Sparklehorse's first album, Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot (1995) featuring Bob Rupe of The Silos and Cracker, was a modest college radio success. In 1996, while touring Europe with Radiohead shortly after the album's release, Linkous overdosed on a combination of anti-depressants, valium, alcohol, and heroin in a London hotel room. Unconscious and with his legs pinned beneath him for almost fourteen hours, the resulting potassium build up caused his heart to stop for several minutes after his body was lifted up. The ensuing surgery nearly caused him to lose both legs and left him wheelchair-bound for six months.
Good Morning Spider (1998) was recorded following this incident. Critics[who?] have conjectured that Linkous's near death experience inspired the somber tone of the album, though Linkous has stated that much of the material on GMS had already been written. One song which did result from it is "St. Mary", which is dedicated to the nurses at the eponymous hospital in Paddington where Linkous recuperated.
2001 saw the release of It's a Wonderful Life, featuring appearances by Tom Waits, PJ Harvey, Bob Rupe, Vic Chesnutt, Nina Persson and Dave Fridmann. Whereas much of Vivadixie... and Spider were recorded solely by Linkous in his 'Static King' studio on his Virginia farm, It's a Wonderful Life was more of a formal effort, largely recorded by Fridmann after Linkous was asked by his label to retain an outside producer for the project.
On September 25, 2006, Sparklehorse released their fourth album, Dreamt for Light Years in the Belly of a Mountain, collaborating with DJ Danger Mouse, Christian Fennesz, and Steven Drozd. This album featured the radio release "Don't Take My Sunshine Away" and a remastered version of "Shade And Honey", which Linkous originally wrote for Alessandro Nivola to sing in the 2003 movie Laurel Canyon, as well as a virtually unchanged re-release of "Morning Hollow," the bonus track from It's a Wonderful Life.
In the year 2008, Sparklehorse recorded a cover of the song "Jack's Obsession," from Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas for the official compilation album, Nightmare Revisited. In 2009, Sparklehorse teamed up with Danger Mouse and David Lynch in the project Dark Night of the Soul.
Joe Tangari describes Linkous' songs as "defiantly surrealist ... with all manner of references to smiling babies, organ music, birds, and celestial bodies ... In fact, some of the lyrics are so surreal that it's hard to imagine they're even metaphors for anything." Many of these references are literary or from a variety of rock music sources. Dennis Piss describes Sparklehorse's sound as "...definitively spoiled art school. An applesauce blend of backwards piano and whine rock meticulously designed so that 15 year old suburban boys and girls can hold each other and cry. Talk about how beautiful pain is."
- Two Sparklehorse songs appear in the soundtrack of the 2002 film Laurel Canyon. In the film, a fictional band is shown struggling to record a version of "Someday I will Treat You Good". Linkous also has a short cameo appearance sitting on a couch at a party.
- A cover version of "Sad and Beautiful World" sung by Paul Dano appears in the film The King.
- The soundtrack of skateboarding movie Lords of Dogtown (2005) contained Linkous's cover of Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" (featuring vocals by Radiohead's Thom Yorke).
- In 2005 Sparklehorse and The Flaming Lips recorded a cover of the Daniel Johnston song "Go". The track appears in the film The Sasquatch Gang, as well as being featured in "Haunted" from the 15th season of the television show ER
- The teaser trailer for Dawn of the Dead featured the song "It's a Wonderful Life."
- The 2004 film Dandelion featured the song "It's a Wonderful Life" in both the trailer for the movie and the opening sequence of the film.
- The Sparklehorse song, "Please Don't Take my Sunshine Away" appears in the Bonds commercial to promote their line of hoodies.
- "Sea of Teeth" appears in All the Real Girls.
- "It's a Wonderful Life" appeared in the Channel 4 drama Skins' third series.
- Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot (August 1995, UK #58)
- Good Morning Spider (October 1998, UK #30)
- It's a Wonderful Life (June 2001, UK #49)
- Dreamt for Light Years in the Belly of a Mountain (25 September 2006, US Heatseekers #11, UK #60)
- Dark Night of the Soul (with Danger Mouse) (2009)
Singles and EPs
- Chords I've Known EP (April 1995)
- "Spirit Ditch" / "Waiting for Nothing" (1995)
- "Hammering the Cramps" / "Too Late" (1995)
- "Someday I Will Treat You Good" / "Rainmaker" (February 1996)
- "Someday I Will Treat You Good" / "London" (February 1996, UK issue)
- "Hammering the Cramps" / "Spirit Ditch" (April 1996)
- "Rainmaker" / "I Almost Lost My Mind" (August 1996, UK #61)
- "Come On In" / "Blind Rabbit Choir" (February 1998)
- "Painbirds" / "Maria's Little Elbows" (July 1998)
- "Sick of Goodbyes" / "Good Morning Spider (session version)" (October 1998, UK #57)
- Distorted Ghost EP (July 2000)
- Chest Full of Dying Hawks ('95-'01) (U.S. promo) (2001)
- "Gold Day" / "Heloise" / "Devil's New" / Maxine" (July 2001)
- "Ghost in the Sky" 7" and CD (11 September 2006)
- "Don't Take My Sunshine Away" 7" (18 September 2006)
- "Knives of Summertime" 7" (18 September 2006)
Biography from Wikipedia