Jeff Buckley... how popular was he?

Yer Blues

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Around 1994 I was just starting to watch MTV, but I don't really remember much about Jeff Buckley. At the time, I was huge in to GNR, AC/DC, Allmans, and blues guys (still am), but I also liked stuff like the Seattle bands. I can recall other pop music around that time, but Jeff Buckley I really don't remember at all. I think I got Grace probably around 08-09 after reading an interview with Warren Haynes talking about him.

His cover of Hallelujah is probably his biggest song, but there's a ton of good stuff on Grace (Last Goodbye, Grace, and Lover You Should Have Come Over).

I guess he never had a huge hit like Better Than Ezra (Good) or that band that had the "we could live beside the Ocean... leave the world behind..." band, but was he pretty popular at the time? :confused
 

Papanate

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That Song; 'we could live beside the Ocean' - was 'Santa Monica' by EverClear.

Re: Jeff Buckley - it's not your lack of knowledge - Buckley remains an influence
on many musicians - his prolific songwriting only saw one release - Grace. For the
General Public his persona has grown exponentially since his death - being romanticized
for his purported uncompromising attitude and 'wandering the landscape' type personality
and being associated into the tragic history of his family.

Critics liked him - but like most critical darlings - his real life was a lot smaller than they
would have us believe.

Personally I can hear a spark in what he recorded - but to my view he would always
be a 'cult' type musician.
 

Yer Blues

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Watching live clips he isn't exactly by the book. He improvises a lot with vocal phrasing..... but he had the voice to actually do it though.
 

reyleon

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I don't think he was that popular. The first time I ever heard of him was on the guitartabs.cc forums way back in like 2001. That's four years after his death and seven years after the release of his album, Grace. Now my personal experience might be different than others, but I can't remember anything form Jeff Buckley on MTV or on the radio. Granted, that was my only way of aggregating music to my collection at that point, but I never once heard him on either of those mediums. Now as for MTV and radio.. anyone who was anyone in terms of "popularity" could be found there. Just my 2 cents.
 

Frater B

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Grace was the first single and didn't do so well. Last Goodbye, the second single, got more air play, mtv, radio...I don't recall hearing him at the time, I was studying classical guitar and that was rather demanding of my time. It wasn't until shortly after his death I heard Alanis say he was her favorite singer so I checked out Grace, fantastic record!

Here's a live mtv performance from Most Wanted which was an MTV Europe show.

 
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Most of his serious popularity was probably confined to areas where Leonard Cohen and Nick Drake and Richard and Mimi Farina and say Bert Jansch were well loved. A lot of the Mainstream music listeners really weren't paying attention I don't think.

The Internet, the way it is now when you can use a search engine and know as much about a musician in 180 seconds as ardent fans once knew only after 25 shows, tends to produce fans that never were. I can find things out about "the band across town" from the mid 1960s; a band I had all but forgotten even existed by 1984. Early adopters of even bands like The Smiths or The Cure or Teardrop Explodes or Depeche Mode were once viewed as freaks of sorts. I knew about Jeff but I can remember feeling like I was wasting my time since nobody I talked to had heard of him nor remembered Tim. But in 2017 everyone has a "computer assisted memory" and can talk about 10,000 bands.
 

jammybastard

"I'm losing my edge, but I was there..."
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He wasn't big at the time but his legend has certainly grown after his passing.
Small to mid-sized venues, afternoon slots at festivals.
In fact what he was doing in the early 90's wasn't even fashionable.
He wasn't grunge, had this amazing falsetto voice, etc....

I was at this show Metro in Chicago in '95 that was released on DVD a few years back.
It was not sold out. Looking back I feel very fortunate to have been there.


It's important to realise how much of a musical genius he was.
People get roped in by his voice, but he was a legit musician.
Listen to the Live at Sin-é album. Just his voice, a Tele and Vibroverb reissue.
Genius.
Then try playing his songs as he played them. Lots of alt-tunings and odd fingerings.
Reminds me of Richard Thompson.

Killer stuff, but not popular at the time.
There's a whole generation of UK bands that borrowed from him.
Big bands like Radiohead, MUSE, and Coldplay have all acknowledged an early debt to him, specifically vocals stylings and arrangement.

Another fave performance.
 

jammybastard

"I'm losing my edge, but I was there..."
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Here's a live mtv performance maybe the late show 120 Minutes?

It wasn't 120 Minutes. It was another show MTV had on at the time that was presented as a no-frills 30min live music show.
I saw Nirvana on it as well.

I remember Robert Plant and Jimmy Page said that "Last Goodbye" was the best Zeppelin song they didn't write.
They were both enamored with Buckley and it was mutual because he was a huge LZ fan.
 

Frater B

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Yeah, thanks!
I edited my post, MTV "Most Wanted" I believe.

He did host 120 minutes

 
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Killcrop

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He wasn't big at all. I remember hearing one of his songs on NPR. I went out and got the CD. At first, didn't think much of it and later got into it. Then he died.
 

marvin cobain

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In italy in 1994 he was on heavy rotation on tv (I bought the album few days after I saw him on tv the first time, and I discovered soon I had other friends listening to him), with the videos of Grace and Last goodbye and he was also on the most popular music magazines. There were also commercials for his album on tv, not something you see for every artist.
So while his popularity wasn't that of Nirvana or Oasis I think he was definitely popular.
 
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Matt L

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I remember hearing Grace played on the radio, and it caught my ear. There was talk about the album and of Jeff being highly thought of and someone to watch. He had a buzz but was definitely not someone that mainstream folks knew of. His popularity became far more widespread after his death.


There is a great book about Jeff and his father Tim. I learned a lot from it. Jeff was a shredhead who went to MIT when he was younger. That's where a lot of his subtle technique came from.
 

hellbender

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He wasn't big at all. I remember hearing one of his songs on NPR. I went out and got the CD. At first, didn't think much of it and later got into it. Then he died.
I only knew of him thru a friend who reveled in the sensual aspect, whether intended or not, that he wrote into a couple of songs. 'Get on Top of me Woman" and "Move with Me", were a couple of examples. Seemingly quite sexist by today's standards, it seems his kid chose another path and is held in much higher regard. I just see it as an anomaly in world that holds dear, father/son music careers.
 

JeffK

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I don't remember hearing anything about him until the early 2000's when a friend said I should check out Grace. I think it's a great album and it's a shame that he didn't live to do more.
 

Neer

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What a phenomenal debut album.
I did not hear him until the day he died, when I heard his music played over U2's system at the end of a show at Giants Stadium. They played Hallelujah.
 

Papanate

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head scratcher
Head Scratcher??? Buckley wrote a lot of songs - but released only one album
in his shortened life. There have been 3 post releases containing material and recordings
made before he passed away.

How hard is that to understand?
 

Blanket Jackson

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During his lifetime he only released one studio album, but he was working on a 2nd at the time of his death (Sketches For My Sweetheart The Drunk) - but that's not the whole story either ... there was a trail of live EPs that were released while he was alive, including the stellar Live At Sin-é. In the spirit of that one, the Live at Bataclan EP is an amazing live postcard of JB showing off his strengths exquisitely.

 




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