Tim Buckley performing at the Fillmore East on October 18, 1968
|Birth name||Timothy Charles Buckley III|
|Born||February 14, 1947|
Washington, D.C., U.S.
|Died||June 29, 1975 28) (aged|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Timothy Charles Buckley III (February 14, 1947 – June 29, 1975) was an American vocalist, songwriter, guitarist and producer. His music and style changed considerably through the years. Buckley began his career based in folk music, but his subsequent albums experimented with jazz, psychedelia, funk, soul, avant-garde and an evolving voice-as-instrument sound. He died at the age of 28 from a heroin overdose, leaving behind his sons Taylor and Jeff.
Tim Buckley was born in Washington, D.C. on Valentine's Day, February 14, 1947, to Elaine (née Scalia), an Italian American, and Timothy Charles Buckley Jr., a decorated World War II veteran and son of Irish immigrants from Cork. He spent his early childhood in Amsterdam, New York, an industrial city about 40 miles (64 km) northwest of Albany. At five years old, Buckley began listening to his mother's progressive jazz recordings, particularly Miles Davis.
Buckley's musical life began after his family moved to Bell Gardens in southern California in 1956. His grandmother introduced him to the work of Bessie Smith and Billie Holiday, his mother to Frank Sinatra and Judy Garland and his father to the country music of Hank Williams and Johnny Cash.When the folk music revolution came around in the early 1960s, Buckley taught himself the banjo at age 13, and with several friends formed a folk group inspired by the Kingston Trio that played local high school events.
During high school, Buckley was elected to class offices, played on the baseball team and quarterbacked the football team. [ citation needed ]During a football game, he broke two fingers on his left hand, permanently damaging them. He said that the injury prevented him from playing barre chords. This disability may have led to his use of extended chords, many of which don't require barres. However, this disability claim seems to be invalidated because Buckley's performance on the final episode of the television show, The Monkees , broadcast on March 25, 1968, clearly shows Buckley using barre chords while performing "Song to the Siren" on an out of tune 12 string guitar.
Buckley attended Loara High School in Anaheim, California.He cut classes regularly and quit football, focusing most of his attention on music. He befriended Larry Beckett, his future lyricist, and Jim Fielder, a bass player with whom he formed two musical groups, the Bohemians, who initially played popular music, and the Harlequin 3, a folk group which regularly incorporated spoken word and beat poetry into their gigs.
During French class in 1964, Buckley met Mary Guibert. Their relationship inspired some of Buckley's music, and provided him time away from his turbulent home life. His father suffered a head injury during the war which, along with a severe work-related injury, was said to have affected his mental balance.Falsely believing Guibert to be pregnant, the couple married on October 25, 1965. The marriage was tumultuous and Buckley moved out, but Guibert soon became pregnant. Buckley found himself neither willing nor able to cope with marriage and fatherhood, and the couple saw each other sporadically. They divorced in October 1966, about a month before their son, Jeff, was born.
By then, Buckley and lyricist/friend Beckett had written dozens of songs, some that appeared on Tim's debut album, Tim Buckley. "Buzzin' Fly" was written during this period and was featured on Happy Sad , his 1969 LP.
Buckley's college career at Fullerton College lasted two weeks in 1965.After dropping out of college, Buckley dedicated himself fully to music and playing L.A. folk clubs. During the summer of 1965, he played regularly at a club co-founded by Dan Gordon. He played Orange County coffeehouses such as the White Room in Buena Park and the Monday-night hootenannies at the Los Angeles Troubadour. That year, Cheetah Magazine deemed Buckley one of "The Orange County Three", along with Steve Noonan and Jackson Browne.
In February 1966, following a gig at It's Boss, the Mothers of Invention's drummer Jimmy Carl Black recommended Buckley to the Mothers' manager, Herb Cohen. Cohen saw potential in Timand landed him an extended gig at the Nite Owl Cafe in Greenwich Village. Buckley's girlfriend, Jainie Goldstein, drove him to New York. While living in the Bowery with Jainie, Buckley ran into Lee Underwood and asked him to play guitar for him. The two became lifelong friends and collaborators.
Under Cohen's management, Buckley recorded a six-song demo acetate disc which he sent to Elektra records owner Jac Holzman,who offered him a recording contract.
In August 1966, Buckley recorded his self-titled debut album in three days in Los Angeles. He was often unhappy with his albums after they were recorded and described his debut album as "like Disneyland".The record featured Buckley and a band of Underwood and Orange County friends. Underwood's mix of jazz and country improvisation on a Telecaster guitar became a distinctive part of Buckley's early sound. Jac Holzman and Paul Rothchild's production and Jack Nitzsche's string arrangements cemented the record's mid—60s sound.
The album's folk-rock style was typical of the time, although many people, including Underwood, felt the strings by Nitzsche "did not enhance its musical quality."Critics took note of Buckley's distinctive voice and tuneful compositions.
Underwood considered the record to be "a first effort, naive, stiff, quaky and innocent [but] a ticket into the marketplace".Holzman expressed similar sentiments and thought Buckley wasn't comfortable in his own musical skin. Larry Beckett suggested the band's desire to please audiences held it back.
Elektra released two singles promoting the debut album, "Wings" with "Grief in My Soul" as the B-side, and "Aren't You the Girl"/"Strange Street Affair Under Blue." Buckley followed with "Once Upon a Time" and "Lady Give Me Your Key", which were not well regarded but showed potential.Elektra decided not to release the songs as singles, and the songs remained in Elektra's record vaults. Rhino Records was unable to find "Lady Give Me Your Key" to include on its Morning Glory: The Tim Buckley Anthology , but the song was the title track on Light in the Attic Records' 2017 collection of the previously unissued 1967 acoustic sessions. "Once Upon A Time" surfaced on Rhino's Where The Action Is 1965–68 Los Angeles anthology in 2009.
Goodbye and Hello, released in 1967, featured late 1960s-style poetry and songs in different timings, and was an ambitious release for the 20-year-old Buckley.Reflecting the confidence Elektra had in Buckley and group, they were given free rein on the content of the album. Beckett continued as lyricist and the album consisted of Buckley originals and Beckett–Buckley collaborations. Critics noted the improved lyrical and melodic qualities of Buckley's music. Buckley's voice had developed since his last release and the press appreciated both his lower register and falsetto in equal measure.
The subject of the album distinguished it from its predecessor. Beckett addressed the psychological nature of war in "No Man Can Find the War",and Underwood welcomed Buckley's entry into darker territory with "Pleasant Street". "I Never Asked to Be Your Mountain" represented a confessional lyric to his estranged wife and child, while the mix of introspective folk songs and political-themed content attracted folk fans and anti-war audiences. Holzman had faith in Buckley and rented advertising space for the musician on the Sunset Strip, an unusual step for a solo act. Buckley distanced himself from comparisons to Bob Dylan, expressing an apathy toward Dylan and his work. While Goodbye and Hello did not make Buckley a star, it performed better in the charts than his previous effort, peaking at No. 171.
Buckley's higher profile led to his album The Best of Tim Buckley being used as a soundtrack to the 1969 film Changes . Buckley performed "Song to the Siren" on the final episode of The Monkees television show.Buckley was wary of the press and often avoided interviews. After a slot on The Tonight Show , Buckley was standoffish and insulting toward Carson, and on another television appearance refused to lip-synch to "Pleasant Street".
After Beckett was drafted into the Army, Buckley developed his own style, and described the jazz/blues-rock with which he was associated as "white thievery and an emotional sham."Drawing inspiration from jazz greats such as Charles Mingus, Thelonious Monk, Roland Kirk, and vocalist Leon Thomas, Buckley's sound became different from previous recordings.
In 1968, Buckley toured Europe twice, first including Denmark, the Netherlands, and England, appearing e.g. on John Peel's Top Gear radio show on the BBC and then appearing at the Internationale Essener Songtagein Germany, as well as touring England and Denmark again. Later that year, he recorded Happy Sad , which reflected folk and jazz influences and would be his best-charting album, peaking at No. 81.
During 1969, Buckley began to write and record material for three albums, Lorca , Blue Afternoon , and Starsailor . Inspired by the singing of avant-garde musician Cathy Berberian, he integrated the ideas of composers such as Luciano Berio and Iannis Xenakis in an avant-garde rock genre. Buckley selected eight songs for Blue Afternoon , an album similar to Happy Sad in style.In a 1977 article for Down Beat magazine, Lee Underwood wrote that Buckley's heart was not in Blue Afternoon and that the album was a perfunctory response to please his business partners.
While Buckley's music never sold well, his following releases did indeed chart. Lorca alienated his folk base while Blue Afternoon was criticized as boring and tepid, and "[not] even good sulking music." Blue Afternoon was Buckley's last album to chart on Billboard , reaching No. 192. Following the albums, Buckley began to focus on what he felt to be his masterpiece, Starsailor.
Starsailor contained free jazz textures under Buckley's most extreme vocal performance, ranging from high shrieks to deep, soulful baritone. This personal album included the more accessible "Song to the Siren", a song which has since been covered by This Mortal Coil, Robert Plant, John Frusciante, Bryan Ferry and Brendan Perry. The album was a critical and commercial failure.
Unable to produce his music and almost broke, Buckley turned to alcohol and drug binges. He considered acting and completed an unreleased low-budget film entitled Why? (1971).[ clarification needed ] The film was an experimental use of the new medium videotape and was commissioned by Technicolor.
In April 1970, Buckley married Judy Brejot Sutcliffe in Santa Monica, and adopted her son, Taylor Keith Sutcliffe.
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In 1970, Buckley disbanded his Starsailor ensemble and assembled a new funk band. He cut three albums, Greetings from L.A. , Sefronia and Look at the Fool . Buckley alienated much of his hippie fan base with his previous two albums, and his sexually frank lyrics ("whip me, spank me") prevented the songs from receiving airplay, although he retained a cult following.
In 1975, Buckley engaged the press regarding a live album comeback. He began performing revamped versions of material drawn from his career, except Starsailor and Lorca, as a response his audience, which he had spurned in the past.
On June 28, 1975, Buckley completed the last show of a tour in Dallas, playing to a soldout crowd of 1,800 people.He celebrated the culmination of the tour with a weekend of drinking with his band and friends. The next night, Buckley accompanied longtime friend Richard Keeling to his house. At some point, Keeling produced a bag of heroin, some of which Buckley ingested.
Buckley's friends took him home and—seeing his inebriated state—his wife, Judy, laid him on the living-room floor and questioned his friends as to what had happened.She moved Buckley into bed. When she checked him later, Buckley's wife found he was not breathing and blue. Attempts by friends and paramedics to revive him were unsuccessful, and he was pronounced dead.
The coroner's report stated Buckley died at 9:42 p.m. on June 29, 1975, from "acute heroin/morphine and ethanol intoxication due to inhalation and ingestion of overdose".
Buckley's sound recorder was surprised by the musician's death, recalling that at Buckley's last show that "someone offered him a drag off of a joint and he refused. He didn't appear strung out in any way. He was very together both physically and psychologically."
Buckley's tour manager, Bob Duffy, said Buckley's death was not expected, but “was like watching a movie, and that was its natural ending."
Other friends saw his fate as predictable, if not inevitable. Beckett recalled how Buckley took chances with his life, including dangerous driving, drinking alcohol, taking pills and heroin.
Given the circumstances of his death, police charged Keeling with murder and distribution of heroin.At his hearing on August 14, 1975, Keeling pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and, after failing to complete community service, was sentenced to 120 days in jail and four years probation.
Buckley died in debt, owning only a guitar and an amplifier.About 200 friends and family attended his funeral at the Wilshire Funeral Home in Santa Monica, including manager Herb Cohen and Lee Underwood. His 8-year-old son, Jeff, had met his father only once, and was not invited to the funeral. Jeff Buckley said not being invited to his father's funeral "gnawed" at him, and prompted him to pay his respects by performing "I Never Asked to Be Your Mountain" in 1991 at a memorial tribute to Buckley in Brooklyn, six years before his own accidental death.
Paul Vaughn Butterfield was an American blues harmonica player, singer and band leader. After early training as a classical flautist, he developed an interest in blues harmonica. He explored the blues scene in his native Chicago, where he met Muddy Waters and other blues greats, who provided encouragement and opportunities for him to join in jam sessions. He soon began performing with fellow blues enthusiasts Nick Gravenites and Elvin Bishop.
Elektra Records is an American record label owned by Warner Music Group, founded in 1950 by Jac Holzman and Paul Rickolt. It played an important role in the development of contemporary folk music and rock music between the 1950s and 1970s. In 2004, it was consolidated into WMG's Atlantic Records Group. After five years of dormancy, the label was revived as an imprint of Atlantic in 2009. As of October 2018, Elektra was detached from the Atlantic Records umbrella and reorganized into Elektra Music Group, once again operating as an independently managed frontline label of Warner Music.
Starsailor is the sixth studio album by Tim Buckley, released on Herb Cohen's Straight Records label in November 1970. Starsailor marks the moment Buckley's folk rock origins became invisible as he fully incorporated jazz rock and avant-garde styles into his music. Although it alienated elements of his fanbase upon release, it also contains his best known song, "Song to the Siren". This more accessible song was written much earlier than Starsailor's newer material, originally in a more traditional folk arrangement, as shown on the later released compilation album Morning Glory: The Tim Buckley Anthology. Bunk Gardner, a former member of the Mothers of Invention, joined Buckley's normal band to record the album. Also, Buckley began working again with lyricist Larry Beckett, after a three-album absence.
Jac Holzman is an American businessman, best known as the founder, chief executive officer and head of Elektra Records and Nonesuch Records. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011.
Blue Afternoon, released in 1969, was Tim Buckley's first self-produced record and his debut for Herb Cohen and Frank Zappa's Straight record label. This was Buckley's fourth album after Tim Buckley, Goodbye and Hello, and Happy Sad. Blue Afternoon used the same group of musicians as Happy Sad, with the inclusion of drummer Jimmy Madison.
Goodbye and Hello is the second album by Tim Buckley, released in August 1967, recorded in Los Angeles, California in June of the same year.
Happy Sad is the third album by singer-songwriter Tim Buckley, released in 1969. It was recorded at Elektra Sound Recorders in Los Angeles, California and was produced by former Lovin' Spoonful members Zal Yanovsky and, coincidentally, his subsequent replacement Jerry Yester. It marked the beginning of Buckley's experimental period, as it incorporated elements of jazz that he had never used before. Many of the songs here represent a departure from the binary form that dominated much of his previous work. The sound of the album is characterized by David Friedman's vibraphone, an instrument which gives the album a more relaxed tone than Buckley's earlier work. The songs are much longer than on previous releases and this style continued through to later works. The vocals on the album are more drawn out than earlier performances and this represents the beginning of Buckley using his voice like an instrument. The lyrics on Happy Sad represent a change as Buckley stopped working with Larry Beckett, his lyricist on the two previous albums Tim Buckley and Goodbye and Hello, and began writing the lyrics himself. Buckley's self-penned efforts stand in contrast to Beckett's occasionally political and literary-style work. Buckley would also go on to author all his own material on the following two albums.
Tim Buckley is the self-titled debut album by Los Angeles based singer-songwriter Tim Buckley, released in 1966. Most of the songs on it were co-written by Buckley and Larry Beckett while they were in high school. It was recorded at Sunset Sound in Los Angeles, California.
Lorca is a 1970 album by singer-songwriter Tim Buckley, his fifth since his debut in 1966. It was named after Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca, and was recorded simultaneously with Blue Afternoon, though notably different in style. It was one of Buckley's two avant-garde albums, and explored some sounds and ideas he had not previously used. Also importantly, it was an attempt to break away from more traditional and prevalent pop music songwriting styles, such as the verse/chorus binary form, that Buckley had explored in the earlier parts of his career.
Dream Letter: Live in London 1968 is a live album by Tim Buckley. The album was recorded in Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, England on October 7, 1968. Due to a lack of available funds Buckley was unable to tour with regular bass player John Miller and conga player Carter "C.C." Collins. The concert instead features bassist Danny Thompson, guitarist Lee Underwood and vibraphone player David Friedman.
Larry Beckett is an American poet, songwriter, and literary critic. As a songwriter and music arranger, Beckett collaborated with Tim Buckley in the late-1960s on several songs and albums, including "Song to the Siren" which has been recorded by many artists.
The Original Delaney & Bonnie, also known by its subtitle Accept No Substitute, is the second studio album by American recording duo Delaney & Bonnie. It was recorded with many of the "friends" that would form the core of their best-known 1969–70 touring band, including Leon Russell, Bobby Whitlock, Carl Radle and Rita Coolidge.
The Dream Belongs to Me: Rare and Unreleased 1968 - 1973 is a compilation album by Tim Buckley. The album consists of three demo sessions, two recorded in 1968 and the other in 1973.
Thin Wires In The Voice is a 120-page booklet written by Italian writer Luca Ferrari with a 3 track EP by Tim Buckley. The EP is a compilation of "Song to the Siren", featuring just Buckley's guitar and voice, recorded for the TV show The Monkees and two live recordings taken from a 1968 Danish radio broadcast. This earlier version of Starsailor track "Song to the Siren" is more folk-oriented and can also be found on Morning Glory: The Tim Buckley Anthology. The two live recordings are also found on Buckley's 1968 live album Copenhagen Tapes.
Tim Buckley: My Fleeting House is a DVD-Video collection of live appearances and performances by Tim Buckley. It features footage from throughout his career, starting from a 1967 performance of "Song to the Siren" on The Monkees TV show and ending with a performance from May 21, 1974 of "Dolphins" for The Old Grey Whistle Test. Broadcasts from WITF-TV's The Show from 1970 has performances of "I Woke Up" and "Come Here Woman". The DVD also contains recorded interviews with occasional songwriting partner Larry Beckett, regular lead guitarist Lee Underwood and David Browne, author of Dream Brother: The Lives and Music of Jeff and Tim Buckley, a dual biography of Tim Buckley and his son Jeff Buckley. The release also contains a 12-page photo booklet with liner notes.
Peel Sessions is a live album by Tim Buckley. It was recorded in studio 1 at 201 Piccadilly London, UK on April 1, 1968, as a session recording for BBC radio DJ John Peel. The session was subsequently broadcast six days later on April 7, 1968. The session consists of folk-oriented songs from Buckley's Goodbye and Hello - Blue Afternoon period recorded in a sparse manner with only Tim's vocals, two guitars and percussion. Peel would later comment on this session as one that "defines essential music".
The Late Great Tim Buckley is a compilation LP by Tim Buckley. The album consists of recordings from five of Buckley's studio albums: Tim Buckley, Goodbye and Hello, Happy Sad, Greetings from L.A. and Sefronia. The compilation was the first Buckley LP to be released posthumously and was only released in Australia. It would be another 5 years until the next release, The Best of Tim Buckley, highlighting the decline of Buckley's popularity in the latter stages of his career before his death. The compilation provides a sparse overview of Buckley's career, omitting music from Lorca, Blue Afternoon and Starsailor and focusing instead on the more commercial periods of Buckley's recording years. The album is currently out of print.
The Best of Tim Buckley is a compilation LP by Tim Buckley. It presents Buckley as a folk artist with songs written between 1966 and 1970. The album features material from the studio albums Tim Buckley, Goodbye and Hello, Happy Sad and Blue Afternoon, in addition to "Song to the Siren" from his avant garde album Starsailor. This was the first new release, outside of Australia after Buckley's death. The album provides an overview of Buckley's folk beginnings, excluding material from his later albums.
"Song to the Siren" is a song written by Tim Buckley and his writing partner Larry Beckett and was first released on Buckley's 1970 album Starsailor. It was also later released on Morning Glory: The Tim Buckley Anthology, the album featuring a performance of the song taken from the final episode of The Monkees TV show which aired on March 25, 1968.
Lee Underwood is an American musician and journalist who played lead guitar with Tim Buckley for most of Buckley's career.