Darker Than the Deepest Sea: The Search for Nick Drake

Darker Than the Deepest Sea: The Search for Nick Drake

by Trevor Dann
     
 

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When Nick Drake (1948-1974) died of a drug overdose at twenty-six, he left behind three modest-selling albums, including the stark Pink Moon and the lush Bryter Layter. Three decades later, he is recognized as one of the true geniuses of English acoustic music. Yet Nick Drake--whose music was as gentle and melancholy as the man himself-- has always

Overview


When Nick Drake (1948-1974) died of a drug overdose at twenty-six, he left behind three modest-selling albums, including the stark Pink Moon and the lush Bryter Layter. Three decades later, he is recognized as one of the true geniuses of English acoustic music. Yet Nick Drake--whose music was as gentle and melancholy as the man himself-- has always maintained a spectral presence in popular music. This groundbreaking biography reconstructs a vanished life while perfectly capturing the bohemian scenes surrounding the music business in London in the late '60s and early '70s. Using many newly discovered documents and all-new interviews, Trevor Dann reveals more detail on Nick Drake than ever, from his upbringing in a quintessentially English village, through his hash-fueled school days at Cambridge University, to the missed opportunities and mismanagement that defined his career. Friends and colleagues describe the difficulties that he faced as each new album was released, only to fail, and the insidious despair that consumed him. Complete with discography and rare photos, Darker Than the Deepest Sea is essential reading for anyone who has been moved by Nick Drake's unforgettable blend of beauty and sadness.

Editorial Reviews

Austin Chronicle
Dann paints as complete a portrait as possible of the man whose life and death pose the eternal question mark.
Daily Yomiuri (Japan)
Dann successfully tackles a good deal of the conundrums that peppered the life of one of rock music's great enigmas.
Infuze
If the purpose of a biography is to bring the subject to life, then Trevor Dann has definitely succeeded.
Publishers Weekly
A British acoustic-psychedelic entry into the ever-swelling hall of artists who died young, Nick Drake received little recognition during his short life. Yet more than 30 years after his death, his celebrity has never been greater and has been accompanied by reissues, documentary films and biographies one Drake tune even rated a Volkswagen commercial. Born to a wealthy family, Drake showed early interest in music; by his university years he had developed a unique guitar style and brooding songs that had little to do with the hippie noodlings of the era. Heavy drug use and commercial failure pushed the already introverted Drake deeper into isolation and despair; he died of an overdose at the age of 26. To this day, questions swirl around every aspect of Drake's life, from his musical influences and sexuality to whether or not he intentionally killed himself. Unfortunately, Dann, producer of Live Aid, brings little insight to the Drake mysteries. While he covers Drake's Cambridge years thoroughly, other aspects of the musician's life are barely mentioned; even interviews with Drake's closer friends reveal little it just might be that no one really ever got close enough to him. By contrast, the book's discography is comprehensive and informative. (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Since singer/songwriter Nick Drake's (1948-74) death by an overdose of tranquilizers, a cult has grown around him and his music, which filled a slim three albums in his lifetime. He was not a major star, but his melancholy and the directness of his lyrics still connect with a great number of fans. This biography by Dann (coauthor, Led Zeppelin: Concert File) is the second of the musician (the other was Patrick Humphries's Nick Drake: The Biography). Both books are somewhat superficial, since there is so little real documentation of Drake's life from which to draw. Thus, either would be good for newcomers seeking an overview of the rise and fall and early demise of this talented young Englishman. Neither can claim, however, to get to the heart of the mystery of Nick Drake. For more than 30 years, fans have been trying to figure out the artist, with little success. For libraries where there is great interest, both books should be purchased, as they cover somewhat different details. Perhaps the best feature of this slim volume is the closing discography, in which Dann analyzes and comments on each of Drake's songs. Bill Walker, Stockton-San Joaquin Cty. P.L., CA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Meticulous portrait of the gentle English singer/songwriter whose posthumous impact on the music world continues to gather force. For someone with only three albums to his name, very little success in his lifetime and a career cut short by a possibly accidental drug overdose at age 26, Drake may not strike the casual reader as a particularly promising subject for a second biography. Acknowledging his debt to Patrick Humphries's Nick Drake (1998), British music executive Dann manages to squeeze out enough revelations to make this volume a worthwhile companion to its predecessor. One essential component here is the involvement of producer Joe Boyd, who helped sculpt the cripplingly shy musician's albums into coherence. A key player in the story, Boyd refused to participate in Humphries's book. Dann's text carefully traces Drake's brief life, noting his wealthy upbringing in the sleepy English town of Tamworth-in-Arden, his time at Cambridge University, the all-too-brief relationships he enjoyed (most notably with folk singer Linda Thompson) and a life-changing experience in the French town of Aix-en-Provence, where he fleetingly performed for the Rolling Stones. Figures such as the doctor who treated Drake for depression, his former tutor at Cambridge and even Elton John all offer illuminating words on this precocious talent. The author's in-depth familiarity with music history (the title is a nod to John Hammond's 1992 documentary The Search for Robert Johnson) helps him convey to readers just how out-of-sync Drake was with the music scene of the late 1960s and early '70s. This comprehensive overview outstrips Humphries's effort, although fans may flinch over a passage that needlesslyspeculates about Drake's sexuality.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780306815201
Publisher:
Da Capo Press
Publication date:
09/28/2006
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author


The former head of BBC Music Entertainment and producer of Live Aid, Trevor Dann has written for The Times, Q, Mojo, and The Independent. He lives near Cambridge, United Kingdom.

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