Born Diane Luckey in 1962, her passing on July 19th was announced a few weeks later by Jackson Funeral Home. No cause of death has been made public, but the obituary added key context to a story that has long felt closer to legend than life.
The story goes that the struggling leader of Q Lazzarus and the Resurrection had her A Star Is Born moment from the driver’s seat of a taxi cab after picking up filmmaker Jonathan Demme during a blizzard. As lore would have it, Luckey asked Demme if he worked in the music industry before playing him a demo tape. “Oh my God, what is this and who are you?” he reportedly asked.
Whether or not it happened like that, Demme put the taxi driver’s song “Candle Goes Away” in his 1986 movie Something Wild, and he followed that by synching 1988’s “Goodbye Horses” into Married to the Mob (1988) and then 1991’s The Silence of the Lambs, where it achieved cinematic immortality.
As “Goodbye Horses” plays, killer Buffalo Bill puts on makeup and dances in front of the mirror. “Would you fuck me?” Bill asks. “I’d fuck me. I’d fuck me so hard.” The moment has been parodied countless times, and “Goodbye Horses” has appeared in Clerks II and Grand Theft Auto IV. In 1993, Luckey played a Party Singer in Demme’s Philadelphia, singing a cover of the Talking Heads song, “Heaven.”
Her obituary provides a more complete picture of her early career. Luckey moved to New York City at the age of 18 and immediately found work writing commercial jingles and performing as a backup singer at Sigma Sounds Studio. She wasn’t quite an out-of-nowhere star, but instead quickly found modest success that nevertheless wasn’t enough to pay the bills.
In the 1990s Luckey moved to London and toured the UK as Q Lazzarus. But the only song she released commercially was “Goodbye Horses,” and she soon moved on to other pursuits, including a long travel through South America and six months spent on a fishing boat in Alaska.
In 2018, fans managed to track her down and she made her first public statement in about 30 years: “I just wanted people to know I am still alive, I have no interest in singing anymore. I am a bus driver in Staten Island (I have been for YEARS).”
According to her obituary, at the time of her death Luckey “was finishing work on a feature documentary about her life and music with filmmaker and friend, Eva Aridjis. The film will be released in 2023, along with an album of songs spanning her entire musical career.”