Tuesday, November 8, 1994

Giraffe performs The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway live

The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway

Giraffe


Recorded: November 8, 1994


Released: 2014


Peak: --


Sales (in millions): --


Genre: progressive rock


Tracks:

Song Title [time]

  1. The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway [6:07]
  2. Fly on a Windshield [1:21]
  3. Broadway Melody of 1974 [3:23]
  4. In the Cage [9:11]
  5. The Grand Parade of Lifeless Packaging [2:54]
  6. Back in N.Y.C. [7:03]
  7. The Carpet Crawlers [6:44]
  8. Lilywhite Lilith [2:54]
  9. The Lamia [7:52]
  10. The Colony of Slippermen [6:29]
  11. In the Rapids [2:21]
  12. It/Watcher of the Skies [8:42]
  13. The Musical Box [8:28]

Songs written by Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, Steve Hackett, and Mike Rutherford.


The Players:

  • Kevin Gilbert (vocals)
  • Dan Hancock (guitar)
  • David Kerzner (keyboards)
  • Stan Cotey (bass)
  • Nick D’Virgilio (drums)

Rating:

2.517 out of 5.00 (average of 7 ratings)

About the Album:

Anyone who does any reading on Kevin Gilbert will quickly note how he name checks early Genesis amongst his progressive rock influences, specifically “conceptual masterpiece The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway,” MO-PA the 1974 double album that was then-lead singer Peter Gabriel’s swan song with the band. In his own words, KG says, “I’d put it right up there with Tommy and Quadrophenia,” CH two albums by The Who that are perhaps the best known and most critically acclaimed rock operas ever conceived.

Gilbert seemed determined to put The Lamb on its proper pedestal. As he said, “I think that’s a great lost piece of work…People have forgotten it, at least in the genre of rock music that is also story.” CH “I used to rehearse that when I was a kid…I’d close the door, I’d put on my leather coat, and I would perform The Lamb from start to finish. I probably performed it a hundred times.” CH

He “had a burning desire to perform [it] in its entirety” MO-PA outside of the confines of his childhood bedroom. This wish was fulfilled at ProgFest 1994 at the Variety Arts Center in Los Angeles. With a reformed Giraffe (containing a then unknown Nick D’Virgilio on drums), Gilbert wowed the audience with a performance worthy of Genesis themselves.” MO-KG “This show, although never officially released, has become the stuff of legends.” MO-PA

Dave Kerzner, who played with Gilbert at that gig and on KG’s subsequent Thud album and tour, recounts how it came about. “One day I got a phone call from Kevin because he had heard I had a studio filled with vintage keyboards. He wanted to see the various Mellotrons and Chamberlins I had, so I invited him over.” DK

“We talked, and I played him some tunes I was working on at the time…He…commented…about how he knew I must be into Tony Banks because I had every keyboard Tony ever used. At the end of our first ‘hang,’ he said ‘You know, we should get a bunch of guys together and play The Lamb’! I just looked at him in disbelief and said ‘Sure, that would be awesome!’” DK

“At the end of 1994, Kevin came to me and said ‘Dave, still want to play The Lamb? I know the perfect place to do it. It’s called ProgFest.’ So I said, ‘Yeah, I am totally up for the challenge but who else can we get to do this?’ Kevin explained to me that he had played with a drummer named Nick D’Virgilio who was a huge Phil Collins fan. He was very confident that Nick could pull it off.” DK

Nick met Gilbert at a ski resort gig. He later drummed for Gilbert on 1995’s Thud and was responsible for completing The Shaming of the True after Gilbert died. The Progfest program says that “Nick divulged his Collins obsession and mentioned that he had learned to drum by playing along to The Lamb.” PP

Rounding out the band were Dan Hancock took on the Steve Hackett role and filling in for the part of Mike Rutherford was Gilbert’s ex-Giraffe bandmate Stan Cotey. With two ex-Giraffe members on board, the gig was billed as Giraffe, largely out of Gilbert’s trepidation of having it viewed as a solo project.

The show was at the Variety Arts Center in Los Angeles on 11/6/94. “Widely hailed as a brilliant performance,” MG it was a “brilliant dedication to one of prog rock’s hallmark records.” SF “If you’re a musician, you probably know how impossible it is to perform any song from The Lamb, and musician-wise it’s a fabulous performance (some instrument parts are played ‘better’ than on the original record).” SF

The program does note, however, that “Due to time considerations, this evening’s performance is a slightly chopped Lamb. But…the band assures you the task they did not crave was what to kill and what to save and they’re sorry if they skipped your fave.” PP

Kerzner fondly remembers the performance: “We all got to play one of our favorite records of all time in front of a crowd of several thousand screaming prog fans that knew every note! And most of all, I am happy we were able to provide the background for one of Kevin’s fantasies, to play the part of Rael.” DK

“This concert was a big highlight for me because not only was it the most challenging gig I ever played, but the best feeling I ever had on stage was at the end of ‘Watcher of the Skies’ with that big grandiose ending along with the crowd reaction after. What a feeling that was!” DK

Resources and Related Links:

First posted 3/6/2010; updated 6/4/2021.

Eagles reunite with Hell Freezes Over

11/8/1994:
First posted 3/26/2008; updated 9/16/2020.

Hell Freezes Over

Eagles


Released: November 8, 1994


Recorded: 1994


Peak: 12 US, 28 UK, 11 CN, 23 AU


Sales (in millions): 8.0 US, 0.1 UK, 12.1 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: classic rock


Tracks: Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Get Over It (10/22/94, 31 US, 4 AR, 21 AC, 4 CN, 74 AU) *
  2. Love Will Keep Us Alive (12/17/94, 22a US, 1 AC, 52 UK, 10 AU) *
  3. The Girl from Yesterday (11/12/94, 58 CW) *
  4. Learn to Be Still (1/21/95, 61a US, 33 AR, 15 AC, 9 CN) *
  5. Tequila Sunrise
  6. Hotel California
  7. Wasted Time
  8. Pretty Maids All in a Row
  9. I Can’t Tell You Why
  10. New York Minute (Don Henley solo song) (11/3/90, 48 US, 24 AR, 5 AC)
  11. The Last Resort
  12. Take It Easy
  13. In the City
  14. Life in the Fast Lane
  15. Desperado
* Studio cuts. Chart figures are only for those songs not previously featured on any Eagles’ albums.


Total Running Time: 72:36


The Players:

  • Glenn Frey (vocals, guitar, keyboards)
  • Don Henley (vocals, drums)
  • Don Felder (guitar, vocals, mandolin)
  • Timothy B. Schmit (bass, vocals)
  • Joe Walsh (guitar, vocals, organ)

Rating:

3.582 out of 5.00 (average of 19 ratings)


Awards:

About the Album:

“The Eagles’ first newly recorded album in 14 years gets off to a good start with the rocker Get Over It, a timely piece of advice about accepting responsibility, followed by the tender ballad Love Will Keep Us Alive, the country-styled The Girl from Yesterday, and Learn to Be Still, one of Don Henley's more thoughtful statements.” AMG

“Unfortunately, that’s it. Hell Freezes Over contains an EP’s worth of new material followed by a live album. The Eagles, known for meticulously recreating their studio recordings in concert, nevertheless released Eagles Live in 1980. Six songs from that set reappear here, and only one is in a noticeably different arrangement, Hotel California, which gets an acoustic treatment.” AMG

“As was true on Eagles Live, the group remains most interested in their later material, redoing five songs from the Hotel California LP and two from its follow-up, The Long Run, but finding space for only three songs from their early days, Tequila Sunrise, Take It Easy, and Desperado, the last two of which were also on Eagles Live.” AMG

“As such, Hell Freezes Over is hard to justify as anything other than a souvenir for the Eagles’ reunion tour. That, however, did not keep it from topping the charts and selling in the millions.” AMG

Resources and Related Links:

Tuesday, November 1, 1994

Aerosmith’s Big Ones compilation released

First posted 9/11/2020.

Big Ones

Aerosmith


Rating:

4.274 out of 5.00
(average of 5 ratings)


Released: November 1, 1994


Recorded: 1987-1994


Peak: 6 US, 7 UK, 2 CN, 12 AU


Sales (in millions): 4.0 US, 0.3 UK, 9.0 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: classic rock


Tracks: (1) Walk on Water (2) Love in an Elevator (3) Rag Doll (4) What It Takes (5) Dude Looks Like a Lady (6) Janie’s Got a Gun (7) Cryin’ (8) Amazing (9) Blind Man (10) Deuces Are Wild (11) The Other Side (12) Crazy (13) Eat the Rich (14) Angel (15) Livin’ on the Edge


Total Running Time: 73:25


The Players:

  • Steven Tyler (vocals, keyboards, harmonica, percussion)
  • Joe Perry (guitar)
  • Brad Whitford (rhythm guitar)
  • Tom Hamilton (bass)
  • Joey Kramer (drums, percussion)

A Brief History:

The rock band Aerosmith formed in Boston in 1970. With hits like “Dream On,” “Walk This Way,” and “Sweet Emotion” they became one of America’s biggest rock bands. After six albums together, the original lineup started to fracture because of in-fighting and drug abuse. They released the tepid Rock in a Hard Place in 1982 without Perry or Whitford and it looked like they might be done as a band.

However, they jumped from Columbia Records to Geffen and found new life. The band reunited for 1985’s Done with Mirrors. The muted reception suggested the band might be done, but then rap group Run-D.M.C. remade the band’s “Walk This Way” into a top-five pop hit and reignited interest in Aerosmith.

Their next three albums were multi-platinum affairs which maintained the classic rock audiences while also finding new fans with younger crowds. Each of these has a dedicated DMDB page (click on links below), but snapshots on this page.

When the group returned to Columbia, Geffen released the Big Ones compilation to celebrate their most commercially successful years. Songs featured on Big Ones are noted below. Following the song title are the writers, the date of the song’s release or first chart appearance, and its chart peaks are noted in parentheses. Click for codes to singles charts.


Permanent Vacation (1987):

After Run-D.M.C. brought Aerosmith back in the limelight with their “Walk This Way” cover, the band followed with this album, which produced three top-20 hits on the Billboard Hot 100. One of those songs, Angel, became the band’s biggest charting hit to date.

  • Dude Looks Like a Lady (Tyler, Perry, Desmond Child) (8/29/87, 14 US, 4 AR, 20 UK, 22 CN, 95 AU)
  • Rag Doll (Tyler, Perry, Jim Vallance, Holly Knight) (9/12/87, 17 US, 12 AR, 42 UK, 23 CN)
  • Angel (Tyler, Child) (1/30/88, 3 US, 2 AR, 69 UK, 14 CN)


Pump (1989):

After the success of Permanent Vacation, Aerosmith stormed back even bigger with Pump, an album which gave the band three more top-ten hits and landed them atop the album rock chart for the first time with Love in an Elevator. The band also won their first Grammy – for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group – for the murder-and-abuse-themed Janie’s Got a Gun.

  • Love in an Elevator (Tyler, Perry) (9/2/89, 5 US, 1 AR, 13 UK, 13 CN, 33 AU, gold single)
  • Janie’s Got a Gun (Tyler, Tom Hamilton) (9/23/89, 4 US, 2 AR, 76 UK, 2 CN, 1 AU)
  • What It Takes (Tyler, Perry, Child) (1/13/90, 9 US, 1 AR, 15 CN, 46 CN)
  • The Other Side (Tyler, Vallance, Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, Eddie Holland) (6/16/90, 22 US, 1 AR, 46 UK, 22 CN, 73 AU)


Get a Grip (1993):

While this album failed to generate any top-10 pop hits, it produced seven songs which charted on various charts, including four top-40 pop hits and six top-10 album rock tracks. One of those cuts, Crazy, became the band’s most-watched video on YouTube with over a half billion views.

  • Livin’ on the Edge (Tyler, Perry, Mark Hudson) (4/10/93, 18 US, 1 AR, 19 UK)
  • Eat the Rich (Tyler, Perry, Vallance) (5/1/93, 5 AR, 34 UK)
  • Cryin’ (Tyler, Perry, Taylor Rhodes) (6/5/93, 12 US, 1 AR, 17 UK, gold single)
  • Amazing (Tyler, Richard Supa) (10/30/93, 24 US, 3 AR, 57 UK)
  • Crazy (Tyler, Perry, Child) (5/21/94, 17 US, UK, 7 AR, 23 UK)


Big Ones (1994):

The Big Ones compilation featured two new songs and one, Deuces Are Wild, which had never been released on an Aerosmith album. That song had been originally considered for 1989’s Pump, but didn’t surface until 1993 when it was released as a track on the various artists collection The Beavis and Butt-Head Experience.

  • Deuces Are Wild (Tyler, Vallance) (1/15/94, 14 AR, 25 CN)
  • Blind Man (Tyler, Perry, Taylor Rhodes) (11/5/94, 48 US, 3 AR, 5 CN, 76 AU)
  • Walk on Water (Tyler, Perry, Jack Blades, Tommy Shaw) (1/28/95, 16 AR)


Notes: A European edition of the album included a live version of “Dude Looks Like a Lady.” In 2004, a special edition of the album was released which included eight cuts from the band’s live 1998 album A Little South of Sanity.

Resources and Related Links:

Tuesday, September 13, 1994

Sept. 13, 1994: Eric Clapton released From the Cradle, his first blues album

First posted March 31, 2008. Last updated September 9, 2018.

From the Cradle

Eric Clapton

Released: Sept. 13, 1994


Sales (in millions):
US: 3.0
UK: 0.1
IFPI: 1.0
World (estimated): 6.5


Peak:
US: 11
UK: 11
Canada: 2
Australia: 6

Quotable: “one of Clapton's finest moments” – Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide


Genre: blues


Album Tracks:

  1. Blues Before Sunrise (Carr) [2:58]
  2. Third Degree (Boyd/Dixon) [5:07]
  3. Reconsider Baby (Fulson) [3:20]
  4. Hoochie Coochie Man (Dixon) [3:16]
  5. Five Long Years (Boyd) [4:47]
  6. I’m Tore Down (Thompson) [3:02] (9/10/94, #5 AR)
  7. How Long Blues (Carr) [3:09]
  8. Goin’ Away Baby (Lane) [4:00]
  9. Blues Leave Me Alone (Lane) [3:36]
  10. Sinner’s Prayer (Fulson/Glenn) [3:20]
  11. Motherless Child (traditional) [2:57] (10/22/94, #23 AR)
  12. It Hurts Me Too (James) [3:17]
  13. Someday After a While (King/Thompson) [4:27]
  14. Standin’ Round Crying (Waters) [3:39]
  15. Driftin’ (Brown/Moore/Williams) [3:10]
  16. Groaning the Blues (Dixon) [6:05]

Singles/Hit Songs:

Click here for the chart codes for singles/hit songs.

Review:

Eric Clapton’s 1992 Unplugged gave him the most successful album of his career. It won the Grammy for Album of the Year and has sold more than 20 million copies. Instead of stressing him, however, Clapton felt free to do whatever he wanted. He opted to record an all-blues cover album, the first in his career, despite long being associated with the genre.

Reviews were mixed. All Music Guide’s Stephen Thomas Erlewine said “If it wasn't for Clapton's labored vocals, everything would be perfect.” STE “When he sings, Clapton loses that sense of originality, choosing to mimic the vocals of the original recordings. At times, his overemotive singing is painful; he doesn’t have the strength to pull off Howlin’ Wolf’s growl or the confidence to replicate Muddy Waters’ assured phrasing.” STE

Entertainment Weekly’s Tom Sinclair considered the recordings “flawless” but boring, WK but Erlewine said “the album manages to re-create the ambience of postwar electric blues, right down to the bottomless thump of the rhythm section.” STE He asserted it was easy to overlook Clapton’s “vocal shortcomings,” STE saying “as long as he plays his guitar, he can't fail – his solos are white-hot and evocative, original and captivating.” STE

Clapton once again received a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year. While he didn’t win that, he did take home the Grammy for Best Traditional Blues Album. He subsequently recorded more blues albums, including Riding with the King with B.B. King, Me and Mr. Johnson (a collection of Robert Johnson covers), and The Road to Escondido with J.J. Cale.


Review Source(s):

Awards:


Related DMDB Link(s):


Saturday, August 27, 1994

Boyz II Men spend 1st of 14 weeks at #1 with “I’ll Make Love to You”

I’ll Make Love to You

Boyz II Men

Writer(s): Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds (see lyrics here)


Released: July 26, 1994


First Charted: August 5, 1994


Peak: 114 US, 113 CB, 14 RR, 13 AC, 19 RB, 5 UK, 13 CN, 12 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 1.63 US, 0.45 UK, 2.14 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 2.0 radio, 175.86 video, 157.18 streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

Boyz II Men emerged in 1991 with their debut album Cooleyhighharmony, featuring top-five hits “Motownphilly” and “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday.” They followed up the album with “End of the Road,” a cut from the Boomerang soundtrack which topped the Billboard Hot 100 for 13 weeks, the most in the history of the chart at that time. They didn’t hold the record for long. Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” logged 14 weeks at the pinnacle in 1992-93.

However, Boyz II Men shot back with “I’ll Make Love to You,” the lead single from their 1994 album II. It matched Houston’s 14 weeks at #1. That record wouldn’t last long either. In 1995-96, Mariah Carey spent 16 weeks at #1 with “One Sweet Day” – a song featuring none other than Boyz II Men. That gave the R&B group the incredible distinction of singing on three of the four biggest #1 songs in the first 40 years of the history of the Billboard Hot 100.

Boyz II Men tapped Babyface, who’d co-written “End of the Road,” as the producer for their second album because of his experience singing hits on his own, writing for others such as Pebbles, Klymaxx, and the Whispers, and producing for Mary J. Blige, Aretha Franklin, Johnny Gill, Whitney Houston, and Madonna. SF

Babyface saw “I’ll Make Love to You” as kind of a sequel to “End of the Road.” He admitted it was hard to try to outdo that song, but that was essentially his goal. SF He said his hope was that “it not be exactly the same, but familiar enough where you could touch some of the same ingredients.” BR However, the group initially thought it sounded too much like “End of the Road” and considered leaving it off the album. According to Babyface, Motown Records’ then-president Jheryl Busby made the decision to release the song despite the protests of the group. SF It won a Grammy for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals and American Music Awards for Favorite Pop/Rock Single and Favorite Soul/R&B single.


Resources and Related Links:

  • DMDB Encyclopedia entry for Boyz II Men
  • BR Fred Bronson (2007). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (4th edition). Billboard Books: New York, NY. Page 830.
  • SF Songfacts
  • WK Wikipedia

First posted 3/28/2020; last updated 4/28/2021.

Tuesday, August 23, 1994

Jeff Buckley’s Grace released

Grace

Jeff Buckley


Released: August 23, 1994


Peak: 149 US, 42 UK, 67 CN, 9 AU


Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, 0.6 UK, 3.5 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: alternative rock singer/songwriter


Tracks:

Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Mojo Pin (Buckley/ Lucas) [5:42]
  2. Grace (Buckley/ Lucas) [5:22] (8/94, --)
  3. Last Goodbye (Buckley/ Lucas) [4:35] (1/95, 54 UK, 19 MR)
  4. Lilac Wine (Shelton) [4:32]
  5. So Real (Buckley/ Tighe) [4:43] (6/95, --)
  6. Hallelujah (Cohen) [6:53] (5/07, 2 UK, 70 AU, sales: 1.0 m)
  7. Lover, You Should’ve Come Over (Buckley) [6:43]
  8. Corpus Christi Carol (for Roy) (Britten) [2:56]
  9. Eternal Life (Buckley) [4:52] (8/95, --)
  10. Dream Brother (Buckley/ Grondahl/ Johnson) [5:26]


Total Running Time: 51:43


The Players:

  • Jeff Buckley (vocals, guitar, keyboards, dulcimer, percussion)
  • Gary Lucas (guitar on “Mojo Pin” and “Grace”)
  • Michael Tighe (guitar on “So Real”)
  • Mick Grøndahl (bass)
  • Mat Johnson (percussion, drums)
  • Karl Berger (string arrangements)
  • Loris Holland (organ on “Lover, You Should Have Come Over”)
  • Misha Masud (tabla on “Dream Brother”)

Rating:

4.272 out of 5.00 (average of 29 ratings)


Quotable: “Most ethereal and achingly lovelorn album to come out in the past decade." – Carey Head, Ink Blot Magazine


Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

For those intent on dismissing the significance of Jeff Buckley’s Grace, there is plenty of ammo. How much press did he receive because his father was folk singer Tim Buckley? What if he didn’t have “matinee idol good looks”? SM How much did his death in 1997 at 30 years lift up the status of the sole studio album he recorded in his lifetime?

These criticisms ignore that Jeff didn’t have anything to do with any of these efforts to promote his image. He was only eight when his father, from whom he was mostly estranged, died at 28 years old. Jeff had no interest in building on his heartthrob status; he was mortified by his 1995 appearance on People magazine’s list of the 50 most beautiful people. DB-98 As for his death, it wasn’t a suicidal act which might prompt cynics to argue he was trying to create a legacy. He accidentally drowned.

His Voice
Even if those knocks hold up, they ignore that Jeff Buckley had “one of the finest voices of a generation.” AD His voice was “an exquisite, malleable instrument…from his daring vaults into the upper registers to his long, enraptured middle-register ornaments and moans.” CDU There were “the gospel hooks and choir-boy falsettos, the swooping leaps in time signatures, the hushed cathedral hymn-like melodies, the ululating scale-climbing and the smouldering, unbridled balladeering.” DB-9 Buckley “had the piercing tenor voice of an angel wrought with desperation.” CS

In a review of Grace, Robert Hilburn said “more than most songwriters, Buckley places special importance on his vocals. Almost as if impatient with mere words, he searches for added vocal color to convey the intensity of the song’s emotion.” DB-23 He “could go from a whisper to a roar” AD with his “impassioned, octave-defying singing” SM which “resembled a cross between Robert Plant, Van Morrison, and his father Tim.” STE “Buckley is doubtless sick of the Son Of Tim tag…but the inheritance of his father’s vocal range and disregard for conventional form is inescapable.” IC

Giving Voice to Others
It wasn’t just the physical quality of his voice, but how he gave voice to a generation. However, he wasn’t treading in the “’loser’ professions of a still youthful Beck” DB-98 where “vulnerable men are lsot, confused and betrayed…to the point of suffocating self=absorption.” DB-116 Rather he was “a millennial rock romantic with a fondness for expressing pulsating, sensual feeling, the cerebral and visceral contours of human intimacy.” JB-98 “It’s the delivery that separates him from the crowd, ranging from delicate and dreamy to highly charged and nakedly emotional.” IC “As a person and performer he left his fans feeling like his personal friends awash in romance and intrigue, a connection very few artists ever give to their audience.” CH “No one summed up Gen X dreaming more magically than Jeff Buckley.” DB-13

Matt Johnson, who played drums on the Grace album, said Buckley “could awaken people’s sense of who they were in their own passions. There’s so much longing…There’s so much deep yearning for a connection to the source.” DB-11 With Grace, Buckley “captured…the sound and fury, the stillness and the raucous noise, the surreal as well as the ordinary, everyday contradictions of mid-1990s American culture and the mad genius of left field rock wonder and possibility.” DB-2 “His extreme intensity and emotional sincerity make Grace…a flourishing achievement.” CH

“This was ‘punk rock’ soul music re-outfitted to celebrate the spiritual, the sexual, the emotional connections between men and women, friends and lovers, individual linked together by the electric spirit of humanity itself.” DB-99

His Influences
That voice wasn’t just the luck of biology, but also the influence of “huge ears and an even bigger record collection.” SZ “He was a complete High Fidelity record store nerd, a lover of all music who took total pleasure in absorbing the most obscure and minute details about popular music culture and history…[and] also seized upon the indie record collector nerd posture.” DB-116-7

Look at the legacy edition of Live at Sin-é. He covers songs made famous by Ray Charles, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Billie Holiday, Led Zeppelin, Van Morrison, Edith Piaf, and Nina Simone. He proclaimed that Pakistani singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was his “Elvis.” He “jumbles jazz, R&B, blues and rock references” SZ along with “French chanson, eastern melodies and classical choral music to create a classic rock record almost without precedent.” SM

Grace “sounds like a Led Zeppelin album written by an ambitious folkie with a fondness for lounge jazz.” STE “This is no pretty folk LP, it’s a powerful album of unlocked emotions, poetry and drama.” IC Buckley creates a “variously fascinating, uneasy listening and hard work, but you could never confuse it with anything else.” IC

The Band
In the early ‘90s, Buckley played in coffee houses in New York and worked with guitarist Gary Lucas as the short-lived Gods and Monsters. They didn’t release a record at the time, but it got Buckley enough attention for a solo deal. He hastily assembled a band which consisted of Mick Grondahl, b assist he met at a Columbia University café gig, and the aforementioned Johnson who was friend’s with Rebbecca Moore, Buckley’s girlfriend. DB-67

The Producer
Andy Wallace was tapped as the producer and “rose to the challenge, crafting swirling, anthemic arrangements.” SM He wasn’t an obvious choice. He was two decades Buckley’s senior and had worked primarily with hard rock and metal icons like Ozzy Osbourne. DB-64 He’d also produced Run-D.M.C.’s iconic remake of Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way” and mixed Nirvana’s Nevermind. However, he was viewed as someone who could “take small and particular things and create large soundscapes that matched the eipc quality of Jeff’s musica interests.” DB-65

Overall Thoughts About the Album
“Jeff Buckley sets out upon a road less travelled, avoiding the safe and predictable in favor of the ecstatic and the personal.” CDU He “sounds like a man who doesn’t yet know what he wants to be…it’s a ballsy kind of uncertainty, the kind you find in star high-school athletes who seem to have all the confidence in the world even as they’re straining to meet their own ever-increasing expectations.” SZ

“There are no obvious melodies rather shifting moods, tempos and intensities.” AD “Ringing guitar and driving drums mix with swaying spartan tenderness and almost awkward rhythmic changes.” IC It is “filled with sweeping choruses, bombastic arrangements, [and] searching lyrics” STE “where images of death and love, rain and fire, torment and longing fill the imagination.” IC Buckley crafts original “songs of mystery and spirituality” IC which “are full of a search for redemption and all about love, loss and faith.” AD

“Mojo Pin”
This song first saw the light of day with Gods and Monsters although Buckley had been kicking around lyrics for the song since at least 1989. DB-73 It has been suggested that the song could be about drug addiction or the addictive nature of love. DB-76 Lyrically, it tells the story of “a weak and passive body that craves to ‘keep…whole,’ oe that will ‘never be safe from harm,’ and yet musically, ‘Mojo Pin’ is sonically bold, ambitious, disruptive, and filled with brazen risks.” DB-74 It “aesthetically mimics the cyclical experience of a narcotic-altered state.” DB-76

It “displays exactly what this album is all about.” AD It took “guts to open a major-label, full-length debut rock album with a five-minute, forty-two second ‘song about a dream.’” DB-71 The “singer beckons his listeners to travel with him to the center of a wild, disorienting lyrical and sonic field of play.” DB-72

It is “a jagged, crescendo-bending, elliptical tornado of a song.” DB-72 The song “creeps in with ambient, almost sinister, guitars” CS and, along with “Buckley’s angelic, breathy vibrato, seduces the listener and cascades over the odd time signature. Before the first minute of this album is over, you’re enveloped in the most ethereal and achingly” CH “lovelorn album of the ‘90s.” CS

“Grace”
This is another song which dates back to Buckley’s days with Gods and Monsters and Gary Lucas even lends his guitar prowess to the track. Like “Mojo Pin,” Jeff “matched early notebook musings and poetry to Lucas’ music.” DB-79 “While ‘Mojo Pin’ unleashes a difficult, mid-tempo lament filled with musical breaks,” DB-78 “’Grace’ moves brilliantly and relentlessly away from the bad mojo and runs straight into the shimmering light.” DB-78

Lyrically, the song “marks Buckley’s penchant for writing and singing about death and sorrow” AD as it deals with the “melancholic departure of two lovers forced to separate.” DB-79 However, it serves as “a prayer affirming and manifesting the endless and elliptical beauty of humanity itself.” DB-79 It celebrates “an inclusive musical space that replenishes the soul.” DB-79

“Grace” is “filled with bursts of spinning guitar sunshine and fleet guitar picking in the vein of Led Zeppelin’s more folky, jangling strumming numbers.” DB-80 It also “unveils the full power of Jeff’s vocals, as they seem here to almost fly, travsering space and time.” DB-78 “The vocal is a sheer beauty, a thing of wonder.” AD

“Last Goodbye”
“Maybe the most iridescent break-up song ever written.” DB-100 “Even though it’s the obligatory power love ballad on the album, it’s damn good. Backed by acoustic guitars, Mike Johnson’s solid drumming and some lush violins toward the end, it reminds you of that last time you left your lover’s house knowing you could never go back no matter how badly you wanted to.” CH He sings “‘this is our last embrace, must I dream and always see your face’…The chorus is absolutely thrilling with rock guitars and his voice sailing over the top…as if reaching for the heavens.” AD

Buckley traverses similar territory to Prince as he “slipped easily into the role of the rock male lover who isn’t too macho to beg for earnest affection.” DB-102 This was the only song to make a dent on U.S. radio, reaching a mere #19 on the alternative rock chart. The song “had been floating around for several years…in his repertoire.” DB-100 Buckley said he “included the song on the album to show that it belonged somewhere, that it had a life and purpose all its own.” DB-100

“So Real”
The “art-school noisy” JB So Real “repeats the quiet/loud formula of ‘Last Goodbye’ but with significantly more rock thrown in. A guitar sounds like a buzzsaw at one point. The louder sections are as intense as hell and the other vocals are whispered, quietly caressed.” AD At times, the song is “reminiscent of My Bloody Valentine’s celestial vocals that weave through walls of hazy feedback and distortion.” DB-105 It makes “masterful use of a jarring voices that changes from middle to high register and later shifts from boy soprano vocals to the chorus to a rattling, over-dubbed throat voice towards the song’s climax.” DB-105

“Lilac Wine”
The “ghostly” SZ Lilac Wine is the first of three covers on the album. Nina Simone made the song popular in the 1960s. DB-125 By covering it, Buckley showed he was “a white male rock artist unafraid to embrace the musical genius and influence of a black female musician.” DB-123 His rendition “provides an important link to his East Village past…[as it] transports us to the nightclub where cnateuse Buckley unleashes his angst-ridden torch song.” DB-126

It “is a stunning achievement…as [Buckley] plays troubadour and croons out” CH a “tender and pretty vocal amid slow shifting bass and delicate guitar.” AD “With its deep blush of a sound [it] practically adds years to his age. His voice seems weighted down with tears that just won’t come out the normal way. ‘I made wine from the lilac tree, put my heart in its recipe,’ he sings, and his heart’s in this recipe, too. Like any singer worth his salt, he knows that ‘Lilac Wine’ just never comes out right without it.” SZ

“Hallelujah”
“Buckley’s emotionally jarring version of Leonard Cohen’s HallelujahCH is a “tour de force of heartbreaking emotional and spiritual immensity.” DB-139-40 It is “a minimal, stripped back performance” AD which is “the centrepiece of the album for many.” AD

“It takes a confident singer to attempt [the song] and Buckley manages to top [Cohen] with his impassioned and intense falsetto, an expression of sincerity rarely ever heard in music since.” CS “As tender as the heart that broke to write this song, [Buckley] confesses to us: ‘Well maybe there’s a God above/but all I’ve ever learned from love-was how to shoot somebody who outdrew ya.’” CH “This is gospel music with sex, desire, and love tangled together.” DB-138

The path of Buckley’s “exquisite reinterpretation of the song” DB-138 becoming the definitive version is an interesting tale worthy of its own Dave’s Music Database page (read more here). The short version, however, is that Cohen first recorded the song in 1984 and in 1991 John Cale recorded it for the I’m Your Fan tribute album to Cohen. Cale’s version “plays with straight ahead emotional admission, romantic regret, and forthright confession.” DB-138 This was the version Buckley heard. It has “arguably become the definitive version of ‘Hallelujah,’ a classic in its own right.” DB-140

“Lover, You Should’ve Come Over”
“Last Goodbye” and “the torch ballad Lover You Should’ve Come OverDB-3 “are powerful evocations of failing relationships.” CDU The latter features “late Beatles harmonies and Edith Piaf vocal ornaments.” CDU It has “great melodic moments and again, beautiful…gospel influenced vocals come in towards the end.” AD

The song draws the listener “into its still, melancholic center” DB-108 as Buckley makes the listener “feel more emotionally naked than during your first sexual experience.” CH It pays homage to “Drown in My Own Tears” in which Ray Charles “would lay himself bear;” DB-109 “so too does Jeff Buckley’s ‘Lover’ reveal a man at his emotional limit.” DB-109

“Eternal Life”
“Jeff Buckley surprises you over and over again on this record. He can be as edgy and loud as old Zeppelin” CH on the “Pearl Jam bluesy” JB “take-no-prisoners anthem” DB-3 “Eternal Life” with its “AOR classic rock crunch.” DB-134 This song and ‘Mojo Pin’ “draw upon blues imagery and metaphors to create a subtle, hard-rocking atmosphere.” CDU

“Eternal Life” “creates big, swooping fields of emotion around the most plaintive cries for peace and love.” DB-134-5 Buckley said the song was inspired by anger about “the man that shot Martin Luther King, World War II, slaught in Guyana, and the Manson murders.” DB-134 It served as his take on the “crusade rock of the 80s,” such as “any U2 anthem in their pre-Achtung Baby….era.” DB-134

“Corpus Christi Carol”
Corpus Christi Carol is the last of the album’s three cover songs. Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell said Buckley “wasn’t shy about trying strange songs that you would never expect a 28-year-old guy to do in the 90s.” DB-117 Doing a cover of apiece by classical composer Benjamin Britten definitely qualifies. Buckley became familiar with the song because of a mix tape given to him by his high school friend Roy Rallo.

While the original “shimmers brightly as a beaitifuc journey toward New Testament perfection and resurrection” DB-132 it takes on a very different connotation in Buckley’s hands. He “made a point of expressing his disinterest in organized religion.” DB-131 Thus he “reoutfits religious anger and majesty as secular spiritual wonder,” DB-133 “the kind of gospel music that philosophically reaches for ‘peace in the midst of a hostile world.’” DB-132

With its “operatic falsetto” DB-3 it is “all atmospheres and shifting moods. The melody isn’t obvious; it needs teasing out…a good half of it…is provided by his vocals. All your attention will focus on THAT voice. Such a sheer presence.” AD

“Dream Brother”
Final song Dream Brother “evokes the feeling of being carried out to sea.” DB-84 It is “a return to the mystic power chords and the floating, fantastical imagery of the album’s first two songs.” DB-83 It “achieves an almost Doors-like melancholy” CDU and is “as cosmic and oceanic as the best of Can and Pink Floyd.” DB-84 The guitars also tap into the sound of English group the Cocteau Twins, of whom Buckley was a fan. AD

Conclusion
Grace is a wonderful album. It has stood the test of time and always was going to… its appeal is slow burning. Give it time, listen to it…It’s a beautiful record and some debut.” AD

Sadly, it was the only full-length solo album released in Buckley’s lifetime. He was working on the follow-up album tentatively titled My Sweetheart the Drunk when he went drinking with a friend on May 29, 1997, and died of an accidental drowning after diving in to the water fully clothed. “In the immediate aftermath of his death, it wasn’t apparent what…loss his…talent really would…be…[the] many singers…described as bearing his influence…show[s] how good this one album really was.” AD


Notes: In 2004, the Legacy reissue added a second disc of bonus tracks, including covers of Bob Dylan’s “Mama, You Been on My Mind,” Hank Williams’ “Lost Highway,” Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ “Alligator Wine,” Nina Simone’s “The Other Woman,” MC5’s “Kick Out the Jams,” Big Star’s “Kanga-Roo,” and a medley of blues standards “Parchman Farm Blues” and “Preachin’ Blues.” Also included are “Forget Her,” originally intended for Grace, “Strawberry Street,” an alternate mix of “Dream Brother,” and “I Want Someone Badly,” a collaboration with Shudder to Think that was originally on the First Love, Last Rights soundtrack.

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First posted 8/23/2011; last updated 9/20/2021.