HAD HE LIVED, NICK DRAKE would have been 70 this year, and fêted as one of our greatest songwriters. Yet, as friends and peers explore in the latest MOJO magazine (in UK shops from Tuesday, January 23), he wasn’t made for his times, or built to withstand the pressures of the music business.
In MOJO magazine’s 17-page celebration, Richard Thompson, Bridget St John, Joe Boyd, Linda Thompson, producer Joe Boyd and engineer John Wood talk about their friend’s music and explore his enigmatic personality, while MOJO writers tell the stories behind his magical songs.
“It’s fashionable now to believe Nick was gay,” Linda Thompson tells MOJO’s Andrew Male, “but I think, he couldn’t really relate to either sex. Affection from him was hard won. If he kissed you, you never forgot it. You’d wake up in the night and remember it. Every fibre of his being seemed to be sunk into his music.”
Drake died in 1974, of a tragic overdose of antidepressants, long before his records were widely known. In fact it wasn’t until the mid-’90s that recognition truly dawned, as a new generation of artists, including Paul Weller, Beth Orton and others began a posthumous booster campaign, fuelled by MOJO magazine’s first Nick Drake cover story in January 1997 and sealed when the title track of Drake’s 1971 Pink Moon album appeared in a Volkswagen VW Cabrio advert in 1999.
You can measure the scale of Drake’s influence, on MOJO’s latest FREE COVERMOUNT CD, Green Leaves, where you will find artists as diverse as Joan Shelley, Field Music, Amber Arcades, Villagers and Bill Ryder-Jones delivering champion versions of Drake’s very best songs, filtering them variously through dream-pop, Appalachian country, Child ballad, torch song and West Coast rock.
Also in MOJO 292: Mike Love gets feisty, Krist Novoselic puts Nirvana behind him, Monkee Mike Nesmith dispenses hard-won wisdom, Felt’s Lawrence fuels the enigma, and MOJO writers explain why they love rock history’s Unloved Albums. Plus: Lloyd Price, Aldous Harding, Colter Wall, unseen Sex Pistols, Neil Young’s yard sale, Eric Clapton on screen, Suggs on Ian Dury, R.I.P. Rick Hall and Johnny Hallyday. And! The madness of Toto!