What If? There is always a lot of “What ifs?” in the music industry, What if Elvis Presley or Jim Morrison were still alive?
What if Jeff Buckley was with us?
Would his popularity still be as big? Would he still have that cult following or would his popularity have faded away. I would like to think he would still be breaking ground in the music industry.
As most of us already know (and if not well then i guess you have being hiding under a rock for the past three decades). Jeff Buckley was son of cult songwriter Tim Buckley.
Buckley’s voice was grand and sweeping, which fit with the mock-operatic grandeur of his Van Morrison-meets-Led Zeppelin music. Although there was a lot of pressure on him to live up to his father’s musical past before the release of his debut album “Grace” in 1994.
On the follow up to Jeff Buckley’s first major release he was regular player in the a lot of the small cafes in New York that could just about fit in small tight enclosed area. It was in these cafes where Jeff learnt his trade for music. Check out his incredible version of Van Morrison’s “Sweet Thing” below
Soon after this Columbia Records got involved and Jeff signed his first major record contract. Jeff released his first live album “Live at Sine e”
At the time the album received moderate reviews but it wasn’t until 1994 when he released his first record “Grace” that people began to sit up and take notice of the artist.
The following year he went on to release the single “Last Goodbye” from the album.
The first time i was introduced to Jeff was this song when it received airplay on the now cult TV show “No Disco” from Donal Dineen in the mid nineties.
If you listen carefully to the record now, you begin to realise that it truly is a remarkable piece of beauty that brings you back to certain place or time. Like Elvis i am not sure that i have heard a voice as beautiful as Jeff Buckley’s was.
After a certain length of promoting Grace Jeff decided to go on a long hiatus.
A lot was expected from him to produce a follow up that was just as good, if not better as Grace.
Tragedy struck on May 29th 1997 when Jeff and a friend decided to travel to the local Mud Island, it was here where Jeff spontaneously decided to go swimming in the Mississippi river full clothed.
Moments later his body disappeared and it wasn’t until the following few days it was discovered floating near the city’s famed Beale Street area on June 4th 1997.
Jeff Buckley was only 30 years old when he passed away.
More so than any other of the artists that passed away over the years during my lifetime i always return to the same question especially Jeff Buckley, more so than Kurt Cobain, Layne Staley, and ask myself the same question,
What if Jeff was still with us. What if he was around today and he was about to release his tenth studio album?
But then again these are all “What Ifs?”…
In 1998 his family decided to release a collection of unfinished songs that Jeff had been working on titled “Sketches for my Sweetheart, The Drunk”
In my mind the album was good if not flawed in parts but it was really great to hear some new material from Jeff if not fully completed as he wanted, check out the track “Everybody here wants you” below,