Elliott Smith's New Song: 'Misery Let Me Down'

Categories: new track
Wikimedia Commons
The Washington Post has posted a previously unreleased Elliott Smith song recorded back in 1997, which was thought to have been lost. The tune "Misery Let Me Down" was captured by microphones when the late Smith, then 27, performed at the University of Maryland's student-run radio station, WWUC-FM. Smith died in 2003 of two stab wounds to the chest following an argument with his girlfriend, Jennifer Chiba. Whether Smith stabbed himself or was stabbed by someone else has yet to be determined by law enforcement.


The recording, which you can listen to on the Post's website, features Smith's meek voice asking his hosts if he can warm up before they start taping. He then launches into a song bearing a complex, bluesy guitar progression--beautifully finger picked--and accompanied only by his lonesome warble. 

Following Smith's performance, the song was transferred to MiniDisc and added to the station's library, after which it went missing. The CD was found nearly a decade later when former station DJ Ben Weisholtz decided to sell his MiniDisc player on eBay. Before shipping it off to its new owner, Weisholtz opened the device and found the disc. It has since been added to WWUC's digital archive. 

This revelation comes two days after Navel Gazing published a blog post about a music blogger operating under the pseudonym Alyson Camus. Last April, Camus managed to score some face time with a Los Angeles deputy medical examiner who conducted Smith's autopsy. According to Camus, the good doctor mentioned wounds found on Smith's hand during the autopsy were fresh and not the result of self-mutilation--a suggestion frequently made by Smith's friends, including Chiba, in the wake of his death.


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