American singer songwriter Tim Buckley was born in Washington, D.C., on February 14, 1947. He released nine records between 1966 and 1974, and he tested throughout his career, including elements of jazz, soul and rock into his folk style. Buckley revealed an early gift for singing, and he learned to play the banjo as well as the guitar.
Buckley performed together with the country and western group Princess Ramona and the Cherokee Riders before changing his interest to the growing California folk music landscape. He played in local groups The Bohemians as well as The Harlequin 3 in the early 1960s, until he got the eye of a record executive in the Elektra label and was signed to record a solo album.
Buckley’s debut record, Tim Buckley, premiered in 1966; he’d composed many of its own folk-influenced tunes during his high school years together with his buddy Larry Beckett. His second album, 1967’s Good-Bye and Hello, ensured his standing as a youthful star of folk rock. Happy Sad, released in 1969, was his most commercially successful record.
From the time he signed using the Straight record label in 1070, Buckley had started to take a more experimental, genre-melding approach to his songwriting. Blue Afternoon (1969) featured elements of jazz. Lorca (1970) was named in homage to the poet Federico Garca Lorca and used more avant garde musical strategies and abstract lyrics. This fecund period also brought the launch of the jazz- and psychedelia-tinged Starsailor in 1970. Starsailor was even less accessible than Lorca, but it contained Buckley’s best known single, “Song to the Siren.”
Buckley’s individual life had also experienced some changes. His union to high school love Mary Guibert, with whom he’d son Jeffrey Scott in 1966, had lasted just annually. Buckley’s three late records failed to garner favorable reviews or high sales. Greetings from L.A., released in 1972, was affected powerfully by funk and soul, and neglected to get an audience. The more mainstream Sefronia (1973) and his final record, Look at the Fool (1974), were similar disappointments. By this time, Buckley was fighting with depression and substance addiction along with livelihood challenges.
Buckley’s life and livelihood were shockingly brief: He was just 28 when he suffered an unintentional overdose of diamorphine and expired on June 29, 1975. His vocal style and his musical experiment would affect another generation of singer songwriters. The genetic and musical link between both guys was the topic of the 2013 movie Greetings From Tim Buckley.