Star Is Born 24 Years after His Death; How Musician Nick Drake Became a Rave from the Grave

The Birmingham Post (England), February 1, 1999 | Go to article overview

Star Is Born 24 Years after His Death; How Musician Nick Drake Became a Rave from the Grave


Nearly a quarter of a century after his death, cult Midland musician Nick Drake is being hailed as one of the most influential singer-songwriters of the modern era.

The tragic star from Tanworth-in-Arden, Warwickshire, who died from a drugs overdose 24 years ago, aged 26, has been voted one of the top 100 greatest artists by pop and rock icons.

And in another poll surveying bands and industry experts, two of his albums were placed first and fifth in a list of the best 100 alternative albums, both beating The Beatles A Hard Day's Night, which came sixth.

Drake's Bryter Layter (1970) came top and his debut album, Five Leaves Left (1969), with songs such as Time Has Told Me, Day Is Done and Man In A Shed, was fifth.

Musicians, bands, industry figures and journalists took part in the poll and were asked to pick their top albums but were banned from selecting 100 so-called classics which have cropped up repeatedly in similar lists.

Drake's new-found popularity and critical acclaim is such that tonight the BBC will screen a documentary by young film-maker Tim Clements about the artist. The documentary includes footage and interview with his friends, now in their 50s, and his sister Gabrielle Drake, a former Crossroads actress.

Ms Drake, who lives in Much Wenlock, Shropshire, explains in Picture This how she believes her brother's death may have been a suicide.

But yesterday, Ms Drake told The Post: "There are no simple answers with Nick, he was in many ways a private person even to those of us who were close to him.

"It almost seemed as if you could never really get to know him and he became more private as his life drew to a close.

"But we were a very happy and contented family."

Ms Drake said although her brother had been disappointed by the poor sales of his records, the reasons behind his suicide were much more complex.

"He was suffering from clinical depression and was disappointed by record sales. But he carried on producing his music and it is just not possible with Nick to give simple solutions," she said.

His sister has been shocked by the level of recognition which includes several websites, that the melancholic acoustic guitar player now receives. …

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