7. Death – Klaus Nomi

album-simple-manOkay, I’m cheating, because this is one of the greatest operatic arias ever written and as such has no place on this list, but I had to put it in because I just need to have Klaus Nomi in there somewhere. Death is his rendition of Dido’s Lament from Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, and it was one of my gateway songs in the early 80s when I was first starting to get into opera. (The other one was Malcolm McLaren’s mad version of Un bel di.) I’m sure everyone knows Nomi now, his legend has grown massively since his death, but when this came out he was considered very far out indeed, and the super-straight music press couldn’t ignore him enough, it seemed. I love the perky pop songs he did on his two albums, but of course it’s on the opera stuff that he really lets rip. The abandoned Queen Dido longs for death to relieve the pain of love, and sings ‘Remember me, but ah! Forget my fate!’. Nomi sings it with the insane conviction that he brought to everything, and it’s particularly sad that this was in a sense his own farewell.

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