Rock News

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 31: Singer Mark Lanegan performs onstage during the 8th Annual MusiCares MAP Fund Benefit at Club Nokia on May 31, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The MusiCares MAP Fund benefit raises resources for the MusiCares MAP Fund, which provides members of the music community access to addiction recovery treatment. More information at musicares.org.

If you were a fan of rock music in the ’90s — particularly the dark, loud variety that came from the Pacific Northwest — you probably knew of Mark Lanegan. He was the singer of one of Seattle’s most respected bands, Screaming Trees. But early on, it was clear that he wasn’t going to be defined by one group, or one sound, and he started making solo albums pretty early into his career. And after Screaming Trees split up, his career saw him collaborating with a number of artists and even joining Queens of the Stone Age briefly.

But if you’re unfamiliar, here are some songs you might want to check out in the wake of his untimely passing to pay tribute to a great talent, and one who died way too young.

  • Screaming Trees - 'Where The Twain Shall Meet'

    From Screaming Trees’ ‘Buzz Factory’ (1989) – The first song from the band’s fourth album, and their last for legendary indie label SST Records. Screaming Trees had a punk rock background, but they never denied their psychedelic influences.

  • Mark Lanegan - 'Where Did You Sleep Last Night'

    From Lanegan’s solo debut, ‘The Winding Sheet’ (1990) – You surely recognize this Leadbelly folk song from Nirvana’s ‘MTV Unplugged.’ Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic likely heard the song first here – they actually backed up Lanegan on this recording.

  • Screaming Trees - 'Bed of Roses '

    from ‘Uncle Anesthesia’ (1991) – Their major label debut was produced by Chris Cornell and Terry Date (who produced Soundgarden’s ‘Badmotorfinger’). Even though they were from the Pacific Northwest and were powered by loud guitars, Lanegan’s crooning seemed out of step with what was then known as “the Seattle sound.” But the records were great.

  • Screaming Trees - 'Nearly Lost You'

    From ‘Sweet Oblivion’ (1992) – Easily their most well-known song, partially because it was also included on the era-defining ‘Singles’ soundtrack.

  • Mark Lanegan - 'Carnival'

    From ‘Whiskey For The Holy Ghost’ (1994) – Some artists do solo albums that sound just like their band. Not Lanegan. “Carnival,” one of the many highlights from this album, sounded nothing like Screaming Trees; but it was becoming clear that Lanegan’s muse would take him from the confines of a rock group very soon.

  • Mad Season - 'Long Gone Day'

    From the band’s only album, ‘Above’ (1996) – This supergroup featured Layne Staley of Alice In Chains, Mike McCready of Pearl Jam and Screaming Trees drummer Barrett Martin, along with bassist John Baker Saunders. Lanegan guested on the album, and the plan supposedly was for him to join Mad Season for a second album. Sadly, that never happened.

  • Mark Lanegan - 'She's Not For You'

    From ‘Twisted Willie’ (1996), a tribute album to Willie Nelson, which also featured contributions from members of Nirvana, Soundgarden and Alice In Chains, as well as tracks from L7, the Supersuckers and the Reverend Horton Heat. Lanegan takes a dark Willie song, and makes it even darker.

  • Queens of the Stone Age - 'Song For The Dead'

    From ‘Songs For The Deaf’ (2002) Head Queen Josh Homme led stoner metal band Kyuss, and after that band broke up, he got a gig as an extra touring musician with Screaming Trees. Lanegan later guested on some Queens tracks, but for the ‘Songs For The Deaf’ album, he joined the band, as did Dave Grohl, taking a short break from the Foo Fighters. They also played a few legendary gigs with that lineup.

  • Mark Lanegan Band - 'Strange Religion'

    From ‘Bubblegum’ (2004) It seemed that much bigger stars rallied around Lanegan; on this song, former Guns N Roses members Duff McKagan and Izzy Stradlin’ contribute backing vocals.

  • Mark Lanegan Band - 'Hit The City'

    From ‘Bubblegum’ (2004) A collaboration with PJ Harvey: an upbeat rocker featuing two of the darkest singers of the era.

  • Soulsavers - 'Paper Money'

    From ‘It’s Not How Far You Fall, It’s the Way You Land’ (2007) Soul Savers is an electronic music production team that uses acoustic instruments , and they work with various singers, usually Lanegan or Depeche Mode’s Dave Gahan. Both brought a creepiness to Soulsavers’ already haunted sound.

  • Gutter Twins - 'Idle Hands'

    From ‘Saturnalia’ (2008) – The Gutter Twins were Lanegan and Greg Dulli of Afghan Whigs, two singers that might have been major stars in a variant timeline. Their very different singing and writing styles merged together really well on this album.

  • Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan - 'Snake Song'

    A male/female duet team that shouldn’t have worked but did, Isobel Campbell (of the indie rock group Belle & Sebastian) and Lanegan were kind of a precursor to Robert Plant and Alison Krauss. The duo released three albums, all of which were great.

  • Mark Lanegan Band - 'The Gravedigger's Song'

    From ‘Blues Funeral’ (2012) Lanegan’s first solo album in years, following a bunch of collaborations, this is one of the highlights of his solo career.

  • Mark Lanegan and Maggie Björklund 'Nutshell'

    Lanegan pays tribute to his late friend and almost-bandmate Layne Staley on this Alice In Chains cover. While AIC were an arena band through and through, this one sounded like it could have been written for Lanegan. This was recorded at 2020’s Alice In Chains tribute, organized by Seattle’s Museum of Pop Culture.

  • Mark Lanegan - 'Apples From A Tree'

    From 2020’s ‘Straight Songs of Sorrow,’ Lanegan’s final album released during his lifetime. So many of his lyrics are haunting, and will surely hit differently in the wake of his passing. But this lyric — “We won’t meet again/In this life or anymore/I’m too far out at sea” — really stings now. The album was inspired by the writing of his memoir, ‘Sing Backwards and Weep,’ which is an extremely dark read.