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The Fall’s Mark E. Smith dies aged 60

The Falls Mark E Smith has died, aged 60 it has been confirmed.

The band’s manager Pam Van Damned said Smith had died at home on Wednesday morning, adding that a more detailed statement would follow “in the next few days”.

The Fall was formed in 1976 in Greater Manchester and famously went through many, many line-up changes, with Mark E Smith the only constant member.

43 responses to The Fall’s Mark E. Smith dies aged 60

  1. Albert Tatlock says:

    Had a pint or three with Mark at Band On The Wall. One of the driest and funniest men I have ever met. Ta-ra, yer grumpy old bugger… You’ll be genuinely missed,,,

  2. John Murray says:

    It’s a shame someone has felt a need to waste everyone’s time on here by saying how much they DIDN’T like MES (the Twitter syndrome?) – ANYWAY – I’ve got every Fall studio album and first saw them live at some god awful sports hall near Doncaster back in ’79 (part of which made it onto the ‘Totale’s Turns’ live album). The joy of the Fall live was never knowing what you were going to get – sometimes genius, sometimes chaos, but always interesting. MES created his own world, his own genre – as John Peel said: ‘always different, always the same’.

    Another great eccentric English artist has gone, and in these days of manufactured pop and music ‘talent shows’, you fear we’ll never see these kind of characters again. RIP.

  3. The Progster says:

    Just watched an interview with him from 2013 on YouTube and virtually every other word was an F word and he’d been drinking so was slurring his words…The music of The Fall was pretty dire to say the least and fortunately he was not a household name but rest in RIP M8.

  4. Stevie B says:

    RIP Mark, yours was a life well lived.

  5. DJ Salinger says:

    Another truly unique talent heads off to the John Peel stage in the sky.

    I suspect Mark’s already formed his next incarnation of The Fall up there, and already sacked God as the drummer-ah.

  6. mitchell feldstein says:

    fan forever.i think i have all of there 32 official plus a handful of odds and sods.
    saw their first ever show in the states philly 1979.huge fan ever since.
    saw them thrice hence(trying to channel a bit of MES)
    a couple of nights after the first gig where i apparently thought they were much better than
    the buzzcocks.(dont’ remember the gig all that well)
    then once in the mid 80’s in WDC great gig
    and lastly in 2003 or 4 in baltimore @ the ottobar.if i remember may have been around when he broke a hip and was getting around a bit in the wheelchair or a cane.
    i won’t be able to listen to the fall for a bit. (mourning)
    busted out some smith/haney last night and a bit of his spoken word cd’s. might sit with that stuff for a few days. aww geez mark i miss you already.got so used to getting an album or two a year for the past decades. rest in peace. tell lou (reed) i said hey.

  7. SimonP says:

    My one and only experience of the Fall was at Slough Music Festival many years ago. I thought they were awful, but can still acknowledge that Smith was something of a legend. The amount he drank and smoked he did well to reach 60!

  8. Noel says:

    I was in a Manchester pub a few years ago, talking with an acquaintence about Roy Harper. He’d been inside for a few years so I needed to update him.
    Without warning or ceremony, Mark E Smith plonked himself down with us. Asked him what he thought about Roy but it only seemed to annoy him, inexplicably.
    Over the next couple of hours I realised that most things annoyed Mark.
    It was only later that my mate pointed out that both he and Roy had lost their respective wives to the appalling Nigel Kennedy. Maybe not so inexplicable after all!
    The night rolled along with him asking increasingly esoteric questions about his team, mine and Roy’s – Manchester City – along the lines of: “which ex-City player is the landlord of a pub in Whitefield?” from behind a shower of half-eaten crisps.
    Naturally, it was a Joey Holt’s pub; Mark’s preference and not so inexplicable to us Mancunians.
    Saw him a few more times in Holt’s pubs since and once on the 137 with his shopping. The only other musician of note I’ve ever seen on a bus was Peter Green in Twickenham!
    Never really been a fan of The Fall, but Mark E Smith was a one-off, a Northerner and a Blue to boot. Hope he’s at peace now.

  9. Andrew B says:

    When I was a teen in the 80’s myself and friends would either fall into one of two camps, my good friend back then fell into the Fall I fell into The Smiths, one or the other. RIP

    • Larry Davis says:

      I fell into the Fall…couldn’t stand the Smiths…grew to like em somewhat but was never 100%…Moz always pissed me off but always liked Johnny Marr and every other band/artist he worked with, from Kirsty to Electronic to Bryan Ferry to the Cribs and his solo work…the Fall I’ve always dug but found em hard to collect as they were all over the place and so much stuff that you lose track… Which is why I now really want that singles box…as an overview and tribute to Mark’s genius, uncompromising character…a salute if you will…I don’t think the likes of him will ever come around again really…

  10. steve says:

    A handful of bands plough their own totally single minded, uncompromising furrow.
    Mark E Smith and his many band members, maybe over 60, consistently did exactly that for decades.
    A massive recording legacy, but they were a band you just HAD to see live.
    My 1st Fall gig, they didn’t turn up. We weren’t surprised at all so went for a curry.
    The 2nd time was spent smack in front of Mark’s mike stand. Then the many pieces that made The Mighty Fall so very special fell into place.

    As always, Peely said it the best:
    “They are always different; they are always the same”.

  11. Tim-Meh says:

    The Fall have been around since I pretty much strated getting into music. Mark was an absolute character and whether you liked or disliked him or the band, he’s always been great value and a true maverick. Yesterday the world chnaged forver.

  12. David M says:

    Gutted, been following the Fall since the mid/late 1980’s and recently bought the 7 disc singles/bsides set which has been played constantly. I have it on at work at the moment while I remember the unique talent that was Mark E Smith

  13. poptones says:

    I became a big fan of The Fall in the late 80s when I was in highschool. At the same time, I started to listen to Nick Cave and David Sylvian. Mark E. Smith, Nick Cave, Kate Bush and David Sylvian have been companions all my life since. I listen to one of their songs almost every day.

    Very sad news but not surprised. RIP Mark E. Smith.

  14. Ken Moore says:

    He certainly was one of a kind. There will never be another Mark E. Smith. Rest well.

  15. Benjamin Adams says:

    “You might also like…” seems a bit wrong under the circumstances, because I don’t like this at all. RIP Mark.

  16. Robert Laversuch says:

    Absolutely gutted. You did well. Another hero gone. Weird obtuse unique. Wonderful. Terrible start to 2018

  17. AdamW says:

    The one-and-only “hip priest” has gone. So sad to hear. If ever the word “unfinished” were to describe a band/artist, in every sense of the word, it was Mark E Smith. He never seemed to run out of stories to tell.

    The US never really “got” The Fall, I don’t think. I remember the first time I heard them in the mid 1980s, the local station would play “Cruiser’s Creek” very frequently, and I HATED it. A couple years later, I happened across a college radio show playing “Totally Wired,” and I decided to give them another chance. So glad I did.

    If you haven’t yet got the 7CD box set, no better time than the present.

    “If you’re going to play something out of tune, play it out of tune properly.”

    RIP, MES

  18. BSR says:

    This hurts. Thank you Mark.

  19. Francis says:

    I just recently purchased The Fall boxset and now this sad news comes in.

  20. Caroline says:

    Absolutely gutted. I felt there were more pieces of the jigsaw to come.

    I fell in love with that band when I was 13. I’m now 44. I have no idea what I’m going to do without them.

  21. Alan says:

    Terrible news. To be taken at just 60…still, he lived the life, that’s for sure.

    The Fall were one of the greatest bands on the planet from 1979 to 1994 or so – every record a winner. Led by one of the greatest characters on the planet – a true Mancunion (and perhaps a true Brit too, as I’m not sure someone like him could have originated from or become successful anywhere else or at any other time). Lots of much more commercially successful bands owe their entire existence to The Fall.

    I treasured his/their occasional lurches into stardom on TOTP, Newsnight and other mainstream media. God bless his family, and John Peel for his love of and promotion of the band.

  22. RJS says:

    He never conformed and just kept doing his own thing.

  23. Larry Davis says:

    Wow, that was unexpected!! The Fall were a unique band, for sure, and so was Mark, and he always seemed to be around, always putting out a landmark record, that you kinda took him for granted…they never made much of a US impact, but once you heard Mark & the Fall, you never forgot em…almost like a UK version of Guided By Voices and Robert Pollard…common people like you would find at a bar or pub, but with an uncommon talent and quite influential, coming out of punk, but highly prolific at the same time…my first exposure was DJing at my university radio station in the late 80s and the album “I Am Curious Oranj”…I was like “what the hell was that?? that was cool!!” Also, big fan of his on-again/off-again muse/bandmate Brix Smith and her sideband Adult Net…very 60s girl powerpop, not unlike a UK Bangles, although Brix is American too…RIP Mark, you WILL be missed…now I need that singles 7CD box, as I haven’t gotten it yet…

    • Mad Earwig says:

      Hi Larry
      As a very keen Guided By Voices and Robert Pollard follower, your comparison has sparked an interest in me checking out some more of The Fall as I’d only ever heard a few singles.
      Thanks (and RIP Mark)

      • Larry Davis says:

        You’re welcome… The comparison occurred to me on the spot when I read about Mark’s death…his musical attributes and prolificness reminded me of someone, a certain band… BAM…GBV and RP, but Mark’s songs with the Fall were not nearly as short…both have a foghorn-like quality that works in the music…the Jesus Lizard and David Yow too…another unique and underrated band out of punk…

  24. Brenez Alain says:

    I remember seeing The Fall in Toronto in an extremely hot theatre in 1993. The morning after I met Mark at a breakfast place near the hotel I was staying. We had a short chat and I remember him almost laughing at me when I said I was going to Niagara Falls. But he was nice and signed my concert ticket. Although he never made it commercially which is probably something he didn’t want to anyway, he stayed true to his art from beginning to end, never compromising.

  25. FROM MARS says:

    Unique English Maverick. Leaves us with marvel after marvel.

    Peace to All Around You Mark..

  26. Simon says:

    Part of my life for the last 40 years…….. feeling numb now…

  27. Heraldo says:

    Amongst so much banality and homogeneity the fact that such as Mark E. Smith could exist and be lauded as the genius he was is This Nation’s Saving Grace.

  28. Nick81 says:

    What a shame. Not familiar with The Fall’s music, but Mark’s comments on Mumford & Sons makes him a legend in my eyes!

  29. Paul H says:

    A true one-off. Not always coherent but always did it his own way!

  30. Andre Denis says:

    He has released a lot of music and believe it or not most of it was very very good.
    For a lot of common people he is a hero !!
    RIP Mark.

  31. Lemmin says:

    Just tragic news, though not entirely unexpected. I have bought every album of theirs on day of release since 1984 and consider his output to be among the greatest and criminally underrated music in Rock history. Perverted By Language, Shift-Work, Your Future Our Clutter, they rarely failed to deliver a masterpiece about every third or fourth release with all in between simply excellent.

    RIP Mark, thanks for doing it your way and only your way.

    By the way, get this recent release by them while you can, its already out of print:

    https://www.amazon.com/Fontana-Years-FALL/dp/B071YM5SQM/ref=ntt_mus_ep_dpi_10

  32. Bobbyjean says:

    Being from lower Broughton and later living in preswitch myself I’ve always had the fall in my life.everything they did was totally different but exactly the same.mark was uncompromising and a true 1 off .his influence is there in new bands coming threw in manchester and beyond.thanks for everything hip priest

  33. JPH says:

    Spent many a joyful hour at one of many Fall gigs over the past 25 years! Every show a winner. A real loss to British music but what a legacy. I’ve only got 27 of their albums but still enough to keep me remembering! RIP.

  34. Darren Briscoe says:

    Stunned. Gutted. Unbelievable…

  35. Jozek says:

    Gutted, sad news indeed

  36. Hans (utrecht) says:

    I grew up with him, more then Bowie. Thanks to mr. Peel.
    Bombast…..RIP

  37. Cosmo Castanza says:

    As an IT person since the Jurassic era , What’s A Computer has always been a favourite lyric of mine.

    A true one off

    Hit The North !

    RIP

  38. tom says:

    Up there with the very, very best this country has produced. A true rebel and original to the core.

  39. Ollie Carlisle says:

    A man for whom RIP should really stand for Rat-arsed In Pubs. An absolute legend and it never occurred to me there might be a future without The Fall in it.

  40. Rob says:

    Damn… :(

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