I am the furthest thing there is from a Tim Buckley scholar, but have happily immersed myself in his “Song To The Siren”, which is arguably his most famous tune thanks to the number of times it has been reinterpreted. Thankfully, in 2011 The Guardian published as comprehensive a history of the song as you’re going to find, including interviews with Buckley collaborator and co-writer Larry Beckett and a number of those who’ve reinterpreted it. So read that, then read this excerpt from Facing The Other Way: The Story of 4AD – incidentally by Martin Aston, the author of the Guardian piece – that covers the This Mortal Coil/Cocteau Twins connection to the song in greater depth.
Here’s the song’s public premiere, a straightforward version he first performed as a guest on the series finale of The Monkees in 1968:
The song finally appeared in a much more ambitious arrangement on his 1970 masterpiece Starsailor:
More contemporarily, Brit-rock band Wolf Alice covered the song in a 2017 Spotify Session:
And Roxy Music frontman Bryan Ferry included it as the centrepiece of his excellent 2010 record Olympia; happily professionally-shot footage of his performance of the song on tour in Belfast in 2012 also exists:
I’ve tried to stay pretty on-topic with my selections, but know there are many, many more versions out there including by Pat Boone (he was the first to release a version of the song, even before Buckley), John Frusciante, Robert Plant, Sinead O’Connor, and George Michael. The Chemical Brothers tune of the same name is not a cover.