Q Lazzrus, the enigmatic singer whose songs appeared in multiple iconic Jonathan Demme movies, passed away on July 19 following a short illness. Her death wasn’t reported until a month later. She was 61.
Born Diane Luckey, the singer had one of the great discovery stories. As the tale goes, after struggling to get a record deal during the ‘80s — made worse by racist reactions within the industry to her dreadlocks — she was driving a cab when she happened to pick up acclaimed filmmaker Jonathan Demme. She asked Demme if he was in the music industry. He was, sort of, having made one of the great concert movies. Then she played him a demo of the song “Candle Goes Away.”
Demme was blown away, and he put the song in his 1986 classic Something Wild. A few years later he did the same to “Goodbye Horses,” which prominently featured in a memorable scene from The Silence of the Lambs, where Ted Levine’s serial killer Buffalo Bill applies makeup. For his next movie, Philadelphia, Demme enlisted her to cover the Talking Heads song “Heaven.”
Luckey disappeared in the ‘90s, and rumors floated about what became of her. In 2017, the world finally got an answer. As per Stereogum, a musician hoping to cover “Goodbye Horses” tweeted about trying to locate her — only to get a response from Luckey herself. She said she’d lost interest in singing and was driving a bus in Staten Island.
Luckey is survived by her husband, her son and daughter, and several family members. You can watch the original video for “Goodbye Horses” above, but also make sure to check out the equally haunting demo version.
(Via The Wrap)