Today would have been Jeff Buckley’s 45th birthday.
Many years ago, I was sneaking a peek at my older brother’s iTunes..he had cool, grown up music, and I wanted to listen to it. I came across this one track: “Jeff Buckley: Hallelujah”
“Jeff’s an old man’s name,” I thought to myself, “we’ll give him a go.”
From that very first breath, that very first exhale before he even begins playing, I knew I had discovered something very, very special. And as the music took over, I lost myself.
Albums, singles, YouTube videos, bootleg recordings and thousands of plays later, here I sit.
Jeff Buckley made me discover the power of the album: “Live at Sin-e” made me realise that an album was not just a collection of songs but a symphony, a carefully constructed piece of art that, when you stepped back and looked at it from afar, created a musical landscape in which to lose yourself.
I remember the screechings of Eternal Life on the Mystery White Boy tour. The smooth, groove of Strange Fruit. The purity of Corpus Christi Carol. The poetry of Love, You Should’ve Come Over. And, of course, the quiet, haunting beauty of Hallelujah.
Rufus Wainwright said it best: “then came Hallelujah, sounded like mad Ophelia for me in my room living”.
Jeff Buckley is what my heart sounds like. He is the calling and the crying, the joy and the pain of every feeling for which words do not exist.
To the man who made me sit up and listen, the James Dean of music, the quiet, reluctant trumpet of somewhere we might call heaven: happy birthday.
And thank you.
You helped me find my song.