The lasting legacy of Nick Drake

The legacy of Nick Drake from Tanworth-in-Arden

How Tanworth-in-Arden became world famous

Born in Myanmar (Burma) singer/songwriter Nick Drake grew up in Tanworth-In-Arden, which is just down the road from the White Swan. Many local people have perhaps never heard of him – and yet he has become one of the most influential musicians in the world.

We’re comparatively recent converts to Nick’s music, which was largely recorded between 1969 and 1972. We were alerted to him by fans who stay with us when attending The Annual Nick Drake Gathering.

The story is not a happy one, but his legacy is substantial. Nick completed just three albums – Five Leaves Left (1969), Bryter Layter (1970) and Pink Moon (1972). They received suitable critical acclaim, but didn’t sell particularly well. He was inherently shy, playing live infrequently, and interviews were awkward.

And then, tragically at the age of 26, he took his own life.

Mick Brown in an article Nick Drake: the fragile genius on The Telegraph website, observed that “The three albums which he had made in his short lifetime were all, by any strictly commercial criterion, failures.” And yet, Brown observed,

“Nick Drake has become one of the most revered singers of the 20th century, even though his records didn’t sell while he lived.”

How everything changed

The Bryter Music website – the Official website of The Estate of Nick Drake – pinpoints the moment when his music first began to come to the attention of a much wider audience. “Thirty seconds of Pink Moon used in a Volkswagen advert alerted America to the otherworldly magic of Drake’s hushed English tones.”

He has since become a major influence on some of the biggest names in music says Bryter Later.

“It’s impossible to keep count of the contemporary artists who cite Drake as an inspiration, but a cursory round-up includes R.E.M., Snow Patrol, Norah Jones, Radiohead, Brad Pitt, Sam Mendes, Paul Weller, Keane, Portishead, Belle And Sebastian, The Coral, Coldplay, Heath Ledger, David Gray, Super Furry Animals and Beth Orton.”

Find out more about Nick Drake

Tim Jonze on the Guardian website tried to select 10 of the best: Nick Drake, but found it a difficult choice stating,

“Nick Drake only recorded three albums during his short lifetime, yet choosing 10 songs that best capture his delicate magic is still a challenge”.

There are many songs that are worth checking out on Jonze’s list, including River Man and Hazey Jane II.

An excellent piece by John Robinson on the Uncut website is called Nick Drake remembered: “My first impression was that he was a genius – it was that simple”.

To mark what would have been his 70th birthday, the BBC made the announcement “Nick Drake enters folk hall of fame”, stating “During his short life, Nick Drake recorded some of the most influential music ever to come from the British folk-rock scene.”

And what better way to finish our tribute, than a video of Nick Drake’s classic River Man, courtesy of Island Record’s YouTube account.

Thank you Nick…