Nick Drake wrote intensely personal but almost always allegorical songs which often carry an almost overwhelming sense of loss, loneliness, dislocation and unrequited love. They are however sung in a soft voice framed by Drake's distinctive guitar style and the delivery is honest and without self pity.
His entire recorded output is contained on the 4CD box set Fruit Tree available on Rykodisc.

Nick Drake Discography

With his gentle voice, intricate accoustic guitar, and mysterious melancholia, Nick Drake's music is guarenteed to hit into your soul and connect with a deep hurt within that was just waiting for its touch. This is one of rock's greatest might-have-beens, cut short in his prime, who, together with the likes of Jim Morrison, Buddy Holly and Janis Joplin, seems to reinforce the ancient Greek notion: those whom the gods love, die young.

Nick Drake is one of the most talented and under-appreciated musicians of the twentieth century. He lived his life almost unnoticed by the general public.

Drake was incredibly shy. He was unable to perform live because of this. His music was painfully beautiful, but the musician was almost pathologically shy. Because of this, his work went largely unnoticed during his life-time. It's ironic that he was discovered during one of his few live shows, by a member of Fairport Convention.

In 1969 Nick released his debut album "Five Leaves Left." (The title refers to a paper inserted in cigarette paper packages, indicating that only five leaves are left in the package.) The album features Nick, accompanied by bass, drum and occasionally strings, delivering such classics as "Way To Blue" and "River Man."

His second album, "Bryter Layter" (1970), is probably his most upbeat production, featuring some members of Fairport Convention. The beautiful song "Fly" features John Cale (formerly of the Velvet Underground).

Neither of these albums sold well, also because Nick was too shy to perform live. The lack of success resulted in the brooding depression that dominated Nick's final years.

Then, in 1972, Nick released "Pink Moon." In my eyes, this is the most beautiful folk album every created. The lyrics, the melodies, the sentiment are stripped of all embellishment, resulting in sheer perfection. "Pink Moon" is naked melancholy. This music is the final cry of loneliness from one of the greatest musicians of the twentieth century.

The years after 1972 were increasingly difficult for Nick. He was hospitalized for psychiatric problems. He continued to record songs, some of which are collected on the posthumous album "Time of No Reply." Nick was found on November 26, 1974, dead from an overdose of antidepressants. The album "Pink Moon," together with some of the tracks on "Time of No Reply," are the testament of a great songwriter.

Why is Nick Drake still relevant? Because his music is the perfect soundtrack to the pain in your life. It is beautiful, and it is lonely, and it is strong.

Be careful what you say about Nick Drake: certain of his more zealous fans tend to get a bit scritchy at the merest suggestion of imperfection. I guess that's the way of it with most legendary, little-understood, introspective singer-songwriters.

His name lives on stronger now than ever in his lifetime — especially after one of his songs, Northern Sky was featured on a soundtrack album of love songs from a dull but otherwise harmless television series called Heartbeat.

The real reason for the endurance of his music, and the gradual cultivation of the myth of Nick Drake, though, is that there is precious little of his material available. His recorded and released output consisted of just three albums: Five Leaves Left, referring to something Rizla cigarette paper users will be familiar with; Bryter Layter, presumably during the period of bad spelling; and Pink Moon, for which I have no explanation.

Since his death, Time of No Reply was added to the musical canon, and features his last studio recordings. And that's the sum total of it, unless you are lucky enough to have got hold of a copy of the home recordings, made at his parents' home in Tamworth-in-Arden and now occasionally available on CD, but more typically as an nth generation copy on cassette (where n is a large integer, and the quality of the recording inversely proportional to n), or were brave enough to buy Brittle Days, a tribute album, which in the true spirit of tribute albums does the original songs little justice.

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