Today marks 10 years since singer-songwriter Elliott Smith died at age 34. His life came to an abrupt end, his collection of gentle and heartbreaking tunes have only grown more beloved in the indie community in the years following his passing. The first proper biography of Smith's life, William Todd Schultz's Torment Saint, was released at the start of the month, and on October 29 Schultz comes to Town Hall to discuss the book and Smith's life with Seattle Weekly's Mark Baumgarten. It should be an insightful chat, even if it is a bit of a downer.
In memory of Smith, here are a few surviving performances of some of his best songs...
"Between the Bars" remains the most hauntingly beautiful Smith song. "The potential you'll be, but you'll never see. The promises you'll only make..."
Perhaps the biggest moment in Smith's career was also the most surreal; performing at the 1998 Academy Awards. He was nominated for Best Original song for Good Will Hunting's "Miss Misery." He ended up unsuprisingly (though unjustly) losing to Titanic's "My Heart Will Go On."
The entire Good Will Hunting soundtrack plucked tracks from Smith's album, Either/Or, most notably the unusually upbeat (at least for him) "Say Yes."
"Twilight," maybe Smith's prettiest song, was only properly released posthumiously on From a Basement on the Hill.
Lastly, a dose of Smith in Seattle playing a stripped down version of "Waltz #2" at 1998's Deck the Hall Ball. For more, Seattle-based goodness, check out his entire set at Bumbershoot 2000.
William Todd Schultz with Mark Baumgarten: The Life of Elliott Smith
Oct 29 at 7:30, Town Hall, $5