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Dream Brother: The Lives and Music of Jeff and Tim Buckley

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  1,535 ratings  ·  80 reviews
Jeff Buckley's drowning in 1997 was proclaimed a tragedy, not only because the 30-year-old singer-songwriter was perched on the cusp of stardom but also because his death so eerily mirrored the premature demise of his father, folk-rock icon Tim Buckley. In Dream Brother, music critic David Browne offers an incisive portrait of the ill-fated father and son, examining their ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published January 8th 2002 by It Books (first published 2001)
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 ·  1,535 ratings  ·  80 reviews

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Jul 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
I went to high school with Jeff Buckley and graduated a year behind him. We didn't share any classes and our paths rarely crossed, so I had no idea of his talent. I remember one day, though, as we passed each other as he was leaving a classroom while I was entering. We made eye contact, and he smiled and said "hi." I know I smiled, and I think I said "hi" back. Because I was a shy kid with low self-esteem, any time anyone I didn't know greeted me kindly it stuck with me. Anyway, I remember think ...more
Jenny Brown
Sep 26, 2012 rated it liked it
I was a huge Tim Buckley fan and had the pleasure of seeing him perform live, twice, in 1967 and '68. No recording I've heard has ever captured the richness of his voice which was unlike any I have ever heard elsewhere. I also got to meet Tim backstage and learned how short he was, and how nasty he could be to a complete stranger simply because she expressed the fact that she had been deeply affected by his music.

Later I heard many stories about Buckley's untidy personal life from hippie friend
Mar 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
Jesus, I'm a nerd. I go headlong into revisiting a dormant crush on the doomed son of a doomed son by checking in with my local library. This is Dave Thompson's Depeche Mode: Some Great Reward all over again!

Fortunately, David Browne wrote a pretty substantial biography on the Buckleys that twines, parallels, and misses the two young men who shared heritage but not each other's lives. I think the Jeff portion was what they were going to make the stalled biopic out of, which would be good source
Kelly Murray
Mar 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography
soooo good! This book deepened my love and appreciation for Jeff Buckley(as if that were even possible). I loved getting the really intimate perspective on both Jeff's and his father's lives. They never really knew each other, but were similar in many ways. This is the only book that has ever made me cry at the end. It really made me appreciate the kind of person that Jeff was, even if he was a bit before my time. He seemed to have had such a pure soul and wanted nothing more than to spread love ...more
Paul Gleason
Nov 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Browne's book is a solid and exhaustive biography of two of the greatest musicians of the twentieth century: Tim and Jeff Buckley. I especially appreciate Browne's technique of telling Tim's and Jeff's stories concurrently, and not devoting the first half of his book to Tim and the second half to Jeff.

I learned that both father and son suffered from depression and erratic behavior. Tim and Jeff were also true musical geniuses - and it's the way in which both combine introspection, earnestness, a
Feb 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
People my age (born in the 50s) are most likely to remember the folk singer/songwriter Tim Buckley, whose beautiful voice soared over jazz guitar, vibraphone, and conga percussion, and with riffs swiped from jazz greats like Miles Davis into a fusion of folk and jazz.

People 20 years younger are more likely to have known of Tim's son, Jeff Buckley, who also was a singer/songwriter, had jazz influences, and had an absolutely beautiful voice.

Jeff hardly knew his father; he did not grow up with him.
Dec 30, 2010 rated it liked it
Big fan of Jeff Buckley, but after reading this account, took the shine off him. Usually the more I know, the more I can appreciate the artist and the music (e.g. Johnny Cash), but in this instance - he came across a tad sulky and ridiculous. Tim Buckey's story really hooked me and a have a deeper appreciation for his music. Either way - a good and informative read on two fine artists, David Browne did a marvy job.
Apr 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
I had been collecting bootleg recordings and searching the cd bins for a new studio release from Jeff Buckley for years when I got the news of his "disappearance" en route to work one morning. It hit me hard. So hard I felt compelled to meet with a locally well-known "psychic" (For real or not? Who knows?). He told me that what freaked me out most about Buckley's death was that it upset me so much but that I didn't understand why (true). He then told me that he was seeing two guys, heavy drinker ...more
Michelle Luksh
Jan 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
My fascination with Jeff Buckley began when I heard about his tragic death, fell in love with his album "Grace", and then got sucked into the pulsing romance that surrounds his career and legacy. His enigmatic story encompasses the thrill of talent, the loss of love, the allure of the unknown, and the realization that some people just aren't meant for this world. I feel like Jeff knew that somewhat and realized it more when he sang, but I could just be blowing smoke in the tall-tale fantasy that ...more
May 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
I bought this book in hardcover when it initially came out in 2001. It has languished on my shelf ever since. I tried to read it a few times before, but always abandoned it. Normally after something has sat unread on my bookshelf for that long, I'd get rid of it, but I always felt like one day I would read it.

I was a latecomer to Jeff Buckley's music, in the sense that I didn't really start listening to him until after his death. Prior to that, I knew who he was, but that was about it. I finally
Norman Revill
Jun 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
David Browne is a solid and engaging music writer - check out Fire and Rain (Da Capo Press) - and this was his first book. His research is so thorough and painstaking, by the time you get to the end, you'll know just about everything about the tragic Buckleys; even that Tim's funeral featured an open coffin. And their story is a tragedy; sublime music from two deeply troubled individuals, who met briefly but never really knew each other. One long-gone father and his abandoned son; two voices tha ...more
Samantha Glasser
Mar 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book is so amazing. I read it on a whim because it was the summertime and I had a deep interest in Jeff Buckley but did not know much about him. I read the book and not only did I feel I thoroughly knew Jeff, but I understood his family, especially his father, as well.

Some people say that it was wrong to posthumously lump Tim and Jeff Buckley together after Jeff fought for years to separate himself from his famous father. I believe that note should be taken of this, but in order to understa
Emily Jones
Apr 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Partially because I'm obsessed with Jeff Buckley, and partially just because his life was interesting, this is a great read. Browne intertwines the events of Tim and Jeff's lives in an interesting way, albeit they spent very little time together. They were eerily connected regardless. I'm honestly sad this book is over.
Richard Kearney
Jun 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
David Browne's Dream Brother offers a fascinating subject: two highly talented yet deeply troubled musicians who, some twenty years apart, both suffered the misfortune of tragic death at an early age ... and who were also bioloigcally linked as father and son. As Browne notes in his introduction, his initial interest was in the son, Jeff Buckley, who he interviewed for the New York Times in 1993 and who went on to have some commercial success as a recording artist and touring musician until his ...more
May 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Ah yes, the joy of finally becoming a full-on fangirl for a long gone artist (in this case, two long gone artists) by reading about the tiniest details of their tedious everyday lives and the evil of music producing corporations which led to his (theirs) untimely tragic yet DRAMATIC AND BEAUTIFUL AS FUCK deaths.

Suddenly, before the last chorus a string broke on his acoustic guitar, and Jeff sang the lines, 'Sometimes I wonder for a while/Do you ever remember me?' unaccompanied. If that weren't d
Paul Lyons
May 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What better way to explore the life of the son by also diving in to the life of the father? The Buckley men, Tim and Jeff, were equally brilliant and tragic troubadours with incredible voices that still sound fresh and exciting today. Better still, both men had a gift for creating melodies that elevated the listener to a higher plateau. David Browne's "Dream Brother" stands as an excellent tribute to the lasting legacy of what both Tim and Jeff Buckley brought to the table.

One could argue that "
May 22, 2019 rated it liked it
This is a solid music biography of father and son, Tim and Jeff Buckley. I mostly read it for the Jeff part. Of course, Tim's story is relevant to Jeff's life and music, as Jeff and his mother were abandoned by Tim before he was born. The parallels between their lives are pretty strange, biology is pretty strong. Both had incredible vocal range, an interest in a wide variety of musical style and a disdain for the music industry they were tied to. It even goes all the way back to Ireland where Bu ...more
Jun 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An amazing, fascinating and captivatingly deep inmmersion in the Buckley's early interrupted life. Full of data and friends, colleagues and family proofs is the perfect way to introduce at the both Buckley's World. More focused on Jeff than Tim, all the people, as me, that they love Buckley's music have here a must read. Almost perfect biopic.
Cynical Duck Farmer
If you were me, you would have devoured this book in the summer of 2002 while a little bit obsessed with Tim and Jeff Buckley (Tim a little more than Jeff, but not by much), and you would have paused to wrestle with a knot that formed itself in your hair in the place where you'd tied the bandana you were fond of wearing at the time. You would have won the wrestling match (just) and gone on devouring what was left of the book.

Later, some conflicted feelings would have swollen inside of you, like
David Browne's DREAM BROTHER is a dual biography of the musicians Tim Buckley and Jeff Buckley, Tim's son. The tale is told in alternating chapters to show the eerie resemblances and notable differences in their tragically short lives. Tim Buckley died of a drug overdose at the age of 28, Jeff Buckley drowned in the Mississippi River when he was 31. Before that, they had both left between works of great beauty and originality, but had yet to reach the mainstream towards which they both hoped.

Big Al
Jul 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: music-related, 2012
I read this book because I love Jeff Buckley's music, but even though I don't know much about Tim Buckley I felt that the Tim chapters were just as interesting. Though Jeff may not have liked these endless comparisons to a father he felt he didn't know, it is impossible to ignore some striking parallels between father and son. The alternating chapters in this book help highlight some of these similarities; for example, seeing both men develop a rebellious attitude in regards to their music caree ...more
Sean Reeves
Sep 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It's an interesting idea to write biographies of father and son in parallel but I found the effect somewhat disorientating as each Tim chapter was followed by a Jeff chapter for the entirety of the book. There is a heavy focus on the pair's music making perhaps at the expense of the inner life of both characters. However, who really understood either of them? Overall, the book is a riveting read and meticulously researched. Anyone wanting to know more about the two Buckleys will be richly reward ...more
Paris Turner
May 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“The compelling tale of two musical visionaries, it chronicles both the cruel and generous interweavings of genetics and fate.”
New York Daily News

I can’t remember what initially drew me to David Browne’s Dream Brother. Perhaps it was the identical pair of deep-set, dark eyes gazing at me from beyond the dual-biography’s front cover. As Browne states, the physical semblance between Tim and Jeff Buckley was striking: Both men had “sorrowful glances, thick eyebrows and delicate, waifish airs that
Reilly Cook
Dec 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This was a huge project to take on as a reader, let alone, I can't imagine how David Browne did it. I was a mild Jeff Buckley fan with no knowledge of Tim Buckley whatsoever. I picked up this book in hopes to understand more of the mysterious musician that I knew so little about, but listened to semi-frequently.

I will say, this took me a while to get through. It can be dense at times, and paired with small words and many pages, sometimes my mind glossed over all the little names and details that
Sep 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
As soon as acquired this, to say I was excited is an understatement. To begin with, I am and will forever be a bigger fan of Jeff. Both stories are vastly interesting and entertaining. I can see both Tim and Jeff exhibiting similar behaviors in each of their own separate times. Both sought freedom of life and music and unfortunately, felt that they were both on the tip of what they wanted in their last years/months. Aside from getting a lot of information that I didn’t know before, I came away w ...more
Chloe Mogg
Mar 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
A great book! I was bought the book as a present for Christmas and was intrigued to find out more about Tim Buckley. Jeff Buckley is my main inspiration when it comes to music so reading more in depth stories was heartwarming. Both tragic endings to what would have been a bright, successful life for the pair.
Jun 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely loved it, totally captured by the story and made me buy more of their albums!
Wendy Zuern
May 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
I didn’t want to finish this because it’s so heartbreaking.
Malcolm Parker
Apr 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great Read
Jul 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Browne does a thorough job of detailing the talented, too short lives of iconic musicians Tim and Jeff Buckley. The chapters alternate between the two, and reveal eery similarities between a father and son who barely knew one another. Extensively researched, the book contains information gleaned from interviews with many people who knew both men. People who knew Tim were stunned when first seeing and hearing Jeff, as his appearance and voice evoked vivid memories of his father.

Jeff spent much of
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