Nick Drake

Nick Drake Files: One evening in early 1968, Nick Drake is one of the acts playing at The Roundhouse in London, when Ashley "Tyger" Hutchings, bass player of the folkmusic group Fairport Convention passes by. "Tyger" likes what he sees and hears, and he makes contacts with their manager and producer Joe Boyd. Boyd is also in charge of Witchseason, a progressive record company, and producer for acts like Incredible String Band and Pink Floyd. Contact is made and Nick Drake is sent home to Cambridge with the message that he as soon as possible should put together a tape for Witchseason. It's done within a couple of days. Joe Boyd: "What impressed me first of all was Nick's melodies. There was something sophisticated and modern about them and the way they were performed. While I was listening, a person came into the room and said that it sounded "just like Donovan". I've heard others say that too later. I, on the other hand, had a feeling that this was a really remarkably original singer. And from a producer's point of view, these songs seemed like a challenge; with the right arrangements they would be close to perfect. So I invited Nick to my office and we decided to make an album..."

The Estate of Nick Drake: With every passing year, it becomes a little less accurate to say that Nick Drake has a cult following. Cults, by their very nature, tend to exist on the margins, the subject of their admiration unknown or even unloved by the vast majority of people. Mention Nick Drake to a certain generation of music fan and chances are you won’t have to explain yourself. Latterly, Drake’s name has become a byword for a certain kind of acoustic music. Gentility, melancholia and a seemingly casual mastery of the fretboard – in the minds of many listeners, any combination of these traits warrants comparison to Nick Drake. As a result, Drake is perpetually referenced across the reviews sections of every music title. That quite often the records in question bear no meaningful resemblance to Drake’s music speaks volumes. His legacy may, in one sense, be huge. But there’s painfully little of it: just three complete albums – Five Leaves Left (1969), Bryter Layter (1970), Pink Moon (1972) and a final quintet of songs recorded shortly before his death. As his relevance increases, so does an insatiable communal yearning for their source to yield more. Hence the constant namechecks.

Robert Kirby on Nick Drake: Nick always had the final word, he made the decisions. The arrangements I did were again worked out with him over time and recorded live with him – he never seemed in the least displeased. It was a conscious effort on his part to be more commercial. The instrumentals were his idea and inspired by Pet Sounds and, to a certain extent, The Magic Garden. I believe this is founded on an interview with David Betteridge where he recounts that, after the album’s commercial failure, Nick did ask, “Was it the vocals, was it the lyrics, was it the orchestrations?” – he was searching for a reason and hence started the Chinese Whispers. Like any great artist, he took it apart. Nick seems to have become the patron saint of the depressed – I am in no way criticizing this fact. But the danger is that when fans take on this intensely personal relationship, they can want to be the only ones to own the experience. They sometimes want everything to be just him and guitar and do not want to believe that, particularly with Bryter Layter, he was crying out for commercial success. Apart from his last year I can assure you that he did have many crazy, happy spells..

Nick Drake Fan Club: Nick Drake was an English singer/songwriter not quite like anyone else. His career spanned over six years from the late sixties to the middle of the seventies. He released three albums during this period of time. That may not seem much, but the music is very innovative and the beauty of the songs won't leave you unaffected. Nick created his own style of guitar playing, based on several different tunings and together with his elegant finger picking techniques it resulted in beautiful harmonies that neither before nor after have been surpassed by anyone. He wrote lyrics in a mysterious, symbolic kind of way. The subjects of the songs were mostly existential but often also the classic themes of love. He was very interrested in the English language and literature, and he read much poetry. That had a great influence on him and his way of writing.

Nick Drake (Wikipedia): Nicholas Rodney Drake (June 19, 1948 – November 25, 1974) was an English singer-songwriter and musician best known for his acoustic, autumnal songs. His primary instrument was the guitar, though he was also proficient at piano, clarinet, and saxophone. Although he failed to find a wide audience during his lifetime, Drake's work has since grown steadily in stature, to the extent that he is now widely considered one of the most influential English singer-songwriters of the last 50 years. Drake signed to Island Records when he was twenty years old, and released his debut album Five Leaves Left in 1969. By 1972 he had recorded a further two albums, although none sold more than five thousand copies during their first release, and his reluctance to perform live or be interviewed contributed to his lack of commercial success. Drake battled with depression and insomnia throughout his life, and the topics were often reflected in his lyrics. Upon completion of his third album, 1972's Pink Moon, he withdrew from both live performance and recording, retreating to his parents' home in rural Warwickshire. On 25 November 1974, Nick Drake died from an overdose of antidepressants.