Every few months I spin Jeff Buckley’s Grace, from start to finish, and marvel at the album’s achievement. There are few artists who’ve produced such singular records in the past two decades—fewer still for whom such lone creations represent the sum of their “official” output. One wonders, of course, what recordings we might today savor had Buckley not drowned in Memphis in May, 1997, at the age of 30.
(Though it contains some fine songs, I tend not to count Sketches for My Sweetheart Drunk—the compilation of Buckley’s unreleased material put out in 1998, just months after his death—as an “actual” record.)
To kick-start our week of noon-day covers of songs by The Smiths, we offer Buckley’s acoustic cover of “I Know It’s Over” from the Mancunians’ 1986 epic The Queen Is Dead.
The Buckley version appeared back in January, just ahead of You And I, a collection of recently unearthed recordings—both covers and Buckley originals—released in early spring.
Buckley’s choice of the deeper Smiths cut was apropos. His vocal style often shares Morrissey’s penchant for the histrionic, though his acoustic rendition of “I Know It’s Over” here is suitably somber and understated. It’s similar in tone to Buckley’s now-legendary cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”—arguably the best-ever cover of that too-often-covered tour-de-force.
The video for Buckley’s “I know It’s Over” was directed by Amanda Demme, with Amy Redford, daughter of Robert Redford, serving as executive producer. Redford told Rolling Stone “When I first heard Jeff, he gave me permission to feel fully and with contradiction. He inspired me to fight for authenticity, and to feel confidence in simplicity. To collaborate on these songs coming to life, and to see the community of people who Jeff touched, has been a privilege.”