These videos from Glen Campbell and Johnny Cash are tough to watch. As mature people, we accept the reality of aging and death. But such acceptance is an acquired trait, to put it one way. An artist’s job is to strip away the edifice of society and maturity and provide us with an avenue to feel the real and raw emotion being experienced at a given point in time. That becomes a grim task when the subject is mortality. It is especially moving when the musician is the one doing the dying.
Glen Campbell and Johnny Cash, however, were pretty much fixtures over the years. Their commercial fortunes waxed and waned, but they were there. Saying goodbye is important, even though we didn’t know them personally.
Cash’s video “Hurt” — written by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails — is a great video about remembering and saying goodbye. It now is rivaled (and paired with) in my mind now by “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” which was co-written by Campbell and Jim Raymond.
The theme is that Campbell knew he had Alzheimer’s Disease and in its final stages he would be oblivious to the pain being experienced by his loved ones. It’s a point that is simultaneously comforting and deeply disturbing. It’s best described as ironically grim.
The flashbacks are a counterpoint, however. They are warm and show a close knit family. There are lots of hugs and laughter.
“Hurt” is the opposite. It is an intense song about regret, rage and pain. Cash is alone, except for a brief cameo by June Carter Cash. She simply looks on with a mix of concern and sadness. It is worth mentioning that the last cut of the final album released during Cash’s lifetime was “We’ll Meet Again,” the great Vera Lynn song.
“I’m Not Gonna Miss You” was released in 2014. Today, the album “Adios,” which consists of covers recorded in 2012 and 2013, was released.
The Daily Music Break previously posted on Campbell. The site has had quite a lot on Cash, including a podcast interview with Michael Streissguth, the author of “Johnny Cash: The Biography,” “Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison,” “Ring Of Fire: The Johnny Cash Reader” and “Outlaw: Waylon, Willie, Kris, and the Renegades of Nashville.”
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