Two hundred and eight years ago today, American author Edgar Allan Poe was born in Boston, Massachusetts. And 20 years ago, celebrities paid homage to the master of gothic horror by reading his bone-chilling tales and spooky poems for the tribute album, Closed on Account of Rabies. Whose title might be a pun on Poe's cause of death, which some claim was brought on by rabies instead of alcoholism.
Here are three highlights from the double CD, which you can buy second-hand on Amazon.
Christopher Walken, 'The Raven'
It's no easy task to take on Poe's most famous poem. The dissonant guitar music playing the background tries to make this reading eerie, but Saturday Night Live fans probably won't be able to listen to the reading without imagining that it's a Halloween episode of The Continental. Maybe the menacing birds would've stopped saying "nevermore" if the speaker offered it a glass of champagne.
Iggy Pop, 'The Tell-Tale Heart'
The godfather of punk clearly relished the chance to narrate this grisly tale of murder and madness. And when he reads the passage where the murderer [SPOILER ALERT] confesses to the crime, Iggy shouts like he's back on stage with The Stooges.
Jeff Buckley, "Ulalume"
Arguably the highlight of the whole album, Jeff Buckley's recitation of the melancholy poem "Ulalume" is especially haunting since the rising star died six months before "Closed on Account of Rabies" was released.