“Goodbye Horses” Singer Q Lazzarus Dead At 61
For many years, the story of Q Lazzarus was one of the few great remaining mysteries in the music business. Q Lazzarus was a New York singer who led a band called Q Lazzarus And The Resurrection. She’s best-known for “Goodbye Horses,” a 1988 single that soundtracked a famous scene in 1991’s The Silence Of The Lambs. That song became a cult hit over the years, but Q Lazzarus disappeared from the public eye for decades before resurfacing and answering a few questions from a journalist in 2018. Now, it appears that the woman who once called herself Q Lazzarus has died. A newspaper obituary for the woman born Diane Luckey appeared online a few weeks ago. Lucky died on July 19 at age 61.
The story of Q Lazzarus feels more like a myth or a fable than a music-business biography. Diane Luckey, born in Neptune, NJ, led Q Lazzarus And The Resurrection while working as a New York cabdriver in the ’80s. Lazzarus never got signed, but one day, she picked up the director Jonathan Demme and played Demme her demo. Demme loved it, and he used the Q Lazzarus song “Candle Goes Away” in his classic 1986 film Something Wild.
Demme then used “Goodbye Horses,” the only single that Q Lazzarus ever commercially released, in two movies, 1988’s Married To The Mob and then The Silence Of The Lambs. In The Silence Of The Lambs, “Goodbye Horses” soundtracks an instantly-famous scene where Ted Levine, playing the serial killer Buffalo Bill, tucks his penis between his legs and poses for himself in a mirror, saying that he would fuck himself. The Silence Of The Lambs was a blockbuster success and a Best Picture winner, and the dark romanticism of “Goodbye Horses” gave sweep and resonance to that scene.
Q Lazzarus also briefly appeared in Demme’s follow-up film, 1993’s Philadelphia, in a scene where she covered the Talking Heads’ “Heaven.” After that, Q Lazzarus disappeared from public view completely. “Goodbye Horses” gained in reputation over the years, and artists like MGMT and Jon Hopkins covered the song. Three years ago, Diane Luckey contacted Dazed Digital journalist Thomas Gorton, letting him know that she was alive and well and that she’d been driving a bus in Staten Island for years. Soon afterwards, Luckey dropped off the map again, though a more detailed obituary notes, “At the time of her death, Diane was finishing work on a feature documentary about her life and music with filmmaker and friend, Eva Aridjis. The film will be released in 2023, along with an album of songs spanning her entire musical career.”
Although the obituary lists her birth year as 1962, Rolling Stone reports that Luckey was actually born in 1960. She is survived by a husband and two children, in addition to other family.
Below, check out the “Goodbye Horses” video and Lazzarus’ scene in Philadelphia.
Thanks to reader Chris C for the tip.