Nick Drake, The Poet And Jazz-Folk Innovator We Weren't Ready For

By | June 17, 2021

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Nick Drake was born in 1948 in colonial Burma; his father Rodney had moved there in the 1930s to work for the Bombay Burmah Corporation, and while there, he met Molly and they married. Two years after Drake was born, the family returned to England, moving to Far Leys, their home in Tanworth-in-Arden in Warwickshire.

While attending Marlborough College, a public school in Wiltshire, he developed an interest in sports, and he also played piano in the school orchestra, additionally learning both clarinet and saxophone. Both of his parents were musicians; Rodney wrote comic operettas, while his mother, Molly, the true influence on Drake’s work, wrote songs on the piano which Rodney recorded; an album of her recordings was released in 2013.  

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Time In France

In 1964 or 1965, Drake formed a band, the Perfumed Gardeners, with four classmates, performing Pye International R&B covers and jazz standards, with the occasional song by the Yardbirds and Manfred Mann. After graduation, he spent six months at the University of Aix-Marseille, France, starting in February 1967. While there, he started to really practice playing the guitar, and he busked in the town center with friends to earn money. He also started smoking pot in Aix, and may have began using LSD there, as some of his lyrics from this time period suggest an interest in hallucinogens.