Friday, November 27, 2009

Jeff Buckley's most amazing concert performance of HALLELUJAH, Leonard Cohen's song

Photo of Jeff Buckley by Cabir Davis

This remarkably beautiful man recorded one of the most amazing live performance in concert of a song that I've ever heard (although I didn't hear it live)

I've talked in previous blogs about how much I love Leonard Cohen's music. And Rufus Wainwright, who did an amazing cover of Cohen's Hallelujah. But it would seem that the gorgeous Rufus may have had his inspiration from Jeff Buckley. Listen to this performance of Hallelujah. My heart breaks. Watching this gorgeous man sing with such intensity and passion is truly remarkably beautiful experience.

Jeff Buckley died in a tragic drowning accident in Memphis on May 29, 1997. Since then, he's become recognized as a very influential songwriter/singer for his generation, even though he had a very short-lived career.

A documentary has been made about his life,
Amazing Grace: Jeff Buckley. And an upcoming movie will feature either James Franco or Robert Pattinson in the title role. The trailer for the documentary is below:

performers have acknowledged Buckley's influence in their own musical style, including the exquisite Rufus, who wrote the song Memphis Skyline, as a tribute to Buckley. Watch this video here:


The lyrics to the song Memphis Skyline by Rufus Wainwright:

Never thought of Hades
Under the Mississippi
But still I've come to sing for him
So southern furies
Prepare to walk for my harp
I have strung, and I will leave with him
Relax the cogs of rhyme
Over the Memphis sky
Turn back the wheels of time
Under the Memphis skyline
Always hated him for the way he looked
In the gaslight of the morning
Then came hallelujah sounding like mad Ophelia
For me in my room living
So kiss me, my darling stay with me till morning
Turn back and you will stay
Under the Memphis Skyline


  1. Jeff and Rufus spent an evening together (not THAT kind!) when they were both doing the New York scene in 1993/94 (I forget which), at which point Rufus has told of his putting away the jealousy he had for Jeffs voice, beauty and the hype surrounding him.

  2. I think I might be the only one who prefers the Cohen version.

  3. many years later I'm responding. I'm "Mr. G". But you are actually right. I had the same epiphany recently while listening to Leonard's original recording of HALLELUJAH. As much as I LOVE all the subsequent covers of the song, including Buckley's soulful rendition, I found Cohen's interpretation the most compelling (but since he was writer, it wasn't an interpretation, was it?) The tempo, the phrasing of Leonard's original was best. But I loved how the other singers since have made it into a very more complex work of art. Sorry for a delayed response.......I didn't think anyone was reading this so I kind of abandoned it. Bravo to the brilliant Leonard Cohen!