Jeff Buckley

9 Feb 2024

Jeff Buckley

Jeffrey Scott Buckley, born on November 17, 1966, and raised as Scott Moorhead, was an American musician known for his remarkable talent. After spending about a decade as a session guitarist in Los Angeles, Buckley began to gain attention in the early 1990s for his performances of cover songs at venues in East Village, Manhattan, notably at Sin-é, while also gradually introducing more of his original material. Despite initial disinterest from record labels and Herb Cohen, the manager of his father, singer Tim Buckley, Buckley eventually signed with Columbia Records.

In 1994, he recorded his only studio album, Grace, which would become his most celebrated work. Grace showcased Buckley's exceptional vocal range and songwriting abilities, earning critical acclaim and a dedicated fanbase. Over the next few years, Buckley and his band toured extensively to promote Grace, captivating audiences across the United States, Europe, Japan, and Australia.

Following the conclusion of the Grace tour in 1996, Buckley began working on his second album, tentatively titled My Sweetheart the Drunk, in New York City with producer Tom Verlaine. However, the recording process was interrupted, and Buckley moved to Memphis, Tennessee, to continue work on the album. Despite recording numerous demos, Buckley's life was tragically cut short on May 29, 1997, when he drowned in the Mississippi River while awaiting the arrival of his band from New York.

In the wake of his untimely death, there have been numerous posthumous releases of Buckley's music, including demos and studio recordings intended for My Sweetheart the Drunk, expanded editions of Grace, and the Live at Sin-é EP. Buckley's cover of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" achieved chart success after his death, reaching number one on Billboard's Hot Digital Songs in 2008 and number two on the UK Singles Chart later that year.
Jeff Buckley's legacy continues to resonate in the music world, with Grace often cited as one of the greatest albums of all time. His haunting vocals and emotive performances have solidified his place as one of the most influential musicians of his generation.

Jeffrey Scott Buckley, born in Anaheim, California, was the only son of Mary and Tim Buckley. His mother was of mixed Greek, French, and Panamanian descent, while his father had Irish and Italian American roots. Raised by his mother and stepfather, Ron Moorhead, in Southern California, Buckley had a half-brother named Corey Moorhead. His childhood was marked by frequent moves in and around Orange County, which he described as a "rootless trailer trash" upbringing.

Buckley's father, Tim Buckley, was a renowned singer-songwriter known for his folk and jazz albums. Jeffrey only met his father once, at the age of eight, before Tim Buckley's untimely death from a drug overdose in 1975. Following his father's death, Jeffrey decided to use the surname Buckley and his given first name, which he found on his birth certificate, although some family members continued to refer to him as "Scottie".

Growing up surrounded by music, Buckley's mother was a classically trained pianist and cellist, while his stepfather introduced him to a wide range of music, including artists like Led Zeppelin, Queen, Jimi Hendrix, the Who, and Pink Floyd. Buckley developed a passion for music early on, singing around the house and harmonizing with his family members. He started playing guitar at the age of five and received his first electric guitar, a black Les Paul, at 13.

During his teenage years, Buckley attended Loara High School, where he played in the school jazz band and developed a love for progressive rock bands like Rush, Genesis, and Yes, as well as jazz fusion guitarist Al Di Meola. After high school, he moved to Hollywood to attend the Musicians Institute, completing a one-year course at the age of 19. While Buckley later expressed dissatisfaction with the school, he appreciated studying music theory there and was drawn to complex harmonies inspired by artists like Ravel, Ellington, and Bartók.

After spending a decade as a session guitarist in Los Angeles, Jeffrey Scott Buckley ventured into New York City in February 1990, seeking opportunities in the music industry. Despite facing initial challenges, he found inspiration in Qawwali music and artists like Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Buckley immersed himself in the New York music scene and co-wrote songs with guitarist Gary Lucas, including "Grace" and "Mojo Pin".

In April 1991, Buckley made his public singing debut at a tribute concert for his late father, Tim Buckley, at St. Ann's Church in Brooklyn. His performance, accompanied by Gary Lucas, garnered attention and marked his first step into the music industry.

By mid-1991, Buckley began co-writing with Gary Lucas and performing with Lucas's band, Gods and Monsters. After being offered a development deal at Imago Records, Buckley decided to part ways with Gods and Monsters and pursue a solo career. He became a regular performer at Sin-é, a café in Lower Manhattan, where he captivated audiences with his diverse repertoire of cover songs and original compositions.

Buckley's performances at Sin-é attracted crowds and caught the attention of record label executives. In October 1992, he signed a three-album deal with Columbia Records. Over the next few months, Buckley recorded material for his debut EP, "Live at Sin-é", which was released in November 1993.

In February 1993, Buckley spent three days recording with Columbia Records, laying down tracks that would later appear on his debut studio album, "Grace". Recording sessions for "Grace" took place in July and August 1993, marking Buckley's official recording debut. "Live at Sin-é" documented this transformative period in Buckley's life and musical career.


  1.  Browne 2001, p. 58.
  2. ^ Browne 2001, pp. 171–173.
  3. ^ Browne 2001, p. 107.
  4. ^ "The Kingdom For A Kiss Tourography" 1999. Archived from the original on 25 December 2014.
  5. a b "Jeff Buckley – The Haunted Rock Star"Marie Claire. 29 October 2001. Archived from the original on 16 February 2013. Retrieved 13 June 2008.
  6. ^ "The Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums of All Time"Rolling Stone. 18 November 2003. Archived from the original on 30 April 2009. Retrieved 13 June 2008.
  7. ^ "Jeff Buckley"Rolling Stone. 2 December 2010.
  8. ^ Kane, Rebecca (19 July 1998). "What is Jeff's Ethnic Background?" Archived from the original on 9 May 2008. Retrieved 13 June 2008.
  9. ^ Browne 2001, p. 16.
  10. ^ Browne 2001, pp. 62–63.
  11. ^ Kane, Rebecca (5 April 1999). "Jeff's Personal History and Family" Archived from the original on 20 December 2008. Retrieved 23 June 2008.
  12. ^ Vaziri, Aidin (1994). "Jeff Buckley profile"Ray Gun Magazine. Archived from the original on 9 April 2008. Retrieved 13 June 2008 – via

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