Famed singer/guitarist Jeff Buckley would have turned 54 years old today had his life not been tragically cut short at his creative peak.

Buckley spent years working in Los Angeles as a session musician, but it wasn’t until he hit the clubs in Manhattan’s East Village neighborhood that he started to garner a following. After many years of refusing to sign a recording contract with a major label, Buckley finally agreed and recorded Grace in 1994, making for his lone studio album release.

Buckley’s accidental drowning death in 1997 served as the tragic bookend to a beautiful career. Buckley’s music was eternally uplifting, backed by acclaimed guitar work and an angelic voice. There was an unmistakable passion in his musicianship, an indescribable quality that cannot be forced. His genuine music still resonates with listeners to this day, more than 20 years after his death.

Among the many great songs on the Grace album, Buckley is perhaps best known for his cover of Leonard Cohen‘s spiritual masterpiece, “Hallelujah”. Though there are many selections that would symbolize Buckley’s musical essence, few are as timely with the recent passing of Cohen in 2016. We can only hope that the two are making new music for the folks in heaven today.

In honor of Buckley’s birthday today, November 16th, celebrate his legacy with this beautiful live rendition of “Hallelujah” from his Live In Chicago performance at Chicago’s Cabaret Metro in May 1995.

Jeff Buckley – “Hallelujah” – 5/13/95

[Video: Jeff Buckley Music]

[Originally published 11/17/16]