Richard Swift, indie-rock songwriter and producer, dies aged 41

The singer-songwriter, who worked with the Shins, the Black Keys and the Pretenders, had been suffering from a ‘serious medical condition’

Richard Swift, a cult US singer-songwriter and producer, has died aged 41. He had been diagnosed with a “serious medical condition” according to a fundraising page set up following a recent stay in hospital.

From 2005 onwards, Swift released a series of albums and EPs that blended classic guitar-driven songwriting with offbeat production touches and his own soulful vocals. They won acclaim, and he toured as a support act with the likes of Wilco and the Fray; his song Would You? was recently featured in the Lady Gaga documentary Five Foot Two.

Swift performed on the Pretenders’ 2016 album Alone. Frontwoman Chrissie Hynde promoted his fundraising campaign, saying: “I love Swift, he is a dear friend.” He was also a member of indie rock band the Shins from 2011 to 2016, and was the touring bassist with the Black Keys in 2014. The latter band posted on Instagram: “He was the funniest person we ever met, one of the most talented musicians we have ever worked with and we feel so honored to have known him. RIP Richard.”

Swift also worked as a producer or mixer for Sharon Van Etten, Foxygen, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats and Damien Jurado, with whom he made a collaborative album covering songs by acts such as Kraftwerk and Chubby Checker. Swift was also an illustrator, and designed album sleeves for Foxygen and others.

Jonathan Rado from Foxygen wrote on Twitter: “Today i lost one of my best friends. family. my hero. my everything. one of the true greats. swift was my music dad. he taught me everything i know & i will never forget him.”


Ben Beaumont-Thomas

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach on losing Richard Swift at 41: ‘He was just fun! Then, when he wasn’t, it was very dark’
As indie supergroup the Arcs release the last album they recorded together, Auerbach and Leon Michels of the El Michels Affair recall their late bandmate’s verve, spirit – and troubled inner life

Laura Barton

26, Jan, 2023 @4:00 PM

Article image
Daniel Johnston, cult US indie songwriter, dies aged 58
Manager confirms Johnston, whose naive songwriting was beloved of Kurt Cobain, died of a heart attack

Ben Beaumont-Thomas

11, Sep, 2019 @9:26 PM

Article image
David Berman, acclaimed US indie songwriter, dies aged 52
No cause of death has been announced for songwriter and poet known for his projects Silver Jews and Purple Mountains, and his wry, witty lyrics

Ben Beaumont-Thomas

08, Aug, 2019 @5:54 AM

Article image
Lamont Dozier, Motown songwriter, dies aged 81
As one third of Holland–Dozier–Holland, the Detroit musician was responsible for some of Motown’s biggest hits of the 1960s

Michael Cragg

09, Aug, 2022 @9:27 AM

Article image
Miracles singer and songwriter Warren "Pete" Moore dies
The US musician, who co-wrote multiple hits for the Smokey Robinson-led band, has died aged 78

Guardian music

21, Nov, 2017 @10:31 AM

Article image
Stewart Lupton, frontman of indie rockers Jonathan Fire*Eater, dies aged 43
The cult New York band, driven by Lupton’s ‘gut-wrenching genius’, influenced Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Interpol

Ben Beaumont-Thomas

29, May, 2018 @9:13 AM

Article image
William Hart, Delfonics lead singer and songwriter, dies aged 77
Hart was the primary songwriter for the Philadelphia sweet-soul group, who recorded with Thom Bell and were covered by Prince and Aretha Franklin

Laura Snapes

15, Jul, 2022 @4:05 PM

Article image
Barrett Strong, singer, songwriter and Motown’s first star, dies aged 81
Strong sang on the label’s first hit Money in 1960 and went on to co-write landmark songs including Heard It Through the Grapevine and War

Shaad D'Souza

30, Jan, 2023 @12:50 PM

Article image
Rod Temperton, songwriter behind Thriller, dies
British writer of the huge Michael Jackson hit, who also worked with Quincy Jones, Anita Baker and Aretha Franklin, has died of cancer at the age of 66

Guardian music

06, Oct, 2016 @5:55 AM

Article image
Greg Gilbert, frontman with indie band Delays, dies aged 44
Singer, whose band reached UK Top 20 with debut 2004 album, had documented illness due to bowel cancer in visual art and poetry

Ben Beaumont-Thomas

30, Sep, 2021 @7:44 PM