Elliott Smith, the prodigiously gifted singer-songwriter whose fragile, flaying songcraft earned him an intensely devoted following in his short lifetime, died six years ago today at 34. The cause was two apparently self-inflicted knife wounds to the chest, though the L.A. county coroner did not conclusively rule his death a suicide.
Smith’s legacy of seven studio albums, two of them posthumous, is equal to or bigger than many of his gone-too-soon compatriots (Gram Parsons, Nick Drake, Tim and Jeff Buckley). Still, it’s hard not to think about the work — and the life — that his friends, fans and family still miss.
Watch a home-made recording of “Between the Bars,” from his 1997 watershed Either/Or below, and share your favorite memories of Smith, whether it’s his bizarro-world appearance preceding Celine Dion on the Oscars stage to perform Good Will Hunting‘s “Miss Misery,” or hearing “Waltz #2” or “Angeles” on a dive-bar jukebox or dorm-room stereo for the first time:
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