• At a 1993 show at the New York club Sin-é, Buckley said this song is about "not feeling so bad about your own mortality when you have true love." This can be heard on the 2003 release Live at Sin-é. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Lindsey - Anderson, SC
  • "Grace" was the album's first single, and it was also released as a video. Buckley performed the song for a long time before he recorded it, and an early demo appears on an album he made with Gary Lucas that was released posthumously called Songs to No One 1991-1992. Lucas and Buckley were part of a project called Gods & Monsters when they wrote this song; they also collaborated on the Grace track "Mojo Pin." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Ruth - Hobart, Australia
  • Buckley died in 1997 when he drowned in a river at age 30. His father, Tim Buckley, died of a drug overdose at 28, but Jeff was in good spirits at the time and the drowning was accidental (he was wearing heavy boots when he jumped in, making it difficult to return to shore).

    This song deals with death, as he sings:

    It's my time coming
    I'm not afraid to die

    Later in the song, he even alludes to drowning, although metaphorically:

    I feel them drown my name
    So easy to know and forget with this kiss
    I'm not afraid to go but it goes so slow

    The lyrics sound unsettling in light of his death, but the entire album is soaked through with themes of loss.
  • Jeff Buckley wrote the lyrics after saying goodbye to his girlfriend at the airport one rainy day. "It's about not fearing death, or fearing any of those countless slings and arrows that you suffer sometimes on this Earth, because somebody loves you," he said. "You're not afraid to go."

    "And it's just about life sometimes being so long," Buckley added. "At the time I was anticipating leaving Los Angeles for New York. So I was waiting to go. I'm not afraid to go, I'm not afraid to die, I'm not afraid to go away from this place or from any place but it just goes so slow. And I had somebody who loved me in New York. A lot. And it was amazing. It still is."

    Sadly, Buckley's passing came all too soon.
  • In conversation with Songfacts, Gary Lucas stated that he originally wrote the song as an instrumental guitar piece. Buckley later added lyrics and melody. "I invited him into my group," Lucas said. "I had the group already, Gods & Monsters. I started it in '89. In '91, I met Jeff on a tribute to his father, Tim Buckley. It was in Brooklyn, and the organizer said, 'I think you should collaborate with him, you guys would be great together.' So, when we got together, right away we bonded. He said to me, 'I love your guitar playing. I loved you with Captain Beefheart.'

    So, I was like, 'Well, that's really cool. Wow, man, that's great, a young person.' Then I heard him sing and I'm like, 'Oh my god.' Right away, I thought he could be the great singer I've been looking for. He said he would do it, one thing led to another, and he was in. Then I needed to write some music and I came up with 'Grace' and 'Mojo Pin' as instrumental guitar pieces. Sent them to him and he came back to New York and he had perfect lyrics and a perfect melody for each instrumental. And that is how they started."
  • Mark Foster of Foster The People told NME September 8, 2012 that the song contains his favorite lyric. Said Foster: "He drowned, and in this song it seems like he's talking about drowning, which used to make me cry, because I couldn't believe he was dead, and that he was talking about it in the song, like a self-fulfilling prophecy."
  • Gary Lucas' instrumental piece was originally titled "Rise Up to Be." He recalled the story of the song to Uncut magazine:

    "I would compile pieces onto tape and mail them to Jeff in LA. Jeff called me as soon as he got them and said, 'They're beautiful, I'm gonna go to work on them.'

    He came over next time he was in New York, on a very humid steamy night, and said, 'You know that one called 'Rise Up to Be?' Now it's called 'Grace.' He whipped out a notebook and started singing. We were on the same wavelength; it was like a supernatural collaboration."

Comments: 7

  • Scarlet from NjWhen i heard this song for the first time i just kept saying "holy s--t holy s--t" especially at the end when he holds that note forEVER.... instant love and I have never been the same since AMAZING song gives me chills every time i hear it.
  • Hugh from Phoenix, AzGrace is one of my favorite albums of all time. Nothing else sounds like it. This song has an intensity that is both harrowing and lovely.
  • Ralph from Lyndhurst, NjThis song is a timeless and striking combination of melodic beauty, power and mood. Once you feel it -- and like all fine things it may be an aquired taste --it takes you on a sweeping and thrilling journey. The thing about it is, you shouldn't listen to it in the day light. The mood clashes with the daytime. Have a glass of wine at night, relax, turn out the lights, light a candle and listen. Better yet -- ABSORB!
  • Martin from Randers, DenmarkThe lyrics are amazing, thinking how Jeff Buckley died drowning. There are so many lines that easily could be refering to his death. Great song, great lyrics. A modern classic.
  • Blake from Scottsdale , AzHonestly, I'm a huge classic rock fan and 90's rock fan and in my personal opinion I think this is one of the greatest songs written ever. Both lyrically and musically. Just astounding.
  • Marcus from Jackson, MiI have my own theory on this song. Jeff Buckley is f--king immortal
  • Matt from Boston, MaI'm surprised there are no postings for this song, so I think I'll be the first. I honestly think this might be the greatest modern pop song ever written. Layers upon layers of instrumentation, imagery and emotion. The use of the harp in this song gives it a haunting quality which is both light and melancholy at the same time. There are maybe two or three songs in all of music that can bring me to tears when I hear them and this is one of them. Just an epic song.

see more comments

Editor's Picks

John WaiteSongwriter Interviews

"Missing You" was a spontaneous outpouring of emotion triggered by a phone call. John tells that story and explains what MTV meant to his career.

Ian Astbury of The CultSongwriter Interviews

The Cult frontman tells who the "Fire Woman" is, and talks about performing with the new version of The Doors.

Lace the Music: How LSD Changed Popular MusicSong Writing

Starting in Virginia City, Nevada and rippling out to the Haight-Ashbury, LSD reshaped popular music.

Album Cover InspirationsSong Writing

Some album art was at least "inspired" by others. A look at some very similar covers.

James Bond Theme SongsMusic Quiz

How well do you know the 007 theme songs?

Chris IsaakSongwriter Interviews

Chris tells the story of "Wicked Game," talks milkshakes and moonpies at Sun Records, and explains why women always get their way.