The 10 Best Tim Buckley Songs of All-Time

Tim Buckley

Tim Buckley is a notoriously difficult figure to understand as a musician, as many of his songs are known for their dissonant and non-sensical lyrics. However, numerous musicians have attributed special importance to him in developing alternative music because of his ability to harmonize with other instruments and experiment with different genres within folk and rock music. He is often included in conversations with contemporaries, including Van Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, and Bob Dylan. It is difficult to distill down the best ten songs recorded by Tim Buckley because there are so many great ones that it is impossible to decide on just one. However, the following list includes some of his most popular and significant works in chronological order. The list will hopefully serve to highlight some of Buckley’s highest achievements as a musician, even though it will probably not be seen as very comprehensive. And even though his career was short, Buckley’s work spanned numerous genres and collaborations with other musicians that will surely put together a great best ten songs list.

10. Sweet Surrender (1972)


The song is one of the final songs recorded by Buckley before his death in 1975. It features lyrics with meanings that are difficult to decipher, making it challenging for new listeners to understand the meaning behind this song. Nevertheless, the music will still amaze many listeners with its powerful combination of harmonizing vocals and organ playing, making you want to sing along even if you do not know what he is saying. The ending is particularly compelling because it climaxes his voice and the instruments. It starts soft but then speeds up throughout until finally ending abruptly without resolution.

9. Come Here Woman (1970)


Come Here Woman was one of several collaborations between Buckley and jazz saxophonist Wayne Shorter. It appeared on an album entitled “Buckley’s Luck,” which significantly changed the direction of his career. At this point, Buckley had arrived in New York and was introduced to several other musicians who would effectively collaborate with him on “Buckley’s Luck.”

8. Down by the Borderline (1970)


Down by the Borderline song has an impressive record. It’s from the “Happy Sad album. This particular track is one of the best-known covers Buckley ever recorded. One of the most exciting things about this song is how he manages to shift between low and high notes so seamlessly that it sounds like he has no effort at all. And even though there are many non-nonsensical lyrics in this song, Buckley manages to make them sound good, which is something only the best musicians can do.

7. Buzzin’ Fly (1969)


Buzzin’ Fly from “Happy Sad” album was one of his best-known works, and it showcases how he manages to harmonize so well with other instruments. However, the lyrics are probably not easy for a listener to understand, especially if they have never heard the song before; basically, it is about a person who has moved to San Francisco and become accustomed to living there over time. Nevertheless, the instrumentation is compelling enough that it does not matter what he says because you can enjoy listening to it even if you don’t know what he is saying.

6. Lorca (1970)


Lorca is known as one of Buckley’s most challenging songs because it is named after poet Federico Garcia Lorca who was murdered by fascist forces during the Spanish Civil War. However, this song transcends all boundaries, and it is both powerful and emotionally compelling. The lyrics are obviously about García Lorca and how his death was a great tragedy. This song is one of his songs that made him stand out from other musicians in the folk-rock genre because he brought together an impressive mix of blues and progressive folk music to create something uniquely his own.

5. Dream Letter (1969)


This song appeared on the “Happy Sad” album and was notable for Buckley’s attention to high vocals. He creates an impressive range in this particular track that will leave you wanting to hear more. However, the most compelling element of this song is its lyrics. The overall fascinating aspect of them is that they seem like a collection of things he saw and experienced throughout his life – almost as if he were now relaying those events in one complete story.

4. Phantasmagoria in Two (1967)


Phantasmagoria in Two is one of his most popular songs because it showcases how well he integrates with other instruments; for example, he plays the harmonica during many parts of the song, which helps create an impressive opening. Buckley has a talent for changing his voice mid-way through this track, like when he goes from singing high notes to low notes with no effort at all; however, what makes this song so compelling is how well it fits into other instruments and complements them rather than making you focus on just one thing.

3. Once I Was (1967)


Once I Was appeared on the “Goodbye and Hello” album and showcased how well he can play multiple roles in a single track. In this song, Tim Buckley sings as if someone else is singing to him, making us want to listen carefully because we never know what will happen next. There are many moments during this track where he changes his voice to mid-range and high notes, which makes the entire song sound very rhythmic; as a result, we can appreciate the song even if we do not know what he is singing about.

2. Hong Kong Bar(1972)


Hong Kong Bar appeared on the “Greetings from LA” album and is one of his most complex songs primarily because of its chord progressions, which aren’t typical for a song that was recorded in the 1970s. The song is about an old Cantonese man who is trying to find his son-in-law’s friends so he can tell them all the details about their families.

1. Song to the Siren (1970)


Released on the “Starsailor” album, Song to the Siren is another of his most compelling songs because it demonstrates how well he harmonizes with other instruments. This song is different from anything else because it uses a light harpsichord backdrop. It also features a powerful combination of Wheeler’s deep and emotional vocals to complement his brilliant lyrics. It’s somethin’ like a love song. It’s something like a dirge. It floats like a lullaby and jangles like mad. There are no drums on this track, as they would detract from the fantastic instruments blend.


Tim Buckley was a talented musician who composed many engaging songs. The most compelling aspect of his music is how he blended different musical elements – for example, singing and playing an instrument simultaneously or using a harmonica during a song to complement other instruments. His talent, in turn, allowed him to create interesting tracks that draw us right from the very beginning. Sadly, he died so young, but his music will live on.

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