Pop songs with Latin titles are like Number 3 buses: You wait half a lifetime and then two come along at once. And to think that just a couple of weeks ago, I had absolutely no idea what the phrase ‘Memento Mori’ meant.
“I’m in a better place my time is done
There’s no amazing grace no kingdom come”
They told us when we were young
You can’t live forever.”
The Melody Unit, ‘Memento Mori’ from their debut album Songs for the New American Century
“Memento Mori, Memento Mori
It’s Latin and it says we must all die
But I tried it for a while, it’s a load of boring shite
So I buy buy buy buy buy”
The Streets, ‘Memento Mori’ from the album The Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living
The phrase seems appropriate on the death of yet another fabled rock musician, the monumentally influential, famously troubled and ultimately reclusive Syd Barrett. What kind of a life did he have these last thirty-plus years? Did he dwell on his own mortality much during this time? And did death come as any kind of blessing?
Read a very detailed explanation of ‘Memento Mori’ at Wikipedia here
…Trying to think what other Latin phrases have shown up as song titles. The only one that comes straight to mind is ‘Carpe Diem,’ which was a big alternative hit for Bigod 20 in the early 90s, right around the same time as, I believe, the Rushmore movie utilized the same phrase. I had a t-shirt with the words ‘Carpe Diem’ on it round the time and it was amazing how many people would walk up to me and say: “Seize The Day!” Who knew so many Americans knew Latin?