What song do you want to hear before you die?on July 13, 2012 @ 3:23 pm (Updated: 3:25 pm - 7/13/12 )
If you were stranded on a desert island with only one CD or album, what what it be? It's an old question you hear debated all the time on rock radio. But it got local author and music journalist Mark Baumgarten thinking. When he was asked to help put together a special literary program for the upcoming Capitol Hill Block Party, a deeper question came to him: What is the last song you'd want to hear before you die?
Baumgarten started collecting suggestions and essays from a number of notables from the local music scene.
"So what's going to happen is throughout Block Party there are going to be packets of cassette single sleeves, and each one of these essays is going to have its own booklet and you can pull them out and read them," he said in an interview for this week's edition of Seattle Sounds on 97.3 KIRO FM.
While Baumgarten is keeping many of the bigger names participating in the project until next weekend's event a secret, he promises many are extremely moving. Among them, the selection of Paul Simon's 'Slip Sliding Away' by noted Seattle singer-songwriter Brian John Appleby.
"He wrote the most beautiful essay. It's just such a wonderful work and it's the piece that made me feel good about doing this project, because what I wanted to do is I wanted to give people a prompt to allow them to really explore the ways that death and music intermingle in their minds," he said.
It's admittedly not an original idea. My co-host Chris Kornelis, music editor at Seattle Weekly, has been asking the question for a regular feature in the newspaper. And while I don't want to give away the entire essay, what he wrote was particularly deep and heartfelt (somewhat surprisingly so given the usual superficiality and bitterness he subjects me to off the microphone on a regular basis.)
"When it’s time for me to check out — on a “glad morning” years from now, if I’m making requests — I hope my brothers are up for paying me one more favor. The song, as Dr. Cornel West said, isn’t as important as the voice, and the voices I’d like to hear are that of my brothers. And if it isn’t too much trouble, I’d like them to sing “I’ll Fly Away” (if they’re unavailable for the gig, I’d appreciate it if Allison Krauss would sit in)," Chris wrote.
As for me, I'd go for Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Long As I Can See The Light." My parents loved CCR and would joyfully sing the rousing John Fogerty tunes throughout my childhood. And while there was no music playing when my mom succumbed to cancer several years ago, whenever I hear CCR I'm transported back to a special, simpler time when a simple song could bring so much love and light to our lives.
What song would you want to hear? Leave a comment below. We'd love to hear your ideas. And listen to more of our conversation about the last song with Mark Baumgarten, Chris and me Saturday night at 7p on 97.3 KIRO FM. We'll also talk to Mark about his new book 'Love Rock Revolution, K Records and the rise of Independent Music.'
-Josh Kerns/Seattle Sounds co-host
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