Photo by Steve Gullick.
Heavenly started working with Mark Lanegan in 2004 when approached by his representatives about signing the publishing on his peerless album Bubblegum. We’d been huge fans of Mark’s since first hearing Field Songs, a beautiful record that we turned to first yesterday – though getting to the end of One Way Street has so far proven impossible.
Conversations with Mark quickly revealed he was a huge fan of the label, being a lifelong anglophile when it came to music. It’s always very flattering to hear kind words from an artist; to hear it from Mark was truly mind-blowing.
We became friends through that working relationship, and leapt at the chance to put out his records as soon as his previous deal was up. His first release for Heavenly was 2013’s Imitations, a collection of impeccably chosen cover versions. We worked on many more records in the ensuing years, years that saw Mark tap an incredible creative wellspring. The reasons there weren’t more records over the last couple of years were spelt out in his beautiful, often harrowing 2021 memoir Devil in a Coma. Starting 2022, we were collectively looking forward to and planning the next chapter of Mark’s career with renewed optimism.
Mark was a true soul singer, in that he sang from the soul, about the soul and all the dark places a soul could go to. And he was a storyteller, as anyone who’d lived such a life would surely be. Because of that life and Mark’s reputation, we’d get asked time and again “what’s he like to work with?” It wasn’t always the easiest road to travel – the best creative relationships never are – but it was more often than not a truly inspiring, often revelatory experience. We are all heartbroken at the loss of a great friend and a much-loved member of the Heavenly family.
A good introduction to Mark’s work can be found in The Vault, a collection of playlists of career-spanning fave tunes created by fans and friends.