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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Tribute to Nicholas Rodney Drake


Ever since the first time I heard "Pink Moon" as the background music for a Volkswagen commercial, I've always been curious about the person behind the music. In fact, after some delayed, yet much needed research, I discovered a person who I can describe as being "afflicted" with a serious case of life. Obviously, the people who knew him personally may disagree, but just reading accounts of his life about how he was reclusive, or how he never really liked the camera, so much so that there is no video footage of him, I felt like I could put together a mental image of the kind of person he was.

Once an athlete and somewhat involved in most school activities, Nick Drake became a bit of a social non-volunteer after he first experimented with drugs. Then, after learning to play the guitar and getting to be rather good at it, he signed his first record deal in his early twenties. Three albums of what I could call his own kind of music, some call it "acoustic, autumnal music", was all he managed to get through producing before he died of an overdose of prescribed medication, at the ripe old age of 26.

Listening to some of his lyrics, I can't help but feel the pain that he talks about when it comes to his everyday life. I think that there are many millions of us who suffer in silence, not because we don't wish to reach out and grab a helping hand, but because we're so sure that we will not get the answer we're looking for. And that seems to have been the plight of this man. So sad, because his music is really quite good. In fact, in true Van Gogh fashion, he say his sales skyrocket almost three decades after his death.

The lyrics that I've come to love are from the song 'Things Behind The Sun', and they go:

"Please beware of them that stare, they only smile to see you while your time away. Once you've seen what they have been to win their hearts just won't seem worth your night or your day."

You're probably thinking that like most music, I'm going through a bit of a "phase" which is what's helping me identify with there lyrics so much. But, this isn't entirely the case. In fact, my current situation has only made me realize the truth behind these words.

This, however, is but a sample of Nick Drake's music. I encourage you to check out the rest of his songs and let me know what you think. I think you'll find that he's a delightfully complex musician with simply wonderful music. Sorry, I couldn't help that last bit of bias from slipping out.
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