Blackstar, and other albums the artist cleverly promoted by dying

DYING is the ultimate music marketing tool, sending sales soaring at the negligible cost of a single life. These artists made out like posthumous bandits: 

Blackstar by David Bowie, 2016

Impeccable timing; released on the Friday, deceased on the Monday. And the album’s focus on death is synergistic marketing at its best, making it seems as if Bowie was writing from profound personal experience with magnificent artistic integrity when really he just wanted to shift units. You don’t get a career like his without that dedication to capitalism.

Grace by Jeff Buckley, 1994

An underappreciated cult classic until Buckley accidentally drowned in the Mississippi, after which sales have never stopped rising. Without that tragedy the public would still think Hallelujah was an Alexandra Burke song. Buckley had it all: A four-octave vocal range, dazzling good looks, and an innate genius for marketing.

MTV Unplugged in New York by Nirvana, 1994

Live acoustic sets are generally curios sought out only by hardcore fans. Not so for this collection, which went straight to the top of the charts thanks to forward-thinking frontman Kurt Cobain’s well-timed suicide. Not the first rocker to kill himself, but then grunge was rather derivative.

Songbird by Eva Cassidy, 1998

Radio 2 listeners love a good voice and a sad story. Eva Cassidy had both. Unknown until she kicked her career into overdrive by kicking the bucket, Terry Wogan played a couple of her covers on his breakfast show and, three years after release, the middle-aged bought into her tragic tale and made it a chart topper. They never listen to it now.

Lioness: Hidden Treasures by Amy Winehouse, 2011

A posthumous compilation of unreleased songs, covers and demos; in other words, studio sweepings which Winehouse wouldn’t have countenanced releasing had she lived. But the public was hungry for more from the Camden Nightingale, as she was never known, and lapped up alternate versions of songs they already owned and a Nas track.

Double Fantasy by John Lennon and Yoko Ono, 1980

Lennon’s post-Beatles period alternated between albums his fans liked, without Yoko Ono, and albums they tolerated, with Yoko Ono. This one, about their reuniting and domestic bliss, was the latter. Unpopular and low in the charts, he showed the world how it’s done by being killed by a fan and scoring a worldwide hit. Six months later Ono’s Season of Glass, featuring John’s bloodied glasses on the cover, charted at a lowly 49.

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Who needs opposition? The SNP show how to f**k it up all on your own

WHO needs a functioning opposition to f**k up a decade in government? Not the SNP! They’ve proved you can do it effectively and stylishly all on your own. 

Yes, despite governing since 2007, benefiting from two popular leaders and winning the referendum they always wanted, the Scottish National Party are on the verge of total collapse without any help from anyone.

Humza Yousaf, the party’s most recent leader, said: “Opposition? Up here?

“The Tories only win in areas so deluded they think they’re English, the Labour vote’s negligible, we’ve basically got the whole country locked down, and look at us. Ruined. What an achievement.

“I, for example, have been in for over a year and what have I done? Nothing except blow up a coalition. Brought down by pissing off the Green party. Beat that.

“My predecessors? Well, the most recent one was ever so popular but now her husband’s charged with embezzlement of SNP funds, and the one before her was brought down by sexual assault allegations. Which he tried to use against everyone else. Didn’t go well.

“So here we stand, nobody challenging us, no idea who’s going to make up the government for the next two years, flat out f**ked, and we’ve done it entirely unaided. Go us.”

Sir Keir Starmer, leader of the Labour party, said: “Opposition’s overrated. There’s a lot to be said for just standing there.”