The 9 Best Songs by Jeff Buckley
This coming May will mark the 19th anniversary of the death of one of the most talented performers the world has ever known. Most people know Jeff Buckley as the writer of “Hallelujah” and for his unique vocals, but few remember to acknowledge his transcendence as a guitarist. With You and I having just been released on Mar. 11, too many years after it’s original recording, listeners are finally able to hear the rough solo covers of Buckley’s favorite songs. Drawing from that new album, Buckley’s live performances, and his only studio album, Grace, here are 9 of his greatest songs:
The title track from his only studio album, “Grace” perfectly demonstrates Buckley’s skills as a songwriter, guitarist, and vocalist.
2. “Hallelujah” – Live at Sin-é
Even though this song has been overused and overplayed since it’s release, it’s still a masterful cover of Leonard Cohen’s original. This specific version highlights Buckley’s guitar playing.
3. “Je ne connais pas la fin” – Live at l’Olympia
Buckley’s beautiful version of Edith Piaf’s 1939 track, originally in French, with new lyrics written by Buckley.
4. “Last Goodbye” – Live in Chicago
This song is a lyrically strong track with Buckley embracing Jimmy Page’s guitar playing. The combination of the two creates a monster of a song that became one of Buckley’s most famous tunes.
5. “Lilac Wine” – Live at l’Olympia
Originally a 1950 James Shelton tune, Buckley leans closer to Nina Simone’s vocalizations but brings his familiar guitar tones to the mix.
6. “Everyday People” – Sly and the Family Stone cover
The second track off the new album, Buckley makes this classic his own and builds it to a place much bigger than a man and his guitar.
7. “Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Cryin'”
Buckley’s wonderful cover of Ray Charles’ 1959 original brings a different light to the piece as a stripped down guitar and vocal version.
8. “Lover, You Should Have Come Over” – Live in Chicago
Lyrically, this was Buckley’s sweetest and most romantic song. The epitome of white boy blues.
All there is to say about this lesser known track is that the lyrics make little to no sense, the guitar playing is perfectly on point and the drumming is maybe the best on that of any Jeff Buckley track.
Despite the fact the young artist only released one full studio album before his untimely death, it is deceptively difficult to determine his greatest songs. Think a different song should have made the list? Wondering where “Mojo Pin” is? Let us know in the comments below.