The Tim Buckley Archives



Legends of Rock: Bios, Discographies, and Tributes

by Unknown

Tim Buckley was more than a singer songwriter, he was a fully blown artist. He moved ahead at speed developing new creative landscapes and using his voice as an instrument rather than just a sounding board for lyrics. While his recordings may at times be difficult they show great power and emotion, it’s as if you can feel the creative process forcing its way out of Tim using him as a conduit.

Tim Buckley grew up with a love of country as styled by Johnny Cash and Hank Williams and while he taught himself the banjo his first passion was for singing. He developed his pitch from crooners but took a more individualistic approach to developing his range, he would scream at buses and imitate trumpets - by the age of 17 he had a range of four octaves.

‘I generally don't like fusion, though Tim was the exception to the rule. He was all round fusion: you couldn't say what he was really doing, because he wasn't rock, or folk, or jazz... ’ – Chrissie Hynde

Moving in the folk scene Tim was soon noticed and in 1966, at the age of 19, recorded his first album – a relatively conservative effort but one that showcased his voice and his gift for melody. If the first album introduced Tim within a traditional format his following five releases were to show not only his vocal range but also the range of his artistic brilliance. From the poetic Goodbye and Hello, to the intimate Happy Sad, the folk-jazz of Blue Afternoon, the experimental Lorca and the free-form, avant-garde Starsailor few artists could ever match the creative oeuvre developed by Tim in the space of just four years.

For Tim the creative process was a personal affair as he pulled his emotions from the depths of his soul and left them etched into grooves on a vinyl platter. He was deeply affected therefore when his work lost its commercial impetus. While he had pursued new creative horizons he had moved too fast for his fans – by the time they understood one musical foray he was already developing a new style. Given this his commercial appeal waned and, disillusioned, Tim spent time away from playing and recording scene.

Developing a passion for black music, Tim did reappear in 1972 with Greetings From LA. Whilst this was a commercial success it divided critical opinion with some arguing that he had mastered a mix of laid-back funk and sexual imagery while others saw it as a waste of his talent. Followed up by two further albums in a similar style this was to be the end of Tim’s recording career.

  • Tim was cast as Woody Guthrie in Hal Ashby's film, Bound For Glory but died before shooting commenced.
  • Tim appears in season two of ‘The Monkees’ singing Song of the Siren in The Frodis Caper.
  • During his time away from recording Tim’s interest in black music came about while he was working as Sly Stone's chauffeur.

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