Only Dying (non-existent re-recorded version of Stone Temple Pilots song; 1993)

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The front cover of The Crow soundtrack.

Status: Non-existent

Stone Temple Pilots are an American grunge/alternative rock band originating from San Diego, CA. Formed in 1985, the band was originally named Mighty Joe Young and had a significantly different style, with influences ranging from funk to yodelling, to the brand of hard-rock-meets-stadium-rock that the band ultimately became known for. The band played several gigs around the San Diego area, including opening shows for the Henry Rollins-fronted hardcore punk band Black Flag, and gained a moderate fanbase, which allowed them to record a demo album in 1990.


The demo contained several songs that would end up being re-recorded for their debut album Core, as well as several songs that would never see release. Among those songs was one entitled "Only Dying", which is cited to be one of the band's best early works.[1] It features a darker sound than the band would wind up becoming famous for, dealing with issues of loneliness, helplessness, and death. However, the band decided not to re-record it for their official debut album two years later.

In 1993, the band was approached about submitting a song for the soundtrack to the Alex Proyas movie The Crow and the band decided to re-record "Only Dying" for the soundtrack. Figuring it would be disrespectful to submit the song to the soundtrack due to its title and themes after Brandon Lee died during the filming of the movie, the band ultimately decided to instead submit a song that they had already finished for their next album, Purple, a song titled "Big Empty".[2]

The original demo was leaked in the years since and had recently been released on the Core 20th Anniversary edition in September 2017. The song was presumed to have been re-recorded in 1993 before Brandon Lee had died. However, band members Robert and Dean DeLeo debunked this in a Rolling Stone article released in 2017.[3]


Original demo version of "Only Dying."

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