Mark E. Smith, Acerbic Leader Of The Fall, Dies At 60

Jan 24, 2018
Originally published on January 24, 2018 6:15 pm

Mark E. Smith, founder and frontman of the UK band The Fall, has died at the age of 60. The band's manager, Pam Vander, said in a written statement, "He passed this morning (24th January) at home. A more detailed statement will follow in the next few days."

The Fall is known as one of the defining post-punk bands of the mid-1980s, mixing punk's acerbic attitude with various elements of krautrock, garage rock and art rock. At the center was Smith, speak-shouting his way through class-politics diatribes and stories of scummy people.

Smith was born in 1957 north of Manchester, England, to a working-class family. He formed The Fall in the late '70s, and in a four-decade career the band put out 32 albums along with a number of EPs, live records and guest appearances with other bands. Smith was famously difficult: He's the only constant in The Fall's long string of lineups, and he was arrested in 1998 for assaulting his then-girlfriend, keyboard player Julie Nagle.

In 2017 Smith was hospitalized and had to cancel tour dates, returning to the stage in a wheelchair later in the year. His influence can be heard throughout punk and other styles today; as the news spread today, artists such as Billy Bragg and Liz Phair tweeted their remembrances.

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