Songs of unheralded Nick Drake get a new airing four decades on

Wed May 1, 2013 11:03am EDT
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By Jeremy Gaunt

LONDON (Reuters) - Nearly four decades after his death, British singer-songwriter Nick Drake has never been as popular.

Tribute singers, car and cough syrup advertisements, radio and film documentaries, and word of mouth have combined over time to turn Drake from unheralded 1970s musician into modern-day music lore.

Now a new CD of Drake's songs covered by other artists and a remastered boxed vinyl of one of his few albums are set to add to the phenomenon and put his haunting, poetic music into the spotlight.

Joe Boyd, who produced Drake's records, says the musician's appeal has been a real slow burner, moving from aficionado to aficionado and even between lovers.

"People would go out together. After a few days they would play Nick Drake to their new friend, making clear 'If you don't get this, the relationship doesn't go very far'," he told Reuters.

"It is music which was out of step with its time. As years go by, people see the richness and depth of what he was doing."

Drake's heyday, such as it was, was in the late '60s and early '70s when he dropped out of Cambridge University despite a scholarship and went on to make three albums - "Five Leaves Left" (1969), "Bryter Layter" (1970) and "Pink Moon" (1972).

There was also a quintet of songs recorded shortly before his death from an overdose of antidepressants in 1974, aged 26. It is never been resolved if his death was accidental or suicide.   Continued...