Throwback Thursday: Happy Birthday, Elliott Smith
If the soft-spoken troubadour known as Elliott Smith was still alive, he'd be celebrating his 46th birthday today, Aug. 6, 2015. But even though he's gone now, we can still take a few moments to honor his music and life.
Smith lived a troubled life. He was plagued with depression and suffered from drug and alcohol addiction. Smith put all of his emotional pain into his music, and he did so in a uniquely beautiful way.
Smith also held a love-hate relationship with his fame and celebrity status. He enjoyed underground success, which probably suited him well, for the first few years of his career. He came to the attention of the masses, however, when fellow Portland resident Gus Van Sant included a handful of his songs on the soundtrack to the Oscar-winning film, Good Will Hunting.
Smith started off playing in the band Heatmiser in Portland in 1992, releasing three full-length albums before they broke up in 1996, shortly after signing a deal with Virgin Records. By this point, Smith had already begun releasing solo albums, which were a big sonic departure from what the band was playing.
Smith would release five albums before his death in 2003 at the age of 34. Two albums, From a Basement on the Hill and New Moon, were released posthumously. Even though we won't get any more studio albums from Smith, what he left behind will keep us listening for a long time to come.