Sparklehorse's Mark Linkous

Late last night Rolling Stone confirmed the sad news that Sparkhorse’s Mark Linkous has committed suicide. A statement from his family:

It is with great sadness that we share the news that our dear friend and family member, Mark Linkous, took his own life today. We are thankful for his time with us and will hold him forever in our hearts. May his journey be peaceful, happy and free. There’s a heaven and there’s a star for you.

He was nearly finished with a new album due on Anti-, while Dark Night Of The Soul — Linkous’ collaboration with Danger Mouse and David Lynch — will get an overdue offiial release on EMI this summer. More at

UPDATE: NYTimes shares more details:

He shot himself in the heart in an alley outside a friend’s home, said his manager, Shelby Meade. Lt. Greg Hoskins of the Knoxville Police Department confirmed that the police responded to a call at 1:20 p.m., and that Mr. Linkous was pronounced dead at the scene. According to his family, Mr. Linkous owned the gun that he used.

On four Sparklehorse albums released between 1995 and 2006, and in numerous collaborations, Mr. Linkous developed a style that sent sunny, Beatles-esque melodies through a filter of crackling, damaged folk-rock, and his songs were filled with entropic imagery. “Everything that’s made is made to decay,” he sang on Sparkehorse’s debut album, “Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot” (Capitol) in a whispery tenor that had echoes of coal-country folk.

He was 47.

Comments (31)
  1. So sad. R.I.P.

  2. Man, this sucks. I first listened to Mark Linkous back when he was playing guitar for Dancing Hoods in the mid-80s. I was pretty young, but they were a band that my brother listened to, and I always liked them. One of their contemporaries in L.A. at the time was a band called House of Freaks. A couple years ago, Bryan Harvey of HoF was killed in a home invasion. So now two people from bands that really formed the foundation of what I listen to today have been taken from us far before their time. Bummer.

  3. This is so depressing, he was brilliant. He will be truly missed.

  4. Such a troubled soul. This is a real fucking bummer.

    R.I.P. Mark Linkous.
    Your music will live forever.

  5. I was so sad to read about this late last night. He was a brilliant, underrated musician. I’m a big fan of his music and as such I wanted to say something more poignant, but the bottom line is that this just really, really sucks. Best wishes to his friends and family.

  6. That’s all??? This is such a brief write-up… that’s really fucking shameful, stereogum. Mark Linkous embodied everything that is sincere and beautiful about music, it’s no surprise that he didn’t connect with the hipster elite audience. Sit down right now and listen to “It’s a Wonderful Life” and tell me it isn’t one of the best records ever recorded, by anyone, EVER.

    • It isn’t. I’m sorry he’s gone, but he’s not going to become canonized in death. He made good records, sure, but the guy wasn’t Elliott Smith.

      • well put.

      • You are an asshole. I would put “It’s a Wonderful Life” up against any elliott smith record. elliott smith is overrated, sparklehorse is underrated.

        • Complaining about articles that have no actual bearing on how you choose to remember someone in overrated, shutting up about it and moving on is sadly underrated. That being said, good article, sad news, great music.

        • absolutely. Elliot Smith produced a few really great songs. But, ALL his albums were about as good as Sparklehorse’s last, Dreamt for Lightyears. Sparklehorses worst record=Elliot Smith’s best record, in terms of number of great songs per album, 3 maybe 4. Sparklehorse was perhaps one of the 3 greatest groups of the last 15 years. THAT is why fans are going to get pissed off when he’s compared to, and attempted to be usurped by, the tragedy of elliot smith.

  7. I was so sad when I read about this, he has always been my sunny day summer music, yesterday was the first day that I actually listened to him since last September because it was actually sunny out for the first time in a while.

  8. Aw man this is the worst death of the year. This guy was the best.

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  10. “It’s a wonderful life” was the perfect record. He left a collection of songs that will sit heavy on alot of peoples heart, i’m truly sad about the music world loosing such a great person. Gold day and Sea of teeth will be songs that i’ll always play.


    • ‘it’s a wonderful life” turned into my favorite record of his the last few years. i broke my stereo listening to “piano fire” and punching my dashboard and hurting my hand because i was so happy. i hope mark knew the things he did for people. very sad news, can’t say enough about him.


  11. This is a fucking joke. It’s extremely sad the man died, even moreso because it came by his own hand. But this trend of canonizing musicians because they die young is ridiculous, and it sends a very dangerous message. The man was talented but there was nothing shameful about this. Stereogum was simply reporting on the news of his death. To get angry because they didn’t react in the same way you would have is childish.

  12. PERHAPS GOOD MUSIC IS SUBJECTIVE and maybe we could have a Stereogum post that doesn’t inevitably degenerate into “so and so sucks” and “no so and so sucks” in the comments section.

  13. r.i.p mark

    i love your music

  14. This guy was so underrated and undervalued. His first two records — Vivadixie and Good Morning Spider — were brilliant, and that is not an overstatement. I saw a Mazzy Star back in 97 or 98, and Sparklehorse opened. I’d never heard of them. Thank God I was there to see them. Mark wheeled himself out in his wheelchair and, in his cowboy hat and behind his shades, spun out these pained, majestic, terrifying, beautiful songs. It was a defining musical moment for me. I didn’t know songs could sound like that. I didn’t like his third and fourth records as much, but those first two were as starkly southernly beautiful as Faulker and REM. If nothing else, check out the song “Cow,” from Vivadixie. Perfection. So long, dude.

  15. I had the fortune to see Sparklehorse play on their “Good Morning Spider” tour at the the Corner Hotel in Melbourne in 1998. The album had already sink it’s tendrils deep into my mind and taken up permenant residency my brain.

    If only he could have taken his own advice about loneliness and isolation:
    “Don’t let it in when it comes kicking at your door.”

    I wrote an obituary for him over at my blog too:

  16. Very sad news. A couple of my favorite Sparklehorse tracks are “Pig,” “Dog Door” (the Tom Waits collab), and “Apple Bed.” The chords in “Apple Bed” are among my all-time favorites for mood and overall deceptive complexity.

  17. I’m indifferent to celebrity deaths most of the time, but his truly made me sad. Nothing from Thom Yorke?

  18. I discovered Sparklehorse through a Colin Greenwood fan-blog about two months before his death. I read a beautiful interview with Mark’s brother, Matt. When I found out more about Mark’s experiences, I felt quite a connection to him. While I was listening to his music online, I was only getting three hours of interrupted sleep every night due to Panic Disorder for two weeks. It was not soon after that I went to ER because of an onset Psychogenic stuttering. I was given Good Morning Spider for my birthday, and every time it rocks me right to sleep. I think of Mark as there next to me when I listen to it, because he had sleeping trouble as well. I hope Mark now sees in the afterlife what an impact his music had/still has on people.

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