The power and influence of Grace increases with each passing year. Here, Daphne Brooks traces Jeff Buckley's fascinating musical development through the earliest stages of his career, up to the release of the album. With access to rare archival material, Brooks illustrates Buckley's passion for life and hunger for musical knowledge, and shows just why he was such a crucial figure in the American music scene of the 1990s.
Jeff Buckley was piecing together a contemporary popular music history for himself that was steeped in the magic of singing. He was busy hearing how Dylan channeled Billie Holiday in Blonde On Blonde and how Robert Plant was doing his best to sound like Janis Joplin on early Led Zeppelin recordings. He was thinking about doo-wop and opera and Elton John and working at developing a way to harness the power of the voice...In the process, he was re-defining punk and grunge "attitude" itself by rejecting the ambivalent sexual undercurrents of those movements, as well as Led Zeppelin's canonical "cock rock" kingdom that he'd grown up adoring. He was forging a one-man revolution set to the rhythms of New York City and beyond. And he was on the brink of recording his elegant battle in song for the world to hear.
Daphne A. Brooks is Associate Professor in the Department of English and the Center for African-American Studies at Princeton University where she teaches courses on African-American literature and culture, performance studies, critical gender studies, and popular music culture. She is the author of Bodies in Dissent: Spectacular Performances of Race and Freedom, 1850-1910 (Duke University Press, 2006).