So a new Joey Ramone album is coming out May 22nd. Joey Ramone died in 2001 of Lymphoma after a long battle. I have been a fan of the Ramones since they were introduced to my long time friend Chauncey when I was a sophomore in high school. So when ever I hear something about them I jump. It got me to thinking about how peculiar it is for music to be released after one death, and made me wonder how the artist would have felt about it.
Much of what is released are either rough demos or live performances. In some cases an artist was in the process of recording an album when there life came to an end. I personally have no problem with either of these form coming out as long as they aren’t tampered with much. The problem come when the new right holders feel the need to turn demos into full fledged singles and/or albums. I find that this both disrespects the artist and his art.
I mean, if you were to draw a stick figure with a pencil, and didn’t complete the drawing. Then I came along and traced some of your lines, added more of my own things to your picture and then colored it, could it still be considered your drawing? Maybe partially since it was based from your drawing, but who’s to day if I would have added any of the same thing you might have to this drawing.
The same goes for music also, and although I am anxious to hear this new album I am also weary. On JoeyRamone.com, Joey’s Brother, Mickey is quoted at saying “It was of the utmost importance to me that these remaining songs of Joey’s be finished properly, and made available for the world to hear.” Such a comment make me a bit nervous. Would Joey have approved of these being finished properly with out his input?
What is your thoughts?
I did some research on this topic and found out all sorts interesting scenarios of music being released after one’s death. Janis Joplin had full a album released after her death. Jimi Hendrix has had tons of music released since his death. Otis Reading’s Sitting on the Dock of the Bay is considered his best album was release after his death. Nirvana Unplugged was released after Kurt Cobain’s death. That’s just a few notables, go check out a more complete list here.