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Elliott Smith

The celebrated folk-punk singer/songwriter Elliott Smith rose from indie obscurity to mainstream success in 1997 on the strength of "Miss Misery," his Academy Award-nominated song from the film Good Will Hunting. A native of Portland, OR, Smith began writing and recording his first songs at age 14, later becoming a fixture of the city's thriving music scene. As a member of the band Heatmiser, he debuted in 1993 with the LP Dead Air, issuing his first solo effort Roman Candle on the tiny Cavity Search label a year later. For his 1995 self-titled album, Smith signed with the noted Kill Rock Stars label. Either/Or followed in 1997, around the same time that filmmaker and longtime fan Gus Van Sant requested permission to use the singer's music in his upcoming Good Will Hunting.

Smith also composed a handful of new songs for the soundtrack, among them "Miss Misery," and when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced its Oscar nominations the following February, the track was a surprise entry in the Best Original Song category. Although he did not win, Smith performed the song live at the televised Oscar broadcast, appearing on-stage alongside superstars Trisha Yearwood and Celine Dion in one of the most notably surreal musical moments in recent memory. Smith's DreamWorks label debut, XO, followed later in 1998. Two years later he delivered Figure 8, which delved further into lush arrangements and orchestrations. For the next two years, Smith labored over what was to be his next album, From a Basement on a Hill. He would not live to see the album's completion, however.

To the shock of friends and fans alike, Smith's body was found on October 21, 2003, with two stab wounds in his chest. To date, the coroner has been unable to determine the cause of death, and the Los Angeles Police Department's investigation remains open. From a Basement on a Hill was released one year later, just two days shy of the first anniversary of his death, and received warm critical nods. In 2007, the Kill Rock Stars label issued a two-disc set of Smith's unreleased work, all of which had been recorded between 1994 and 1997. Entitled New Moon, the 24-track collection contained three songs that had been previously released on hard to find compilations or soundtracks, including an early version of "Miss Misery" and a cover of Big Star's "Thirteen." ~ Jason Ankeny
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Division Day (Single)

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Track List: Happiness (Single)

Comments

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He's my pal. Took his CDs into the the hospital for my 3rd baby. Just Elliot , Willem and I. Thank you SWEET Elliot. We made it. Xo....
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karaab.dawso n
Love him. I even love the song that Ben Folds did for him.
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cumifordandr e a 5
Nick Drake will someday be with the likes of Elliot Smith.
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ffedge51
Elliot smith will someday be with the likes of nick drake. Amazing i must say.
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I'm a metalhead. But I know true talent when I see it. RIP Elliot. You layed it down! Genius!
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What are you guys talking about!?
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Hehe...no need for that. Just trying to add some perspective. Godspeed all the bakers at dawn...may they all cut their thumbs and bleed into their buns, 'til they melt away...
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chelseaolivi a c r a m e r
Me too I love it when I see you
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I have lost face. Brought shame upon myself and my family in front of the pandora community. I am going to go slice my belly, from chops to nave. Goodbye cruel world!!
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True dat Black&Greeb: n**ga shanked himself twice in the chest. Hari-kari takes balls, and I've got to give him props for that. He went out like a champ. Elliot Smith is a ninja. My bad. I apologize. Thanks for pointing that out to me.
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Say what you want about the persona; you've got to be at least kinda hard to shank yourself twice in the chest.
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Smith was portrayed such vulnerabilit y that his fans feel like they need to protect him from some real or imagined offense. Honestly, the teary, fragile, feminine persona gets kind of old. It has it's place, but at some point during his career like in life you have to grow up and be a man.
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On my station I get Elliott sometimes after really brutal ugly metal and I'm just so happy/melanc h o l i c . Elliott is the best. I miss him. Wish I knew him.
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He is to this day, one of the most beautiful poets and song writers till this day, I don't care what anyone thinks. I will always respect and admire this man for his work and his lyrical genius. He left us way too song tho. My old college professer for a photo class was actually really good friends with him but they had a falling out when good will hunting came out and when he got heavy into drugs, but she had notbjng but amazing tbinks to say about him; she was getting teary eyed while telling
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nate.seconds i g h t
Why are there so many dumb f*cks on the elliott smith comment section?
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xhidden99
Every Elliott Smith tune is the same tune.
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I'm a metalhead and I absolutely love Elliott. Died too soon but left us with some of the best music ever.
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He may as well have pulled out my notebooks and written my songs. I can relate to so much. Thanks for getting me through hard times, I'm never gonna know you now, but I'm gonna love you anyhow.
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If you dont like his language, dont f**king listen. Go listen to Barney and Friends or Mormon Tabernacle Choir and let us adults enjoy art unmolested by whiny cry babies.
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Whoever wrote his bio on here should do their research! Elliott was not a native of Portland.
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haha @ profane complainers
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Amazing just amazing
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lasowko
So beautiful. I'm so sorry he's gone.
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F**k you AND your surveys. Get outta heeeere
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10 years yesterday. Miss ya Elliott. You left us too soon, but with great tunes and a great legacy. Much love.
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This record was so rad, I saw him at saint Andrews in Detroit. Sowed up 4 hrs early and got him to sign a pack of lucky strikes!!
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I don't care if he used cuss words. Some have already explained the use of them (or their opinions on it) so there is no need to include an explanation in this comment. I'm here for Elliott and the music :)
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ambyrerose
I met you through your music. Heard stories about you from your family :) Whenever music is brought up, you are too. I've found an honesty in your works that is lacking in much of the music these days. Thank you for sharing yourself with a of us. Wherever you are now; Shalom.
Report as inappropriate
Sometimes cursing is a result of being around people who curse - or life just gets really sh** sometimes as it often does. Maybe some are given shelter, others are not. I heard they did scientific studies where people have pain inflicted upon them and either can say F**k, SH*T or Darn it, Jeessom Crow and the ones who sad the worst felt less pain than the ones who held back a little. Sometimes saying the worst is appropriate.
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zchristin
lol at those fretting over his use of curse words. As he said in an interview, 'never limit your writing.'

you all can f**k right off.
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Music is for listening. Just listen
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Mehh, why does he have to use profanityyyy ? So make a christian rock and wiggles station already!
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jkleven
Despite slight diminishment attributable to the F-bomb syndrome stated by holt56, Elliot Smith is one of the true musical geniuses of the last 20 years. Every time is listen to XO I get the chills.
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holt56
This guy likes to drop an f-bomb in every song. This is not what the classics used to do, so why does he think it's cool to do it now?
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F**kin A man. \/ \/ \/ what rock have you been under. Every s.o.b. and their mother uses profanity. Shiiet!
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holt56
Why does he have to swear? They didn't do that in the classic tunes, it's not needed.
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Hm luv the music .
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Instead of worrying about his death, lets honor his life by listening to his amazing music and lyrics. Truly one of the best musicians to ever grace the face of the earth. Rip Elliott.
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overjoyedhea r t
I love every bit of his music..I miss you and love you Elliott..
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the songs you wrote got me through a lot just want to tell you that...but its too late -ben folds.
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You only live a day, but its brilliant anyway.
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The bio is so inaccurate. His body was found?? lol who makes up this stuff? His girlfriend heard him scream when she was in the bathroom and, allegedly, in a panic pulled the knife out of his chest, called EMS,and performed CPR. Elliott died while in surgery to repair the wounds. He had a number of defensive wounds but elliott was known to mutilate himself with cigarettes and blades. But then you would have to question how long those wounds were there. My theory is that Jen Chiba had enough.
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Elliott covering Cat. I miss you
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he committed suicide and did it by stabbing himself twice in the chest. You don't have to be high to be able to accomplish this. If you ever have been stabbed you would know what I was talking about.
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datstankadan k
Stab yourself in the chest, pull it out, repeat. I doubt one would have the strength to follow through with step 3. Elliott wasnt a meth and speed head.
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Did anyone else have any reason to kill him?
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It is quite possible to stab yourself twice if you are really highly, actively agirated and suicidal
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cavelitist
Elliott's death is a mystery. Kill rock stars? You bet..I think someone did. But he did not kill himself. You cannot stab yourself twice.
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Folk - Story telling music, containing storytelling elements, narratives of a specific time and space/region , often containing colloquial language and metaphorical imagery...
Punk - Rock and roll genre with a DIY, anti-establi s h m e n t aesthetic...

Elliott Smith was in a punk band called Heatmiser, and he was signed to a punk label called, Kill Rock Stars. His music comes from the folk tradition of Van Zandt, Dylan, Drake and Young. Come on people...lea r n some history. Folk-punk is apt.
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danielle_ole s t o n 3
His death is a mystery. It was once considered a suicide but his suicide note spelled his name wrong and he was at home fighting with his girlfriend. I find it to be very difficult to stab yourself, twice.
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