I understand why Alan would think Buddy dies, since death was a constant theme in Zevon's work, and he uses the phrase "heavenly light" in the song. However, he does not die. The heavenly red light is obviously metaphorical, because soring a goal is what he dreamed of all his life. That would have to be one hell of a cold-cocking (if that's a word) to kill Buddy. Alan is definitely wrong on this one.
I've listened to the song many, many times, and it has never once occured to me that Buddy dies at the end. But now, with that thought, I listened to it again and...nope, nothing changed.
I dunno...in "I'll Sleep When I'm Dead," Mitch Albom's quotes (he wrote the lyrics) definitely imply that he died. At least that's how I read "...he gets to the last game of his life and has a chance to score an actual goal."
<p>It was his retirement game.</p><p>In his final season, on his final nightBuddy and a Finn goon were pegged for a fightThirty seconds left, the puck took a rollAnd suddenly Buddy had a shot on goal</p><p>The goalie committed, Buddy picked his spotTwenty years of waiting went into that shotThe fans jumped up, the Finn jumped tooAnd coldcocked Buddy on his follow throughThe big man crumbled but he felt all right'Cause the last thing he sawwas the flashing red lightHe saw that heavenly light</p>
I agree with that, but I'm still not sure the too are mutually exclusive. Just put me down as someone who, for the ten years he's been listening to the song, has always assumed that he died.
Well, I think we can all at least agree on My Ride's Here and Keep Me In Your Heart and Roland the Headless Thompson Genner and...
I don't know the song at all, but I'm pretty sure that, from what we know now, if the guy played 20 years of hockey and the song was written 20 years ago, all that concussive and sub-concussive head trauma would have caught up to this Buddy gentleman by now. I'm going with suicide 10 years ago, most likely outcome.
It all depends on how you interpret the meaning of "his final night". I always saw it as Buddy's last chance to get one damn goal. This hits home for me because I never scored a basket on my 8th grade basketball team, even though everyone kept giving me the ball in the last game of the season.
I think it was left purposely ambiguous, as with many of Zevon's songs. I mean, is Roland dead, or is he just living a headless existince? Was the shot fired from behind by Jeannie's father fatal, or did it just leave Jeannie's lover wounded in the dirt? Did the lawyers, guns and money arrive in Honduras in time?And when Mr. Bad Example offers to meet us in the next life, how soon does he expect to get there?