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Jeff Buckley

Jeff Buckley

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Also Known As: Jeffrey Scott Buckley, Scotty Moorhead Died:
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Although he was the son of the acclaimed American folk singer Tim Buckley, singer-songwriter Jeff Buckley was one of the few second-generation pop stars to actually outshine the fame of their parent. After starting out as a session guitarist in Los Angeles, Buckley moved to New York where he began performing cover versions of songs in Manhattan's East Village, quickly acquiring a loyal fan base and subsequently the attention of record labels as he began to concentrate more and more on his own material. Within three years and his one and only studio album Grace, Buckley attained a level of fame that far outstripped that of his late father, becoming both critically adored by the music press and fellow musicians for his own compositions. However, much like his parent, Buckley's career was cut tragically short and his greatest success was posthumous: an enduring cover version of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah."Jeffrey Scott Buckley was born in 1966, the son of musician Tim Buckley and his high school sweetheart Mary Guibert, and raised under the name Scotty Moorhead. His father and mother divorced before Jeff was born, and Tim Buckley died of a heroin overdose at the age of 28 in 1975. In spite of his...

Although he was the son of the acclaimed American folk singer Tim Buckley, singer-songwriter Jeff Buckley was one of the few second-generation pop stars to actually outshine the fame of their parent. After starting out as a session guitarist in Los Angeles, Buckley moved to New York where he began performing cover versions of songs in Manhattan's East Village, quickly acquiring a loyal fan base and subsequently the attention of record labels as he began to concentrate more and more on his own material. Within three years and his one and only studio album Grace, Buckley attained a level of fame that far outstripped that of his late father, becoming both critically adored by the music press and fellow musicians for his own compositions. However, much like his parent, Buckley's career was cut tragically short and his greatest success was posthumous: an enduring cover version of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah."

Jeffrey Scott Buckley was born in 1966, the son of musician Tim Buckley and his high school sweetheart Mary Guibert, and raised under the name Scotty Moorhead. His father and mother divorced before Jeff was born, and Tim Buckley died of a heroin overdose at the age of 28 in 1975. In spite of his father's absence, Jeff was raised around music and credited his mother and stepfather for his love of music. "They were together for about four years and the house was full of music," he said in a rare interview. "My mum would play the cello and my stepdad had great musical taste." Jeff recalled listening to The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix as well as classic blues and jazz music, and by the age of five had picked up his first guitar. By the time he was 13 he had written his first song - about a break-up with a girl - and after graduating high school, he left home to study at The Los Angeles Musicians Institute where he picked up guitar session work playing alongside various rock and reggae groups.

In 1990, Jeff moved to New York where he formed the short-lived group Gods And Monsters with experimental guitarist Gary Lucas. After a couple of years, Buckley went solo and took his electric guitar to perform in the coffee houses of lower Manhattan; his favoured venue was Sin-é, a small cafe in the East Village. Buckley quickly acquired a fervent cult following with his eclectic mix of covers that ranged from Edith Piaf and Judy Garland to Robert Johnson, Elton John, and Led Zeppelin. Buckley also performed songs he'd co-written with his former band-mate Lucas. The ever-increasing crowds surrounding Sin-é whenever Jeff was performing drew the attention of record executives, and Jeff was signed to Columbia Records in October 1992.

The four-song EP Live at Sin-é was released in December 1993. While the EP and Buckley's live gigs were acclaimed, he had already began working on what would turn out to be his only studio album. Working with producer Andy Wallace, who had mixed Nirvana's Nevermind, Buckley's Grace was released on August 23, 1994 and was an immediate critical hit. Fans and critics compared his vocals to everyone to Led Zeppelin-era Robert Plant (who was to become an admirer) to, predictably, his late father, about whom Buckley had written the song "Dream Brother," an answer of sorts to Tim's song "Dream Letter," written about his then-infant son in 1967.

In 1995 Rolling Stone named Jeff Best New Artist and while Grace racked up healthy sales outside the US, Buckley's appeal in his native country was confined to college radio stations rather than the mainstream MTV market. Always keen to experiment musically rather than be pigeonholed, Buckley kept busy touring in Europe where he was both a critical and commercial success. In April 1995, Grace earned Jeff the prestigious Grand Prix Internationale Du Disque - an award which had previously been given to his influences Edith Piaf, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, and Joni Mitchell.

After completing touring behind Grace, Jeff guested on Patti Smith's album Gone Again where he met ex-Television songwriter and guitarist Tom Verlaine, whom he asked to produce his next album, provisionally entitled My Sweetheart The Drunk. Dissatisfied with the initial recording sessions in Manhattan, Jeff became interested in recording the new album in Memphis and moved there to record demos in February, 1997. On May 29, 1997, Jeff and a friend, Keith Foti, went to the Wolf River Harbor in Memphis with an acoustic guitar. After playing some songs, Buckley went for a swim. He was fully clothed and singing Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love" as he entered the river. The wake from a passing tugboat caused Foti to move the guitar away from the incoming water; when he looked back, Jeff had disappeared from view. When his body was recovered, the autopsy discovered no traces of drugs or alcohol and his death was ruled an accidental drowning; it is believed that Jeff was probably caught in the undertow caused by the passing boat. He was 30 years old.

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Education

Musicians Institute of Hollywood: - 1985

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