Today I was reflecting on last Tuesday’s lecture, where we saw the complicated funeral of Dutch singer, Andre Haze. When hearing about Haze’s concert and the launch of his ashes into space, I thought it was a little crazy to tell you the truth! However, I decided that I might be feeling this way because I hadn’t heard of Andre Haze before or his music. For those who were fans or for those living in Holland, his death would have definately felt more personal. Just like as kiwi’s we are more likely to have felt something when Sir Ed died, compared with overseas.
I started to think of other ‘famous deaths’ and thought of other musicians such as Elvis and Kurt Cobain. Elvis’ death was morned my thousands of fans across the world and to this day people still call him ‘the king of rock and roll’ and more strangly say ‘Elvis isn’t dead’ ! When Elvis died the then US President, Jimmy Carter even said “Elvis Presley’s death deprives our country of a part of itself. He was unique and irreplaceable. More than 20 years ago, he burst upon the scene with an impact that was unprecedented and will probably never be equaled”. This shows how Elvis’ death was more than just a family affair.
The death of Kurt Cobain was also a tragic loss for many fans. There was a public vigil held for Cobain at Seattle Centre, where approximately 7,000 fans came to mourn. Also, after his death a non-profit organisation, ‘ the Kurt Cobain Memorial Committee’, paid to have a sign outside his hometown reading “Welcome to Aberdeen – Come As You Are” in his honor.
While the actually funerals of these two musicians where much less extravagant, their deaths still became a public affair.
Another more recent example, is that of Heath Ledger. Even though his family in Australia urged the media they desired privacy, the media nevertheless got involved. At the time I remember news of Heath Ledger’s death all over the news and the front page of the papers, shadowing most other international events and problems for a few days! As well as a private ceremony, there was also a larger memorial service with several hundred guests which received much press attention.
I’m sure you can think of many other examples, please feel free to comment some more! 😀