Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Jeff Buckley remembered - 15 years ago today

Some time in the mid nineties I first heard Jeff Buckley's brilliant album 'Grace' during a car journey with my friends Jon and Wilf Hanson. I was impressed. A few years later and one day after school I was at my Nan and Grandad's house, searching through the Teletext pages of Channel 4 to catch up on the day's music news. The Teletext music news service was called Planet Sound (which lives on in the form of a Facebook group) and it was there that I was saddened to hear that this wonderful, talented young artist had died whilst swimming in the Mississippi River.

That very day was now exactly 15 years ago. As we remember this excellent musician and celebrate his work, here is a Spotify playlist featuring Buckley's complete recorded output. Below it are YouTube videos of some of his finest moments. Further down this page is also a Wikipedia entry on Buckley's life. Gone but never forgotten.

Jeffrey Scott "Jeff" Buckley (November 17, 1966 – May 29, 1997), raised as Scotty Moorhead, was an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. He was the son of Tim Buckley, also a musician. After a decade as a guitarist-for-hire in Los Angeles, Buckley amassed a following in the early 1990s by playing cover songs at venues in Manhattan's East Village, such as Sin-é, gradually focusing more on his own material. After rebuffing much interest from record labels and his father's manager Herb Cohen, he signed with Columbia, recruited a band, and recorded what would be his only studio album, Grace.

Jeff BuckleyOver the following two years, the band toured widely to promote the album, including concerts in the U.S., Europe, Japan and Australia. In 1996, they stopped touring and made sporadic attempts to record his second album in New York with Tom Verlaine as producer. In 1997, Buckley moved to Memphis, Tennessee, to resume work on the album, to be titled My Sweetheart the Drunk, recording many four-track demos while also playing weekly solo shows at a local venue. While awaiting the arrival of his band from New York, he drowned during a spontaneous evening swim — fully clothed — in the Wolf River, when he was caught in the wake of a passing boat. His body was found on June 4, 1997.

Since his death, there have been many posthumous releases of his material, including a collection of four-track demos and studio recordings for his unfinished second album My Sweetheart the Drunk and expansions of debut album Grace and his Live at Sin-é EP. Chart success also came posthumously; with Leonard Cohen's song, "Hallelujah" he attained his first #1 on Billboard's Hot Digital Songs in March 2008 and reached #2 in the UK Singles Chart in Christmas 2008. Buckley and his work remain popular and are regularly featured in 'greatest' lists in the music press.

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