I just found out that today would have been Jeff Buckley's 42nd birthday.
Had I known I might have braved one of his songs! It's a bit late now, so I shall blog.
Buckley has been one of the biggest musical influences that I have found in my life. I was eleven when he died and didn't really find out about him until much later. His version of Hallelujah was all I heard of him for a long time until a friend introduced me to one of the greatest albums ever recorded: Grace.
I don't know why I didn't follow up on hearing Hallelujah immediately because it's a masterpiece. I could never say definitively what my favourite song is, there are far to many and they all mean something different to me, but I remember being asked on Upstaged and with the pressure of being broadcast live to a lot of people I said, with a small disclaimer like the one I just gave you, that it was Buckley's version of Hallelujah. That hauntingly beautiful voice is just so natural, so simple, so real.
I was amazed to find his song writing to be just as beautiful as his singing and guitar playing. I've often thought the truly amazing thing about him was that he had all three: singing, song writing and guitar. If he had just one of those talents he would have been exceptional, but to find all three, to that standard, in one man... Well I can think of nobody else.
I think if I could go back in time to see anyone play, just a one time deal - one gig then the magic ends, then The Beatles, The Clash and Hendrix would all have to make way. I would go and see Jeff Buckley. (Of course, the real test of that theory would be to ask me again on Jimi's birthday!)
If I continue much longer it will pass midnight and this won't be posted on the day I claimed it was. So some simple advice. Listen to Grace. Buy it, borrow it, illegally download it, do what you do, just listen to it, and give it your full attention. Lie down, close your eyes and hear every word and every note. If it does to you what if does to me then go out and find everything else. It's a great shame that he only finished one album, but there is more. Here are a few terms to help you search...
Sketches for my Sweetheart the Drunk
The rain was falling on that day
Mystery White Boy
Live at Sin-é
Rest in Peace, Jeff.