It was five years ago today that Elliott Smith died in his Los Angeles home at the age of 34.
In the years leading up to his death, Smith had long since abandoned Portland, but his legacy will forever be anchored to this city. To be honest, I'm not sure I'd have even migrated here if it wasn't for overly-romanticizing those downtrodden lyrics from his early solo work. I'm sure I am not alone. Perhaps every young artist, in one way or another, who flocks to Portland wants to be the protagonist "Falling out 6th and Powell, a dead sweat in my teeth."
And while the legend of Elliott Smith might forever be tied to two events--the frightened look on his face during his out-of-place, yet still lovely, Academy Awards Performance, and the pair of stab wounds to the chest that tragically snuffed out a life that, no matter how difficult and troubling, ended far too soon--he left behind a remarkable catalog of material to remember him by.
Elliott Smith, R.I.P.
Heatmiser - "Plainclothes Man"
Elliott Smith - "Some (Rock) Song"
Elliott Smith - "Miss Misery" (Early Version)
Photo by Autumn De Wilde