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Celebrity Elegy

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Elton John performing "Candle in the Wind", dedicated first to Marilyn Monroe (pictured), and then Princess Diana.

Jimi gave us rainbows
And Janis took a piece of our hearts
And Otis brought us all to the dock of a bay
Sing a song to light my fire
Remember Jim that way
They've all found another place, another place to play
The Righteous Brothers, "Rock and Roll Heaven"

A song or poem mourning the death—and often celebrating the accomplishments—of a deceased celebrity. The person often died under tragic circumstances, including murder, drug overdose, car/plane accident, or an incurable disease. Often results from Short-Lived, Big Impact. The elegy may portray the person as Too Good for This Sinful Earth and may be invoked by Dead Artists Are Better.

To qualify, the person must be well-known beyond their family and friends. They must be famous enough, either in-universe or in Real Life, that people knew of them before the elegy was written.

Sub-Trope of a Grief Song and In Memoriam. May overlap with Celebrity Song. Compare to a Biopic, which is a movie or play about a celebrity (though they could be either living and deceased when the movie was made), and an Epic Poem, which may celebrate deceased celebrities (like Achilles and Hector in The Iliad) but is much longer than a typical poem or song. Compare also to Celebrity Breakup Songs, which are about the end of celebrity relationships rather than their lives.



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  • "Shiny" from Moana is a Pastiche of David Bowie and was intended in part to honor the recently deceased singer.
  • All Dogs Go to Heaven: "Love Survives" by Irene Cara and Freddie Jackson was dedicated to the memory of child actress Judith Barsi, who along with her mother Maria, was killed by her father Josef 18 months before the movie's release.
  • "See You Again" by Charlie Puth was re-purposed as this for the Furious 7 soundtrack and dedicated to Paul Walker following his death, with Wiz Khalifa providing new lyrics.


    Live-Action TV 


  • "Death of the Poet" was Mikhail Lermontov's reaction to the death of his idol Alexander Pushkin in a duel. In it, Lermontov emotionally decried the Russian high society that he believed had manipulated Pushkin into reckless challenges and threatened them with divine retribution. Although the poem wasn't properly published until after Lermontov's own death (in a duel), it was enough to send him into exile. It also, coincidentally, put the young poet on the map as a rising star of Russian literature.
  • Walt Whitman wrote "O Captain! My Captain!" and "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd" to mourn the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.
  • W. H. Auden wrote "Elegy for J.F.K." after the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

    Religion and Mythology 

Video Example(s):


For Paul

The ending of Furious 7 ends with a tribute to Paul Walker, who tragically died while the film was being produced.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (16 votes)

Example of:

Main / ReallyDeadMontage

Media sources:

Main / ReallyDeadMontage