5 Famous Musicians Who Correctly Predicted Their Own Death

#2. Warren Zevon -- "Factory"

Michael Ochs Archives/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Warren Zevon wrote many classic songs, none of which could ever be described as "the feel-good hit of the summer." If he wasn't singing about death, he was singing about monsters, psychopaths, or hiding from the Russians in a communist hellhole -- you know, the usual pop stuff.

One such song, "The Factory," told the uplifting tale of a boy whose father slaved in a nameless factory his whole life, and who grew up to do the exact same thing because Dad made it look like so much fun.

Virgin Records
It's great at parties.

The song ends with these lines:

"Kickin' asbestos in the factory
Punchin' out Chryslers in the factory
Breathin' that plastic in the factory."

Just try to stop dancing, kids.

The Eerie Prediction:

Zevon learned that he had inoperable lung cancer and had roughly six months to live. And how did he get said cancer? Don't be coy. You know exactly how he got it: He had advanced malignant mesothelioma, which is usually caused by inhalation of asbestos. That wouldn't be so odd if Zevon wrote that song from his personal experience at a dismal factory job, but he didn't. He never worked in any such risky environment himself and had no reason to believe he was at risk of mesothelioma. Zevon may have gotten it from living in close proximity to a factory -- so there you go. There's your new terrifying fact for the day, readers: There is such a thing as secondhand asbestos poisoning.

Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
He did, however, spend quite a bit of time with British werewolves.

#1. Sam Cooke -- "Frankie and Johnny"

Michael Ochs Archives/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Back in the 1800s, two separate women named Frankie shot their lovers to death. The world responded to these unspeakable tragedies the only way they knew how: by lumping the two Frankies together and crafting a jaunty pop song about that whole wacky brutal double-murder thing.

Thus was born "Frankie and Johnny," a 110-year-old standard, documenting the time that ...

"Frankie reached down in her pocketbook
And up with a long .44
She shot once, twice, three times
And Johnny fell on the hardwood floor."

Wikipedia
Unlike Detective Callahan, Frankie didn't have the patience for monologues.

Hundreds of people have recorded this danceable number over the years, and in July of 1964, it was soul singer Sam Cooke's turn. He certainly made the song his own, albeit in the most unfortunate manner possible.

The Eerie Prediction:

Less than five months later, on December 11, 1964, just days after finishing his haunting Civil Right anthem "A Change Is Gonna Come," Cooke brought a female fan back to his motel for drinks and sex, as is the soul man's wont. The woman would later testify that Cooke attempted to rape her. Since she didn't count that as foreplay, she ran away, taking his clothes in the process. Cooke, being drunk, naked, and less than thrilled about one of those things, tracked down the manager of the hotel and demanded he be allowed to search her office for his clothes, because we already mentioned the "drunk" bit. The manager, strangely, didn't like the idea of Cooke raiding her office for underwear (man, it's almost like "being Sam Cooke" isn't a Golden Ticket to Willy Wanker's Sex Factory after all), so the two fought. Eventually the manager grabbed a gun and shot Cooke three times. Cooke had just enough life left in him to utter "Lady, you shot me," before collapsing to the ground and dying.

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images via NPR
As gunshot victims are wont to do.

The manager's name? Bertha Franklin, or "Frankie" for short. As he foretold in the song he had just recorded, Frankie shot him three times, and he hit the hardwood floor.

OK, so the song didn't mention anything about a botched drunken naked panty raid, but there's only so much detail you can put into a good prophecy, you know?


Sam would like it known that he is available to non-murderers on Facebook and Twitter. He will not accept car rides for any reason, but would be grateful if you checked out his other writing at the Hilltop Views. Menezes has a Twitter page. He will never die.


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