Song of the Day, September 11: Pink Moon by Nick Drake
September 11, 2014 1 Comment
Today’s song unexpectedly launched a massive posthumous career. After Nick Drake recorded his stark, brilliant third album, Pink Moon, he retreated further than ever from the public eye. He died two years later, leaving behind a beautiful, fragile legacy that influenced many 80s alternative musicians but sold in the low thousands. His catalog gained some traction when the Dream Academy released their hit single Life In A Northern Town [#7, 1986], dedicated to him. A dozen years later, however, everything broke loose.
In 1999, Volkswagen boldly introduced an ad for the Cabriolet on the Internet, one of the first major ad campaigns so launched. The campaign was called “Milky Way” and the first ad featured a simple, haunting soundtrack — the title track from Drake’s final album. The mashup was flawless and demand for Drake’s work went through the roof. Since then, his albums have received nice repackagings, attained much better sales, and appeared on numerous best-of lists.
A plain guitar-and-vocal track with naturalistic imagery and a whisper-sung lyric, it’s a perfect introduction to Drake’s work, catchy and mysterious all at once. Enjoy this lovely song today.
Ten years later, producer Joe Boyd and arranger Robert Kirby — who worked on Drake’s first two albums — staged a tribute concert and tour with a number of musicians. This resulted in a solid album of Drake covers entitled Way to Blue. While Drake’s songs are very personal, they lend themselves to good covers when sensitively handled. Teddy Thompson and Krystle Warren turned in a stunning reworking of Pink Moon. Their vocals blend seamlessly and Thompson’s guitar work is wonderful. Enjoy this loving tribute as well.