Two Years Gone: Check Out Some of Late Alt-Rock Singer Mark Lanegan’s Standout Songs on His Death Anniversary

Mark Lanegan left this mortal coil two years ago today, February 22, from unannounced causes at age 57. The prolific indie-rock singer, songwriter, and guitarist perhaps is best known as the frontman of the Washington State grunge band Screaming Trees. Later, he became a member of Queens of the Stone Age, but he also worked with a bevy of other artists, while releasing many solo albums as well.

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Boiling down Lanegan wide-ranging career to a list of highlights is no easy task, but here is just a sampling of five standout songs to which accomplished artist lent his gravelly, world-weary voice.

[RELATED: Final Footage of Mark Lanegan Emerges in Music Video for Side Project Dark Mark Vs. Skeleton Joe]

Screaming Trees – “Nearly Lost You” (1992)

Screaming Trees released their debut album, Clairvoyance, in 1986, but the band didn’t make any commercial waves until the grunge explosion of the 1990s. “Nearly Lost You” was the lead single from the group’s sixth studio effort Sweet Oblivion. The melodic-yet-rocking tune became a rock radio hit, helped by a music video that went into heavy rotation on MTV.

“Nearly Lost You” also appeared on the soundtrack of Cameron Crowe’s 1992 film Singles, a romantic comedy set in grunge-era Seattle. The song reached No. 5 on Billboard’s Modern Rock Tracks chart, and No. 12 on the mainstream rock tally.

Lanegan wasn’t a fan of “Nearly Lost You” himself. In an interview published in Spin in 2012, he said, “It’s one of those songs I hope to never hear again. Why? Because it was specifically written to be a single. It’s a corny, cheesy tune. But, you know, whatever. It is what it is.”

Mad Season – “Long Gone Day” (1995)

While still in Screaming Trees, Lanegan contributed vocals to two songs on the grunge supergroup Mad Season’s sole studio album, Above. The band was comprised of Alice in Chains singer Layne Staley, Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready, Screaming Trees drummer Barrett Martin, and bassist John Baker Saunders, who would soon join The Walkabouts.

Lanegan sang on the Above tracks “Long Gone Day” and “I’m Above,” both of which he co-wrote. “Long Gone Day” is a melodic, ominous sounding tune, featuring sparse instrumentation, including acoustic guitars, vibes, conga, and a jazzy sax solo. Lanegan duets and trades off on lead vocals with Staley throughout the song.

Queens of the Stone Age – “In the Fade” (2000)

Lanegan contributed guest vocals to Queens of the Stone Age’s 2000 sophomore album, Rated R, then went on to join the band the following year. Lanegan sang lead vocals on one of Rated R’s tracks, “In the Fade,” a song he co-wrote with QotSA frontman Josh Homme. The song is packed with quiet-then-loud dynamics, with funky, grooving verses leading into choruses showcasing heavy overdriven guitars.

Lanegan left Queens of the Strone Age in 2005, although he did sing backing vocals on a couple of the band’s subsequent albums.

Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan – “Time of the Season” (2010)

Lanegan recorded three collaborative albums with founding Belle & Sebastian member Isobel Campbell—Ballad of the Broken Seas (2006), Sunday at Devil Dirt (2008), and Hawk (2010).

Time of the Season,” not to be confused with The Zombies’ classic 1968 hit, was featured on Hawk. The song, written by Campbell, features a breezy, 1960s country-folk sound reminiscent of Harry Nilsson’s memorable version of “Everybody’s Talkin’.” The tune is showcased by Campbell and Lanegan’s softly sung vocals and a serene string arrangement.

Mark Lanegan – “Ode to Sad Disco” (2012)

Ode to Sad Disco” appeared on Lanegan’s seventh studio album, Blues Funeral. The song features a shimmering synth-pop arrangement that incorporates elements of “Sad Disco,” a 2004 track by Iceland-born artist Keli Hlodversson. Lanegan offers up some plaintively crooned vocals on the tune, which also features some reverb-laden jangly guitars.

Other Lanegan Collaborations

Lanegan’s other collaborations included his work with Afghan Whigs frontman Greg Dulli in The Gutter Twins, as well as with Duke Garwood, trip-hop singer Martina Topley-Bird, Eagles of Death Metal, Soulsavers, Beth Orton, Moby, and many more.

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