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Watch Elliott Smith, Jon Brion and Brad Mehldau in a lost TV pilot

January 17, 2013|By August Brown
  • Singer-songwriter Elliott Smith
Singer-songwriter Elliott Smith (Girlie Action Publicity )

Back in 2000, the L.A. producer/musical gadfly Jon Brion pitched a TV pilot to VH1. "The Jon Brion Show" was pegged as a kind of neo-variety show with guest musicians (a familiar format to anyone who knows his Largo roundtables). Director Paul Thomas Anderson even lent his hand to the pilot.

The network declined to pick it up, but Anderson on Thursday posted a video with a note on his YouTube channel: "I tore up the floorboards at H.Q. the other day and came up with this little number on VHS. She holds up well."

The clip is the show's pilot episode, and it has some remarkable lost footage of the late, beloved singer-songwriter Elliott Smith performing alongside Brion and crossover jazz pianist Brad Mehldau.

In it, Smith tackles some catalog staples such as "Son of Sam: and "Everything Means Nothing To Me" along with some favorite covers, including the Kinks' "Waterloo Sunset" and John Lennon's "Jealous Guy."

Even if the footage is a little VHS warbly, the collaborations are low-key and endearingly shaggy. The clip will probably put a lump in the throat of Smith's fans, especially as 2013 is the 10th anniversary of his death. 


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