September 07, 2014

Hope I die before I get old… then I can sleep when I’m dead…


Today’s date has an ironic link to two famous rock music quotes associated with the deaths of two of rock’s most legendary bad boys.

On September 7, 1978, Keith Moon — the great, drum-kit-destroying drummer for the British band, the Who — died of a drug overdose at age 31.

One of the Who’s first big hits, released in 1965, was “My Generation.”

It includes a line every rock fan knows: “Hope I die before I get old.”

       “People try to put us d-down
       Just because we g-g-get around
       Things they do look awful c-c-cold
       Hope I die before I get old.”

Moon was renowned for his self-destructive, drug-and-alcohol amped lifestyle.

Naturally, the famed “Hope I die...” line showed up in obituaries written about him in 1978 and is mentioned in many articles and books about him and the Who.

In an odd coincidence, on September 7, 2003, exactly 25 years after Keith Moon died, American rock musician Warren Zevon died of cancer at age 56.

Like Moon, Zevon was legendary for his substance abuse and other excesses.

One of the best known songs from Zevon’s self-titled 1976 album is “I'll Sleep When I'm Dead.”

The lyrics were written in Zevon’s darkly-humorous trademark style:

       “I’m drinking heartbreak motor oil and Bombay gin
       I'll sleep when I'm dead
       Straight from the bottle, twisted again
       I’ll sleep when I'm dead.”

Inevitably, the line “I’ll sleep when I'm dead,” was cited in many obits, articles and blog posts when Zevon died.

It was also used as the title of a book about him, compiled by his former wife, Crystal, and published in 2007. (The full title is: I'll Sleep When I'm Dead: The Dirty Life and Times of Warren Zevon.)

Talk show host David Letterman was a long time fan and friend of Warren Zevon and had him as a guest on The Late Show show many times.

On October 30, 2002, Warren made his last appearance on Letterman’s show.

At that point, it was public knowledge that Zevon’s cancer was likely to be terminal. His fan and friend Letterman asked him if facing death gave him any new insights about life.

Zevon’s reply included three words that became another famous quote: “Enjoy every sandwich."

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