Nick Drake: The Biography *

Mine was the first-ever biography of the singer-songwriter who died in 1974. Nick’s name kept coming up when I was writing my Fairport book and the authorised Richard Thompson biography, Strange Affair (Virgin, 1996). There was also a family connection: my Uncle Wallace was the Drakes’ family doctor in Burma. So little was known of Nick when I began, that my pitch to Sidgwick & Jackson was bounced back in a letter saying they had “no plans to commission a biography of Nick Cave”! It is one of the books I am proudest of, firstly because it was researched and written pre-internet, so required good, old-fashioned first-hand research. Secondly, I do believe it was the book which rescued Nick from oblivion. His was a unique and inimitable talent; I was inundated with CDs and tapes following publication of “the new Nick Drake”. But there was only ever one. He was not the dark, doomed figure legend had it; I believe that for the bulk of his life, he was certainly content, if not happy. It was only when the shadows took over that the darkness descended. It is a testament to the music he made on those three LPs that my book remains in print 25 years after publication, and nearly half a century after his death.