Friday, August 23, 2019

25 years of Jeff Buckley's Grace

Jeff Buckley's Grace was released 25 years ago today, on August 23, 1994.

Grace has the youthful excitement of a debut album, and the emotional gravity of a swan song. Sadly, Grace was both. More material has been posthumously released, but Grace was Jeff Buckley's only full studio album.

It didn't get much attention at first, but as people found out about it, Grace eventually sold millions and is now considered a classic.

Jeff Buckley inspired a wide range of artists including Grizzly Bear (listen to "Fine for Now" from Veckatimest), Chris Cornell (a close friend of Jeff Buckley's who wrote this song about him), Rufus Wainwright (who wrote another tribute), and Lana Del Rey.

Bono of U2 said:

Jeff Buckley was a pure drop in an ocean of noise.
This live version of "Lilac Wine" (a cover of a 1950 song) has very different chords from what he played on the album:

Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin:
The album that I’ve been listening to for the last 18 months is Grace by Jeff Buckley. He is a great, great singer. He has such an emotional range, doing songs by Benjamin Britten and Leonard Cohen as well as his own – such technique and command. When the Page/Plant tour hit Australia, we saw [the band] and we were knocked out. It was very moving. Someone heckled him from the audience: "Stop playing that heavy stuff!" But he made the perfect reply: "Music should be like making love — sometimes you want it soft and tender, other times you want it hard and aggressive."
Aimee Mann explained how she ended up writing a tribute to him, "Just Like Anyone":
This is a song I wrote when Jeff Buckley died... I hadn't known Jeff extremely well, but we kept bumping into each other here and there. One night we met for a drink at a pub in NYC, and started writing messages to each other on a paper place mat that was there, instead of talking, because the music in the bar was really loud or something. An interesting effect of that was that we found ourselves writing things that we would never would dare to say to each other out loud. I remember thinking that he seemed to be sort of lost and sad although he outwardly was very funny and lively and confident, and wrote something about that, among other things. I didn't talk to him for a long time after that — I went to England to live for a while… Then one night I got a voicemail message from him that said, 'I just realized what you were trying to tell me that night.' I tried to call him back, but the number I had for him was old. And then I got his new number but I was out of town again and it was difficult to call. And then I heard that he was missing and presumed dead.
Jeff Buckley drowned on May 29, 1997. He was 30.
Looking out the door

I see the rain fall upon the funeral mourners

Parading in a wake of sad relations

As their shoes fill up with water

(Live solo.)