Friday, December 10, 2004


Rufus and Jeff

One of the saddest events in the music world in the last ten years was the tragic drowning of Jeff Buckley in May, 1997. He was only 30, and he was in the process of recording the follow-up to his only full-length studio record, Grace, one of the most compelling, beautiful, durable records of the 1990s.

So the other day I was listening for the first time to the new release from Rufus Wainwright, Want Two, and the song "Memphis Skyline" came on. It's Rufus's tribute to Jeff Buckley, and it's achingly beautiful and sad and moving:
Never thought of Hades
Under the Mississippi
But still I've come for to sing for him
So southern furies, prepare to walk
For my harp I have strung,
And I will leave with him
Relax the cogs of rhyme
Over the Memphis sky
Turn back the wheels of time
Under the Memphis skyline
Always hated him for the way he looked
In the gaslight of the morning
Then came "Hallelujah" sounding like mad Ophelia
For me in my room living
So kiss me, my darling stay with me till morning
Turn back and you will stay
Under the Memphis Skyline
As the lyrics played themselves out, I had to turn the song off to maintain my composure. I can't think of anything better than one artist whose work you admire paying such a magnificent tribute to another artist you also love. Thanks, Rufus.

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