Saturday, April 17, 2010

Leading Off The PLAYLIST- Nick Drake


On a whim last night I started playing the music of a long dead singer- songwriter from the 1970's, of whom the majority may have never heard, and for all practical logic could not be considered a success during his brief lifetime.

But Nick Drake has become a sort touchstone artist and influence for following generations of performers; among those who cite Drake's work as an inspiration are Peter Buck, Robert Smith, Kate Bush, and The Black Crowes.

And listening to the three pieces leading off this blog's PLAYLIST, I can hear a bit of John Mayer as well.

Nick Drake ( 6/19/48- 11/25/74) was only 26 when he died of an overdose of a prescription antidepressant; he recorded only three albums, none of which was a commercial success; Five Leaves Left (1969), Bryter Layter (1970), and Pink Moon (1972). Yet with the passage of time Drake is considered one of the most influential British musical artists of the last 50 years.

Until fairly recently I knew little of Nick Drake; I was aware that he did work with members of one of my favorite groups, Fairport Convention and opened for them in some concerts, and that Richard Thompson played on some of Drake's compositions. Additionally Joe Boyd, Fairport's producer, also worked with and produced Drake.

Drake was a shy, withdrawn, introspective man who granted few interviews and didn't like to perform live. And you could say that his was a short and sad life. But you could conclude that Drake's brief career transcended time, and perhaps he has gained a kind of immortality through his music and his personal story. And now with this wonderful tool called the internet, Nick Drake's music can touch and be explored by new audiences for generations to come.

After the three Nick Drake songs leading off the PLAYLIST, Dream Academy's "Life In A Northern Town" follows; in its initial release the band dedicated the song to Nick Drake.

For more information visit www.nickdrake.com.

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