A couple of years ago, I was watching The Royal Tenenbaums when I heard a song in the background that captivated me.


It was “Needle in the hay,” which plays during Richie Tenenbaum’s suicide attempt (shaving scene).


After the movie, I raced to the computer to look up who was singing the song. The singer was Elliott Smith. I started listening to his other songs and tried to learn as much about him as possible.


About 10 minutes into my search, I made a startling discovery. He committed suicide in 2003.


It was a weird way to experience the tragedy of his death. I learned that he was dead only a couple of minutes after I learned he had ever existed.


Elliott Smith became the soundtrack to my sophomore year in college. He’s on a short list of heroes of mine alonside Lou Reed, Neil Young and Bob Dylan.


Sadly, Smith is the only one of these musicians no longer alive despite the fact that the other three were all born before him.


It’s a tragedy that his life and career were cut so short. He had so many great years ahead of him.


Here’s a video of him performing one of my favorite songs, “King’s Crossing”: