This was the first single taken from American Punk Rock band Rancid's seventh studio album, Let the Dominoes Fall. Their frontman Tim Armstrong says "Last One to Die" is "about the survival of our band." Armstrong elaborates by stating "Over the last eighteen years, we've seen a lot of bands and friends pass on, quit, or move on for various reasons, yet we keep moving forward."
Rancid formed in 1991, and along with Green Day and The Offspring, brought Punk into the mainstream in the '90s. Rancid never signed to a major label: Let the Dominoes Fall was released on the independent Hellcat Records.
Drummer Branden Steineckert commented: "One of my favorites. We all wrote this one together at Skywalker Ranch one night when we had finished tracking for the day. This one was really exciting because it just came out of us so naturally and quickly. We were all singing and jamming, it felt like a celebration and anthem which in turn is exactly what it became. To me it sounds like Oi music meets Bruce Springsteen. This is one of the many songs I got to sing back up vocals on. So we are all singing the chorus."
This was the first Rancid single to feature new drummer Branden Steineckert, who joined the band in 2006 following the departure of longtime drummer Brett Reed. Steineckert previously played drums in Utah post-hardcore band The Used.
In April 2009, KROQ in Los Angeles became the first radio station to play "Last One to Die." The song stayed up on Rancid's MySpace page along with a full stream of 2009's Let the Dominoes Fall album the following month.
In July 2009, this song was made available as a downloadable song for the video game Rock Band, along with two other Rancid songs: "Time Bomb" and "Ruby Soho."