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Thursday October 21st, 2010

Posted at 3:59pm

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Elliott Smith at St. Andew's, Detroit in November 2000. Photo by Kari Gignac.

… we lost one of the most beautifully haunting voices of the alternative music scene. On October 21st, 2003, Elliott Smith was stabbed twice in chest in the living room of his Los Angeles home. While some claim foul play, police reported his death a suicide. To this day, the circumstances surrounding his death are unknown.

Smith began his music career as part of the rock band Heatmiser, and in 1994 he broke out on his own with his first album Roman Candle. His music went mostly unnoticed until his song Miss Misery was featured in the film Good Will Hunting. He was nominated for an Oscar in 1998 for the song, and despite his introverted demeanor, performed the song on stage at the awards ceremony.

In the following years, Smith released his two most successful albums- XO and Figure 8. With songs like Independence Day, A Question Mark, Son Of Sam and Stupidity Tries, his heart-breaking songwriting abilities and harmony-layered vocals became more and more moving. His fan base grew because of this, but also because his humility and passion were so apparent. He was a musician, not an entertainer. He paid no heed to appearances, and with each performance, he exposed himself completely. You left the concert feeling his pain, knowing his story.

Fans knew Smith was dealing with many issues reticent musicians, having been thrust into the spotlight, struggle with- drug addiction, depression, alcoholism- but by the time of his death, he’d straightened himself out. The autopsy reported the only drugs found in his body were prescribed amounts of antidepressants and medication for his ADHD.

Each year, fans gather on Oct. 21st to listen to his music, absorb his thin voice whispering thick lyrics, and share memories of the way his music affected them. Elliott Smith tribute nights happen all over the world, and tonight Windsorites can celebrate Elliott at Milk Coffee Bar (68 University Avenue West.), beginning at 9:30pm. Fans will be invited to take the stage and perform their favourite Elliott Smith tune.

everybody knows
you only live a day
but it’s brilliant anyway

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