This couldn’t come at a more important time given the oncoming war on well basically half the world’s population. NME reports: “An unreleased Elliott Smith track has been unveiled as part of a campaign in aid of Planned Parenthood, 14 years after the cult singer-songwriter’s death in 2003. Artists including Foo Fighters, St Vincent, CHVRCHES and Bon Iver have already contributed to the compilation of 7-inch singles, alongside comedians Jenny Slate, Margaret Cho and Janeane Garofalo, who offered exclusive spoken word recordings to the project.
On Facebook, Planned Parenthood explained: “Lawmakers with extreme views are working hard to shut down Planned Parenthood. If they succeed, millions of Americans will lose access to basic health services, including STD testing and treatment, birth control, and life-saving cancer screenings.
“7-inches for Planned Parenthood is a response to this threat. This curated series of 7-inch vinyl records is being made by a group of people who believe that access to health care is a public good that should be fiercely protected. Do we know there’s a joke in the name? We do. We hope the title evokes the rich history of 7-inch vinyl records as a medium for protest music and resistance.”
Each track is released digitally before being compiled into a limited edition 7-inch box set. The hitherto-unheard live version of Smith’s ‘Pretty (Ugly Before)’ forms part of the initiative, and was made available digitally yesterday (May 5).
This version of ‘Pretty (Ugly Before)’ was recorded in 1999, five years before it appeared on his posthumous album ‘From a Basement on the Hill’.
Smith’s estate shared a statement alongside the release: “Elliott did and said many things in his life that showed his commitment to the principles that Planned Parenthood stands for, including equal rights for all, affordable and accessible access to healthcare, and a woman’s autonomy over her body.”
The statement continues: “He was an outspoken feminist (evidenced not only by his actions and countless conversations with friends and family, but also by his culminating college thesis written in spring of 1991 entitled “Toward a Post-Structuralist Feminist Jurisprudence”). He went out of his way to play for or otherwise contribute to charitable causes. For these reasons, and so many more, Elliott’s family has no doubt that he would feel very proud to be part of this project.”
It is believed to be the first time he ever played the song live, according to Mark Flanagan, who owns Largo, the LA venue the track was recorded in with Jon Brion. He wrote: “Jon [Brion] happened to be at Largo that night and he and Elliott sequestered themselves in my tiny upstairs office and he played us the song. I found this cassette recording among the many cassette recordings I have of his shows from almost 20 years ago and can think of no better place for it to find it’s way to all kind people who support girls young and older in our world.”