25 November this year marks 40 years since the death of singer-songwriter Nick Drake, aged 26, from an overdose of antidepressants, the intentionality of which has never been ascertained. Of the three albums of alternately lush and brittle songs he left behind – 1969’s Five Leaves Left, 1970’s Bryter Layter and 1972’s Pink Moon – the latter two each sold fewer than 5,000 copies during his lifetime. Drake’s critical and commercial cachet has risen significantly since his death, and in recognition of his 40th anniversary his estate has authorised for the first time a book on Drake’s life.
Remembered for a While – encompassing contributions from family, friends and critics, as collected by Drake’s sister Gabrielle and Cally Colloman, manager of his musical estate – will be published by John Murray in November both as a hardback and as what’s being called a ‘signature boxed edition’. The former retails at £35, the latter £150, the price of which includes an edition of the book quarter-bound in cloth with an acetate cover signed by the editors, three photographs of Drake dating from 1967 and accompanied by a certificate signed by the photographer Julian Lloyd, and, most excitingly for fans, a 10″ record containing a 1969 session Drake recorded for John Peel, which was previously thought lost.
One of the session’s five songs, “Time of No Reply”, does not appear on any of Drake’s studio albums. The session also contains performances of Five Leaves Left‘s “Three Hours”, “River Man” and “‘Cello Song” and the title track from Bryter Layter. This deluxe package is only available online.
The book itself features plentiful archival material: handwritten lyrics, photos, extracts from a scrapbook, letters written by Drake and a guide to each song’s music. It is split into five sections inspired by Drake’s “Fruit Tree”: The Seed, The Flower, The Fruit, The Harvest and The Stock. For some reason it will also feature a foreword from Gardeners’ World‘s Monty Don (maybe they’re taking this “Fruit Tree” thing to heart).
He was chief hack and music editor of webzine Brazen from 2006 to 2010, and hosted Left of the Dial on Subcity Radio from 2008 to 2011.
He can be heard semi-regularly on the podcast of Scottish cultural blog Scots Whay Hae ('20th best website in Scotland!' - The List), and in 2011 founded Seen Your Video, a film and music podcast and blog based in Glasgow. He has a Masters degree in Scottish Literature from the University of Glasgow that will never have any practical application. You are on a hiding to nothing if you follow him on Twitter expecting any kind of hot publishing scoop.