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Music Of The Solitary Man – Nick Drake

Music Of The Solitary Man – Nick Drake

An English songwriter of the 70's, Nick Drake wasn't popular in the field of music but his minimalistic style of music, which consisted of acoustic based songs, appealed to a section of audiences who truly loved his style.


A tall man - black corduroy jacket and pants, white shirt - hung around him, Nick possessed the personality of an artist, lost in his own world of music. It was during the late 60's when Cambridge was beginning to simmer with a certain enthusiasm, since bands like Pink Floyd had set the ball rolling, their appearance highlighting the era when cultural events would be frequently staged at Cambridge Free Festival, which certainly provided a great exposure to a music enthusiast like Nick.

Nick had won the scholarship in English Literature but, he hardly attended lectures, because he preferred to devote his time to music which included guitar playing and songwriting. Drake began his musical journey professionally in 1968, recording debut album "Five Leaves Left". He would skip lectures, travel to the capital city of London by train to perform in musical sessions in Sound Technique studio. However, the initial recording didn't go too well. Irregular music session, clashes between the artist and the producer, after several months of struggle led to the release of the album, which according to the sources was marketed poorly.  Though, the inclusion of the opening track ‘Time Has Told Me’ was well received by the audience.

Post this; Drake took to performances in folk clubs in Hull and Birmingham.

In October 197, Drake began working on his final release - Pink Moon. The album consisted of bleak songs, featuring eleven tracks which last for only 28 minutes. In defense to Drake’s music, the review in the Zigzag magazine, read:

Nick Drake is an artist who never fakes. The album makes no concession to the theory that music should be escapist. It's simply one musician's view of life at the time, and you can't ask for more than that.

The album wasn’t widely received and the lack of popularity made Drake more withdrawn from the circle of mainstream music. During his final years, he became isolated and distant from those close to him. The days were full of struggle where his source of income would be £20-a-week, as a retainer he received from Island Records. According to his partner John Venning, when he last met him in London, he was clinically depressed.

“There was something about him which suggested that he would have looked straight through me and not registered me at all. So I turned around”

Nick bid goodbye to the world in November 1974 from an overdose of an antidepressant pill. He is one of those artists who received posthumous popularity. He has been cited as an influence by musicians such as R.E.M.'s Peter Buck and Robert Smith of The Cure.