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Here’s why Stephen Colbert played Neutral Milk Hotel’s “Holland, 1945” to close The Colbert Report

on December 19, 2014, 9:14pm

A celebrity singalong of “We’ll Meet Again” wasn’t the only music moment on last night’s finale of The Colbert Report. Neutral Milk Hotel’s  “Holland, 1945”, and not the show’s usual theme song, soundtracked the ending credits of the episode. As Gawker points out, the song choice served as a tribute to his father and two brothers who tragically died in a plane crash in 1974.

According to a New York Times column about Colbert written by Maureen Dowd:

He had 10 older siblings. But after his father and the two brothers closest to him in age died in a plane crash when he was 10 and the older kids went off to college, he said, he was “pretty much left to himself, with a lot of books.”

He said he loved the “strange, sad poetry” of a song called “Holland 1945” by an indie band from Athens, Ga., called Neutral Milk Hotel and sent me the lyrics, which included this heartbreaking bit:

“But now we must pick up every piece
Of the life we used to love
Just to keep ourselves
At least enough to carry on. . . .
And here is the room where your brothers were born
Indentions in the sheets
Where their bodies once moved but don’t move anymore.”

Replay last night’s episode in full on Comedy Central’s website. Listen to the song below.

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