Suicide is Painless (MASH Theme) (Tab)

Johnny Mandel – Suicide is Painless (Tab)

This song has quite a story behind it. When working on the MASH movie Robert Altman attempted to come up with, “the stupidest song ever written,” for the funeral scene. But failed to come up with something suitably idiotic. But told the movie’s composer Johnny Mandel, “All is not lost. I’ve got a 15-year-old kid who’s a total idiot.”

So his son poured his heart into a dark poem about how suicide is the answer to a life full of pain. To which his dad presumably chortled, slapped him on the back and said, “This trash is absolutely perfect, you tiny moron.”

But the joke is on Robert Altman. His son made far more money from the song than Altman did for directing the movie thanks to it being used in the TV show and being covered by acts as diverse as Bill Evans and the Manic Street Preachers.

I’ve kept my arrangement pretty straightforward. There are lots of familiar chord shapes and it’s one finger per string picking all the way through. The only tricky part is the big leaps up the neck in bar 18. Also, watch out for the bar of 2/4 on D7 chord in bar 13. That D7 chord lasts for a bar longer in the original version but it feels a bit over the top to me so I cut it short (as the Manics did in their version).


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