Q Lazzarus, elusive singer of “Goodbye Horses,” has died

Q Lazzarus, elusive singer of “Goodbye Horses,” has died

Cover art for the “Goodbye Horses” single.


Q Lazzarus, the singer behind “Goodbye Horses” who disappeared from the music industry at the peak of her career, has died. Her passing on July 19 was announced in an obituary posted last month and was first reported on August 18 by Stereogum.

The story of Q Lazzarus began in the hometown of New York City, where the musician was born Diane Luckey on December 12, 1960. While working as a cab driver, Luckey picked up the film director Jonathan Demme and played a demo tape for her band Q Lazzarus & The Resurrection. It was a beginning of a creative partnership that would span four Demme films beginning with 1986’s Something Wild which used the Q Lazzarus song “Candle Goes Away.”

It was their second collaboration on 1989’s The Silence of the Lambs that would lead to the peak of Lazzarus’s public prominence, and one of the late 20th century cinema’s most iconic needle drops. The Q Lazzarus song “Goodbye Horses” can be heard during a scene where serial killer Buffalo Bob (played by Frank Theodore Levine) admires his body in a mirror; in the other room, a woman he has kidnapped attempts to escape from a deep well. Despite the massive success of Lambs and the infamy of the Buffalo Bob scene, a record deal for Lazzarus never materialized.

After spending five years in London, Lazzarus disappeared. For 30 years her whereabouts were entirely unknown, and became its own lore as mysterious and intoxicating as Lazzarus’s own music. In 2015, an article in the New York Post revealed Luckey had been working as a bus driver on Staten Island and had launched a lawsuit against a Hasidic-owned bus company for allegedly refusing to hire female drivers.

Luckey’s obituary revealed that she was working on a career-spanning compilation of never-before-heard music as well as a documentary with director Eva Aridjis. Reached by email, Aridjis confirmed Luckey’s passing: “As her close friend, I am heartbroken knowing I will never see her again and I am devastated for her family. Q had a spirit that was truly unique and irreplaceable, not just for her loved ones in their daily lives but to the creative community as a whole. As her collaborator, I am now more determined than ever to get her incredible story and amazing music out into the world.”

Prior to her death, Aridjis says, Luckey gave her a trove of over 40 cassette tapes recorded throughout the 80s and 90s. “These songs have never been released before, but there are so many good ones in various genres and many of them will feature in the film and on the soundtrack.”