Jeff Buckley was one of the most talented artists of the modern era, and his premature death, aged just 30, is one of rock’s greatest tragedies. The son of acclaimed singer-songwriter Tim Buckley, he moved to New York City in the early 90s, having studied at the Los Angeles Musician’s Institute. He quickly began to make a name for himself, playing regular sets on the city’s club circuit. With a voice of staggering range and clarity, and a distinctive, sparse guitar playing style, his performances earned glowing write-ups. He was praised for both his talent as a songwriter, and also for his fantastic ability to interpret songs by other artists. His sole studio album Grace was released to universally excellent reviews, and is unquestionably a modern classic. A perfectionist, Buckley had recorded tracks with former Television guitarist Tom Verlaine producing but was not satisfied and decided against releasing them. In May 1997 he was about to resume recording when he entered a dangerous stretch of the Mississippi River, fully clothed, and was pulled under the water by the wake of a passing boat. There have been numerous releases since his death, including Sketches (For My Sweetheart The Drunk), a collection of tracks and demos from his unfinished second album. His music continues to touch the lives of music fans around the world, and his version of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah has come to be regarded by many as the definitive version of the song. While he has been compared with his father, Jeff hardly knew him, having been brought up by his mother Mary Guibert. We can only speculate what this extraordinary talent might have achieved had he lived, so much promise lost in a moment.
Followers: Scott Matthews, David Ford, Chris Stills, Starsailor, Brett Dennen, Coldplay