Once You Are Dead, You Are Made for Life

Jimi Hendrix? Bob Dawbarn? Chris Welch? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: Guitar legend Jimi Hendrix died tragically when he was only 27 years old. Shortly before his death he supposedly said this:

It’s funny how most people love the dead. Once you’re dead, you’re made for life.

Was this quote created by mythmakers, or did Hendrix really say it?

Quote Investigator: Hendrix passed away in September 1970, and eighteen months before this event the influential United Kingdom music weekly “Melody Maker” published a three part series about the musician. An extended interview conducted by journalist Bob Dawbarn was split across issues. The third part of the series appeared on March 8, 1969 and included the following remarks from Hendrix. Bold face has been added to highlight the key sentences. The phrasing differed slightly from the version given by the questioner [JHBD]:

The thing is you have to be positive. You have to keep going until you have all the negatives out of your system.

It’s funny the way most people love the dead. Once you are dead you are made for life. You have to die before they think you are worth anything.

I tell you, when I die I’m not going to have a funeral, I’m going to have a jam session. And, knowing me, I’ll probably get busted at my own funeral.

I shall have them playing everything I did musically – everything I enjoyed doing most. The music will be played loud and it will be our music.

After discussing the songs and the artists he envisioned at his own funeral Hendrix ended with this statement:

For that, it’s almost worth dying, just for the funeral.

Here are additional selected citations in chronological order.

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