Buckley said in April 1975: "We're in the habit of emulating those pure voices
when they're dead."
months later Buckley was dead.
The Los Angeles County coroner's office determined that Buckley was the victim
of "acute heroin-morphine and ethanol intoxication." Overdose. His longtime
frend Richard Keeling was charged with murder under California law for having
allegedly furnished the drugs that caused the death. The drug charge was subsequently
dropped and Keeling pleaded guilty to a charge of involuntary manslaughter. He
served 120 days.
death shocked Buckley's friends, family and associates, but the autopsy puzzled
them; heroin had never played a big part in his diet. The coroner declared that
Buckley was no addict.
thing he wasn't was a pop star in the accepted definition of either word. His
albums weren't big sellers, even in the relatively scaled-down record business
of the late '60 s: At the height of his fame he barely cracked Billboard's Top
Tim Buckley's importance can't be measured in chart placings or dollar amounts.
He lived his life almost in defiance of such standards. If he paid the price for
his rebelliousness, he also left an enduring legacy.
1966 and 1975 Buckley released nine albums that could have been recorded by no
one else. Buckley put his vocal virtuosity in the service of an artistic vision
that showed little consistency beyond a restless searching, an impatience with
the present. The sadness in his voice reinforced the heroic futility of his music.
His was the sound of defenselessness.
outlived his friend Jim Morrison by nine months. But while the media keep resurrecting
the Lizard King, the equally photogenic Buckley has proven harder to exploit.
you listen to the Jeff Buckley Grace and the folk-rock LP Goodbye and
Hello from Tim, you know what a great loss the Buckleys are to popular music.