Q Lazzarus, Singer Behind Famous Song Featured in ‘The Silence of the Lambs,’ Dead at 61

by Craig Garrett

Q Lazzarus, best known for her 1988 single “Goodbye Horses” which was famously played in Silence of the Lambs, passed away in July. The singer was 61. Diane Luckey was Lazzarus’ real name. A friend of Luckey’s who had been filming a documentary about the musician confirmed to Rolling Stone on Thursday that she had passed away. Meanwhile, the Asbury Park Press published a brief obituary. The paper said Luckey passed away on July 19 “after a short illness.”

“Over the past three years, Q [Lazzarus] became one of my closest friends and we were in touch almost daily, sometimes to talk about the film or her music but mostly just to talk about our lives and everyday matters,” Luckey’s friend, filmmaker Eva Aridjis, told Rolling Stone via email.

“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 reportedly continued. “Despite having had a very hard life, she was not jaded at all. On the contrary — she was full of enthusiasm, passion and humor. And she was also full of plans. At the time of her death, we were planning a ‘comeback concert’ with some of her original bandmates.”

Q Lazzarus met her biggest collaborator completely by chance

Luckey was born in Neptune, New Jersey in 1960. According to Pitchfork, her involvement in a youth choir spurred her initial interest in music. When she was 18, she moved to New York City to begin a music career. She adopted the stage name Q Lazzarus during the 1980s, according to Rolling Stone.

Eventually, Luckey worked as a taxi cab driver. Her fortune changed when she picked up filmmaker Jonathan Demme. According to Aridjis, Demme heard Luckey playing her own songs in the taxi and expressed an interest. The award-winning director became a frequent collaborator to Q Lazzarus.

Demme, who died in 2017 at 73, used Luckey’s song “The Candles Goes Away” in the 1986 movie Something Wild. Demme also featured the Q Lazzarus song “Goodbye Horses” in both 1998’s Married to the Mob and The Silence of the Lambs. “Goodbye Horses” was used in an iconic scene in Silence of the Lambs. The melancholy song was expertly juxtaposed with the main antagonist’s madness. “Goodbye Horses” was also used in a completely different way in the 2006 Kevin Smith comedy, Clerks II.

Of course, Silence of the Lambs was a critical and box office success. The film won five Academy Awards, including Best Director for Jonathan Demme. Q Lazzarus also appeared in Demme’s 1993 film Philadelphia. She performed an onscreen cover of the Talking Heads’ song “Heaven.” See the original video for “Goodbye Horses” below.