November 16, 2012 | 8:50am
Born on November 17, 1966, Jeff Buckley was never close to his famous father, folksinger Tim. And by the time the elder Buckley died of a drug overdose in 1975, his son had only met him once. Consequently, he was raised by his mother and her second husband, and given the name Scotty Moorhead in deference to his stepfather's surname. Yet, he clearly retained his father's musical inclination, and by the time he was in his early twenties, he was making a name for his himself as an itinerant musician in New York's East Village. However, he only chose to trade on his dad's name was when he was taken under the wing of the elder Buckley's manager, Herb Cohen, who helped him land a deal with Columbia Records.
During his lifetime, Buckley saw the release of only one album, Grace, in 1994, but the impact of that effort was enough to secure devoted fans. Sadly, Buckley died while recording My Sweetheart the Drunk, his planned sophomore release. He drowned in a freak accident while taking a spontaneous swim in the Wolf River near Memphis on May 29, 1997. His body wasn't discovered until six days later.
Of course, Buckley's not the only musical offspring who has come close to matching a parent's success. Here are a few other notable prodigies who have succeeded and even surpassed their famous fathers.
Jeff Buckley "So Real" and "Last Goodbye"
10. Rufus Wainwright, like Buckley, is also known for his cover of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah." He isn't the sole child of singer/songwriter/veteran folkie Loudon Wainwright and his ex-wife and fellow folk music purveyor Kate McGarrigle. Martha, Lucy, and Sloan have also done fairly well in their own endeavors. However, Rufus is the one who has attracted the most fame and notoriety. His albums are nothing less than sweeping sonic epochs, a diva-esque blend of drama, daring, and spectacle.
9. Zak Starkey seemed destined to follow in his father's footsteps, but even dad Ringo's role as the keeper of the Beatles' backbeat doesn't come close to the dexterity Zak's demonstrated as drummer-for-hire with the Who, Oasis, Paul Weller, Ringo's All Starrs, and the myriad of other outfits he's loaned his talents to. Hell, any guy that can take Keith Moon's place is certainly an ace in his own right.
8. Jakob Dylan has the famous surname, a handle bound to bring attention no matter what avenue he pursued. The fact that he has a great band in the Wallflowers and a super solo career as well reflects the star power and savvy he's earned on his own. Besides, unlike dad, when young Dylan sings, one can actually decipher what he's saying.
7. Norah Jones bears no musical similarity whatsoever to her dad, famed sitar player and guru Ravi Shankar, but then again she didn't have to trade on name recognition to find her way to fame and fortune. Her first album made her an instant sensation and every succeeding effort has further affirmed her star status. It's little wonder most people see the name Jones and ask, "Ravi who?"
6. Miley Cyrus didn't have too far to go to overshadow her dad, country singer Billy Ray Cyrus, the guy responsible for the painfully familiar country hit, "Achy Breaky Heart." The former Hannah Montana has successfully made the transition from child star to actress to singer/songwriter. So what if she's a bit of a diva? It's nice to see a kid capable of supporting her old man.
5. Natalie Cole succeeded her late father Nat King Cole on the pop charts in the '70s and '80s and proved she had what it took to climb to the same heights of admiration and adulation. Her duet with dad on his hit "Unforgettable" not only set the standard for posthumous crossover collaborations, but proved she could attain the same high standards.
4. Rosanne Cash has never forgotten the legacy left to her by her father Johnny Cash. Her 2009 album, The List, was comprised of songs he had suggested, while her recent foray into literature, a memoir titled Compose, also draws on Johnny's story. Nevertheless, Rosanne has been star for the better part of the past 25 years, ensuring that the name Cash continues to grow its value.
3. Hank Williams Jr. proved there's no reason to be intimidated, just because your father was the king of country music. In fact, given Hank Sr.'s upstart reputation, he might have been proud of Junior's knack for craziness and carousing. If only he'd had some rowdy friends of his own around to prevent his eventual demise.
2. Enrique Iglesias inherited his dad Julio's good looks as well as his knack for wooing women. Sure, his voice leaves something to be desired, but when it comes to Latin heartthrobs, it's really the attitude that matters.
1. Arlo Guthrie may not be the indelible icon that his father Woody was, but he still managed to assume the mantle of a populist pundit with humor, honesty, and commitment. Who else could have come up with a novelty like Alice's Restaurant and kept it as a running punchline for more than 40 years?