Saying Goodbye: From Lennon to Lou


sayinggoodbye Saying Goodbye: From Lennon to Lou

Everyone copes with loss differently. I mope and listen to music. When an artist who matters to me dies, I mope and listen to their music. Over the years, I’ve lost a day or longer moping over Joe Strummer, Layne Staley, and Mark Linkous among others. The Monday after losing Lou Reed, I sat slumped in my classroom grading essays on Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience” and playing “Venus in Furs” over and over and over until a neighboring teacher finally complained.

So, when it was announced that yesterday’s Reed memorial in Manhattan would feature “no speeches, no live performances, just Lou’s voice, guitar music & songs,” that made sense to me. Let his music play. Let mopers mope. Let celebrators celebrate. Let all of us cope.

But sad moments, like Reed’s passing, raise a salient question for music lovers. How exactly do we go about saying goodbye to those who soundtrack our lives, inspire us, and seem to, if only for a chord change, chorus, or song, understand exactly what it feels like to be us? In honor of Reed and so many others whose music has enriched our lives, we thought we’d revisit how some fans, family, and fellow artists have managed to express that most difficult of sentiments: goodbye.

-Matt Melis
Senior Editor

Ten Minutes of silence for John Lennon (including all NYC radio stations)

Roger Daltrey talks about the real Keith Moon

Traveling Wilburys include Roy Orbison’s guitar and photo in music video

Seattle turns out for Kurt Cobain

Puff Daddy, Sting, and Faith Evans “missing” Biggie at the VMAs

Springsteen, Costello, and Grohl play “London Calling” for Joe Strummer

Jam Master Jay gets all-DJ tribute at BET Awards

Concert for George Harrison at Royal Albert Hall

Adam “MCA” Yauch gets a park in Brooklyn

James Brown packs the Apollo one last time

Joy Division label mates The Durutti Column record song for Ian Curtis

Friends and family celebrate Johnny Cash

Fans fill Wembley Stadium for Freddie Mercury tribute show

Lynyrd Skynyrd reunite to play instrumental version of “Freebird” for Ronnie Van Zant and Steve Gaines

Diana Ross pays tribute to Marvin Gaye at American Music Awards

Scheduled Ray Charles biopic turns into fitting send-off

Elliott Smith fans keep the Figure 8 Wall looking brand-new

Deadheads congregate to celebrate Jerry Garcia

More than 30 million fans stream Michael Jackson’s memorial service

Kingston says goodbye to Bob Marley

U2 remembers Joey Ramone by playing “In a Little While” (the very last song Ramone listened to)