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Jeff Buckley 
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 Jeff Buckley

    Drowning      March 29, 1997

Age 30

 

 

 

 
 
 

OBITUARY 
     
    Singer Jeff Buckley  presumed drowned in Mississippi River
     
     
                                MEMPHIS, Tennessee (CNN) -- The search for singer Jeff  
                                Buckley, who disappeared Thursday while swimming in the  
                                Mississippi River, was scaled back Saturday because of foul  
                                weather and the belief that he drowned.  

                                Police braved rain "to search for what we presume to be at this  
                                time the body," Memphis Police Lt. Brenda Maples said. Search  
                                dogs, divers, helicopters, boats and foot patrols conducted an  
                                intensive search Friday.  

                                Booking agent Chris Walker described the New York-based  
                                musician as "very strange." He won't believe Buckley is dead until  
                                he sees a body.  

                                "He could be anywhere right now. If he's dead, I won't be  
                                surprised. If he's in San Diego, I won't be surprised."  

                                Buckley, 30, who had signed with Columbia Records, went to  
                                Memphis in February to work at a recording studio. Columbia  
                                publicists said Thursday that he was preparing to cut a new album  
                                in Memphis beginning June 30.  

                                Buckley was with a friend on the east bank of the river when he  
                                disappeared. The singer was fully clothed when he waded into the  
                                water while listening to music, his friend told police.  

                                Buckley's 1994 album "Grace" yielded the alternative hit "Last  
                                Goodbye" in the spring of 1995. He contributed to Patti Smith's  
                                1996 album "Gone Again."  

         
     
 

 

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BIOGRAPHY
                     

                  Since he was the son of cult songwriter Tim Buckley, Jeff Buckley faced more  
                       expectations and pre-conceived notions than most singer/songwriters. Perhaps it  
                       wasn't surprising that Jeff Buckley's music was related to his father's by only the  
                       thinnest of margins.Buckley's voice was grand and sweeping, which fit with the  
                       mock-operatic grandeur of his Van Morrison-meets- Led Zeppelin music.  

                       Buckley began playing as a high schoolstudent in New York. Eventually,  
                       he moved to Los Angeles to study music; while he was there, he performed  
                       with several jazz and funk bands, as well as playing with Shinehead,  
                       a leader in the dancehall reggae movement. A few years later, he moved  
                       back to New York, forming Gods & Monsters with the experimental  
                       guitarist Gary Lucas. The band became a hip name, yet their life-span was short.  
                       Buckley began a solo career playing clubs and coffeehouses, building up a  
                       considerable following. Soon, he signed a record deal with Columbia Records,  
                       releasing the Live at Sin-e EP in November of 1993. It received good reviews, yet  
                       they didn't compare to the raves Buckley's full-length debut, 1994's Grace,  
                       received. Unlike the EP, the album was recorded with a full band, which gave the  
                       record textures that surprised some of his long-time New York followers.  
                       Nevertheless, it made several year-end "Best of 1994" lists and earned him a  
                       belated alternative hit, "Last Goodbye," in the spring of 1995.  

                       A long hiatus followed as Buckley worked on material for his follow-up effort,  
                       provisionally titled My Sweetheart, the Drunk. Originally slated to be produced by  
                       Tom Verlaine, who later dropped out of the project, Buckley finally began work on  
                       the record in Memphis during the late spring of 1997. On the night of May 29, he  
                       and a friend travelled to the local Mud Island Harbor, where Buckley spontaneously  
                       decided to go swimming in the Mississippi River and leaped into the water  
                       fully-clothed. A few minutes later, he disappeared under the waves; authorities  
                       were quickly contacted, but to no avail -- on June 4, his body was finally found  
                       floating near the city's famed Beale Street area. Buckley was 30 years old. A  
                       collection of unreleased recordings, Sketches (For My Sweetheart the Drunk),  
                       appeared in 1998. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All-Music Guide (On UBL)  

 
 

 

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