martes, 20 de septiembre de 2011

Nick Drake

Nicholas Rodney "Nick" Drake (19 June 1948 – 25 November 1974) was an English singer-songwriter and musician. Best known for the sombre pieces composed on his primary instrument, the guitar, Drake was also proficient at piano, clarinet and saxophone. Although he failed to find a wide audience during his lifetime, Drake's work has gradually achieved wider notice and recognition; he now ranks among the most influential English singer-songwriters of the last 50 years.
Drake signed to Island Records when he was 20 years old and released his debut album, Five Leaves Left, in 1969. By 1972, he had recorded two more albums—Bryter Layter and Pink Moon. None of the albums sold more than 5,000 copies on their initial release. His reluctance to perform live or be interviewed further contributed to his lack of commercial success. Despite this, he was able to gather a loyal group of fans who would champion his music. One such person was his manager, Joe Boyd, who had a clause put into his own contract with Island Records that ensured Drake's records would never go out of print. Drake suffered from depression and insomnia throughout his life, and these topics were often reflected in his lyrics. Upon completion of his third album, 1972's Pink Moon, he withdrew from both live performance and recording, retreating to his parents' home in rural Warwickshire. There is no known footage of the adult Drake; he was only ever captured in still photographs and in home footage from his childhood. On 25 November 1974, Drake died from an overdose of amitriptyline, a prescribed antidepressant; he was 26 years old.

Drake's music remained available through the mid-1970s but the 1979 release of the retrospective album Fruit Tree caused his back catalogue to be reassessed. By the mid-1980s Drake was being credited as an influence by such artists as Robert Smith, David Sylvian and Peter Buck. In 1985, The Dream Academy reached the UK and US charts with "Life in a Northern Town", a song written for and dedicated to Drake. By the early 1990s, he had come to represent a certain type of 'doomed romantic' musician in the UK music press, and was frequently cited by artists including Kate Bush, Paul Weller and The Black Crowes.[8] His first biography appeared in 1997, was followed in 1998 by the documentary film A Stranger Among Us. In 2000, Volkswagen featured the title track from Pink Moon in a television advertisement, and within a month Drake had sold more records than he had in the previous 30 years.
Nicholas Rodney Drake was born on 19 June 1948, into an upper middle-class English family living in Rangoon, Burma. His father, Rodney (1908–1988), had moved there in the early 1930s to work as an engineer with the Bombay Burmah Trading Corporation. In 1934, Rodney met the daughter of a senior member of the Indian Civil Service, Mary Lloyd (1916–1993), known to her family as Molly. Rodney proposed in 1936, though the couple had to wait a year until Molly turned 21 before her family allowed them to marry. In 1950, they returned to Warwickshire to live in the country estate of Far Leys, near Tanworth-in-Arden in west Warwickshire, just south of Solihull. Drake had one older sister, Gabrielle, later a successful film and TV actress. Both parents were musically inclined, and they each wrote pieces of music. In particular, recordings of Molly's songs which have come to light following her death are remarkably similar in tone and outlook to the later work of her son. Mother and son shared a similar fragile vocal delivery, and both Gabrielle and biographer Trevor Dann have noted a parallel sense of foreboding and fatalism in their music. Encouraged by his mother, Drake learned to play piano at an early age, and began to compose his own songs, which he would record on a reel-to-reel tape recorder she kept in the family drawing room.

In 1957, Drake enrolled at Eagle House School, an English preparatory boarding school in Berkshire. Five years later, he went on to public school at Marlborough College in Wiltshire, where his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather had all attended. He developed an interest in sport, becoming an accomplished sprinter (his record for the 100-yard dash still stands) and captain of the school's rugby team for a time. He was also Head of House in C1, the College's largest house. School friends recall Drake at this time as having been confident and "quietly authoritative", while often aloof in his manner. His father Rodney remembered, "In one of his reports [the headmaster] said that none of us seemed to know him very well. All the way through with Nick. People didn't know him very much.
Drake played piano in the school orchestra, and learned clarinet and saxophone. He formed a band, The Perfumed Gardeners, with four schoolmates in 1964 or 1965. With Drake on piano and occasional alto sax and vocals, the group performed Pye covers and jazz standards, as well as Yardbirds and Manfred Mann numbers. The line-up briefly included Chris de Burgh, but he was soon ejected as his taste was seen as "too poppy" by the other members. Drake's academic performance began to deteriorate, and while he had accelerated a year in Eagle House, at Marlborough he began to neglect his studies in favour of music. He attained seven GCE O-Levels in 1963, but this was fewer than his teachers had been expecting, and he failed "Physics with Chemistry". In 1965, Drake paid £13 for his first acoustic guitar, and was soon experimenting with open tuning and finger-picking techniques.
In 1966, Drake won a scholarship to study English literature at Fitzwilliam College, University of Cambridge. He delayed attendance to spend six months at the University of Aix-Marseille, France, beginning in February 1967. While in Aix, he began to practice guitar in earnest, and to earn money would often busk with friends in the town centre. Drake began to smoke cannabis, and that spring he travelled with friends to Morocco, because, according to travelling companion Richard Charkin, "that was where you got the best pot". Drake most likely began using LSD while in Aix, and lyrics written during this period — in particular for the song "Clothes of Sand" — are suggestive of an interest in hallucinogens.
By autumn 1974, Drake's weekly retainer from Island had ceased, and his illness meant he remained in contact with only a few close friends. He had tried to stay in touch with Sophia Ryde, whom he had first met in London in 1968. Ryde has been described by Drake's biographers as "the nearest thing" to a girlfriend in his life, but she now prefers the description 'best (girl) friend'. In a 2005 interview, Ryde revealed that a week before he died, she had sought to end the relationship: "I couldn’t cope with it. I asked him for some time. And I never saw him again." Similar to the relationship Drake had earlier shared with fellow folk musician Linda Thompson, Drake's relationship with Ryde was never consummated.

At some time during the night of 24/25 November 1974, Nick Drake died at home in Far Leys from an overdose of amitriptyline, a type of antidepressant. He had gone to bed early the night before, after spending the afternoon visiting a friend. His mother claimed that, around dawn, he left his room for the kitchen. His family was used to hearing him do this many times before but, during this instance, he did not make a sound. They presumed that he was eating a bowl of cereal. He returned to his room a short while later, and took some pills "to help him sleep". Drake was accustomed to keeping his own hours; he frequently had difficulty sleeping, and would often stay up through the night playing and listening to music, then sleeping late into the following morning. Recalling the events of that night, his mother later stated: "I never used to disturb him at all. But it was about 12 o’clock, and I went in, because really it seemed it was time he got up. And he was lying across the bed. The first thing I saw was his long, long legs. There was no suicide note, although a letter addressed to Ryde was found close to his bed.
At the inquest that December, Drake's coroner stated that the cause of death was as a result of "Acute amitriptyline poisoning — self-administered when suffering from a depressive illness", and concluded a verdict of suicide. Though this has been disputed by some members of his family, there is a general view that accidental or not, Drake had by then given up on life. Rodney described his son's death as unexpected and extraordinary; however, in a 1979 interview he admitted to "always [being] worried about Nick being so depressed. We used to hide away the aspirin and pills and things like that." Boyd has stated that he prefers to believe the overdose was accidental. He recalled that Drake's parents had described his mood in the preceding weeks as having been very positive, and that he had planned to move back to London to restart his music career. Boyd believes that this levity was followed by a "crash back into despair". Reasoning that Drake may have taken a high dosage of his antidepressants in order to recapture this sense of optimism, he said he prefers to imagine Drake "making a desperate lunge for life rather than a calculated surrender to death". Writing in 1975, NME journalist Nick Kent comments on the irony of Drake's death at a time when he had just begun to regain a sense of "personal balance". In contrast, Gabrielle Drake has said she prefers to think Drake committed suicide, "in the sense that I'd rather he died because he wanted to end it than it to be the result of a tragic mistake. That would seem to me to be terrible..."

On 2 December 1974, after a service in the Church of St Mary Magdalene, Tanworth-in-Arden, Drake's remains were cremated at the Solihull Crematorium and his ashes later interred under an oak tree in the adjoining graveyard of St Mary's. The funeral was attended by around 50 mourners, including friends from Marlborough, Aix, Cambridge, London, Witchseason, and Tanworth. Referring to Drake's tendency to compartmentalise relationships, Brian Wells later observed that many met each other for the first time that morning. Molly recalled "a lot of his young friends came up here. We'd never met many of them."

Nicholas Rodney Drake (19 de junio de 1948 - 25 de noviembre de 1974), más conocido como Nick Drake, fue un cantautor y músico inglés, nacido en Birmania, conocido por sus canciones acústicas y otoñales. A pesar de que tuvo poco éxito comercial durante su vida, su trabajo es muy apreciado en la actualidad por los críticos y por otros músicos.
El instrumento principal de Drake era la guitarra, pero también sabía tocar el piano, el clarinete y el saxofón. Drake firmó un contrato con Island Records cuando tenía 20 años, y durante 1969 editó su primer álbum, Five Leaves Left. Antes de su muerte, Drake editó otros dos LPs, aunque inicialmente ninguno vendió una cantidad significativa de copias, en parte debido a que Drake rehusaba realizar presentaciones en vivo y ser entrevistado.1 Drake luchó contra la depresión y el insomnio durante su vida, lo cual se reflejó en sus letras. Tras completar su tercer álbum, Pink Moon (editado en 1972), dejó de tocar y grabar y se fue a vivir a casa de sus padres en Warwickshire.
Drake creció en la pequeña ciudad inglesa de Tanworth-in-Arden, cercana a Birmingham. Fue a la escuela pública de Marlborough, y después a la universidad de Cambridge, donde inició sus estudios de Literatura Inglesa. Nueve meses antes de terminarlos, abandonó los estudios para lanzarse a su carrera musical. Murió el 25 de noviembre de 1974 a los 26 años, como resultado de una sobredosis de antidepresivos, que tomaba para poder dormir. Se ha especulado ampliamente sobre si su muerte fue accidental o suicidio.

Lo cierto es que Nick pasó los últimos años de su vida sumido en una honda depresión, llegando a ser hospitalizado.
Si bien Drake no recibió reconocimiento durante su vida por su obra, en la actualidad es considerado un artista de culto,3 y ha influido a artistas como Badly Drawn Boy, Robert Smith (de The Cure), Peter Buck (de R.E.M.), Kate Bush, Paul Weller y The Black Crowes.3 4 5 En 1985 The Dream Academy llegó a las listas británicas y estadounidenses con "Life in a Northern Town", una canción sobre Drake y dedicada a él.6 La primera biografía sobre su vida fue escrita en 1997 y al año siguiente se editó un documental llamado A Stranger Amongst Us. En el año 2000 Volkswagen usó su canción "Pink Moon" en una publicidad televisiva, y en un mes se vendieron más álbumes de Nick Drake que en los treinta años anteriores.
Nicholas Rodney Drake nació el 19 de junio de 1948 en Rangún, Birmania, donde residía su familia por motivos laborales de su padre Rodney (1908–1988), quien se había ido a vivir allí a principios de los años 30 para trabajar como ingeniero en la Bombay Burmah Trading Corporation. En 1934, Rodney conoció a Mary Lloyd (1916–1993), llamada Molly por su familia. Rodney le propuso casamiento en 1936, aunque la pareja debió esperar un año hasta que Molly cumpliera 21 años para que la familia le permitiera casarse.8 En 1950 regresaron a Warwickshire, Inglaterra, para vivir en el condado de Far Leys.9 Drake tenía una hermana mayor, Gabrielle, que posteriormente se convertiría en una exitosa artista de cine y televisión. Sus dos padres tenían un interés por la música y ambos compusieron piezas. Las grabaciones de Molly que salieron a la luz tras su muerte son consideradas similares en tono y perspectiva a las composiciones de su hijo: ambos tenían una frágil forma de cantar, y tanto Gabrielle como el biógrafo Trevor Dann notaron que en su música había un paralelismo en cuanto a que generaban una sensación de premonición y fatalismo. Animado por Molly, Drake aprendió a tocar piano a una temprana edad, y comenzó a componer sus propias canciones, las cuales grababa en cintas magnéticas.
En 1957 Drake ingresó en la Eagle House School, un internado de Berkshire. Cinco años más tarde ingresó a una escuela privada de Wiltshire llamada Marlborough College, a la que habían concurrido su padre, su abuelo y su bisabuelo. Allí desarrolló un interés por los deportes, llegando a ser por un tiempo el capitán del equipo de rugby de la escuela y logrando un record de 100 yardas de carreras de atletismo que aún sigue sin ser batido. Sus amigos de ese período consideran que si bien era frío en su comportamiento, era seguro de sí mismo y "discretamente autoritario". Según su padre, uno de los reportes del director de la escuela afirmaba que "nadie parecía conocerlo muy bien", y que eso era algo común.
Drake tocaba el piano en la orquesta de la escuela, y aprendió a tocar el clarinete y el saxofón. Entre 1964 y 1965 formó una banda llamada The Perfumed Gardeners junto a otros cuatro amigos del colego. Él tocaba principalmente el piano, aunque en ocasiones aportaba su voz y tocaba el saxofón. El grupo tocaba covers de jazz y de artistas de Pye Records, al igual que canciones de The Yardbirds y Manfred Mann. La alineación del grupo incluyó brevemente a Chris de Burgh, quien debió dejar el grupo al poco tiempo debido a que el resto de los integrantes consideraban sus gustos como "demasiado pop".

Mientras tanto, el rendimiento académico de Drake comenzó a deteriorarse, y mientras que había adelantado un año en el Eagle House, en Marlborough dejó de ocuparse de sus estudios para dedicarse más a la música.16 En 1965 Drake pagó £13 por su primera guitarra acústica, y pronto comenzó a experimentar con diversas técnicas de afinación.
En el otoño de 1974 Drake dejó de recibir dinero de Island, y seguía alejado de sus amigos debido a los problemas que le causaba la depresión. En esta época intentó mantenerse en contacto con Sophia Ryde, a quien había conocido en Londres durante 1968.61 Ryde ha sido descrita por los biografos de Drake como lo "más cercano" a una novia que tuvo Drake, aunque ella prefiere ser considerada su mejor amiga.62 En una entrevista del año 2005, Ryde reveló que una semana antes de la muerte de Drake, ella había intentado cortar la relación: "No pude sobrellevarlo. Le pedí algo de tiempo. Y nunca lo volví a ver". Al igual que con la relación que Drake tuvo previamente con otra artista de folk, Linda Thompson, su relación con Ryde nunca se consumó. En octubre de 1974 Drake viajó a Francia para contactar a la cantante y actriz Françoise Hardy, quien en una ocasión consideró la posibilidad de grabar un álbum con sus canciones.
En las primeras horas del 25 de noviembre de 1974, Nick Drake falleció en la casa de sus padres en Far Leys por una sobredosis de amitriptilina, un tipo de antidepresivo. La noche anterior había ido a dormir temprano, tras pasar la tarde de visita con un amigo. Cerca del amanecer dejó su habitación para ir a la cocina. Su familia estaba acostumbrada a oírle hacer eso, pues solía hacerlo con frecuencia, pero en esta ocasión no emitió ningún sonido. Pensaron que estaba tomándose un tazón de cereales. Poco después volvió a su habitación y tomó algunas pastillas "para ayudarle a dormir". Drake solía sufrir insomnio y frecuentemente se quedaba despierto toda la noche tocando y escuchando música, antes de dormir hasta la mañana siguiente. Recordando los eventos de esa noche, su madre posteriormente afirmó: "No solía molestarlo en absoluto. Pero eran las doce en punto, y entré, porque realmente parecía que era la hora de que se levantara." Así fue como lo encontró muerto. No había ninguna nota de suicidio, aunque cerca de su cama se encontró una carta para Ryde.
En la investigación que tuvo lugar durante el mes siguiente, el juez de instrucción afirmó que la causa de la muerte fue un envenenamiento agudo causado por su antidepresivo, y concluyó que había sido un suicidio. Sin embargo, algunos integrantes de la familia de Drake discrepan. Rodney describió la muerte de su hijo como inesperada y extraordinaria; sin embargo, en una entrevista de 1979 admitió que siempre estaba preocupado por su hijo debido a su depresión: "Solíamos esconder aspirinas y pastillas y esas cosas." Boyd ha afirmado que prefiere pensar que la sobredosis fue accidental, y ha mencionado que según sus padres su estado de ánimo en las semanas previas era muy positivo, y que había planeado mudarse nuevamente a Londres para recomenzar su carrera musical. Boyd piensa que este período de ligereza pudo haber sido acompañado posteriormente por una nueva "caída en la desesperación", y que es posible que Drake haya tomado una alta dosis de sus antidepresivos intentando recuperar esa sensación de optimismo. Por eso prefiere imaginar a Drake "haciendo una arremetida por la vida en lugar de una rendición calculada a la muerte". En 1975 el periodista de NME Nick Kent comentó la ironía de que Drake haya muerto en un momento en que comenzaba a retomar un sentido de "balance personal". Por su parte, Gabrielle Drake ha afirmado que prefiere pensar que Drake se suicidó, "en el sentido de que prefiero que haya muerto porque quería a que haya sido el resultado de un error trágico. Eso me parecería terrible..."

El 2 de diciembre de 1974, tras una ceremonia en la Iglesia de Santa María Magdalena de Tanworth-in-Arden, Drake fue incinerado en el Crematorio de Solihull y sus cenizas fueron enterradas posteriormente bajo un roble en el cementerio contiguo a esa iglesia.68 Aproximadamente 50 personas concurrieron al funeral, incluyendo amigos de Marlborough, Aix, Cambridge, Londres, Witchseason y Tanworth. En referencia a la tendencia de Drake a mantener a sus conocidos separados entre sí, Brian Wells comentó posteriormente que muchos se conocieron por primera vez esa mañana. Según Molly "muchos de sus jóvenes amigos vinieron. A muchos de ellos no los conocíamos."

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