Tim Buckley's Death: What Impact Did It Have in 1975?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Siegmund, Oct 12, 2017.

  1. Siegmund

    Siegmund Forum Resident Thread Starter

    England, UK
    I'm guessing: very little.

    At the time of his death, Buckley's career was in a downturn. He'd never been a big star (despite having a Goodbye & Hello Sunset Strip board, in common with many Elektra artists) and since the commercially suicidal free jazz experiments of Starsailor and Lorca, his audience - never exactly big - had dwindled. At one point, he was forced to take a secondary job - as Sly Stone's chauffeur - to pay the bills.

    But he was optimistic about the future - he had plans to release a live album and had just completed a successful U.S. tour. He was only twenty-eight years old and still had a great voice: his songwriting partnership with Larry Beckett was still going strong. He was not known as a big drug user, so his death -from a massive heroin overdose - was all the more shocking.

    For those who were there - what was the response to his death (if any)?
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2017
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  2. Duke Fame

    Duke Fame Forum Resident

    Tampa, FL
    Not as much as Jeff's.
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  3. Brian Kelly

    Brian Kelly 1964-73 rock's best decade

    I was 17 years old in 1975 and had never heard of Tim Buckley and have no recollection of any discussion of his death.
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  4. kwadguy

    kwadguy Forum Resident

    Cambridge, MA
    Almost none. Buckley was a decade beyond his commercial peak--which was only modest and as an album artist. At that time, a decade was an eternity.

    His death was duly noted in the rock press, but had little resonance in the mainstream.
  5. Wayfaring Stranger

    Wayfaring Stranger Forum Resident

    York uk
    He'd played in the U.K. at festivals and appeared on national TV, and had left a big impression so his death impacted on many people. My house mate at the time was devestated. But other "more significant" deaths sadly overshadowed his. And yes, Jeff's death also had a greater impact.
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  6. QuestionMark?

    QuestionMark? 4th&Goal

    The End Zone
    I picked up his Blue Afternoon lp when I was in high school in 70' and played it a lot. I really liked it. I didn't know anyone else who had ever heard of Tim Buckley. I was unaware that he died until I googled his name in the 2000's after I picked up one of his CDs.
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  7. Chemguy

    Chemguy Forum Resident

    I was 14. Absolutely nothing about Tim on my radar until I was in my late 20s.
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  8. fortherecord

    fortherecord Forum Resident

    Upstate, NY
    His first three Elektra were great, but he lost his direction after that, save for Blue Afternoon on Straight records, I find all else pretty unlistenable.
  9. beccabear67

    beccabear67 Musical Omnivore

    Victoria, Canada
    I'm thinking (in America) most people knew of him from appearing on The Monkees once and that Morning Glory song, both years earlier. I always think of Judee Sill's death when I think of Tim Buckley.
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  10. Bigbudukks

    Bigbudukks Older, but no wiser.

    Gaithersburg, MD
    I would say it had no impact whasoever outside of his friends and family. I never heard of him until a year or so ago. haven't heard his music yet. I was in high school when he died and it never made so much as a blip on our radar screens.
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  11. Dreams266

    Dreams266 Forum Resident

    Greg Allman talks about meeting him not long before he died and that he was talking about making a new album. As far as his drug use goes, I've got a live bootleg where he says "give smack a chance" to audience between songs. That stuck with me about him
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  12. gkella

    gkella Forum Resident

    Toronto, Canada
    I was 22 years old and totally agree with you.
    Had zero awareness of Tim or his passing.
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  13. alchemy

    alchemy Forum Resident

    Sterling, VA
    The I was in college then, nobody I knew, knew anything about him or his music.
    He was under the radar.
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  14. pbuzby

    pbuzby Forum Resident

    Chicago, IL, US
    Maybe related to this, the first time I read an enthusiastic piece about Buckley was in the mid 80's when one of those "100 Best Rock Albums Of All Time" books (which I remember had several British critics contributing) included Starsailor.

    I was born the year before Buckley died and I remember around the late 80's with the CD boom there started to be more talk about Tim as a lost genius, which I'm sure helped pave the way for Jeff's arrival on the music scene a few years later.
  15. kwadguy

    kwadguy Forum Resident

    Cambridge, MA
    And that Monkees appearance didn't register on the radar for almost anyone, either. This was many years before Youtube, or even the MTV Monkees revival, and that clip hadn't been seen by most people (if they had seen it at all) since the original airing.

    As for Judee Sill...In the early '80s, you could still easily find her albums in used bins for a buck. Her death didn't register at all. Even in the late '80s, her biggest claim to fame, for most people who had any idea at all who she was, was as the writer of Lady-O, which appeared on Turtles compilations.
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  16. For what it's worth, I'd never heard of him until I was reading about This Mortal Coil and who wrote "Song to the Siren". And it was more than a decade after that before I first heard him.
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  17. seilerbird

    seilerbird Well-Known Member

    They were forced to cancel BuckleyCon.
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  18. nojasa

    nojasa Forum Resident

    Sadly, his passing went almost entirely unnoticed. Although thanks to 'Coming Home,' a 1978 movie about Vietnam vets with Jane Fonda, Bruce Dern and Jon Voight that featured a Buckley song, 'Once I Was,' during a memorable scene, I recall that he did briefly get a little buzz. But that dissipated very quickly. His kind of music didn't get airplay by then.
  19. beccabear67

    beccabear67 Musical Omnivore

    Victoria, Canada
    I would have seen it in re-runs and couldn't say when those were, but maybe outside the U.S. they were re-run earlier. Seemed like that show and the Banana Splits was always on some channel.
  20. neil

    neil Forum Resident

    Culver City
    I purchased Happy Sad when it came out. That is one of my desert island discs. I would probably put it in the top 25 best records of all time. The lyrics and musical arrangements are spectacular. Saw him live at the Atlantic City Pop Festival. Tim, who must have been Larry Becket and a congo player took the stage and he wailed for an hour. I had dropped some acid before the set. I still get the chills thinking about him wailing up on that stage. I wasn't a big fan of Lorca or Starsailor. Some of Welcome to LA was good. There are some incredible songs on Sefronia.
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  21. zebop

    zebop Well Known Stranger

    I didn't see any of his records, didn't have them as a kid. I know I heard of him because I used to read this depressing book, The History of Rock, Pop and Soul and it had every act you can imagine, the first edition was especially dreary.

    In 1975, I didn't hear a thing about his death. In contrast, when Marc Bolan died, it was news, in fact it was even on my "somewhat" local channel's lunch time news broadcast.
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  22. john hp

    john hp Forum Resident

    Warwickshire, UK
    I had five or six of his albums at the time but cannot remember when I first heard about his death, probably from the UK music press which had reports and obituaries.
  23. Siegmund

    Siegmund Forum Resident Thread Starter

    England, UK
    Marc Bolan was never a big deal in America and only had one hit (or am I wrong?) but even that dwarfs Buckley in terms of media presence.

    Awareness of Tim was definitely enhanced by his son's achievements and tragic early death.

    As to Judee Sill: I noticed her first album in a second-hand record store in 1988 but didn't buy it. Some time shortly after that, she was briefly (and unfavourably) mentioned in a Q magazine article on female singer-songwriters. It took me many, many years to catch up with her music - which blew my mind.
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  24. jkauff

    jkauff Putin-funded Forum Troll

    Akron, OH
    Chances are if you didn't work in a record store (as I did) or know someone who did, you wouldn't have recognized the name when he died.

    I wish I had a dime of every dollar Robert Plant made in Led Zeppelin "borrowing" from Tim's style, though.
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  25. trebori

    trebori Forum Resident

    Rochester, NY
    I was a big Tim Buckley fan especially from Happy Sad to Starsailor. His development seemed to mirror my developing tastes musically and I really appreciated what he was doing.

    Waited two years after Starsailor for the next record. Was really disappointed in Greetings From L.A. Didn't buy anything else current after that.

    But when I heard he died I was really sad because I was always hoping he'd go back to the more exploratory style. I don't know that most people noticed his passing. I didn't read it in the paper. It might have been in Downbeat that I read it. Anyway, I still buy any Buckley from the 67 - 70 period. I eventually also bought the other Warner Bros records (Fool and Sefronia) about 20 years later but still don't care for them all that much.

    But his loss was great. He was a true original.
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