Mark E Smith, founder of post-punk band The Fall, dies at 60
Jan. 24, 2018
LONDON (AP) — Mark E. Smith, lead singer and driving force of British post-punk band The Fall, died Wednesday. He was 60.
The Fall manager and Smith's partner Pam Vander — also known as Pam Van Damned — said Smith died at his home. The cause of death wasn't immediately available. The band had canceled a string of shows last year because of Smith's "medical issues."
Smith formed The Fall when punk hit 1970s Manchester, and the gray industrial English city sprouted innovative bands including Joy Division and The Buzzcocks.
Irascible and inimitable, Smith kept The Fall going for four decades and more than 30 albums. He was the band's only permanent member, hiring, firing and falling out with several dozen musicians along the way.
Spiky, unpredictable and poetic, the band was never a huge commercial success but had a big influence on other artists.
Simon Wolstencroft, who was The Fall's drummer from 1986 until 1997, said Smith was "iconic."
"His influences travel a long, long way to bands like Pulp, and new bands now like Cabbage, and many other bands have been influenced by him. It's a sad day," Wolstencroft told the BBC.
"Babydriver" director Edgar Wright tweeted that Smith was "not merely a legend of indie music but someone who, for me, was a gateway into that very genre."