Famous Last Words: Musicians

A select collection of the dying words spoken by well-known musicians

George Harrison playing guitar
Beatles guitarist George Harrison in a recording studio in 1965. Photo © Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Whether realized at the time they are said or only in hindsight, nearly everyone will express a word, phrase or sentence that proves the last thing he or she ever says while alive. Sometimes profound, sometimes everyday, here you will find a select collection of the last words spoken by famous musicians and composers.

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
Pity, pity -- too late!

The now-deaf German composer uttered this after he was told his publisher had sent him 12 bottles of wine.

Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
Ah, that tastes nice. Thank you.

The German composer said this after sipping some wine.

James Brown (1933-2006)
I'm on fire. I'm burning up. Burning up.

Kurt Cobain (1967-1994)
It's better to burn out than to fade away. Peace, love, empathy.

Sam Cooke (1931-1964)
Lady, you shot me!

Noel Coward (1899-1973)
Goodnight, my darlings, I'll see you tomorrow.

Bing Crosby (1903-1977)
That was a great game of golf, fellas.

Vacationing in Madrid, Spain, in October 1977 after singing and recording in England, the famous crooner and lifelong golf-lover said this after playing 18 holes with three other gentlemen. Twenty minutes later, Crosby collapsed and died of a heart attack at the golf course.

John Denver (1943-1997)
Do you have it now?

A licensed pilot, and at the controls at the time he died, Denver spoke these words to an air-traffic controller via radio before the singer/songwriter's plane plummeted into the Pacific Ocean.

Bo Diddley (1928-2008)
I'm going to heaven.

Diddley said this to the members of his family gathered around his bed at his home in Archer, Florida.

Marvin Gaye (1939-1984)
Father hates me, and I'm never coming back.

Living at his parents' home after struggling with drug and alcohol problems, the R&B singer planned to move out following an argument concerning some missing insurance papers. Gaye's father shot him soon after he said this.

Oscar Hammerstein (1895-1960)
Ruth, Gehrig, Rizzuto...

Famous as one half of the Rodgers & Hammerstein duo, he died recalling the last names of baseball players he admired.

George Harrison (1943-2001)
Love one another.

The former Beatle said this to his family as they gathered around Harrison's deathbed.

Wallace Hartley (1878-1912)
Gentlemen, I bid you farewell…

Hartley, the conductor of an eight-member band, uttered these words to his fellow musicians as the group played in order to calm passengers aboard the R.M.S. Titanic, which sank after striking an iceberg.

Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)
Children be comforted, I am well.

Billie Holiday (1915-1959)
Don't be in such a hurry.

Al Jolson (1886-1950)
This is it! I'm going. I'm going.

Terry Alan Kath (1946-1978)
Don't worry… it's not loaded.

The founding member of the rock group Chicago thought the .38 revolver he pointed to his head was unloaded.

John Lennon (1940-1980)
I'm shot. I'm shot.

Bob Marley (1945-1981)
Money can't buy life.

Jim Morrison (1943-1971)
Pam, are you still there?

Lead singer and founder of the rock group The Doors, Morrison expressed this to his girlfriend in their Paris apartment before he died in his bathtub.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
The taste of death is upon my lips… I feel something that is not of this earth.

Edith Piaf (1915-1963)
Every damn fool thing you do in this life you pay for.

Elvis Presley (1935-1977)
Okay, I won't.

The King of Rock 'n' Roll uttered this to his fiancée on his way to the bathroom after she said, "Don't fall asleep in there."

Selena (1971-1995)
Yolanda, in Room 158.

With her dying words, Selena (Quintanilla) identified the woman who shot her and the hotel room in which her assailant was staying.

Frank Sinatra (1915-1998)
I'm losing it.

John Phillip Sousa (1854-1932)
Oh, I don't need a doctor.

Barry White (1944-2003)
Leave me alone, I'm fine.

Wendy O. Williams (1949-1998)
For me, much of the world makes no sense, but my feelings about what I am doing ring loud and clear to an inner ear and a place where there is no self, only calm. Love always, Wendy.

The punk rocker concluded her suicide note with these words before successfully killing herself after two previous attempts.

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