School Of Seven Bells - "I Got Knocked Down (But I'll Get Up)"

When Joey Ramone was dying of lymphoma, he recorded the song “I Got Knocked Down (But I’ll Get Up)” about his battle with the disease. At the end of last year, we lost Benjamin Curtis, the former Secret Machines member who spent his last few years as the sonic mastermind in School Of Seven Bells, also to lymphoma. One of the last things Curtis ever did, and the last School Of Seven Bells song we will ever hear, is a version of “I Got Knocked Down” that Curtis put together when he was in the hospital. Curtis literally recorded the entire song on his laptop in his hospital bed. It’s a smooth, synthetic take on the song, and it would be extremely pretty even if you didn’t know the context of its existence. Knowing that, though, it’s devastating. Listen to it, and read some words from bandmate Alejandra Deheza, below.

(via The Line Of Best Fit)

Dehaza writes:

It was a very spontaneous decision to record this track. Benjamin had been talking about the song a lot, and then he just decided he was going to do it. We couldn’t record vocals in the hospital, so he actually face-timed with me and his brother while we recorded vocals in the studio. He spearheaded the whole thing on face time, would even tell us which knobs to turn and listen to levels etc. We’d even see nurses in the background from time to time! It was really amazing. But that was Benjamin, and producing was what he did. It was therapeutic and took his mind off being really sick. This song was really important to him and I’m happy we were able to record it.

The song is for sale at iTunes now.

Comments (10)
  1. This song left me speechless. I thought through my history with Curtis’ music today. Thinking through discovering School of Seven Bells at my college radio station, where I first really got into more “alternative” music, summers seeing them at free shows in NY (the xx opened for them when they were a four-piece at South Street Seaport), meeting them awkwardly on the street. Watching someone(more than someone I’d assume) die on Grey’s Anatomy. This band is awesome. Listening over and over and feeling totally grateful for what Deheza and Curtis were able to accomplish together. A lot of people don’t get a chance to craft their final goodbye. To do so through music, with your professional partner and friend, in homage to an icon…. Perfection.

  2. Why’d it get dusty in here all of a sudden?

  3. I’m afraid that if I listen to this song, I won’t be able to not cry. Time to break out the tissues.

  4. Claiming exclusive reposting rights on SOMEONE’S LAST SONG THEY RECORDED WHILE DYING OF CANCER IN A HOSPITAL BED is the ultimate in douchey blogging. As someone who makes cancer playlists undergoing chemo and a cancer survivor, I’m grossly offended by this.

    I’m sure Joey Ramone’s last wishes for it were: ‘I hope my last track ever gets bogarted by Stereogum for a few days so no one can hear it for awhile unless they read the blog . Golly, I sure do hope they capitalize on my death for page hits.’

    • *for patients undergoing

    • *gd, so angry. I meant to type Benjamin Curtis, not Joey Ramone.

    • Jesus, I’ve survived an illness that was very probably going to kill me too it doesn’t mean you have to be a dick. This video and song tribute a very talented guy who died tragically young, and I think everyone at Stereogum recognises how sad this is. I’m glad they shared this, what a great song and what a brilliant man. Not everything is for hits, sometimes lots of people feel for the people who’ve made beautiful music that’s made their lives more liveable.

    • I’m a cancer survivor too and, personally, I don’t see what’s wrong with this. It’s a beautiful song and a testament to what a talented musician he was.

    • For sale on itunes, on Youtube and Soundcloud. I’m not sure how Stereogum is bogarting the song.

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