Nick Drake’s 10 Greatest Songs and Greatest Discs (Representative Songs and Hidden Masterpieces)

In this article, I have created a ranking of Nick Drake.

Once you understand the appeal of his music, it seems like there is no better music out there.

Many people say that it is one of the most special music in their lives.

It may just take some time to realize the appeal.

I hope that this ranking will help you realize the appeal of his music.

This blog is an automatic translation of a Japanese blog into English.

Please understand that it may be difficult to read.


No.1「Way to Blue」(Album:Five Leaves Left)


■Song Title:Way to Blue
■Album Name:Five Leaves Left
■Video link:「Way to Blue」

The arrangement for this song was done by Robert Kirby.

Originally, Richard Anthony Hewson was in charge of the string arrangement.

Originally, Richard Anthony Hewson did the string arrangements, but Nick was not happy with the work.

So one day he asked producer Joe Boyd if he could have a college friend do the string arrangements.

Joe Boyd was very confused.

At the time, Nick Drake was a young man of about 20 or 21 years old.

His friends at college were about the same age, and they would have thought he was just an amateur.

I took the plunge and adopted Nick’s opinion, and Robert Kirby’s work provided a great arrangement.

Nick Drake is a multi-instrumentalist.

Multi-instrumentalists naturally develop an interest in arranging.

I think it was Nick’s discovery of Kirby’s talent that resulted in this masterpiece.


No.2「Pink Moon」(Album:Pink Moon)


■Song Title:Pink Moon
■Album Name:Pink Moon
■Video link:「Pink Moon」

Nick Drake is said to have been influenced by his mother, Molly Drake.

Molly Drake’s songs are included in Nick’s collection of unreleased songs, Family Tree.

Here is one of Molly’s songs for you to listen to.

Molly Drake – Do You Ever Remember?

I have a similar impression to Nick.

His mother was from Burma (Myanmar) and moved to England after her marriage.

Molly taught Nick how to play the piano when he was very young.

This song is the only one on the album with piano.


No.3「Northern Sky」(Album:Bryter Layter)


■Song Title:Northern Sky
■Album Name:Bryter Layter
■Video link:「Northern Sky」

At that time, he asked his father if he could drop out of school.

He received a reply from his father.

He wrote back to his father and told him about the disadvantages of dropping out of college.

He said that if he graduated, his college degree would be a safety net for his life.

But Nick ended up dropping out of college.

At the same time, Nick had the opportunity to play live on John Peel’s radio show.

It was recorded as the only live album “The John Peel Session”.

It was at that show that he came to the realization that he was not cut out for live performance.

Live performance was the biggest promotion tool at that time, but after this, he didn’t want to do it anymore.


No.4「River Man」(Album:Five Leaves Left)


■Song Title:River Man
■Album Name:Five Leaves Left
■Video link:「River Man」

This song was arranged by Harry Robertson.

Harry Robertson is sometimes referred to as Harry Robinson.

This song has a double bass by Danny Thompson.

On “Time Has Told Me,” Richard Thompson joins on guitar.

Nick was surrounded by people who excelled in playing and arranging.

Objectively speaking, he was a man with a promise of success.

First, he had the intelligence to get into Cambridge University.

In high school, he was a promising short distance runner and captain of the rugby team.

His older sister, Gabrielle Drake, was a successful actress, and Nick was quite well endowed in appearance.

The only drawback was his overly shy personality.

He had high potential to do anything, but he had to choose a clumsy way of life.


No.5「Things Behind the Sun」(Album:Pink Moon)


■Song Title:Things Behind the Sun
■Album Name:Pink Moon
■Video link:「Things Behind the Sun」

This album is said to be his best work.

But it is the simplest album ever.

It was produced with only Nick’s own singing, guitar and piano, and was released in February 1972, according to Nick’s intention of “not needing any decoration.

ニック・ドレイク ウィキペデイア

It took two days to record this album, which was 28 minutes long in total.

At the time, the staff at Island Records seemed to have a problem with his lack of publicity.

Nevertheless, Nick appealed to one of his few friends, John Wood, to record it.

John Wood helped to produce the album as a producer.

When Chris Blackwell, the president of Island Records, heard the finished music, he felt that his music had unique potential.

Thus, the album was successfully released.

However, the reality was harsh and this album did not sell well.

It is said that the number of copies sold at that time was around 4,000 to 5,000.


No.6「Magic – Orchestrated Version 2」(Album:Made To Love Magic)


■Song Title:Magic – Orchestrated Version 2
■Album Name:Made To Love Magic
■Video link:「Magic – Orchestrated Version 2」

This album is a collection of rare tracks.

This album is a collection of rare tracks, including unreleased songs and songs with different arrangements.

This song was originally arranged by Richard Anthony Hewson, but Nick was not happy with the result.

That version is on “Time Of No Reply”.

This version, on the other hand, was done by Robert Kirby, whom Nick trusted.

There are several artists who were influenced by him, but I consider the following two albums to be the most important.

Van Morrison’s “Astral Weeks”.
Tim Buckley’s “Happy Sad”.

In addition, there was a lot of Strange Folk in England, such as Donovan and Roy Harper.

In classical music, on the other hand, he seemed to prefer impressionists such as Ravel and Debussy.

You can feel the influence of these music styles in his music.


No.7「Fly」(Album:Bryter Layter)


■Song Title:Fly
■Album Name:Bryter Layter
■Video link:「Fly」

This second album contains songs that are more rock-pop oriented.

For example, here are some of the songs.

Nick Drake – Hazey Jane II

The song “Fly” is conventional, with John Cale playing viola and harpsichord.

He may be an inhabitant of a depressing and melancholic world.

We all face serious problems in our lives.

Some people don’t want to listen to music at such times.

However, it is in such situations that his music may have its true value.

His music seems to synchronize with the deepest part of our soul and lighten our mood a little.


No.8「Rider on the Wheel」(Album:Time Of No Reply)


■Song Title:Rider on the Wheel
■Album Name:Time Of No Reply
■Video link:「Rider on the Wheel」

This album is a collection of unreleased songs, including songs not included on the original album and different versions of existing songs.

He seemed to be in a terrible state at this time.

Disheartened, Nick left London and moved back in with his parents, but around this time, the depression he had been suffering from worsened.

By the time he recorded his third album, “Pink Moon,” in 1971, he was having trouble even speaking.

ニック・ドレイク ウィキペデイア

He accepted the fact that his music career was over and returned to his parents’ home in Warwickshire.

For a while, he was looking for his next career, working in a studio and starting to study to be a programmer.

But the end came suddenly.

On November 25, 1974, in Nick’s room at home, his mother, Molly, finds him dead in bed.

The cause of death was an overdose of antidepressants. There was no suicide note, and it was not clear whether it was suicide or an accident.

The record player in the room was said to have a record of Bach’s “Brandenburg Concerto” on it[5].

ニック・ドレイク ウィキペデイア

The cause of death was an overdose of antidepressants, but the autopsy ruled it a suicide.

He was 26 years old.

This song was the last song he recorded.

Before he died, he tried to contact a woman he used to be good friends with.

It is said that she was the closest thing to a girlfriend he had in his short life.


No.9「Saturday Sun」(Album:Five Leaves Left)


■Song Title:Saturday Sun
■Album Name:Five Leaves Left
■Video link:「Saturday Sun」

Until I encountered his music, it never occurred to me that there was a world beyond good melodies and good songs.

There are plenty of other songs in the world with beautiful melodies.

Of course, I think his melodies are beautiful, but they are not beautiful in general.

His soft, husky vocals, like Colin Blunstone’s, have a narrow range and are not very expressive.

Yet, strangely enough, his music surpasses that of many other good SSW.

Listen to this song, for example.

I don’t think I can explain the appeal of this song simply by talking about the melody or the vocals.

I think this song is like a tranquilizer in which resignation and pessimism are sublimated.

His music may be similar to the analgesic substances produced by our bodies when we feel pain.


No.10「From the Morning」(Album:Pink Moon)


■Song Title:From the Morning
■Album Name:Pink Moon
■Video link:「From the Morning」

He rarely revealed his inner self, but he was always talkative when he played the guitar.

Take this song, for example.

Nick Drake – Road

Now, the last song I introduced, “From the Morning,” is a very light song.

The album name “Pink Moon” refers to the full moon in April, which looks pink.


A resident of the world of melancholy, he also seemed to like these gorgeous months.

His reputation grew some time after his death.

Today he is respected by many artists.

There are also many people like me who listen to his music as if it were a treasure.

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