Elliott Smith was an American singer-songwriter and musician. His primary instrument was the guitar, though he was also proficient with piano, clarinet, bass guitar, drums and harmonica. Smith lived much of his adult life in Portland, Oregon, and began his solo career in 1994. He rose to mainstream prominence when his song “Miss Misery“—included in the soundtrack for the film Good Will Hunting (1997)—was nominated for an Oscar in 1998. Smith suffered from depression, alcoholism and drug dependence, and these topics often appear in his lyrics. At age 34, he died in Los Angeles from two stab wounds to the chest, likely self-inflicted. At the time of his death, he was working on his sixth studio album, From a Basement on the Hill, which was posthumously completed and released in 2004. Smith was born on August 6, 1969 and died on October 21, 2003.
My wife Heidi, a native Oregonian, is a big Elliott Smith fan. I also have a great appreciation for his music, but I think she loves him more. My favorite Smith song is “Needle in the Hay.” In unrelated news, yesterday our daughter Ramona turned two years old. We had a little family pizza party, with vegetarian pizza and two candles stuck into homemade strawberry shortcake (though we substituted chocolate brownie mini flax muffins for the shortcake). It was the best.