4 Songs You Didn’t Know Mark Lanegan Wrote for Other Artists

His gravelly voice was unmistakable. His penchant for writing some of the darkest blues-seeped folk and multi-faceted rock spanned nearly 40 years—from his earlier days with Screaming Trees in the mid-’80s through 2000, to his extensive solo career and work with Queens of the Stone Age and his Gutter Twins bandmate, the Afghan Whigs’ Greg Dulli, throughout the ’00s and 2010s.

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Mark Lanegan filled one of the most cavernous spaces within rock.

Along with earlier collaborations with Mad Season (Above, 1995), along with Dulli’s The Twilight Singers and other projects with Moby, UNKLE, and Manic Street Preachers, among many others, Lanegan’s music also crossed over into video games, television, and film. “So Long Sin City,” which he collaborated on with Slash was featured in the 2011 Olallo Rubio-directed film, This Is Not a Movie, while he and Josh Homme co-wrote the theme song for the Anthony Bourdain CNN series Parts Unknown.

[RELATED: Afghan Whigs’ Greg Dulli Talks the Making of ‘How Do You Burn?’ and the Loss of Mark Lanegan]

Before his death on February 22, 2022, at the age of 57, Lanegan recorded Dark Mark vs. Skeleton Joe with electronic artist and producer Joe Cardamone and had his final studio recording sessions with the Afghan Whigs on their 2022 album, How Do You Burn?

In 2021, just months before his death, Lanegan summed up his life and work as a musician and his future plans.

“I feel like the luckiest guy on earth,” he said. “I plan to sail the tempestuous seas of life.”

Here’s a look at four songs Lanegan wrote for other artists over the years.

1. “Kingdoms of Rain,” Soulsavers (2007)
Written by Mark Lanegan, Rich Machin, and Ian Glover

For the Soulsavers‘ second release, It’s Not How Far You Fall, It’s the Way You Land, Lanegan was their guest vocalist and co-wrote several songs—”Revival,” “Ghost You and Me,” “Paper Money,” “Jesus of Nothing” and “Kingdoms of Rain.” The latter track also features documentary filmmaker and journalist Preston Wright Long III on vocals with Lanegan.

Are those halos in your hair
Or diamonds shining there?
Without a hope
And without a prayer
This rain beats down like death
Turn your eyes to better men

Before I go
I’m hangin’ a cross on a nail
I hung one for you in there

Read our 2021 interview with Soulsavers’ Rich Machin and Depeche Mode’s Dave Gahan HERE.

2. “There is a Serpent Coming,” Earth (2007)
Written by Mark Lanegan and Dylan Carlson

Experimental rockers Earth’s eighth album, Primitive and Deadly, features contributions from Built to Spill‘s Brett Nelson and Jodie Cox of Narrows, along with Lanegan, who co-wrote and sings on the track “There Is a Serpent Coming,” and also lends vocals on “Rooks Across the Gate.”

All praise in exaltation
Black train arrived has left a station
New revelation time
So deep, so deep and deadly

New revelation time
So deep, so deep, so deep and deadly
Children, children get ready
You better get ready

3. “Looking for the Rain,” UNKLE (2017)
Written by Mark Lanegan, James Gabriel Leo Lavelle, Jack Leonard, Matthew Puffet

On UNKLE’s fifth album, The Road: Part I, Lanegan co-penned and is featured, along with British singer Eska, on the track “Looking for the Rain.”

[RELATED: Mark Lanegan Remembered by Friends, Family and Collaborators]

“For me, it is a personal dream come true,” said UNKLE’s James Lavelle of working with Lanegan. “He [Lanegan] was meant to be on ‘War Stories’ [2007 UNKLE album] and for various reasons at the time, it didn’t work out. He’s one of my favorite singers ever and to work with him was just amazing.”

Solitary nightbird is singin’
Or a thundercrack you’re hearing
I’m lookin’ for the rain to fall

There’s a wraith-like shadow appearin’
And though my eyes are pale
I’m lookin’ for the rain to fall

4. “Nànnuflày,”  Tinariwen (2017)
Written by Mark Lanegan and Eyadou Ag Leche

Lanegan worked with the Tuareg desert rockers Tinariwen from the Sahara Desert region of northern Mali for their seventh album Elwan — which means “elephants” in their native language of Tamashek. For his contribution, Lanegan co-wrote one track, “Nànnuflày,” which also features Kurt Vile on guitar. Alain Johannes and Matt Sweeney also appear on the album.

In the animated video for “Nànnuflày,” directed by Axel Digoix, an old Tuareg man comes back to the camp where he grew up for a party in the Sahara desert.

“He remembers the joys and the torments of the nomadic life he lived with a friend who has since deceased: memories from their naive childhood in the sand dunes, the adventures they lived during their teenage years, the fights and the dramas of their adult lives,” reads a descriptor of the visuals tied to the lyrics. “Their friendship tells us the story of hearty people living in lands of loneliness.”

There was a time
I lived fulfilled.
Life taught me that
It can often change

The one you find in solitude
Is prisoner of egotistical desires
I have a friend I can trust
Who quenches the thirst
That burns in my heart

Photo by Jordi Vidal / WireImage

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