Nick Drake


There are myths sur­round­ing Nick Drake, a bril­liant British singer-song­writer of the late 60s and ear­ly 70s. He is said to have been a qui­et, intro­vert­ed lon­er who unfor­tu­nate­ly died far too ear­ly due to depres­sion. There is no film footage, no inter­views or diaries – only mem­o­ries from friends, acquain­tances and his fam­i­ly. He wrote around 30 won­der­ful songs in his ear­ly twen­ties, which were released on three or four albums despite the lack of com­mer­cial suc­cess at the time – thanks to pro­duc­er Joe Boyd, who nev­er stopped believ­ing in him. The qui­et, melan­choly music was a poor fit for the flower pow­er era, in which daz­zling stars such as Jimi Hen­drix and Cat Stevens attract­ed legions of fans. So Nick Drake shares the fate of artists who only achieved a cer­tain degree of fame – or rather – ven­er­a­ble atten­tion after their death.

So as a fan, like many before me and prob­a­bly after me, I was drawn to the place where Nick Drake grew up and died unex­pect­ed­ly in his par­ents’ home at the age of just 26, to Tan­worth-in-Arden near Birm­ing­ham. A small vil­lage in the mid­dle of a roman­tic, hilly land­scape. I vis­it­ed the unas­sum­ing fam­i­ly grave — the head­stone with the inscrip­tion on the back (a line from a song lyric), left a white rose there and walked past the fam­i­ly home. It was an under­tak­ing that unex­pect­ed­ly touched me deeply, but if you have stud­ied the his­to­ry of an artist in depth, you are bound to expe­ri­ence feel­ings in places whose biog­ra­phy tells of them. 

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