Rock 'n' Roll College of Knowledge!

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Archive for the category “Quote”

Famous Last Words…

Some are weird, some are wonderful and some are just plain old rock and roll.

Kurt Cobain: “It’s better to burn out than to fade away.”Nirvana-Kurt-Cobain

On April 5 1994, the lead singer of Nirvana took his own life with a shotgun to his head. He was found three days later along with a suicide note. The note was addressed to his imaginary friend Boddah who he often blamed for his own wrong doings. While the note in its entirety is a heartbreaking insight into the mind of a man and musician the final line in the body of the letter is what is often attributed to Cobain as his final words and quoted as such. However the phrase “It’s better to burn out than to fade away” is actually lyrics from the Neil Young song Hey Hey, My My (Into the black).

When Young was asked by Time magazine in 2005 about the line and Cobain’s death, he said: “The fact that he left the lyrics to my song right there with him when he killed himself left a profound feeling on me, but I don’t think he was saying I have to kill myself because I don’t want to fade away. I don’t think he was interpreting the song in a negative way. It’s a song about artistic survival, and I think he had a problem with the fact that he thought he was selling out, and he didn’t know how to stop it. He was forced to do tours when he didn’t want to, forced into all kinds of stuff. I was trying to get a hold of him – because I had heard some of the things he was doing to himself – just to tell him it’s OK not to tour, it’s OK not to do these things, just take control of your life and make your music. Or, hey, don’t make music. But as soon as you feel like you’re out there pretending, you’re f–cked. I think he knew that instinctively, but he was young and he didn’t have a lot of self-control. And who knows what other personal things in his life were having a negative impression on him at the time?”

In the weeks prior to Kurt’s death Young had been trying to get in contact with Cobain in the hope to ease some of his load. For years he didn’t talk about the connection in the suicide note and why he dedicated his 1994 album, Sleeps with Angels, to Cobain. However, in his book Waging Heavy Peace Young reveals the toll the note took. “When he died and left that note, it struck a deep chord inside of me. It f—ed with me.” He said.

For the full note see here.

John Lennon: “I’ll probably be popped off by some loony.“

OK, so they weren’t his last words. His last were most probably “I’m shot”, or a response to someone asking who he was after he received multiple gun wounds and was bleeding out in front of The Dakota. Some reports suggest he replied “John Lennon” and others say he answered “I am” after he was asked if he was indeed John Lennon. Arguably the most infamous Beatle, Lennon was struck by four bullets on December 8 1980. They were fired by Mark Chapman, who by all accounts was indeed a ‘loony’, even attempting to use not guilty by reason of  insanity’ to reduce his sentence.

However, the most remarkable claim is that John Lennon predicted his own death. Kind of. In a Newsweek magazine interview in 1965, while still a Beatle, he reportedly gave this response after being asked how he thought he would die. The actual answer was referring to the Beatles as a whole not just himself, saying “We’ll either go in a plane crash or we’ll be popped off by some loony.” It is often misquoted.

Ray Coleman “Lennon: The definitive Biography”

Other instances when Lennon predicted his demise are as follows (I have been unable to find the original source of these quotes):

When asked why The Beatles broke up Lennon is believed to have said, “We were not bored and certainly did not run out of songs. I was paranoid about somebody trying to bump us off.”

When he heard that the Beatles’s former road manager Mal Evans had been shot dead by the LAPD, he said over and over again, “I’m next, I know it.”


More to come…

“Don’t compromise yourself. It’s all you’ve got.” – Janis Joplin

Sometimes also written as ‘be true to yourself. Its all you’ve got’, this quote by Janis Joplin is understood to be a paraphrased version of an interview after the Royal Albert Hall Concert on 21 April 1969.

This is the original quote:

“This whole thing that’s happened to me, you see, this whole success thing, er, it hasn’t yet really compromised the position that I took a long time ago in Texas, that was to be true to myself, to be the person that I f … that was on inside of me and not play games. You see, actually what I’m trying to do mostly, if I, in the whole world, is to not bullshit myself, and not bullshit anybody else. To be righteous to myself, I mean to be real, you know what I mean ? And so far, you know I’m, I’m just tryin’ to … I’m doin’ that, I am, you know. I’m not wearin’ cardboard eyelashes, and, and, you know, and girdles, and playin’ in Las Vegas. By still bein’ Janis, I just happens to be on a slightly different level or somethin’ now. And … you know I suppose it’s because I’ve never been premeditated enough in show-business that I was worried about putting on a, a face, you know what I mean ? So I can sit here and tell you the truth. You know ? Otherwise it’s slightly inhibiting, really, it doesn’t, it doesn’t force a game on me, because I refuse to let it force a game on me. So I can sit here and be just as honest as I would be in a bar, although I’d be a lot happier in a bar!”

‘All I can do is be me… Whoever that is’ – Bob Dylan

This quote comes from  snippet of a May 1965 interview reportedly for In-Beat Magazine. Dylan is in fact in a discussion with the interviewer comparing poetry, lyrics and whether there is a definitive definition of both. In typical Dylan style the interview is a bit abstract but definitely worth a read as it gives just a glimpse into the enigma that is Bob Dylan. Here is the snippet that contains the actual quote.

Interviewer:  If you put it in lyrics instead of poetry, you have a higher chance of hitting the people who have to be hit?

Bob Dylan: I do, but I don’t expect anything from it, you dig? All I can do is be me — whoever that is — for those people that I do play to, and not come on with them, tell them I’m something that I’m not. I’m not going to tell them that I’m The Great Cause Fighter or The Great Lover or Great Boy Genius or whatever. Because I’m not, man. Why mislead them? That’s all just Madison Avenue, that’s just selling. Sure, Madison Avenue is selling me, but it’s not really selling me, because I was hip to it before I got there.


Full interview can be found here


“If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it ‘Chuck Berry’.” – John Lennon

‘Knowledge Speaks, Wisdom Listens’ – Jimi Hendrix

‘Knowledge speaks but wisdom listens’ is a phrase that has often been attributed to the music legend Jimi Hendrix. It is a valuable quote not just in relation to music but most aspects of life. The interesting thing to note is that although numerous websites list Hendrix as the origin of the quote, it is believed to have a beginning much earlier than those four years in the 60’s when Hendrix thrived as the greatest electric guitarist that the world is yet to see. Some suggest that it is a derivative of ‘It is the province of knowledge to speak and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen ‘ a quote by 19th century author and physician Oliver Wendell Holmes. However the basis of the quote can be seen early on in the philosophy of Socrates, who stated “I only know that I know nothing’ in an account by Plato. It seems that the message remains the same despite the ever changing consumer, and that changing the vessel may be the key to adapting to different audiences. In the 20th century, it seems the form of an electric guitarist with a love of rock and roll that changed music forever, was the ideal vessel.

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