Published the other day: “Ten Music Icons Whose Deaths Have Been Greatly Exaggerated” on Chart

This feature, which Chart was kind enough to publish earlier in the week, comes with a bit of a back story.

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been working my way through a backlog of Chart content, and this piece was a part of that backlog. It’s been on the table since the middle of September, when NHL coach Pat Burns was falsely pronounced dead on Twitter.

The idea sat on the shelf until last week, when Canadian icon Gordon Lightfoot celebrated a birthday, despite having also been declared dead on Twitter back in February.

“Lightfoot can take comfort in knowing that he wasn’t alone,” I wrote in the introduction to the piece – adding, in the original draft, that “we’re not just saying that because the same thing happened a few months later to former NHL coach Pat Burns.”

The piece was supposed to run in its original form on Friday, but Chart quite rightly put it on hold after this piece by Anne T. Donahue went viral. Editor and all-around good guy Aaron Brophy told me they’d run it the following week, which I thought was a fine idea.

And then, on Friday evening, Pat burns actually died.

Worried that a case of bad timing would be seen as grossly insensitive by some, I quickly whipped up another version of the piece that didn’t mention Burns. I also told Chart that I’d have no problem with them sitting on the piece for a few days, just for the sake of being cautious.

The piece was published on Wednesday – and the reason I didn’t tell you about it that night, as I usually do, is because the good people at Chart made an honest mistake and published the original version. Aaron later noted that it felt “more topical than insensitive” in retrospect, and I don’t disagree. But I was still a bit relieved when I looked it up today and discovered that the line had been removed.

I should note that nobody complained about the line while it was up, and I should admit that Aaron was probably right. I mean, people would have gotten that we weren’t making light of Pat Burns or his passing, right?

You know, sometimes I worry that I’m too kind and/or timid to write for a music site. But maybe that’s another story for another day…

Posted in Published Today