Jay Reatard dies at age 29

Acclaimed indie rocker Jay Reatard has died at age 29. His label, Matador Records, confirmed his passing in an online post: “We are devastated by the death of Jimmy Lee Lindsey Jr., aka Jay Reatard. Jay was as full of life as anyone we’ve ever met, and responsible for so many memorable moments as a person and artist. We’re honored to have known and worked with him, and we will miss him terribly.” Details on the manner and cause of his death were not immediately available, but one newspaper is reporting that he was found dead at home in Memphis at 3:30 this morning.

This awful news is doubly tragic because of where Jay was in his career. 2010 should have been a banner year for him. After years of building buzz for his releases on tiny labels, the prolific Memphis native had recently signed with big-time indie Matador Records, which released his excellent LP Watch Me Fall last August. That record’s blend of punk attitude and indelible melodies won him many rave reviews, including one published in EW. In that review, I called Watch Me Fall “a bravura performance that ought to win this blog favorite the widespread recognition his songcraft deserves.” It was clear from an outside listener’s perspective that Jay’s songwriting was evolving at an exponential rate, and it’s simply too sad for words that we’ll never get to hear what he would have done next.

We at the Music Mix extend our genuine condolences to the friends and family of this talented artist. Please share your thoughts and memories of Jay Reatard in the comments section below.

More on Jay Reatard:
Colleagues react to his death
EW’s review of Watch Me Fall
Jay Reatard & Friends in concert, October 2009

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

More from EW.com’s Music Mix:
Heidi Montag says her new album cost almost $2 million, left her broke, is as good as Thriller
Ke$ha dethrones Susan Boyle on the albums chart
Alice in Wonderland soundtrack details revealed
Yellow Submarine casting rumors: Darth Maul IS Paul McCartney?

Comments (33 total) Add your comment
Page: 1 2
  • secondrink

    Good lord, that is terrible. I am so stunned. What is with these tragic deaths among young musicians lately?

    • let me guess, natural causes right?


      • Mary Beth

        Telly B, who is he? Well that question was pretty much answered in the article above. So yeah, really REALLY stupid question. Why should we care? Isn’t it always sad when a talented artist dies at a young age, especially one at the cusp of his/her career breakthrough? Again, this was pretty much stated in the article above, so your questions are beyond moronic and rude.

  • Gigi

    This is so sad.

  • Celia

    That’s so sad. He was too young. What’s up with all these celebs dying in their late 20s, early 30s?!
    BTW, he had an unfortunate last name. :(

    • Jennifer

      What’s so unfortunate about Lindsey?

    • Bobby’s Robot


      • menu

        Yes Lindsey, that was his real last name. Reading comprehension works.

      • Bobby’s Robot

        Um…I was responding to Celia who thought Reatard was his real name. Not being a b*tch works too.

      • Celia

        I’m an idiot for not reading the whole article. But now I’m even more intrigued about this man…I wonder why he chose that last name??

    • Ambient Lite

      Strangely enough Celia, that wasn’t his given name – that was his stage name.

  • Joe

    To PeterBilt:
    If you believe in Karma, then you’re not doing yourself any favours with comments like that.

    Anyway, Jay’s loss is a sad loss. It’s a real shame he won’t be around to really fulfil his potential because he made some excellent songs/records & seemingly always improving & on the up, with each year. A great shame.

    • zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

      Karma, schmarma

  • Jean Genie


  • MissVampireDiaries

    Interesting last name.

  • Jon

    Wow, what sad, sad news. I remember Jay from waaaay back. When he was just a kid jamming in the noisy and chaotic Bad Times with Eric Oblivian and King Louie. I cannot believe he’s gone. What a shame.

  • abu

    Haiti earthquake=story Some musician who overdosed=boring. MJ could pull it off, but this “Reatard” cant. RIP, but this story is as important to the world at large as Kim Jong Il’s favorite color.

    • Jon

      You do realize that every life is precious, right? An emerging artist’s untimely passing is a story — especially on an entertainment web site. So maybe you should take your fashionable cynicism elsewhere.

    • Mia

      Do you expect them not to publish it? EW is primarily an entertainment magazine; therefore, this is the type of story they will immediately report. It does not make the Haitian earthquake any less terrible if they report on the death of a musician.

      • amanda

        why is this so hard for people to understand?
        say it with me: ENTERTAINMENT weekly.

    • suni

      People don’t want to read a magazine called “Entertainment Weekly” to read about news outside the entertainment world. That would be pointless.

      Anyway, I had just been getting into Jay’s music. It really is a shame and I wonder what really happened.

  • donnywahls

    truly unbelievable. clearly its the drugs, but damn it that guy was talented as all hell. what a bummer.

  • Mikey

    Blood Visions is one of the best rock albums ever made. hands down. this sucks.

  • druickd

    He died as he lived: someone who named himself using a disparaging term for another’s disability.

    • Mary Beth

      FYI, his stage last name was pronounced “re-uh-tard”, not like the word retard that you’re referring to.

  • Chris

    I knew it was going to happen eventually…but I was hoping not this soon. I was hoping he could get his life back on track. I’m terribly sad about it all.

  • Zach

    I know this may sound callous, but I have never heard of him before, but judging by his last name and his photo, I don’t find this shocking at all.

    • ML

      your comment isn’t callous… it’s immature and insensivite.

  • A Dog

    HAHAHHAHHA Zach, too true!

  • Jon

    The level of immaturity here is truly shocking. I hope for your sake that when someone you care about dies you aren’t surrounded by such thoughtless and infantile individuals. Jay never “did” anything for me in my life, but did he have to for me to mourn his death? It’s amazing to me that you people are so casual about a life ending — whatever his status or stage name. You could all use a simple lesson: grow up.

Page: 1 2
Add your comment
The rules: Keep it clean, and stay on the subject - or we may delete your comment. If you see inappropriate language, e-mail us. An asterisk (*) indicates a required field.

When you click on the "Post Comment" button above to submit your comments, you are indicating your acceptance of and are agreeing to the Terms of Service. You can also read our Privacy Policy.

Latest Videos in Music


From Our Partners

TV Recaps

Powered by WordPress.com VIP