Jay Reatard passed away one year ago today. His unexpected death shocked everyone except, perhaps, himself. “Everything I do is motivated by the fear of running out of time,” Reatard had told the New York Times several months earlier. Songs like “It Ain’t Gonna Save Me” and “An Ugly Death” indicated a near-obsession with mortality. Maybe that’s why he packed 22 albums into his 29 years.
We’ve heard plenty of other folks covering Reatard (like Arcade Fire, Spoon, and Mac McCaughan), so today we present three of our favorite covers he did himself. He recorded Beck‘s “Gamma Ray” for the B-side of the single; “Pull Down the Shades” comes from a tribute album to help ailing musician Chris Knox; and “Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle” only surfaced after his death, making it his most recent release at the moment (though a new 7” of his final two recordings drops next month).
R.I.P. Jay Reatard 1980-2010