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Let's look back at some of the greatest swansongs in music from The Beatles to The Smiths...
By the time their fourth studio album was released, The Smiths were no more. Despite the prospect of signing to major label EMI and much critical and commercial acclaim, management hassles and inter-personal problems between the members saw guitarist Johnny Marr jump ship. Their final LP is a dark, introspective affair, with the blackly humorous Girlfriend In A Coma as the lead single and Mozzian swipes at club culture (Death Of A Disco Dancer) and record company greed (Paint A Vulgar Picture). It all ends with the heartbreaking career footnote I Won't Share You.
The legendary Manchester band only managed to release two full studio albums within the short space of 18 months (that's if you don't include their aborted, unreleased "Warsaw" album for RCA). When their second LP, Closer, was released in June 1980, singer Ian Curtis had been dead for a month, having killed himself on the eve of a US tour. The album didn't include the hit Love Will Tear Us Apart, but ranks as one of the most harrowing, yet stirring listens of the post-punk era.
Sadly, Bowie's twenty-fifth album is now his last. It was released on 8 January 2016, his 69th birthday and just two days before his death, aged 69. It now appears that the lyrics on the LP concern the superstar's 18-month long battle with cancer and have taken on an unbearably tragic significance.
For their third album - and the second for David Geffen's DGC Records - the grunge heroes tried to get away from the slick, radio-friendly sound of Nevermind by working with the notorious musician and producer Steve Albini. Much harsher in sound and in intent than Nevermind, tracks like Heart-Shaped Box and Pennyroyal Tea were considered by the label to be not commercial enough and ructions occurred. Imagine what must have happened when they heard Rape Me.
Calm down, we KNOW that Let It Be was released on 8 May 1970, 8 months after Abbey Road, but the band was officially over by then. The Let It Be material had been recorded in January 1969 but was such a miserable experience that it remained on the shelf for over a year. McCartney persuaded the others to head back to the studio and the result was one of the Fab Four's slickest productions, featuring Come Together, Here Comes The Sun and Something.
On reflection, five years doesn't seem too long to wait for the follow-up to an amazing debut album, but expectations were high for the Roses' second outing. Some say they pulled it off, others say they couldn't have delivered after losing the momentum that Madchester had given them. Still, with tracks like Love Spreads and Ten Storey Love Song, it's a fine record… and although they've released some new tracks since, there's still no sign of a proper follow-up.
At the time, nobody was expecting this would be the last hurrah of Oasis. And the band's seventh album didn't really set the world on fire, although there were some good songs on there: The Shock Of The Lightning, Falling Down and Liam's I'm Outta Time. Time will tell if this will be Oasis's epitaph.
The Verve had announced their split in 1999 and Richard Ashcroft had carved a respectable solo career. It was a surprise, therefore, to see the band get back together for their first new album since Urban Hymns, albeit without guitarist Simon Tong. The resulting LP, Forth, made No 1 in the UK albums chart and boasts one surefire classic in Love Is Noise. It seems pretty unlikely that the band will regroup.
The third and final album from The Jimi Hendrix Experience was a double - and produced under the watchful eye of Jimi himself. A huge beast of a record, it bears all the hallmarks of the psychedelic production of the time: backwards guitars, flanging and all manner of outrageous studio effects. The songs aren't bad either, with Voodoo Chile (its 15 minute original and "Slight Return" reprise), Crosstown Traffic, Gypsy Eyes and the incredible cover of Bob Dylan's All Along The Watchtower. The sleeve, featuring 19 nude women, remains one of the most inappropriate record covers ever! Hendrix issued one more live album before his death on 18 September 1970.
Tragic Jeff Buckley only completed one album in his lifetime before he accidentally drowned on May 29 1997. But Grace is an amazing piece of work, which showcases the singer's fragile yet powerful voice. Aside from the title track, you have the cover of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah, Last Goodbye, Lilac Wine and Dream Brother.
One of the greatest British bands ever closed their career with this brief album that saw frontman Paul Weller exploring soul and R&B, alienating some of his audience - and bandmates - in the process. Still, what a way to go: the album features the No 1 double A-side Town Called Malice, backed with Precious and saw Weller indulge his Britpop influences with Just Who Is The Five O'Clock Hero?
The sixth album from Jack and Meg featured the great song You Don't Know What Love Is (You Just Do As You're Told) and was a mature, more thoughtful entry from the duo. Jack claimed that there was a central theme of "feeling positive" about the album, but the band's days were numbered. With Meg suffering from stage fright and anxiety, the pair officially announced their split four years later.
One of the most influential bands of the US post-punk scene, the eighth and final album from Talking Heads didn't hold any classic tracks, but did have a guest appearance from Johnny Marr. The LP saw frontman David Byrne indulge his passion for the funkier end of World Music once again. The band announced their split in 1991.
1985 seems a bit late to be waving the punk flag, but by that year The Clash had become US stadium favourites, even though Joe Strummer and bassist Paul Simonon were the only original members. 1982's Combat Rock was a huge hit, but with guitarist Mick Jones no longer part of the songwriting process, the follow-up was seen by many commentators as the first Strummer solo album. Manager Bernie Rhodes had to complete much of the album from Strummers unfinished tracks. Shortly afterwards, the crap was cut permanently, as the band disintegrated.
Jim Morrison may have permanently checked out of Morrison Hotel in July 1971, but death does not stop rock and roll. The remaining members of The Doors - keyboardist Ray Manzarek, guitarist Robbie Krieger and drummer John Densmore - released two albums after the singer's death and then reconvened in 1978 to set music to a series of poems recorded by Morrison in '69 and '70. Former Doors producer Paul Rothchild said of the finished product: "It's the same as taking a Picasso, cutting it into postage stamp sized pieces and spreading it across a supermarket wall."
It's hard to believe that the punk pioneers were only active recording artists for around a year, releasing their debut single, Anarchy In The UK, in November 1976 and their one studio album in October of 1977. And that was it. The other albums that followed either didn't feature the full line-up, had "guest" vocalists, or were re-hashes of old demos. Punk rock, eh?
The band's fourth album gave them huge critical and commercial acclaim going straight in at No.1 in the UK album charts.But the celebrations were short lived when they announced they were going to split up and they played their final, emotional shows in 2017.
R.E.M. released 15 albums in their 30 year career, and Collapse Into Now was a low-key way to end such a glorious run. The band knew that they would be calling it a day as they entered the studio, but the result is curiously un-sentimental and features guest appearances by Patti Smith, Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder and Peaches.
Sadly, Amy Winehouse only released two studio albums during her lifetime and this was the second. An altogether different beast to her debut, Frank, songs such as Rehab, You Know I'm No Good, Love Is A Losing Game and the title track hint at the darkness that was to overwhelm her life. Despite the poignancy of the record, it's still a fabulous showcase for the Winehouse voice.