Q Lazzarus, the singer behind the cult synth pop hit “Goodbye Horses” featured in the 1992 film “The Silence of the Lambs,” died July 29 following a short illness. She was 61.
“Over the past three years, Q became one of my closest friends and we were in touch almost daily. Q had one of those life forces that you simply can’t imagine being extinguished or ceasing to exist, because it was so vital and radiant and exuberant,” Aridjis told Rolling Stone.
Lazzarus, whose real name was Diane Luckey, was born Dec. 12, 1960, in Neptune, New Jersey. She began her music career in the 1980s, a period during which she was unable to get a record deal due to racist reactions by record industry scouts who objected to her dreadlocks. This changed in the mid-1980s when she picked up director Jonathan Demme in her cab and played him her song “Candle Goes Away.”
This led to several collaborations between the two, as Demme included that song in his 1986 film “Something Wild.” She released “Goodbye Horses” in 1988 and it was included in the soundtrack in another Demme film, “Married to the Mob.”
But “Goodbye Horses” achieved immortality 3 years later when it was included in one of the signature scenes of Demme’s “The Silence of the Lambs,” where the serial killer Buffalo Bill (Ted Levine) dances naked while listening to it. Lazzarus also appeared in Demme’s 1993 film “Philadelphia,” performing a cover of a Talking Heads song.
Lazzarus largely retreated from the public eye in the late 1990s, having never achieved anything more than cult success. As of 2017, she was reported to be working as a bus driver, and according to Aridjis, he was working with her on a documentary about her life and career.
She’s survived by husband Robert Lange, her son and daughter, and many other family members.
Listen to her enduring classic song at the top of the page.