Sunday, June 6, 2010

#41 The Troubled Prince of Folk, Nick Drake

Nick Drake was a troubled, yet extraordinary person whose rare talent was almost ignored in his brief lifetime. Since his suicide 30 years ago, the legend of Nick Drake has grown and in the years since his passing his work has become more well known then he could have even dreamed of while he was alive. Today, his ghost haunts the music that has spread around the globe leaving him still singing to us from beyond the ether with his songs of sorrow and loneliness and the beauty contained in his voice and guitar playing grow more powerful and touching with each passing year.

Drake signed to British record company Island Records when he was 20 years old and through them he released his debut album, the now infamous 'Five Leaves Left'. By 1972, he had created another two more albums that delved even deeper into his mind and soul. First, with the fantastic 'Bryter Layter' and then with 'Pink Moon' which is what I would consider his best work. 'Pink Moon' is so haunting and simple in its splendor that it causes a lot of people to find it unaccessible but I find it to be his most personal work. It was recorded at midnight in 2 two-hour sessions, over two days in October 1971, featuring only Nick Drake's vocals and guitar, as well as some piano that Nick later overdubbed.

None of the albums sold more than 5,000 copies on their initial release. His reluctance to perform live or be interviewed further contributed to his lack of commercial success. Despite this, he was able to gather a loyal group of fans who would champion his music. One such person was his manager, Joe Boyd, who had a clause put into his own contract with Island Records that ensured Drake's records would never go out of print. Drake suffered from depression and insomnia throughout his life, and these topics were often reflected in his lyrics. Upon completion of 'Pink Moon', he withdrew from both live performance and recording, retreating to his parents' home in rural Warwickshire. On 25 November 1974, Drake died from an apparent suicide from an overdose of antidepressants, he was 26 years old. He has been gone from this world for over thirty years now but today in 2010, his legend and musical works continue to be listened to around the world.

Here are some Nick Drake tracks for you to check out!

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