Although Jeff Buckley’s tragic drowning death in 1997 at the age of 30 instantly propelled him to a legendary status accorded the greats who die young, he was already well on his way to becoming one of the more admired and respected singer-songwriters of his era. And for Buckley—the son of another doomed artist, Tim Buckley (1947–1975)—the gateway to acceptance came with his very first studio album, Grace, released in 1994 (25 years ago this summer). Though not a huge success when it was released, Grace was one of those albums that sort of insinuated itself into people’s album collections over time, as friends passed it to friends, discovering one cool song after another that spoke to them for whatever reason. His lyrics were often spare and poetic, delivered in that unmistakable voice that could easily move from a near-whisper to an ethereal wail. Of course, it was his version of Leonard Cohen’s “Halleluljah” on Grace that really put him (and that song) on the map—anyone else remember its use in an important scene in the TV teen drama The O.C. in the mid-2000s? After that, Buckley’s version was even released as a single, ten years after his death.
Grace is filled with exceptional songs, among them “Lover, You Should’ve Come Over,” presented in a striking video performance here. —Blair Jackson