Three years ago today, a good friend called me early in the morning with some really bad news.
Elliott Smith, my favorite songwriter ever, was dead.
Seems silly to miss someone you never knew, but I do. I always felt like he knew me. Three years ago today, and the guy still crosses my mind each day.
I'm aware that most people don't feel that kind of connection to music. But I do. For better or for worse, I do. I think I'm lucky in that way. It's good to know a song or a lyric can still affect you. If it can't, what is there left to enjoy? And what then actually would affect you? If you can't take solace in a song, or a book or a piece of art, what can you turn to? I honestly don't know.
I'm glad his music impacted me the way it did. I'm glad I enjoyed it while it was around. I just wish the son of a bitch was still around today. It's hard facing up to the fact that your hero just couldn't do it anymore. Where does that leave you? It's not a good place, I can tell you.
But I digress.
Today is a day better spent remembering. So, here's to you, my friend. Thanks for all the music and words you left to us. If nobody ever said it to you, I will: Thank you.
If you'd like to learn about Elliott or his music, here is a great place to start:
Say hello to my friend Charlie if you stop by there. I'm sure he'd love to hear from you today too.
And if you'd like to see a really surreal video of Elliott performing at the 1997 Academy Awards, click HERE. Make sure you give it some time to load properly.
Almost ten years later and it's still bizarre to see him standing between Trisha Yearwood and Celine Dion, followed by an announcement by Madonna. Haha. Makes me smile though.
Another great site to visit is The Trash Treasury. It’s a pretty comprehensive repository for Elliott Smith live tracks, unreleased demos and other lovely tidbits. You can hear the song I titled this post after there too. Click here to listen to “See You in Heaven.” It’s an unreleased demo that Elliott was working on just before his death. He never had the chance to record any lyrics for it, but the music stands on its own. It’s very playful, layered and diverse and brings to mind music you might hear from his friends in Quasi or Built to Spill. Simply fantastic. Makes you wonder what he would have done next.
Also, I learned recently that there will be a new release of Elliott material in March of 2007! It’s going to be a collection of previously unreleased demos form the Either/Or sessions, or somewhere thereabouts in his career. Check out the story HERE.