Rodney Drake (June 19, 1948 – November 25, 1974) was an English singer-songwriter and musician best known for his acoustic, autumnal songs. His primary instrument was the guitar, though he was also proficient at piano, clarinet, and saxophone. Although he failed to find a wide audience during his lifetime, Drake's work has grown steadily in stature, to the extent that he now ranks among the most influential English singer-songwriters of the last 50 years.
Drake signed to Island Records when he was twenty years old, and released his debut album Five Leaves Left in 1969. By 1972 he had recorded a further two albums, although none sold more than five thousand copies in their initial releases, while his reluctance to perform live or be interviewed further contributed to his lack of commercial success. Drake battled with depression and insomnia throughout his life, and the topics were often reflected in his lyrics. Upon 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, Drake died from an overdose of the prescribed antidepressant, Amitriptyline.
There was residual interest in Drake's music through the mid-1970s, but it was not until the 1979 release of the retrospective album Fruit Tree that his back catalogue came to be reassessed. By the mid-1980s, Drake was being credited as an influence by such artists as Robert Smith 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. By the early 1990s, he had come to represent a certain type of 'doomed romantic' musician in the UK music press, and was frequently cited by artists including Kate Bush, Paul Weller, and The Black Crowes. Drake's first biography was written in 1997, and was followed in 1998 by the documentary film A Stranger Amongst Us. In 2000, Volkswagen featured the title track from Pink Moon in a television advertisement, and within one month Drake had sold more records than he had in the previous thirty years. More recently one of Drake's songs, Things Behind The Sun, was covered on the album The Bedlam in Goliath by The Mars Volta as a bonus track.
Nick Drake – Time of No reply (Rare Tracks)