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New Biography Has Blessing And Involvement Of Nick Drake’s Estate

‘Nick Drake: The Life’ will include a foreword by the revered late singer-songwriter’s sister, actress Gabrielle Drake.

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Nick Drake 'Five Leaves Left' artwork - Courtesy: Island Records
Nick Drake 'Five Leaves Left' artwork - Courtesy: Island Records

The first biography of Nick Drake to be written with the blessing and involvement of his sister and estate will be published by John Murray on June 8. Nick Drake: The Life will include a foreword by the revered late singer-songwriter’s sister, actress Gabrielle Drake and over 75 photos, many of them rare or previously unseen.

Storied producer Joe Boyd, who oversaw Drake’s first two albums, 1969’s Five Leaves Left and 1971’s Bryter Later, says of the new work: “This is the book we’ve been waiting for – the one Nick’s legacy deserves and so badly needs. Richard Morton Jack has reconstructed Nick’s life with great sensitivity and care, and in remarkable detail. It is a biography to be treasured.”

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The publicity for the book notes: “In 1968 Nick Drake had everything to live for. The product of a loving, creative family and a privileged background, he was not only a handsome and popular Cambridge undergraduate, but also a new signing to the UK’s hippest record label, Island.

“Three years later, however – having made three well-reviewed but low-selling albums – Nick had been overwhelmed by a mysterious mental illness. He returned to live in his family home in rural Warwickshire in 1971, and died in obscurity in 1974, aged just 26.

“In the decades since, Nick has become the subject of ever-growing fascination and speculation. Combined sales of his records now stand in the millions, his songs are frequently heard on TV and in films, and he has become one of the most widely known and admired singer-songwriters of his generation.”

Nick Drake: The Life draws on extensive original research and new interviews with his family, friends and musical collaborators. It also has unique access to deeply personal archive material that has been unavailable to previous biographers, including the diaries of Drake’s father, Nick’s essays and private correspondence, to create “the most comprehensive and authoritative account possible of [his] short and enigmatic life.”

Buy or stream Five Leaves Left.

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Deirdre Mason

    May 2, 2023 at 4:52 pm

    I hope the biography includes the fact that the only known cover of a Nick Drake song in his own lifetime was Free Ride, recorded by Tir na nOg (Sonny Condell and Leo O’Kelly) for their 1973 album Strong in the Sun (Chrysalis Records; reissued under Edsel Records on CD 1991 by Demon Records Ltd.

  2. Carpster78

    May 2, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    People who think weed is a harmless drug need to see what smoking too much of it can do to a persons mental health. I suspect it really didnt help Nick and caused psychosis having seen this type of downfall in others.

  3. LYNN JOHNSON

    January 26, 2024 at 9:18 pm

    Who is ‘Nick Drake Poet’ who appears on page 434 of ‘Nick Drake Remembered For a While’ the authorised companion to the music of Nick Drake? The book was published in 2014, 40 years after the ‘death’ of Nick Drake Musician. This poem is about him being recognised as he searches through the vinyls for his old records. His search is successful: “luckily I find ‘Fruit Tree’, the deleted posthumous box set”. But he is recognised by the shop owner: “Oh man, oh man, I thought you were dead…” I know who is now, too. He should have kept a low profile (although he disappeared from view at the time of his father’s death, said he had to go to Spain) and then took on a bigger role after his mother died. Then his cover was blown, he was in the news, but I know who he was before the cover, even further back. Perhaps Richard and Linda Thompson who wrote the poem that appears on the next page knew, or suspected the truth at the time: “And the poor boy is taken away”. He was taken away into a new role (read Rodney’s diary to see who took him away on the night of his ‘death’) and he was nursed back to mental health, of a sort, and played his new role well and has been well rewarded by the state – an MBE now, no less.

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