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Fade Away

Fade Away[1]

Lester Bangs and The Delinquents (Brian Curley, Halsey Taylor, Mindy Curley, Andy Fuertsch, and Becky Bickham)

You can say that love is chic
then go play "Hide and Seek."
Laugh at cripples, get your kicks,
then rub against them and get fixed.[2]
What do you say?
Then will they fade away?
That's when you might start to fade away.
You only wear the finest clothes
and you've got the hippest nose.
Pretty people in neat rows
fill shooting galleries[3] to know
they can fade away.
Wanna fade away.
They're so impatient just to fade away.
A crumb of a moment lost in time.
Why go on about it? Why do you whine?
Like dead insects in the snow,
history has no need to know
we fade away....
I've asked myself a million times
if hating you is a crime,
but what kills me above all else,
is hating you just hating myself
until I fade away?
Go on fade away.
Then I just might fade away.


Birdland, With Lester Bangs, LP, CD
Track §4
LP: Add On Records, AD#101 (1986); LP, CD reissue: Dionysus Records, Bacchus Archives 1118 (1998)

Jook Savages On the Brazos, LP, CD
Track §9
LP: Live Wire Records, LW-3 (1981); CD: Moll Tonträger [GER], Moll 6 (1995); CD: re-issue: Live Wire Records, LW-20 (2009)


Jook Savages on the Brazos CD reissue lyrics insert, 2009. The lyrical arrangement on the Birdland recording is slightly different from The Delinquents recording of "Fade Away," even though the lyrical content is virtually identical. The lyrics here represent the version recorded by Lester Bangs and The Delinquents.


Last Updated: 08/29/2016


Another of Lester's existentially driven lyrics described by biographer Jim DeRogatis as a "raging anti-love song."

[1] The song title alludes to "Not Fade Away," the popular 1957 Buddy Holly song about a love that won't fade. In Lester's time, the song was covered by a host of artists he reviewed, including his own beloved punk goddess, Patti Smith.

[2] "laugh at cripples...and get fixed": "crippled" pejoratively refers to a dysfunctional state of drug use, while "getting fixed" suggests the practice of acquiring and using drugs—in modern parlance, "scoring a hit." Bangs's lyric criticizes the hypocrisy of functional addicts who deride street junkies. Lester, who would have doubtlessly considered himself a functional addict, felt conflicted about this, and the sentiment is later expressed in the lyric, "I've asked myself a million hating you just hating myself / until I fade away?"

[3] "Shooting gallery" is a 1970s slang term for a heroin den, similar in its usage to the more modern term, "crack house." 

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