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Nick Drake

A singular talent who passed almost unnoticed during his brief lifetime, Nick Drake produced several albums of chilling, somber beauty. With hindsight, these have come to be recognized as peak achievements of both the British folk-rock scene and the entire rock singer/songwriter genre. Sometimes compared to Van Morrison, Drake in fact resembled Donovan much more in his breathy vocals, strong melodies, and the acoustic-based orchestral sweep of his arrangements. His was a much darker vision than Donovan's, however, with disturbing themes of melancholy, failed romance, mortality, and depression lurking just beneath, or even well above, the surface. Ironically, Drake has achieved a far greater stature in the decades following his death, with an avid cult following that grows by the year.

Part of Drake's failure to attract a mass audience was attributable to his almost pathological reluctance to perform live. It was at a live show in Cambridge, however, that a member of Fairport Convention saw Drake perform, and recommended the singer to producer Joe Boyd. Boyd, already a linchpin of the British folk-rock scene as the producer for Fairport and the Incredible String Band, asked Drake for a tape, and was impressed enough to give the 20-year-old a contract in 1968.

Drake's debut, Five Leaves Left (1969), was the first in a series of three equally impressive, and quite disparate, albums. With understated folk-rock backing (Pentangle bassist Danny Thompson plays bass on most of the cuts), Drake created a vaguely mysterious, haunting atmosphere, occasionally embellished by tasteful Baroque strings. His economic, even pithy, lyrics hinted at melancholy, yet any thoughts of despair were alleviated by the gorgeous, uplifting melodies and Drake's calm, measured vocals. Bryter Later (1970) was perhaps his most upbeat effort, featuring support from members of Fairport Convention, and traces of jazz in the arrangements. On some cuts, the singer/songwriter, remarkably, dispensed with lyrics altogether, offering only gorgeous, orchestrated instrumental miniatures that stood well on their own.

Neither album sold well, and Drake, already a brooding loner, plunged into serious depression that often found him unable to make music, work, or even walk and talk. He managed to produce one final full-length work, Pink Moon (1972), a desolate solo acoustic album that ranks as one of the most naked and bleak statements in all of rock. He did record a few more songs before his death, but no more albums were completed, although the final sessions (along with some other fine unreleased material) surfaced on the posthumous compilation Time of No Reply.

Drake's final couple of years were marked by increasing psychiatric difficulties, which found him hospitalized at one point for several weeks. He had rarely played live during his days as a recording artist, and at one point declared his intention never to record again, although he wished to continue to write songs for others. (It's been reported that French chanteuse Françoise Hardy recorded some of Drake's songs, but she hasn't released any.) On November 25, 1974, he died in his parents' home from an overdose of antidepressant medication; suicide has been speculated, although some of his family and friends dispute this.

In the manner of the young Romantic poets of the 19th century who died before their time, Drake is revered by many listeners today, with a following that spans generations. 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. ~ Richie Unterberger, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

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Spells and smells of magic.. Enchanted with a broken heart
Always and forever longing for you
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B
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garrickconne c t i o n
How could Nick Drake sneak under my radar? Truly a great artist!
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Really???!!! ~ ~ ~ ~
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captaindvorn i k
His mother
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Who sang with Drake in "All my trials"????? Anybody know out there?!?!?
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I could listen to 3 hours all day... He was a genius....
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Better late than never.....
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How could I get to my 50's without ever hearing this most amazing talent before? For a great tribute to Nick, see www DOT stitcher DOT com/podcast/ 9 9 - i n v i s i b l e / e / 1 4 1 - t h r e e - r e c o r d s - f r o m - s u n d o w n - 3 6 0 3 1 1 6 7
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Amazing~~~~~ ~ ~ ~
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To the person that mentioned Molly Drake.. Beautiful! His mom and Nick were born in Burma. I need to read more, I bought the book Pink Moon and will start reading it tonight. I'm so intrigued with him and now his family. Thank you Rack city scouser!
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Pink Moon was playing on Pandora while I was driving. I took a photo to learn what song and musician, I came across that photo months later. I was first in disbelief of the dates of the recorded songs I was finding, late 60s and early 70s. Still thinking it was the wrong musician I found out it was him. Then reading more about him, his life was short lived and many years ago, 16 June 1948-
25 November 1974, he was 26 years old when he took his life. I always thought he was much older because
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Pepe Hernandez, Love it! Bless.
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zenshinestud i o
a bridge supported by pain and loneliness.. . .
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I rediscovered Nick Drake in my late 50's. His music is timeless and not bound by a generation.. . . b u t spans them and builds a bridge.


.
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We are all prisoners within our own bodies and minds, yet not the soul. Little by little drop all that binds you, become freer - lighten your load, soul, so that it can forever soar. That is why angels have wings, they are so light, unattached, unbound, that they fly! The importance now is the destination, soar while you can, the journey is the destination.
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In reference to the person who commented on being stuck in the 60s I much rather be stuck in the 60s in so many ways then in the 2000's!! Just listen and maybe you'll understand why.
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I'd read somewhere that Nick Drake tuned his guitar to give it a unique sound -- slack string, slack key -- something like that -- loosening the strings more than the norm.
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Three Hours: good song
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"I saw it written and I heard it said / pink moon is on it's way....pink pink pink, pink moon." Nick Drake reminds me of Elliot Smith. Sort of single note, but does it well, and the fact that they can make it sound original each time is perhaps less of an indictment of their monotony than a testament to their skill. After all, painters and sculptors spend entire careers probing a single subject or form or color.
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Sarah who!! :-)
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irvd2x
Ignore Sarah below me.

This guitar accompanimen t to Nick Drakes Black eyed Dog is so inventive and effective in its contribution to the song that it surpasses in its simplicity the endless guitar god competitions going on between his contemporari e s . . good as they were.Drake was the real deal.
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Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed by your lover on the nearest Friday. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. Now that you are reading this don't stop. Post this on 5 songs in 143 minutes then press F6 and ur lovers name will apear in big letters. This is so scary that it works
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slofolksmusi c
A poet with a beautiful voice...so genuine...so sad...
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His song River Man was the closing song in the movie A Perfect Man. It was also beautiful. Check it out. Too bad gone too soon-damned depression! Poor fellow.
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Interesting artist...hav e to listen to more of his work
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In my old age, I am still so emotionally attached to the music from this era- Pentangle, Sandy Denny. His voice is so beautiful. I find the same gorgeous quality in many Hawaiian musicians, though usually not so somber.
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irvd2x
I first heard Nick Drake when I heard Nick Drake's music while in England in 1971-72.It was His first album and he was immediately my favorite guitarist.I picked up the guitar many years and taught myself and one day a friend remarked"You know..your guitar finger style sounds like Nick Drake.!"..ch e c k me out at SoundClick.c o m / G a r y Irving..only three tracks.liste n to "Prodigal".. I t was the highest compliment.I live Three Hours, River Man, and Black eyed Dog as my all around favorites!
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Better than Dillon and before his time. An artist would clean up copying drake in today's market
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English Bob Dylan... every bit as good
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Check out nick drakes mum...Molly drake...good gravy is that beautiful writing
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I get so lost in his music~~~~~~
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Five Leaves Left was the first that I heard maybe in the mid 80's. Nick was not a household name. After you read about the guy you hear how many great song writers were inspired by his skills. I remember there was a box set released during this time period of the 198??. I have been unable to find it on LP or CD. I heard Brad Pitt was interested in writing a screenplay on Nick's life. I hope the project comes to fruition one day. It is a story that needs to be told to be told.
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Enduring the passing of time. We are all still here... listening, learning, loving his sound. He was dearly special.
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I love your music, your singing & guitar playing penetrates deep into one's soul. You left us way too soon..
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I hope you are with your black eyed dog in heaven.
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Simply - The Best. ( With his friend John M that is)
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R.I.P Nick Drake. You had a voice that could melt
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Pg. 5 (Everlasting Apologies for the length!)

...And Blessings to U, and Me, and Us All!

(a la Tiny Tim, lol. Yes: Griot Dickens had an Old Soul, too: and Griot Drake would have been well-versed in THAT Talk-Story.)

NAMASTE <3

Ms. Musette, RN, BSN, BA
Mother, Amateur Historian, Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Blue Belt, and Burmese-Amer i c a n Queen-In-Tra i n i n g ;)
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Pg. 4 (Unending Apologies for the length!)
...or a tale my own Magic Brain conjured, it flags Nick Drake as a messenger/Gu a r d i a n Angel For Me as I forge my own Path... as well as whatever Tools, Tinctures, and Totems I may choose to use along My Way.

Thanks for the message in a bottle, Nick! I am (and We All are) so very Blessed & Grateful U felt moved so to do. We feel your deep Suffering, and virtually/ps y c h i c a l l y reach out Loving, Healing arms to embrace your Beautiful, Old Soul.

And Bless
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Pg. 3 (Continued Apologies for the length!)

... Perhaps my affinity for this work is rooted in my own origins as a Daughter of Colonial Imperialism. Did I correctly recall that he experienced a key part of his early childhood in Burma (Myanmar); my father's beleaguered Home; and the Golden Land where my mother (a 1950s American Girl Scout-turned - M e t h o d i s t missionary/m u s i c teacher) found & fell in love with this Anglo-Indo-B u r m e s e Doktor/Piani s t ? Whether this is actually true, or a tale my own M
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Pg. 2 (With Apologies for the length!)

Mr. Nick forged a singularly gorgeous & heart-wrench i n g path towards making his own Peace with our fractured & fractious modern times-- something we fundamentall y connected Earthlings ALL do. I have a hunch that's why his opus continues to resonate so powerfully today. His deep, Old Soul struck an equally deep & Old chord that awakens our shared primal need, cries, and drumbeats for Wholeness, Connectednes s , and Justice-- in a word: Love.

Perhaps my affi
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I feel such a connection to this beautiful Music, and its Person/Soul- A u t h o r .

He had a Magic Brain (aka "mental illness"), like so many of us do in Our Age; which is to say; Post-Imperia l i s m & Colonialism, Post-Industr i a l Revolution, Post-World Wars I and II & the Cold War, and our own Post-Modern Times; and as is particularly obvious within the margins of Western society (perhaps everywhere), as well as within the Arts/other creative circles all over this beautiful Planet of ours.

Mr. Nick
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Its so sad that he never got the recognition he deserved.
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brazildj
Nicely written bio. Beautiful in fact.
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Such a special talent, yet tortured soul. His music is truly timeless indeed!
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riverman172
Goin to see the riverman.
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Nick Drake, Tim Hardin, Tim Buckley, Jeff Buckley... all tortured albeit very talented,sou l s . For those of us who knew of and appreciated them in their short lifetimes, we carry and sing their musical mosaics in our hearts & voices. For those who learned of and came to appreciate them posthumously , please know you are blessed. No matter, Share the Melodious Glory of their talents.
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rickbriggs44
Nick Drake was an under - rated, under - noticed and under - appreciated genius.
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jamesmoses46
love him!!! r.i.p.
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