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Nick Drake: The Life

Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9781529308082

Price: £30

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‘This is the book we’ve been waiting for . . . It is a biography to be treasured’ Joe Boyd

‘The Drake completist could ask for nothing else’ Daily Telegraph

‘Illuminating. The definitive word on Drake’ Observer

In 1968 Nick Drake had everything to live for. The product of a loving, creative family and a privileged background, he was not only a handsome and popular Cambridge undergraduate, but also a new signing to the UK’s hippest record label, Island.

Three years later, however – having made three well-reviewed but low-selling albums – Nick had been overwhelmed by a mysterious mental illness. He returned to live in his family home in rural Warwickshire in 1971, and died in obscurity in 1974, aged just 26.

In the decades since, Nick has become the subject of ever-growing fascination and speculation. Combined sales of his records now stand in the millions, his songs are frequently heard on TV and in films, and he has become one of the most widely known and admired singer-songwriters of his generation.

Nick Drake: The Life is the only biography of Nick to be written with the blessing and involvement of his sister and Estate. Drawing on copious original research and new interviews with his family, friends and musical collaborators, as well as deeply personal archive material unavailable to previous writers – including his father’s diaries, his essays and private correspondence – this is the most comprehensive and authoritative account possible of Nick’s short and enigmatic life.

Includes a foreword by Gabrielle Drake and over 75 photos, many rare or previously unseen.

What's Inside

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Reviews

This is the book we've been waiting for - the one Nick's legacy deserves and so badly needs. Richard Morton Jack has reconstructed Nick's life with great sensitivity and care, and in remarkable detail. It is a biography to be treasured
Joe Boyd
The definitive account. Faultless in its detail. The Drake completist could ask for nothing else
Mick Brown, Daily Telegraph ****
Illuminating. The definitive word on Drake
Kitty Empire, Observer
Morton Jack's book honours its title: it is The Life, not just a death, a rich depiction of Drake's world and the way he moved through it . . . this book might be as close as anyone's going to get to finding him
Sunday Times
Drake's flickering presence in 1970s folk-rock, recognised as a maestro by peers but not the public, is told with sensitivity and skill
Financial Times
This phenomenally detailed biography reveals how much those who knew Drake loved, admired and puzzled over him
Oldie
Through the careful accretion of granular details a fully formed human being emerges from the myth. Particularly welcome are the vignettes that show Drake at his most un-wraith-like . . . These very human moments shine like starlight
Irish Independent
Morton Jack resists the temptation to romanticise Drake's life
Uncut
Morton Jack's book is the first of its kind to be written in tandem with Drake's family and seeks to bring an equal measure of light and shade to an English musical figurehead who has become uniquely mythologised . . . Morton Jack's book is founded on "minutiae", bringing its subject into unparalleled focus
i News
Famously, no film of Drake exists, but through its granular detail . . . this book feels as close as you might come to seeing him in motion again
The Times
Richard Morton Jack's Nick Drake: The Life is a model of its kind - a biography that clears up dozens of mysteries and permits the reader to contemplate something larger: the lasting wonder and power of Drake's songs. Nick Drake: The Life is the book we have needed
Wall Street Journal
Nick Drake's story seems made for myth
**** Record Collector
Reading this immensely detailed and thoroughly engaging biography is something of a mixed joy for a fan like me . . . I knew the story of course. But it's told here in such a stark and unflinching manner that it's a bit like being hooked by a dark, sad and tortuous thriller
Nation Cymru
Nick Drake: The Life sets out to finally provide a detailed account of his life as the first biography of Drake to have the blessing and involvement from his sister and estate. Jack draws on extensive research material, including new interviews with friends, family, and collaborators, as well as previously unseen essays, private correspondence, and his father's diaries
Bristol 24/7
[Nick Drake's] story has been told before but the detail and research evident here must qualify as the definitive last word
Hot Press best books of 2023
Written with the blessing and involvement of his Estate and his sister Gabrielle (who wrote a foreword) Richard Morton Jack gives a private insight, courtesy of personal documents like letters, journals, and diaries
Barry Egan, Sunday Independent music memoirs of 2023
The detail and research evident here must qualify as the definitive last word.
Hot Press
The most factual and detailed picture of the singer's twenty-six years on earth we are ever likely to read, debunking many of the myths
Guardian
The most complete and authoritative study of Nick Drake's life and work to date, an outstanding document of an extraordinary artist
Irish Times
Morton Jack has done a tremendous job
Sun
The account worthy of a musical messiah
The Spectator