Nick Drake - "Northern Sky"
The eternal Doomed Romantic ... he is cited as an inspiration by huge stars such as R.E.M.'s Peter Buck and Robert Smith of The Cure; Smith credited the origin of his band's name to a lyric from Drake's song "Time Has Told Me" ("a troubled cure for a troubled mind"). He is England's Townes Van Zandt, who had limited success in his life, but who helped to inspire and change the musical landscape for decades to come.
Drake was obsessive about practicing his guitar technique, and would often stay up through the night experimenting with tunings and working on songs. His mother remembered hearing him "bumping around at all hours. I think he wrote his nicest melodies in the early-morning hours." Self-taught, he achieved his guitar style through the use of alternative tunings to create cluster chords. These are difficult to achieve on a guitar using standard tuning; Drake used tunings which made cluster chords available using more conventional chord shapes. In many songs he accents the dissonant effect of such non-standard tunings through his vocal melodies.
Nicholas Rodney Drake was an English singer-songwriter and musician, known for his acoustic guitar-based songs. He failed to find a wide audience during his lifetime, but his work has posthumously achieved wider notice and recognition. Drake signed to Island Records when he was 20 years old, while a student at the University of Cambridge, and released his debut album, Five Leaves Left, in 1969. By 1972, he had recorded two more albums—Bryter Layter and Pink Moon. Neither sold more than 5,000 copies on initial release. His reluctance to perform live, or be interviewed, contributed to his lack of commercial success. No footage of the adult Drake has ever been released, only still photographs and home footage from his childhood.
Drake suffered from major depression, and this was often reflected in his lyrics. On 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. On 25 November 1974, at the age of 26, Drake died from an overdose of approximately 30 amitriptyline pills, a prescribed antidepressant. His cause of death was determined to be suicide.
Drake's music remained available through the mid-1970s, but the 1979 release of the retrospective album Fruit Tree allowed 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.
So today, with nostalgia and hope blown together on the breeze, I choose Nick Drake's "Northern Sky" as my, sing for those who have no voice, lift up the light for those in the dark, strike the blow for those who are defenseless, song for a, little lovebirds huddled on the branch, holding hand when you're 80, I could love you forever, Monday.