Nicholas Rodney “Nick” Drake (19 June 1948 – 25 November 1974) was an English singer-songwriter and musician who was known for his sombre guitar-based songs. He failed to find a wide audience during his lifetime but his work has gradually achieved wider notice and recognition. Drake signed to Island Records when he was 20 years old and released his debut album, Five Leaves Left, in 1969. By 1972, he had recorded two more albums—Bryter Layter and Pink Moon. Neither sold more than 5,000 copies on initial release. Drake’s reluctance to perform live, or be interviewed, contributed to his lack of commercial success.
Drake suffered from depression and insomnia throughout his life and these topics were often reflected in his lyrics. On completion of his third album, 1972′s Pink Moon, he withdrew from both live performance and recording, retreating to his parents’ home in rural Warwickshire. There is no known footage of the adult Drake; he was only ever captured in still photographs and in home footage from his childhood. On 25 November 1974, Drake died from an overdose of amitriptyline, a prescribed antidepressant; he was 26 years old.
On 20 June 1998 BBC Radio 2 broadcast a documentary entitled Fruit Tree: The Nick Drake Story, featuring interviews with Joe Boyd, John Wood, Gabrielle and Molly Drake, Paul Wheeler, Robert Kirby and Ashley Hutchings, and narrated by Danny Thompson.
To tie in with the release of the compilation album Made to Love Magic, an updated version of the documentary was broadcast on 22 May 2004 on Radio 2, retitled Lost Boy: In Search of Nick Drake and featuring the same interview clips but with Thompson’s narration replaced by that of Brad Pitt, a self-confessed Nick Drake fan.
In early 1999, BBC2 aired a 40-minute documentary, A Stranger Among Us—In Search of Nick Drake. The following year, Dutch director Jeroen Berkvens released the documentary A Skin Too Few: The Days of Nick Drake, featuring interviews with Boyd, Gabrielle Drake, Wood and Kirby.
Later that year,The Guardian placed Bryter Layter at number 1 in its “Alternative top 100 albums ever” list.
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