Buttkickin’ Halloween Songs: “D.O.A.” — Bloodrock (1971)

I try to move my arms and there’s no feeling
And when I look I see there’s nothing there
The face beside me stopped it totally bleeding
The girl I knew has such a distant stare…

Plane crashes… yikes.

As I’ve repeated often: I don’t have a fear of flying. Hell, I don’t even have any fear of heights whatsoever.

But boy oh boy, do I have a catastrophic irrational terror of plummeting to the ground at terminal velocity in a blazing fireball of death.

All of this makes D.O.A., the 1971 single from Bloodrock, such an exquisite terror. Oh no, it’s not about a plane crash; that has already happened. We’re spared most of that particular trauma, save for a flashback in a single verse.

Instead, D.O.A. details the experiences of a man dying on the way to the hospital, after the plane crash. He can’t move, he feels nothing but pain, and he is locked in a rictus stare with the dead face of his girlfriend, lying next to him. As he bleeds to death, with no nope of survival, he secretly prays to God, hoping for some desperate insight as he does not know how to die.

Happy times indeed! Listen, that creepy organ intro lets you know, in no uncertain terms, that you’re not in for a happy time, and that things are not gonna end well.

D.O.A. is one of those creepy early 70s tunes that explicitly dealt with morbid subject matter, and still managed to crack the Top 40. It touches that primal terror though: of death, maybe. Or maybe of what comes after, if anything at all. I think, at least as this song is concerned, that the real agonizing terror is coming to grips with that exact moment of transition. To learn how to die.

I remember
We were flying along and hit something in the air
I remember
We were flying along and hit something in the air
Life is flowing out my body
Pain is flowing out with my blood
The sheets are red and moist where I’m lying
God in Heaven, teach me how to die…

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