On Wednesday night's American Idol, Randy said about Adam singing Ring of Fire: "It's really hard to say, man. But I must say that I was one of the ones who loved Adam's Jeff Buckley take on that song. Many people don't know that that is Jeff Buckley's version."
I'm a huge Jeff Buckley fan and didn't think that he ever recorded that song. After looking through my (complete) collection of his songs, I still hadn't found it. Before he died in 1997, he had never recorded that song.
After some research, I found this article:
American Idol Judge Randy Jackson Says Adam Lambert Channeling Jeff Buckley on His Version of Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire"?
Scour the internet as much as you like, you will not find the classic song "Ring of Fire" by Jeff Buckley. Although "Ring of Fire" has been done by at least a hundred artists since it was written by June Carter (the future wife of Johnny Cash) and Merle Kilgore, Jeff Buckley did not record a version. This does not mean that Jeff Buckley never sang the song. He just never recorded it.
So why even bring up the subject? Because American Idol judge Randy Jackson brought it up. On the American Idol results show on Wednesday evening, when Ryan Seacrest was down to the last two finalists left to decide which one would join the other two contestants on the chopping block (one would be eliminated from the three), he asked for comments from the American Idol judges about Adam Lambert's rendition of "Ring of Fire" the night before. That's when Randy Jackson mentioned Jeff Buckley in relation to the song.
Although Jeff Buckley never recorded "Ring of Fire," it is easy to understand why Randy Jackson would bring up the name. Randy Jackson is not on American Idol for just his good looks. He's also a hot producer and musician himself. He has a very good ear for music. He prides himself on his ability, which is why he often uses the term "pitch problems" or "pitchy" when referring to a performance.
Randy Jackson was comparing Adam Lambert to Jeff Buckley, at least on a vocal level. Adam Lambert's version of "Ring of Fire" was done the way Jeff Buckley would have done it. And with the same amazing vocal control as well. And perhaps just as haunting. If one were to surf one's way to YouTube and click up "Grace," "Forget Her," Or "Hallelujah" by Jeff Buckley, Randy Jackson's words start to make a lot more sense.
It really is a shame that the world lost Jeff Buckley. He was an amazing talent.
Here's Jeff Buckley doing his song Grace,the title track from his first album.