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Jeff Buckley was recording demos for his second album, My Sweetheart The Drunk, around the time when he was found dead in the Mississippi River in 1997. Cue worldwide mourning for the loss of a nascent talent, posthumous release overkill (including his spine-tingling cover of Hallelujah) and the story behind the tool of Jeff Buckley’s unmistakable sound and tone: his Fender Telecaster.
Actually, the Blonde 1983 USA top loader Tele wasn’t ‘his’ at all: Buckley borrowed it from a friend, Janine Nicholls, after his valuables were stolen from his LA apartment. However, the guitar was eventually returned to Ms Nicholls following the star's untimely death, where it has remained mostly untouched in its broken case.
Dutch radio producer Botte Jellema is one of a tiny few privileged enough to see it, let alone play it: "I noticed that Jeff had adjusted and tweaked the instrument to perfection, as it played with ease and delight," writes Jellema. "A truly unforgettable experience."
"Already said, but come on, where's Jeff Buckley? This is a man who on 'Live at Sin-e', just had a blonde Tele he'd borrowed off a mate, an amp with a bit of reverb, and a mic, and showed that this is all you need to make fantastic music. A genius." (Thanks, loftandlost)
"The other legendary Tele Player would be the wonderful Jeff Buckley, who before he decided to grace us with his amazing voice, plied his trade as an axeman for hire." (Thanks, ojc)
"How could you not mention Jeff Buckley? He had a fantastic sound, and he penned some fantastic chord/riff driven songs that where imensely influential, and he was as influential in exposing the world to the New York music scene as Nirvana was in exposing the Seattle scene to the world.
"He was a musician's singer/songwriter, going on Terry Gilliam'ish musical trails of thought in the middle of songs, playing jazz, punk, metal, progrock and whatnot before going on with the show, which just shows the eclectic influences that inspired his music.
"Personally, that showed me that the best all-round guitar you can have when you are playing clean sounds is not a Strat but a Tele. And the man could definitely compose AND play. Have you ever tried to play Grace or just tried to figure out the chords? A lot of those Tele heroes you mentioned in your round-up would have a hard [time] playing some of his songs. Not to mention singing the way he did while playing the way he did.
"And Grace is on the very top on the list of most influential records of the 90's: Radiohead's Thom Yorke told Zoo Magazine back in '97 that the whole of OK Computer was inspired by Jeff Buckley. Chris Cornell was a big fan of Jeff Buckley. So are Rufus Wainwright, PJ Harvey, Kashmir and most if not all alternative bands of the noughties." (Thanks, Haffa)