Memphis Skyline

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Songfacts®:

  • This song was written about the late Jeff Buckley. Rufus envied his popularity and was sad because he would never be able to sing with him. Buckley drowned in the Mississippi River near Memphis in 1997.

    "I met him once and we hung out and he died not long after," Wainwright told Barney Hoskyns. "I hated Jeff Buckley when he first came out. I thought he was riffy and kind of boring and I didn't really get it. I mean, I didn't like Nirvana – I was listening to opera. But there was also a deeper rivalry with Buckley that existed in my mind. I knew that he was this incredible singer. I don't know if we could outsing each other, but it would have been interesting to have had a singing competition with him."
  • This song gets rather sensual at the end, with Wainwright singing, "So kiss me, my darling stay with me till morning." It can be argued that Rufus and Jeff may have dated (Wainwright is openly gay). The line, "Always hated him for the way he looked in the gaslight of the morning" could imply post-coital glaring and Rufus's envy. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Chris - Philadelphia, PA
  • Buckley and Wainwright sang two of the most popular versions of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," with Buckley releasing his in 1994 and Wainwright in 2001, just a year or two before he wrote "Memphis Skyline." Wainwright mentions how Buckley captured the song in the line, "Then came 'Hallelujah' sounding like Ophelia."

Comments: 8

  • Msb from CaRufus, as stated, met him only once (I have a link to the story somewhere) and didn't like him for many years due to rivalry...in fact, he said he didn't listen to Jeff until after he died due to said rivlary, plus Jeff wasn't gay, and there's no sufficient evidence backing it up so I think any "dating" is highly unlikely...
  • Nicole from Philadelphia, Pai'm from Philly and I LOVE Rufus! I just saw him ion Atlantic City (my 5th time seeing him) and he brought me to tears again singing Hallelujah with his sister Lucy Wainwright Roche.
  • Chris from Philadelphia, Payou have to find something interesting on his songs first. it cant be something boring like "this song is about being sad"

    it has to be "this is about jeff buckley, whom rufus envied very much."

    oh, and this song also refers to ophelia and hamlet quite much. its actually relating buckley to ophelia, due to the fact that no one knows if he killed himself or it was an accident. same with ophelia.

    im gonna see if i can get something on "liberty cabbage" on here too.
  • Davis from Montreal, Canadacan we add some more songfacts on his songs? I've submitted a bunch from the info I got from his want 1-2 commentaries and NPR interview, but can we have somemore?
  • Chris from Philadelphia, Pai need to move to england. it seems everyone in philly doesnt like rufus.
  • Holly from Nottingham, EnglandAt the risk of adding nothing of any value to this thread, I love Rufus.....
  • Chris from Philadelphia, Pa*smiles*
  • James from London, EnglandWhen I saw him live recently, Rufus Wainwright played this followed immediately by Hallelujah(Leoard Cohen) which was on Grace and Wainwright did for the Shrek Soundtrack.Poignant and very well done!
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