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Jeff Buckley Biography

Home > Music > B > Buckley, Jeff > Biography

Birth Name: Jeffrey Scott Buckley
Born: 1966/11/17
Birth Place: Anaheim, California, USA
Years Active: 1991–1997
Genres: Alternative Rock, Folk

Jeffrey Scott “Jeff” Buckley (November 17, 1966 – May 29, 1997), raised as Scotty Moorhead, was an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. He was the son of Tim Buckley, also a musician. After a decade as a guitarist-for-hire in Los Angeles, Buckley amassed a following in the early 1990s by playing cover songs at venues in Manhattan's East Village, such as Sin-é, gradually focusing more on his own material. After rebuffing much interest from record labels and his father's manager Herb Cohen, he signed with Columbia, recruited a band, and recorded what would be his only studio album, 1994’s “Grace.”

Over the following two years, the band toured widely to promote the album, including concerts in the U.S., Europe, Japan and Australia. In 1996, they stopped touring and made sporadic attempts to record his second album in New York with Tom Verlaine as producer. In 1997, Buckley moved to Memphis, Tennessee, to resume work on the album, to be titled “My Sweetheart the Drunk,” recording many four-track demos while also playing weekly solo shows at a local venue. While awaiting the arrival of his band from New York, he drowned during a spontaneous evening swim in the Wolf River, when he was caught in the wake of a passing boat. His body was found on June 4, 1997.

“Grace” initially had poor sales, peaking at #149 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart and receiving mixed reviews, but it gradually acquired critical and popular acclaim and has now sold over two million copies worldwide. An extended version of the album (subtitled “Legacy Edition”) celebrating its tenth anniversary was released in August 2004, and it peaked at #44 in the U.K.

Since his death, there have been many posthumous releases of his material, including a collection of four-track demos and studio recordings for his unfinished second album “My Sweetheart the Drunk” and expansions of debut album “Grace” and his “Live at Sin-é” EP. Chart success also came posthumously. His cover of Leonard Cohen's song, “Hallelujah” attained his first #1 on the Billboard Hot Digital Songs chart in March 2008 and reached #2 on the U.K. Singles chart.