The late, great singer Jeff Buckley is most famous for his impeccable cover of Leonard Cohen’s song ‘Hallelujah’. The cover is so poignant and perfect, in fact, that it has often been thought of as the best version of the iconic track.
However, before the poetry could be put to record, Buckley let out a burp and did an impression of Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder and that is something we all need to hear. We think.
Impressions of Eddie Vedder, the dynamic frontman of Pearl Jam, aren’t exactly hard to come by. In fact, if you drop into any karaoke bar in the United States—and stay past the obligatory ‘Sweet Home Alabama’—chances are you will come across a plethora of throaty mimics of the grunge icon. However, it’s not every day you get an impression of the man from one of his contemporaries and such a delicately-voiced one.
What makes this moment even stranger is the context of the recording. Buckley was sitting down to record his homage to Cohen’s sprawling masterpiece and, by doing so, was unwittingly about to cement his name in the annals of rock history. Yet before he did, the musician had time to clear his mind of the poignant message and joke with his team in the studio.
He settles his nerves before delivering his career-defining version of ‘Hallelujah’ by letting out a big belch and singing: “Leonard Cohen spoke in class today,” in Vedder’s iconic growl. By our accounts, it is one of the best mimics of Vedder’s tone.
We’re not sure if Vedder is aware of the imitation, let us not forget the sheer volume of them, but he certainly had kind words for the late singer: “Man I had this Guy with me once… and we were sittin’ down and talkin’ and jammin’… He played his version of ‘Indifference’ for me… man, I tell ya… I’ll never forget the way he did it… I was just fuckin’ speechless… one of the most memorable moments of my life… I just wish I had seen him more.”
Below you can listen to Jeff Buckley’s impeccable impression of Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder just moments before his brilliant ‘Hallelujah’.