typical Real Radio demographic, who Heart don't want to attract. Now as of March 2014, with the pending rebrand in mid-summer, the Real Radio demographic stereotype just isn't as funny.
Girls Aloud are also prone to this. Their single "No Good Advice" from 2003 had a Surreal Music Video featuring them dressed in silver posing on a 1980s Buick Regal. It may have seemed slightly funny, or even sexy back then in May 2003, but now, as of May 2014, it seems much less funnier than before with current concerns over sexualization in music videos (e.g. Miley Cyrus), the GM Chapter 11 reorganization of 2009, and the fact that GM now has lost its individuality with regard to models and there being a lot of badge-engineering in GM as well (also, the Buick Verano is a rebranded Opel Astra, the Buick Regal an Opel Insignia).
An obscure 1970s funk example. There was a P-Funk style band called Booty People, led by Mitch Mc Dowell who would go on to be better known as General Caine/Kane in funk music. As Booty People they recorded a self-titled album in 1977 and one of the songs on the album is called "Shoot To Kill" with the chorus "If you're gonna shoot, shoot to kill". A few years after his final album in the late eighties under the name General Kane, he retired from music and became a bail bondsman. Sadly, he was shot to death in his office.
The much-admired musician and TV personality Rolf Harris has entered this territory, since being convicted of multiple counts of sexual assault in 2014.
In The Sixties, Bob Kuban and the In-Men had a One-Hit Wonder with "(Look Out For) the Cheater," sung by frontman Walter Scott. Twenty-years later, Scott was murdered by a man with whom his wife was cheating.