5 Famous Musicians Who Correctly Predicted Their Own Death
We're all going to die; that's about the only thing we all have in common (well, that and pooping). But even though we already know what happens at the end of our story, we don't know the details. Plane crash? Maybe. Disease? Possibly. Too much cocaine snorted off the body of a nubile young prostitute dressed like Bozo the Clown? Probably. But who knows when and how death's grim hand will come to us?
Musicians, apparently. We covered some of these soothsayers before, but it's way more common than you think. Just take ...
Marc Bolan (T. Rex) -- "Solid Gold Easy Action"
Ever wonder why the glam rockers of the '80s could score more tail in a week than any of us will see in a lifetime? Blame Marc Bolan and T. Rex, one of the first major bands to transform men wearing glitter and makeup from easy targets into butch sex gods. Although many of their songs were about typical guy things, like cars and sex with women, they also pushed the envelope with the occasional song about cars and sex with women who are actually men, as in 1972's "Solid Gold Easy Action," which went: "I know you're shrewd, and she's a dude / but all I want is easy action."
No, a pissed-off dude in a dress didn't stab Bolan to death with a pair of giant stilettos or anything. The really creepy lines are right in the beginning:
"Life is the same
and it always will be
Easy as picking foxes from a tree."
But slightly harder than digging weasels out of a crock pot.
What the hell does that mean? Do ... do people go fox picking, like apples? Is it really easy? It actually sounds pretty difficult, and ... bitey.
The Eerie Prediction:
Four years later, on September 16, 1977, Bolan was riding in a car driven by his girlfriend, who had been drinking. She swerved off the road and drove into a tree, injuring herself and killing Bolan. So that covers the tree part of Bolan's deadly prophecy. But what of the fox? Well, here's the car:
See that license plate? It reads FOX 661L.
The car that killed him was a fox. Wrapped around a tree. They had to pick him out of it.
Be careful when you jot down whatever gibberish comes to mind for an easy rhyme, songwriters. You might actually be crushed between the moon and New York City someday.
From their #1 single "Smothered by a Thousand Beautiful, Naked Women (feat. New York Philharmonic)."
Proof -- "40 Oz" and "Like Toy Soldiers"
Occasionally rapper Proof would join up with Eminem and others in the group D12, which performed the song "40 Oz," a stirring ditty about Dorothy coming to grips with her impending mid-life crisis on the mean streets of Emerald City. Or booze; the lyrics could honestly go either way.
There's also some evidence that it's an impassioned love ballad written for Vernon Schillinger.
At one point, Proof raps, "I'm in the club to beef, you gotta murder me there." Now, admittedly, pretty much every rapper on Earth says that about four times an album, but still, you hardly expect him ...
The Eerie Prediction:
... to be in the club, beefing, and get murdered there.
Putting something of a damper on the evening.
On April 11, 2006, Proof was shooting pool and got into an altercation with Keith Bender, a Desert Storm veteran. Bender's cousin happened to be the club bouncer and did not understand the intricate protocol of proper beefing. A fight broke out in which Bender was shot, so the bouncer grabbed a gun and fired. Thus was Proof killed over what should have been a relatively harmless Stage 2 Beef Initiation, at best.
While that's plenty eerie, hip-hop is rife with depictions of fictional murders. What's one more, right? Well, it wasn't just Proof who predicted it; his best friend saw it coming as well. One year after "40 Oz" and one year before Proof's death, Eminem released a video for his song "Like Toy Soldiers," featuring heart-warming imagery such as this:
Despite the title, it sadly bears no resemblance to the classic 1991 Lou Gossett Jr. film.
Yes, that's Proof, playing a guy who just got shot to death outside a nightclub. Remember, this is Eminem, one of the most famous rappers on the planet. He could have picked basically anybody he wanted for the role of "friend who gets violently shot to bits." However, in a case of terrifying precognition, he selected Proof. And the camera kept panning back to his lifeless corpse throughout the video, lest we forget just how dead this guy is.
We've said it before, and we'll say it again: Eminem is some kind of warlock, and you should never say his name three times in a dark place.
Jackie Wilson -- "Lonely Teardrops"
One of Jackie Wilson's biggest hits, 1958's "Lonely Teardrops," dropped so many giant 1950s panties, you could have swaddled Godzilla in their bulk. When he soulfully belted out the line, "My heart is cryin', cryin'," the neglected womenfolk of 1950s America realized that male emotions weren't just for draft dodgers anymore. Of course, it cast a bit of a pall on all that sexy, sensitive crooning when he ...
The Eerie Prediction:
... died of a massive heart attack while singing it.
If only he had lived long enough to be crushed by the Statue of Liberty.
On September 29, 1975, Wilson was performing on Dick Clark's oldies tour. He started singing "Lonely Teardrops," and right when he hit the "my heart is cryin'" line, he had a massive heart attack.
Not just while singing the song -- during that very line.
Even in death, showmanship counts.
The crowd thought this was just Wilson being a dramatic performer, a la James Brown and his whole "wounded showman" routine. It was only when he didn't get up after a couple of minutes that everybody realized something was wrong. However, a couple of minutes is all an unconscious, oxygen-deprived brain needs to shut down, and Wilson lapsed into a coma. He remained comatose for close to nine years, before passing away in 1984.
Warren Zevon -- "Factory"
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.
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.
He did, however, spend quite a bit of time with British werewolves.
Sam Cooke -- "Frankie and Johnny"
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."
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.
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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