Q Lazzarus, 'Goodbye Horses' Singer, Dead at 61

Q Lazzarus, the mysterious artist behind the 1988 hit single "Goodbye Horses," has died. She was 61. "Goodbye Horses" first appeared in Jonathan Demme's 1988 movie Married to the Mob and was played prominently in the director's Oscar-winning classic The Silence of the Lambs.

A short obituary for Diane Luckey, Q Lazzarus' real name, was published in the Asbury Park Press last month. It states that Luckey died on July 19 following a short illness. Although the obituary misdates Luckey's date of birth, Eva Aridjis confirmed Luckey's death to Rolling Stone. Aridjis was Luckey's close friend and is making a documentary on the singer.

"Over the past three years, Q became one of my closest friends and we were in touch almost daily, sometimes to talk about the film or her music but mostly just to talk about our lives and everyday matters," Aridjis wrote in a statement to Rolling Stone. "Q had one of those life forces that you simply can't imagine being extinguished or ceasing to exist because it was so vital and radiant and exuberant. Despite having had a very hard life, she was not jaded at all. On the contrary – she was full of enthusiasm, passion, and humor." According to Aridjis, Luckey was preparing to tour with her original bandmates.

Luckey was born in Neptune, New Jersey, and moved to New York City at 18 to pursue a career in music. During the 1980s, she performed as Q Lazzarus with her backing band, named the Resurrection. She worked odd jobs to support her career, and one of those jobs paid off.

One day while driving a taxi cab, she picked up Demme. Luckey was listening to her own demo tapes to prepare for a recording the next day, Aridjis said. Demme liked the songs and asked who it was. "Well thank you very much, it's me," Luckey said. She went on to have three songs prominently featured in Demme's films. "The Candle Goes Away" was in Something Wild (1986), then "Goodbye Horses" was in both Married to the Mob and Silence of the Lambs. Q Lazzarus also recorded a cover of the Talking Heads' "Heaven" for Philadelphia.

Unfortunately, Q Lazzarus never scored a record deal, despite her work with Demme. She disappeared from the spotlight after Philadelphia opened and her whereabouts were unknown for about two decades. Journalists and social media sleuths tried to find her, but they never could.

Ardjis met Luckey in August 2019 when she got into a rideshare car Luckey was driving. She recorded interviews for her film Goodbye Horses: The Many Lives of Q Lazzarus, which she hopes to release next year. Sadly, Luckey died just as they were preparing to film the last scenes. Luckey also gave Ardjis a "huge stack of cassette tapes" with unreleased music she planned to feature in the film.

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"As her collaborator, I am now more determined than ever to get her incredible story and amazing music out into the world," Ardjis told Rolling Stone. "The film will no longer end with her comeback concert and her 'resurrection' – but I am glad that the world will still get to hear her story – in her own words and through her own songs – a precious task which she entrusted me with and which I will be forever grateful for."