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Nick Drake

Music history is full of fallen heroes, from Jimi Hendrix to Kurt Cobain, who burned brightly and went out in a blaze of notoriety. But Nick Drake's death in 1975 went largely unnoticed. His recording career only stretched to three albums, none of which were hits. He appeared live a handful of times. His death, from an overdose of anti-depressants at the age of 26, was hardly the stuff of rock legend.

Since then, however, interest in Drake's small body of work has grown, year by year, developing into one of music's most enduring cult followings. He's regularly cited as an influence on artists as diverse as REM, Belle and Sebastian, Ryan Adams and Paul Weller. His albums are hailed as classics and Island Records are poised to release yet another compilation, including a never before released track. There have been television and radio documentaries, an acclaimed biography and numerous tribute albums.

At the core of it all, though, remains the shadowy figure of Nick Drake himself. Drake was the child of upper middle class parents, educated at Malborough and Cambridge, dropping out of the latter to pursue a musical career under the guidance of producer Joe Boyd. Although his albums were critically well received, they sold poorly. Radio at the time was ill suited to Drake's beguiling combination of visionary lyrics, complex guitar parts and lush, sweeping string arrangements. The disappointment this caused may well have contributed to the crippling depression which gradually swamped Drake in the last years of his life.

This documentary looks to explore Drake's life through the words of those who knew him - collaborators such as producer Joe Boyd and arranger Robert Kirby, his family (including his sister, actress Gabrielle Drake) and his friends.

Throughout it all, Drake's music remains at the centre, from the mystical sweep of River Man to the anguished howl of Black Eyed Dog, the ethereal Cello Song to the delicate Northern Sky, which the NME once called the 'greatest love song of the last 25 years.'

It traces the journey from public schoolrooms to the depths of the London counter culture, from glittering promise to a mental breakdown from which Drake ultimately failed to emerge, leaving only his music to carry his reputation on to a whole new generation of admirers. If you don't know Nick Drake's music, be prepared to fall in love. If you do, then this documentary will offer a fascinating glimpse behind the music of this most enigmatic of performers.

Mick Fitzsimmons


Nick Drake Biography
Nick's life story and discography, including sound clips from his albums.

Nick Drake on BBC4
Information about BBC 4's Nick Drake documentary, A Skin Too Few.
The Nick Drake Files
One of the first and most comprehensive sources of information about Nick, though it is only sporadically updated these days.

Not, as you might think, an official site, but contains plenty of info, including a useful section for musicians.
  Nick Drake Home
  About the Programme
  Essential Albums
  Nick Drake Influences
  Further Info
  Fan Comments
  R2 Music Home

Made to Love Magic
Read a review of the new album at the BBC's Music website.

Brad Pitt
Why did Brad decide to present the show? Find out here.

Bryter Layter
The full story behind Nick Drake's classic second album from The Critical List.

Information on BBC Four's Nick Drake documentary.


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