I’m currently reading Dream Brother and as such I feel I need to make it clear that my mancrush on Jeff has very little to do with his physical appearance, because the book states in no uncertain terms that he hated being viewed as a pin up or a sex symbol. What I love about him is his absolute passion for music, his sense of humour and his gift.
I first got into Jeff Buckley because a girl I fancied was really into Jeff Buckley and to my lesser mind I felt the best way of ensuring she thought I was worthy of her was to just like all of the things that she liked. As is often the way my love for the artist has stayed whereas the girl has drifted off into the ether, I thank her wherever she is for introducing me to Jeff’s work.
I suppose most people know Jeff for his cover of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah which was thrown into the spotlight in December 2008 as real music fans campaigned for it to be Christmas number one over that years X-Factor winner whose name has long since disappeared into the mists of time. What you should know about Buckley is that his version of Hallelujah is just the tip of the iceberg. I’ve spent the last seven years collecting bootlegs and live albums and he really has something for everyone. At points some it gets awkward or self indulgent (particularly live vocal solos) but there’s something quaint in that, nobody else has/had the audacity or the voice to try it. The way he composed his songs, the haunting melodies, the soaring vocals, it’s just really something to behold and embrace.
Jeff was prominent when the world was just turning away from grunge and looking for the new thing and as much as he thought it was what he wanted he became a victim of his own success, being hounded by the press and fans of his father (cult folk singer Tim Buckley) to the point that when he could have made an incredible second album he felt put upon by everyone at his record company who were demanding hits from him when all he wanted to do was thrash about and make noise with his friends. Throughout his brief career and indeed brief life he stuck to his guns, held his integrity high and did what he wanted and that’s a beautiful character trait.