As we continue listening to the Kill Rock Stars Premium Channel on the Music Unlimited service, the solemn voice of Elliott Smith kicks off the 2nd track in the channel. This past Sunday was the anniversary of his death and we look back at a very troubled but nothing short of legendary songwriter who was first discovered by Kill Rock Stars.
Elliott Smith gained recognition in the early 90’s as the lead singer of Heatmiser, eventually branching out as a solo artist in his adopted home of Portland, OR. His travels lead him to New York City and eventually Los Angeles, all the while releasing five studio albums and gaining traction all around the country. His muted, almost haunting vocals and understated guitar compelled fans while the lyrics were simultaneously heartbreaking. He drew national attention in 1998 when he was nominated for and performed “Miss Misery,” at the Oscars, which was used in the film, Good Will Hunting. While he lost to Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On,” his downplayed rendition pushed Smith and his genre into the spotlight against the pomp of the usual Oscar contenders.
Smith died in the midst of recording his sixth album, From a Basement on a Hill, in 2003, which was completed in his memory. In 2007, Kill Rock Stars unearthed an entire album of unreleased material from approx. 1994 – 1997 with New Moon. This past August, they released alternate versions from the recording sessions of Either/Or to celebrate what would have been his 40th birthday.
For today’s #ThrowbackThursday, get familiar with Smith’s catalog below and continue listening to his Kill Rock Stars labelmates in our channel.
Album: Roman Candle (1994)
Song: “Last Call”
Album: Elliott Smith (1995)
Song: “Coming Up Roses”
Album: Either/Or (1997)
Song: “Ballad of Big Nothing”
Album: XO (1998)
Song: “Waltz #2”
Album: Figure 8 (2000)
Song: “Everything Means Nothing to Me”
Song: “Fond Farewell”
Want a crash course? Try: An Introduction to Elliott Smith