Why We Immortalize Artists/Musicians Who Died in Their Prime
Whichever genre you listen to (Reggae, Hip-hop, Hard Metal, Rock n’ Roll, Soul, Jazz, Classical, etc.) there’s always an Artist(s) who at their Peak Revolutionized the industry and inspired a generation with their Lyrics, Talent, Songs, Personality, and Performance.
They were like demi-gods in their prime worshiped by legions of fans worldwide, captivating us with their songs & lyrics, but their mysterious & untimely death shocked us and left an inedible mark on our lives, making us immortalize them to this day.
But what if they were still alive; would we hold them in awe? Would their Songs, Lyrics, or Compositions be revered? Would their influence & popularity be the same as before they died? What influences our attachment to them when dead than alive? Is it something innate or psychological making us appreciate them more when gone?
It’s hard to know what really makes us immortalize such artists, but after reading several articles, I have advanced several theories to help explain.
“Many things he would try for he knew soon he’d die,” “Now Jimi’s gone, he’s not alone/ His memory still lives on,” “Five years, this he said/ He’s not gone, he’s just dead.” “The Ballads of Jimi,” by Legendary Guitarist Jimi Hendrix. These lines baffled fans worldwide, as exactly five years later he was found dead in his apartment aspirated by his own vomit while intoxicated. Many believed he predicted his own death and by the lines above I am leaning towards the same, which provided an aspect of my theory of why we immortalize, artists who predicted their death.
John Lennon, Bob Marley, David Bowie, Kurt Cobain, and Tu Pac Shakur, all somehow predicted their death through lyrics or might have hinted at during interviews. With near prophetic precision of their untimely demise, fans were mystified by creating conspiracy theories explaining such premonitions. With no rational explanations or reasons, fans refused to let them Rest in Peace as they continuously searched for any rational explanations.
Thus immortalizing such artists by refusing to let them fade away, by seeking answers to explain how they could’ve somehow predicted their own death, and revering them by trying to decipher such mysteries.
At age 14, she released her critically acclaimed album, Age ain’t Nothing but a Number, which was certified gold, and two years later her sophomore album, One in a Million, sold 8 million copies worldwide and certified double platinum. Aaliyah Dana Haughton also known by her moniker Aaliyah, achieved such a feat still a teenager, not forgetting her roles in various Blockbusters like Romeo must die.
Just as her star was shining brightly, on August 25, 2001, at the tender age of 22 her life was snuffed out by a plane crash in the Bahamas, and after an autopsy traces of alcohol & cocaine was found in the pilot system. Her demise shocked all worldwide, as fans had not had enough of her exceptional talent, they were not finished with her, and she still had more to offer.
Hence providing another aspect of, the Artist Went Too Soon, where we immortalize such artists by refusing to let them Rest in Peace because their demise came rather too soon & suddenly and not giving fans time to comprehend the situation.
Or it can be something psychological or innate; as they hold a special place in our hearts, just like our loved ones, hence when they die we keep their memories burning in our hearts thus immortalizing them by default.
Whatever reason you have or think of, no one denies the fact that their songs & lyrics played a major role in shaping our lives in one way or another, hence morally obliged to immortalize and keep their memory alive.