Yesterday, August 23rd, marked the 15th anniversary of Jeff Buckley’s classic debut — which is also sadly his last album. Grace, named by Rolling Stone as one of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, remains a beacon of its era thanks in large part to the hit “Last Goodbye” and Buckley’s cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” which posthumously topped the singles chart and was named by RS as one of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Buckley died at the age of 30 in 1997 after an accidental drowning in Tennessee.
“Jeff Buckley sounds like a man who doesn’t yet know what he wants to be, and his uncertainty is the very thing that holds Grace, his debut album, together. It’s a ballsy kind of uncertainty, the kind you find in star high-school athletes who seem to have all the confidence in the world even as they’re straining to meet their own ever-increasing expectations,” Rolling Stone wrote in our review of Grace in 1994. “Buckley, with the help of his potent backing band, ends up pulling off some things no other young singer-songwriter-guitarist in his right mind would even try: Whatever possessed him to record the bleak, beautiful standard ‘Lilac Wine’? And the bigger question is, how in hell does he make it work?”
Buckley, of course, was the son of experimental folk singer Tim Buckley, who also died tragically at the young age of 28. Grace and Buckley were remembered earlier this year with the release of the live compilation Grace Around the World, which featured live recordings of Buckley’s 1994-95 tour. The package was executive produced by Buckley’s mother, Mary Guilbert.
A handful of other acclaimed and cult favorite LPs were also released on this week 15 years ago, including Sebadoh’s Bakesale, Toadies’ Rubberneck, Dinosaur Jr.’s Without a Sound, the Jesus & Mary Chain’s Stoned & Dethroned and the Manic Street Preachers’ The Holy Bible. That’s a pretty amazing week in music.
• Jeff Buckley Remembered in Podcast as Live Disc Hits Stores