The great singers from the Seattle grunge scene are cursed. Kurt Cobain, Layne Staley, and Chris Cornell all passed way before their time.

Now we have to add Mark Lanegan, who died on February 22 at the age of 57, to that sad list. And he was the best of them all. Cobain had the edge, Staley had the power, Cornell had the range. But Lanegan had all of that and more.

Most folks will recognize his powerful baritone on the song ‘Nearly Lost You’ by his first major band, Screaming Trees. It’s a great song, and probably the most successful one that Lanegan wrote and sang. But Lanegan could, and did, sing with anyone and everyone. There’s a hell of a lot to say about Lanegan and his many recordings, collaborations and writings. But you can just listen for yourself, and remember:

Winter Song.

An album track from Sweet Oblivion, Screaming Trees’ 1992 breakthrough sixth album.

Hanging Tree.

From Songs for the Deaf, the 2002 album by Queens of the Stone Age. Lanegan was at one time a full member of the band and wrote and recorded on three QOTSA albums.

Bête Noire.

From 2008’s Saturnalia, an album Lanegan recorded with Afghan Whigs’ Greg Dulli under the name The Gutter Twins.

All The Way Down.

Guest vocal on Soulsavers‘ 2009 LP Broken.

Black River.

Guest vocal on Bomb The Bass‘s 2008 LP Future Chaos.

Sure Nuff ‘N Yes I Do.

Cover of the Beefheart classic recorded for Nick Cave‘s 2012 Film Lawless. The soundtrack band was called the Bootleggers and featured Cave and Warren Ellis.


Between 2006 and 2010 Lanegan released three albums with Isobel Campbell of Belle & Sebastian fame. ‘Revolver’ is from the first LP, Ballad of the Broken Seas.

Hit The City.

In addition to appearing on everyone else’s records, Lanegan hosted a number of luminaries on his own solo albums, of which there were twelve. His 2004 album Bubblegum features none other than TVV fave PJ Harvey on this track.


Mad Season was a grunge supergroup, including Layne Staley from Alice in Chains, Mike McCready from Pearl Jam and Barrett Martin of Screaming Trees. They only released one album, 1995’s Above, which featured Lanegan on five songs including Locomotive, whose lyrics Lanegan wrote.

Where Did You Sleep Last Night.

Everyone remembers Nirvana’s chilling live acoustic performance of this traditional American song. But that one was recorded a few years after Lanegan recorded this version for his 1990 debut solo album, The Winding Sheet. Cobain can be heard singing background vocals, with Krist Novoselic playing bass.



A huge thanks to Jonny for writing this very quickly during daytime in Los Angeles and getting it over to me during the night here in Glasgow so that it could be published on the blog today.

R.I.P. Mark


  1. I’m extremely pleased to see this post this morning. Mark Lanegan may not have been the known voice of ‘grunge’ but he was the ‘voice’ of grunge. Thanks to JTFL and JC.

  2. I really wasn’t that bothered about Grunge at the time, so I first found my way to Mark Lanegan outside of Screaming Trees and QOTSA, with his ‘solo’ albums, and particularly his work with Isobel Campbell and Soulsavers, although I’ve dived further back since. He was an amazing and essential contributor to whichever project he was involved in and it’s impossible to imagine any of those songs without him. He’s left an incredible legacy and, even if he had not recorded another note, I’m sad that he’s no longer with us.

    Johnny, an outstanding and impeccably curated ICA which demonstrates the breadth of Lanegan’s work and inspires a deeper dive into his back catalogue.

    You should be renamed Johnny The Friendly Legend. Thank you!

  3. Great stuff JTFL. I’ve posted a mix of 6 Mark Lanegan songs at Bagging Area today and there’s only one crossover with this ICA which says something about the breadth of work he did.

  4. It’s been wall to wall Mark Lanegan at my place since the news came through. If you need an idea of how highly Lanegan was thought of, listen back to Marc Riley breaking the news live on air on Tuesday evening. I’ve heard Riley eloquently eulogise many fallen heroes over the years, but this time it really did sound as though he was about to break down in tears mid-show.
    Thank you for a really fine ICA JTFL, which featured a couple of nooks and crannies that I wasn’t familiar with.

  5. Really fantastic tribute in song, JTFL! Mark Lanegan transcended the Grunge tag he (and Screaming Trees) was labelled with. I might add one song, it would be my ICA last track – The Circus Is Leaving Town, with Isobel Campbell. The circus will never return.

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