Mark Edward Smith Vocalist and songwriter b. 5 March 1957, d. 24 January 2018
It shouldn't be a surprise when someone who lived a life like Mark E. Smith lived his, with no thought for the morrow, dies. But his passing really does feel like the end of an era; the death of the last real renegade of rock music. A musical and lyrical renegade, utterly sui generis yet in some way dependable; as his band's Number One Fan John Peel always used to say, "Always the same, always different".
It was Peelie's show where I first heard The Fall in 1986 and - although I wasn't enamoured of everything they did - there are tracks I heard then which have stayed with me for over thirty years.
First off, their minor hit single Hey! Luciani, which was from Smith's play about the suspicious death of Pope John Paul I:
Then two from the innumerable sessions they did for Peel down the years. Here's Gross Chapel - GB Grenadiers from June 1986:
And finally, from the same session, R.O.D.:
See yer, yer mad, irascible, erudite, in-yer-face old bugger! And thanks for the songs - all of them.