The Tim Buckley Archives


In 1999, Jack Brolly - aka jzero - polled the members of his Tim Buckley and Friends website as to what would be their favorite Buckley songs.

A similar poll of favorite albums can be seen here.

Since Tim recorded somewhere between 85 and 90 different song titles it was difficult for all of us to narrow our choices down to 20. As it turned out though, most people agreed with each other on a consistent basis. Fifty-six people participated in the poll and the comments that accompanied the replies were just as interesting as the choices made. The results revealed that half of Tim's songs appeared on two or more lists. I've listed those runners-up as well. Songs that were only placed on one list were not counted as runners-up.

The following is an example of how interesting some of the replies were.

Dear Jack
In haste .....
(1)Once I was ( esp. Peel Sessions ) a beautiful , perfect little song that leaves you yearning for more
(2)Sweet Surrender ( esp.Honeyman - )
(3)Song to the Siren ( esp Starsailor)
(4)Love from Room 109
(5)I don't need it to rain ( Peel Sessions and Honeyman versions are both sublime )
(6)Dream Letter
(7)Pleasant Street ( Goodbye and Hello esp)
(10)Hallucinations ( Peel Sessions )
(11)Make it right
(13)Wayfarin Stranger
(14)Strange Feelin'
(15)I had a talk with my woman
(16)Down by the Borderline
(17)Chase the blues away
(19)Nobody Walkin' ( esp. Lorca)
(20)I've been out walking

I guess you may consider my contibution to be like the Estonian vote in the Eurovision contest - a bit off-beam in places ! Wot ? No Dolphins - no Morning Glory ???? Sure , I like those songs a lot , but the reason , they're not included has something to do with the following... I promise that once I have had a chance for my thoughts to settle -I'll write down my impressions of Starsailor and Blue Afternoon for the immediate impression is that Starsailor is the most artistically courageous recording I have ever heard - not full of gorgeous tunes - but Tim could turn a tune on a sixpence anyway, and from reading a number of the marvelous interviews that you've posted on the forum, I am sensing two very seperate and diverse Tim Buckleys - one with a particular creative response in front of an audience - so when they weren't there , different impulses came to the fore - the need to explore and push the boundaries of where the voice and the ear could go.

To record those explorations was incredibly brave - but Tim really was way ahead of his time and creatively moving at the speed of light ( that's why I think Starsailor is such a great title) and like many endowed with immense creative talent , his vulnerability didn't help him cope with those who just couldn't keep up with the plot...and of course , he didn't stay around to write the next scenes...

If Tim were here today - he'd probably be jamming with Bjork ! - But who knows how his talents would have developed and whether there would have been any resolution between his multiple musical personalities . I'm pretty creatively schitzophrenic myself ( helps when you work in the theatre) so my choices veer between beautiful melodies sung on the thin wire.... and sounds that excite, inspire and challenge my own creative process . I'l get off my soapbox now ! Cheers


Listed by the amount of times each song appeared on any given ballot

(1)...Once I Was
(2)...Song To The Siren
(3)...Sweet Surrender
(4)...Pleasant Street
(5)...Buzzin' Fly
(6)...Chase The Blues Away
(7)...Dream Letter
(9)...Love From Room 109
(10)..Happy Time
(11)..I Must Have Been Blind
(13)..Strange Feelin'
(14)..Blue Melody
(15)..Morning Glory
(16)..I Never Asked to Be Your Mountain
(18)..Sing A Song For You
(19)..I Had A Talk With My Woman
(20)..I Woke Up


(22)...Get On Top
(23)...Jungle Fire
(26)...Down By The Borderline
(27)...Phantasmagoria In Two
(28)...Nobody Walkin'
(29)...Gypsy Woman
(31)...Make It Right
(33)...Valentine Melody
(34)...Goodbye And Hello
(36)...The River
(37)...The Earth Is Broken
(38)...The Train
(39)...Come Here Woman
(40)...It Happens Every Time
(41)...Move With Me
(42)...Devil Eyes
(44)...Sally Go Round The Roses

All 24 runners-up came in with pretty close to the same number of votes, with the last eleven with the exact same number

Do these results surprise anyone? I doubt it. Would the top 20 choices make a good Best of Tim Buckley CD for new listeners? I guess it's a good start, but we all know that the list doesn't truly capture the essence of what Tim Buckley's music was all about.

For that, you have to buy and listen to his albums one at a time in the order in which they were released. Then you can hear how Tim grew and maneuvered through his tumultuous and ever-changing career.

©1999 Jack Brolly

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