If Nick Drake was in some way a victim of his time and of the music scene, then so be it. [2][3][4] Drake signed to Island Records when he was 20 years old and a student at the University of Cambridge. [5] His reluctance to perform live, or be interviewed, contributed to his lack of commercial success. [25], Drake returned to England in 1967 and moved into his sister's flat in Hampstead, London. We did understand him and it still happened’ … Gabrielle Drake. Find Nick Drake similar, influenced by and follower information on AllMusic. [18], Drake's attention to his studies deteriorated and, although he had accelerated a year in Eagle House, at Marlborough he neglected his studies in favour of music. [28] Cambridge placed emphasis on its rugby and cricket teams, but by this time Drake had lost interest in sport, preferring to stay in his college room smoking cannabis and playing music. Last year, an album of Molly’s home recordings from the 1950s and 60s was released. [66] At Boyd's insistence, Drake agreed to an interview with Jerry Gilbert of Sounds Magazine. "[108], For the British poet and mystery writer, see, "River Man" is noted for its 5/4 time, harmonic changes and use of. I think he wrote his nicest melodies in the early morning hours. By the mid-1980s, Drake was being credited as an influence by such artists as Robert Smith of The Cure and Peter Buck of R.E.M. This person who said they saw that, said they tore them off a strip.”. He did the first set and something awful must have happened. “Poor mum, poor mum,” she sings plaintively, Jane Birkin breathiness counterpointed with Joyce Grenfell articulation, “Nothing worked out in the way that you planned.”, “If Molly Drake’s song has a subtext,” writes her daughter in the book insightfully, “it’s surely that angst isn’t the sole domain of the young – should they be inclined to dwell on them, older generations have no shortage of accumulate compromises and regrets upon which to hang their anxieties.”, Both parents admired their son’s work, she says: “In the letters my father says, ‘Take courage, take heart, you’ve really got it. However, the return to Sound Techniques' studio raised Drake's spirits; his mother recalled, "We were so absolutely thrilled to think that Nick was happy because there hadn't been any happiness in Nick's life for years. I know Joe has said that the women singing on "Poor Boy" was a tip of the hat to Leonard Cohen's " So Long, Marianne " but that's about it. I don’t believe he’d necessarily have stayed in this world of popular music. Find Nick Drake similar, influenced by and follower information on AllMusic AllMusic. [22] He delayed attendance to spend six months at the University of Aix-Marseille, France, beginning in February 1967, where he began to practise guitar in earnest. Young Money rapper Drake recently revealed artists who influenced his career like actor Leonardo DiCaprio and the late rocker Jimi Hendrix. Impressed by a four-track demo recorded in Drake's college room in early 1968, Boyd offered Drake a management, publishing, and production contract. As many of his songs were played in different tunings, he frequently paused to retune between numbers. "[89], There were no documentaries or compilation albums in the wake of Drake's death. You can do everything in your power but you might still fail.”. But Gabrielle says she wanted to do more than set the record straight. Drake's music remained available through the mid-1970s, but the 1979 release of the retrospective album Fruit Tree allowed his back catalogue to be reassessed. [45] Soon after its release, Boyd sold Witchseason to Island Records and moved to Los Angeles to work with Warner Brothers to develop film soundtracks. [57] According to photographer Keith Morris by 1971 Drake was a "hunched, dishevelled figure, staring vacantly...ignoring the overtures of a friendly labrador or gazing blankly over Hampstead Heath. Cally: The first part of the question is too hard to answer and it would be unfair to as well, I suppose Nick's entire musical years influenced Bryter Layter. That image of Nick Drake as too beautiful for this world (like the Van Gogh of Don McLean’s song Starry Starry Night) has proved enduring even if, as Gabrielle tells me, it misses the stubbornness and steel of her brother: “I used to find him incredibly frustrating, obstinate and difficult, but I cannot remember ever not loving him or not admiring him,” she says. Dylan's Blonde on Blonde (esp the two long epics) was the last rock album he played regularly and the two instrumentals on Beach Boys' Pet Sounds were a huge influence on how he wanted Bryter Layter to pan out. Nicholas Rodney Drake (19 June 1948 – 25 November 1974) was an English singer-songwriter and musician known for his acoustic guitar-based songs. He was quite an impediment to their lives too while he was at home, though.”, In the early 1970s, Gabrielle would visit Far Leys in between recording The Brothers at Pebble Mill studios and painfully witness her evidently tortured brother. Trevor Dann noted that while sections of "Northern Sky" sound more characteristic of Cale, the song was the closest Drake came to a release with chart potential. Island Records, following a 1975 NME article written by Nick Kent, stated they had no plans of repackaging Drake's albums, but in 1979 Rob Partridge joined Island Records as press officer and commissioned the releas… By 1972, he had recorded two more albums—Bryter Layter and Pink Moon. There were no documentaries or compilation albums in the wake of Drake's death. [97], On 20 June 1998, BBC Radio 2 broadcast a documentary, Fruit Tree: The Nick Drake Story, featuring interviews with Boyd, Wood, Gabrielle and Molly Drake, Paul Wheeler, Robert Kirby and Ashley Hutchings, and narrated by Danny Thompson. They completely missed the point. “But they never hung on to him at home. This rage must have festered beneath that inexpressive exterior for years. An interview with Nick Drake". His mother said that around dawn he left his room for the kitchen. In 1985, The Dream Academy reached the UK and US charts with "Life In A Northern Town", a song written for and dedicated to Drake. She was taking him for a birthday treat to see Topol in Fiddler on the Roof. A month later, on 24 September, he opened for Fairport Convention at the Royal Festival Hall in London, followed by appearances at folk clubs in Birmingham and Hull. [89] Referring to Drake's tendency to compartmentalise relationships, Brian Wells observed that many met each other for the first time that morning. He had gone to bed early after spending the afternoon visiting a friend. But Drake's jazzy folk-pop is admired by a lot of people who have no use for Kenny Rankin, and I prefer to leave open the possibility that he's yet another English mystic (romantic?) People didn't know him very much. It was the first 'proper'gig I attended - I have been trying to track down the date of the gig for several years now but it is missing from most official and semi-official records I have been able to access. I'm too set in my ways to hear." I saw Nick Drake perform live supporting Fairport Convention in the Spring of 1970 in my home town of Wolverhampton at the Civic Hall. He returned to his room a short while later, and took some pills "to help him sleep". Gabrielle and Nick with their parents, Molly and Rodney. Strikingly, both parents were accomplished musicians. [46] Boyd was in England at the time, and agreed to attend the recordings. By this time, his parents were receiving an increasing number of fans at the family home. [50] Cale used heroin during this period,[51] and his older friend Brian Wells suspected that Drake was also using. Drake began to smoke cannabis, and he travelled with friends to Morocco; according to travelling companion Richard Charkin, "that was where you got the best pot". [45], In the months following Pink Moon's release, Drake became increasingly asocial and distant. [101], Drake was obsessive about practising his guitar technique, and would stay up through the night writing and experimenting with alternative tunings. Reasoning that Drake may have taken a high dosage of antidepressants to recapture this sense of optimism, he said he prefers to imagine Drake "making a desperate lunge for life rather than a calculated surrender to death". “This is surely the most unexpected, strangely compelling release in years,” wrote Robin Denselow of the Guardian, reviewing it, while Joe Boyd, Nick’s producer, went so far as to claim that Molly was “the missing link in the Nick Drake story – there, in the piano chords, are the roots of Nick’s harmonies”. Disappointed by the reaction to Bryter Layter, he turned his thoughts inwards, and withdrew from family and friends. Both parents wrote music. Long, long fingers that were nearly always stained with engine oil from gadgets in the garden that he was trying to put right.” But, while Rodney wrote comic operettas (she quotes a scene from one set on a slow boat to India from memory for me), it was Molly who was the decisive musical influence on their son. Nick released just 3 albums, with a 4th released after his death containing unreleased material, demos and the 4 songs that were to be on his 4th album. New Releases ... Nick Drake Biography by Richie Unterberger + Follow Artist. [109] Rolling Stone included all three of his albums on its 2003 list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. [107] Kirby described Drake's lyrics as a "series of extremely vivid, complete observations, almost like a series of epigrammatic proverbs", though he doubts that Drake saw himself as "any sort of poet". [17], According to Drake's friend Paul Wheeler, Drake had already decided not to complete his third year at Cambridge and was excited by the contract. It was late in the summer of love, 1967: Nick had just returned from Aix-en-Provence where he had been spending a gap year between Marlborough College and Cambridge University playing and singing in bars. Nick Drake - Biography. And he was lying across the bed. [68] "There wasn't any connection whatsoever," Gilbert said. “Dad played these last four songs and it was devastating for everybody. She passed the hat for me. "[17], Drake lived a frugal existence; his only income was a £20-a-week retainer he received from Island Records (equivalent to £244 in 2019[20]). Whether his death was an accident or suicide has never been resolved. “Mostly Nick was uncommunicative and occasionally he’d become talkative and you hung on his every word even though, very often, one didn’t know what they meant because he’d talk in riddles. As well as the only place he could be.” The diaries chronicle the years of Nick’s depression at Far Leys, often uncommunicative, often disappearing without saying a word. I asked him for some time. Nick Drake died in the dark. "[65], Blackwell felt Pink Moon had the potential to bring Drake to a mainstream audience; however, his staff were disappointed by Drake's unwillingness to promote it. The album makes no concession to the theory that music should be escapist. “I never said any such thing because I don’t know! When you hear people saying, ‘I really understand Nick’, you know that what they’re doing – and this is quite right, so they should – they’re seeing their problems through Nick’s eyes. The initial session was followed by recordings in July 1974. He didn't say a word the entire evening. Born in 1948 in Rangoon, Burma, Nick Drake grew up in England and began playing the guitar at the age of 16. Nick was a man of few words. Unterberger felt that Drake's following spanned generations "in the manner of the young Romantic poets of the 19th century who died before their time ... Baby boomers who missed him the first time around found much to revisit once they discovered him, and his pensive loneliness speaks directly to contemporary alternative rockers who share his sense of morose alienation. Sometimes dead artists need to be protected from their admirers. "[49] Like its predecessor, the album featured musicians from Fairport Convention, as well as contributions from John Cale on two songs: "Northern Sky" and "Fly". "[81], On 2 December 1974, after a service in the Church of St Mary Magdalene, Tanworth-in-Arden, Drake's remains were cremated at Solihull Crematorium and his ashes interred under an oak tree in the church's graveyard. His mother was a Welsh singer/songwriter and poet of increasing renown, who had a strong influence on Nick's style. “He led them a merry dance!” says Gabrielle. "[52], By late 1974, Drake's weekly retainer from Island had ceased, and his severe depression meant he remained in contact with only a few close friends. The release compiled the three studio albums, the four tracks recorded with Wood in 1974, and an extensive biography written by the American journalist Arthur Lubow. [84], At the inquest in December, the coroner stated that the cause of death was "Acute amitriptyline poisoning—self-administered when suffering from a depressive illness", and concluded a verdict of suicide. He had the most wonderful figure – broad shoulders and a small bottom, nice waist. Drake was unhappy with the inlay sleeve, which printed songs in the wrong running order and reproduced verses omitted from the recorded versions. He toyed with the idea of a different career, and considered the army. He looked wonderful, he seemed to be 7 ft [tall]."[17]. Now Boyd has assembled some of … [31] While Kirby provided most arrangements for the album, its centrepiece "River Man", which echoed the tone of Delius, was orchestrated by the veteran composer Harry Robertson. Dann observed that Drake appears "tight and anxious" on bootleg recordings from the sessions, and notes a number of Boyd's unsuccessful attempts at instrumentation. It was before Nick became fetishised, the depressives’ pin-up, a posthumous industry. In 1963 he attained seven GCE O-Levels, fewer than his teachers had been expecting, failing "Physics with Chemistry". [99] The LA Times saw it as an example of how, following the consolidation of US radio stations, previously unknown music was finding audiences through advertising. His music brought posthumous fame and a legion of fans still keen to speculate about the details of his life and work. "River Man" is a song that comes up a lot in Drake discussions: when we spoke with Duncan Skeik, he talked about how the song gave him musical direction. "[68] Disheartened and convinced he would be unable to write again, Drake retired from music. Hutchings introduced Drake to the 25-year-old American producer Joe Boyd, owner of the production and management company Witchseason Productions. Later, that was what Rodney tried to do for Nick. It’s a sumptuous coffee-table volume comprising family photographs, musical analysis of his songs, essays by Gabrielle about her family’s history in colonial Burma, where Nick was born in 1948, and tributes from friends and kindred spirits (“When the world seemed too remote, too difficult to negotiate,” writes gardening writer and broadcaster Monty Don, “I recognised in him a spirit brave and brilliant enough to articulate in music what was an incoherent fog within me”). Nick Drake was an English singer/song writer whose talent passed almost unnoticed during his lifetime. Drake suffered from depression, particularly during the latter part of his life, a fact often reflected in his lyrics. [60] Drake appears on Pink Moon accompanied only by his own carefully recorded guitar save for a piano overdub on the title track. He failed to find a wide audience during his lifetime, but his work has gradually achieved wider notice and recognition. [4] Throughout, Drake writes with detachment, more as an observer than participant, a point of view Rolling Stone's Anthony DeCurtis described "as if he were viewing his life from a great, unbridgeable distance". That kind of thing. It doesn’t matter how much you love someone, you can’t ultimately take the responsibility for them. Although sales were poor, Island Records did not delete the albums from its catalogue. My husband was so moved he had to leave the room.”, What would Nick Drake have become had he lived on? “My father knew this and Nick said it too – that Nick found his home a prison. He once took the tapes to Birmingham to get a record made. By the turn of the 90s Drake was being cited as an influence by artists as diverse as country rocker Lucinda Williams, Robyn Hitchcock and Mark Eitzel of American Music Club. [9] In 1934, Rodney met Nick's mother, Molly Lloyd (1916–1993), the daughter of a senior member of the Indian Civil Service. [110] On 4 April 2018, he was inducted into the Folk Hall of Fame at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. [90] His mother recalled "a lot of his young friends came up here. He was doing his song 'Fruit Tree' and walked off halfway through it. [40] It received little radio play outside shows by more progressive BBC DJs such as John Peel[41] and Bob Harris. He stammered, "Oh, well, yeah. While Nick Drake’s growing depression and mental illness may have had an influence on his lyrics, his method of singing them semi-coherently is one of this album’s most endearing qualities. [35] Drake suggested his college friend Robert Kirby as a replacement. He developed an interest in sport, becoming an accomplished sprinter over 100 and 200 yards, representing the school's Open Team in 1966. [29] By this time, Drake had discovered the British and American folk music scenes, and was influenced by performers such as Bob Dylan, Donovan, Van Morrison, Josh White and Phil Ochs. "[47], Robert Christgau wrote in Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies (1981): "I'm not inclined to revere suicides. By this time, his parents were receiving an increasing number of fans at the family home. Chris de Burgh asked to join the band, but was rejected as his taste was "too poppy". But my father was a great stay and support. In 1985, The Dream Academy reached the UK and US charts with "Life in a Northern Town", a song written for and dedicated to Drake. Not just in the literal shadow of nighttime—although he did apparently pass away before dawn on November 25, 1974 from an overdose of antidepressants—but also at a moment when the reclusive British singer-songwriter could have no way of gleaning the influence he would exert on generations of guitarists and songwriters. This collection of songs (37 1/2 minutes) is being released because of Nick Drake's (ND) now well known recordings. Images related to summer figure centrally in his early work; from Bryter Layter on, his language is more autumnal, evoking a season commonly used to convey senses of loss and sorrow. He released his debut album, Five Leaves Left, in 1969. [87] Writing in 1975, NME journalist Nick Kent commented on the irony of Drake's death at a time when he had just begun to regain a sense of "personal balance". [72] He would disappear for days, sometimes arriving unannounced at friends' houses, uncommunicative and withdrawn. She then plays Molly Drake’s How Wild The Wind Blows and you can definitely hear the resemblance. He once said to me that everything started to go wrong from [this] time on, and I think that was when things started to go wrong. In Zigzag, Connor McKnight wrote: "Nick Drake is an artist who never fakes. He had the most wonderful figure – broad shoulders and a small bottom, nice waist. [39] In July, Melody Maker described Five Leaves Left as "poetic" and "interesting", though NME wrote in October that there was "not nearly enough variety to make it entertaining". That October, he enrolled at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge University[26] to study English Literature. [21], In 1966, Drake enrolled at a tutorial college in Five Ways, Birmingham, where he won a scholarship to study at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge. But he was the perfect musician for the digital era. He was wearing a beautiful tweed jacket, which had a slightly high waistband and he looked so beautiful. Rodney proposed in 1936, though they had to wait a year until she turned 21 before her family allowed them to marry. His mother later said: "I never used to disturb him at all. He failed to find a wide audience during his lifetime, but his work has gradually achieved wider notice and recognition. Pink Moon is the third and final studio album by the English musician Nick Drake, released in the UK by Island Records on 25 February 1972. [55] Island Records urged Drake to promote Bryter Layter through interviews, radio sessions and live appearances. [32] To provide backing, Boyd enlisted various contacts from the London folk rock scene, including Fairport Convention guitarist Richard Thompson and Pentangle bassist Danny Thompson (no relation). At one point he could not afford a new pair of shoes. [7] By the early 1990s, he had come to represent a certain type of "doomed romantic" musician in the UK music press and was frequently cited as an influence by artists including Kate Bush, Paul Weller, Aimee Mann, Beck, and The Black Crowes. Quoted in Dann (2006), p. 157. Then, on the 40 th anniversary of Drake’s death last November, the elegant Nick Drake: Remembered For A While was released. The following year, Dutch director Jeroen Berkvens released the documentary A Skin Too Few: The Days of Nick Drake, featuring interviews with Boyd, Gabrielle Drake, Wood and Kirby. He was prescribed antidepressants, but felt uncomfortable and embarrassed about taking them, and tried to hide the fact from his friends. [72] In contrast, Gabrielle said "I'd rather he died because he wanted to end it than it to be the result of a tragic mistake. "It was more of a pop sound, I suppose," Boyd later said. Nick Drake, who died 40 years ago, was too ethereal to compete with 1970s showmen like David Bowie and Elton John. [45] Although Five Leaves Left attracted little publicity, Boyd was keen to build on what momentum there was. We used to hide away the aspirin and pills and things like that. Nick Drake was born June 19, 1948 in Rangoon in Burma, only half a year after the country had gained independence from the UK. Drake's father, Rodney Shuttleworth Drake (1908–1988), moved to Rangoon, Burma, in the early 1930s to work as an engineer with the Bombay Burmah Trading Corporation. [104], Drake, who studied English literature at Cambridge, was drawn to the works of William Blake, William Butler Yeats, and Henry Vaughan, influences reflected in his lyrics. It’s a beautiful book, certainly, but hard to read because it includes so much hitherto private pain – not just family letters, but Rodney’s diary of his son’s struggle with depression. That’s what makes the book unbearable. That would seem to me to be terrible: for it to be a plea for help that nobody hears. We'd never met many of them. He had to skip lectures to travel by train to the sessions in Sound Techniques studio, London. “We’ve just had the gravestone removed because it’s been rather badly defaced one way and another with people chipping away at it.”, I tell Gabrielle that I once interviewed Oscar Wilde’s grandson, who was pleading with admirers not to cover his grandfather’s tomb in Père Lachaise, Paris, with lipstick kisses because it was damaging the stone. "Voci da una nuvola — Il segreto di Nick Drake e Tim Buckley", Ianieri Edizioni (in Italian). He began performing in local clubs and coffee houses around London, and in February 1968, while playing support to Country Joe and the Fish at the Roundhouse in Camden Town, made an impression on Ashley Hutchings, bass player with Fairport Convention. “I thought that it might just be of use to people going through similar problems. [80] In a 2005 interview, Ryde said that a week before he died, she had sought to end the relationship: "I couldn't cope with it. [8] His first biography appeared in 1997, followed in 1998 by the documentary film A Stranger Among Us. On 25 November 1974, Drake died from an overdose of amitriptyline, a prescribed antidepressant; he was 26 years old. And I think, in some ways, Pink Moon is probably more like Nick is than the other two records. Joe Boyd, who produced Nick Drake‘s first two studio albums, put together a series of tribute concerts celebrating the music of the late British folk singer. The Cure's name derives from a lyric from Drake's song "Time Has Told Me" ("a troubled cure for a troubled mind"). "[57], Although Island neither expected nor wanted a third album,[59] Drake approached Wood in October 1971 to begin work on what would be his final release. "I imagined it as more commercial. I was so proud to be with him.”. Neither sold more than 5,000 copies on initial release. McKnight, Connor, "In search of Nick Drake". Posted by Derk Richardson. I don't know what the audience expected, I mean, they must have known they weren't going to get sea-shanties and sing-alongs at a Nick Drake gig! "[73] Nick's supervision partner at Cambridge, John Venning, saw him on a tube train in London and felt he was seriously depressed: "There was something about him which suggested that he would have looked straight through me and not registered me at all. And I called him up, and he came back in, and we talked, and I just said, "I'd like to make a record." He produced music in the late 60s and early 70s and after that left the music world. His public profile remained low throughout the 1970s, although a letter addressed to Ryde was close. `` he was the perfect musician for the digital era poorly marketed and.. 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