|Origin||Richmond, Virginia, U.S.|
|Genres||Alternative rock, lo-fi|
|Labels||EMI (Capitol, Parlophone, Odeon, Astralwerks), Slow River, Devil in the Woods|
| Mark Linkous
Sparklehorse was an American alternative rock band led by the late singer and multi-instrumentalist Mark Linkous.
Sparklehorse's first album, Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot (1995) featuring Bob Rupe of The Silos and Cracker, was a modest college radio success. In 1996, while touring Europe with Radiohead shortly after the album's release, Linkous overdosed on a combination of anti-depressants, valium, alcohol and heroin in a London hotel room. Unconscious and with his legs pinned beneath him for almost fourteen hours, the resulting potassium build up caused his heart to stop for several minutes after his body was lifted up. The ensuing surgery almost caused him to lose the use of both legs and left him wheelchair-bound for six months.
Good Morning Spider (1998) was recorded following this incident. Critics have conjectured that Linkous's brush with death inspired the somber tone of the album, though Linkous stated that much of the material on GMS had already been written. One song which did result from it is "St. Mary", which is dedicated to the nurses at the eponymous hospital in Paddington where Linkous recuperated.
2001 saw the release of It's a Wonderful Life, featuring appearances by Tom Waits, PJ Harvey, Bob Rupe, Vic Chesnutt, Nina Persson and Dave Fridmann. Whereas much of Vivadixie... and Spider were recorded solely by Linkous on his Virginia farm, the new album was a more collaborative work. Linkous expressed his satisfaction with the overall sound of It's a Wonderful Life, while also claiming that he would have preferred to include more experimental and instrumental material.
On September 25, 2006, Sparklehorse released their fourth album, Dreamt for Light Years in the Belly of a Mountain, collaborating with DJ Danger Mouse, Christian Fennesz, and Steven Drozd. This album featured the radio release "Don't Take My Sunshine Away" and a remastered version of "Shade And Honey", which Linkous originally wrote for Alessandro Nivola to sing in the 2003 movie Laurel Canyon, as well as a virtually unchanged re-release of "Morning Hollow," the bonus track from It's a Wonderful Life.
In 2008, Sparklehorse recorded a cover of the song "Jack's Obsession", from Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas for the official compilation album, Nightmare Revisited. In 2009, Sparklehorse teamed up with Danger Mouse and David Lynch in the project Dark Night of the Soul.
In 2009, Linkous teamed up with electronic ambient artist Christian Fennesz to create In The Fishtank a wafting album EP of dreamy atmospherics and glacially beautiful experimentation. The last four live shows, Linkous did together with Fennesz during a European tour which was held in October 2009.
Joe Tangari describes Linkous' songs as "defiantly surrealist ... with all manner of references to smiling babies, organ music, birds, and celestial bodies ... In fact, some of the lyrics are so surreal that it's hard to imagine they're even metaphors for anything." Many of these references are literary or from a variety of rock music sources.
Linkous committed suicide in Knoxville, Tennessee on March 6, 2010, thus ending the band's fifteen-year-long run.
- Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot (August 1995, UK #58)
- Good Morning Spider (October 1998, UK #30)
- It's a Wonderful Life (June 2001, UK #49)
- Dreamt for Light Years in the Belly of a Mountain (25 September 2006, US Heatseekers #11, UK #60)
- Dark Night of the Soul (with Danger Mouse) (2009)
- In the Fishtank (with Fennesz) (September 2009)
Singles and EPs
- Chords I've Known EP (April 1995)
- "Spirit Ditch" / "Waiting for Nothing" (1995)
- "Hammering the Cramps" / "Too Late" (1995)
- "Someday I Will Treat You Good" / "Rainmaker" (February 1996, US Modern Rock #35 )
- "Someday I Will Treat You Good" / "London" (February 1996, UK issue)
- "Hammering the Cramps" / "Spirit Ditch" (April 1996)
- "Rainmaker" / "I Almost Lost My Mind" (August 1996, UK #61)
- "Come On In" / "Blind Rabbit Choir" (February 1998)
- "Painbirds" / "Maria's Little Elbows" (July 1998)
- "Sick of Goodbyes" / "Good Morning Spider (session version)" (October 1998, UK #57)
- Distorted Ghost EP (July 2000)
- Chest Full of Dying Hawks ('95-'01) (U.S. promo) (2001)
- "Gold Day" / "Heloise" / "Devil's New" / Maxine" (July 2001)
- "Ghost in the Sky" 7" and CD (11 September 2006)
- "Don't Take My Sunshine Away" 7" (18 September 2006)
- "Knives of Summertime" 7" (18 September 2006)
- HARP Magazine
- Laurence, Alexander. The portable-infinite: Sparklehorse 2002 interview (Mark Linkous RIP). Portable-infinite.blogspot.com. Retrieved on 2010-05-01.
- Sisario, Ben (March 7, 2010). The Singer-Songwriter Known as Sparklehorse is Dead at 47. New York Times
- 6.0 6.1 Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums, 19th, London: Guinness World Records Limited.
- Sparklehorse > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles. allmusic (2010-03-06). Retrieved on 2010-05-01.
- Sparklehorse.com (official site)
- Sparklehorse MySpace (official)
- "He sparkles: The sad and beautiful world of Mark Linkous" 2002 interview in the Hook weekly
- August 2006 interview, Harp Magazine
- October 2006 interview, Subculture Magazine
- Interview with LeftLion Magazine
- Tribute Piece in Crawdaddy! Magazine