Today marks the 40th anniversary of the death of Nick Drake, the Warwickshire singer-songwriter who failed to find fame in his lifetime but whose songs have inspired subsequent generations of performers all over the world.
Drake, from Tanworth-in-Arden, died following an overdose of an anti-depressant drug on November 25 1974 after releasing three albums which did not enjoy commercial success at the time.
However, in the years that followed, his music began to receive widespread acclaim, leading him to be hailed has a major influence on a generation of British singer songwriters.
Now a book is being published to mark the anniversary of his death by his sister Gabrielle and Cally Callomon, the manager of the singer’s estate.
Drake was born on June 18, 1948, in Burma, where his father Rodney worked as a diplomat. The family returned to Britain when he was a child and settled in Tanworth-in-Arden.
He was a pupil at Marlborough School, where he learned to play the clarinet and saxophone and subsequently developed an interest in the guitar and folk and rock music.
While studying English literature at Fitzwilliam College, Drake was performing his songs in clubs and recording home demos.
A performance at London’s Roundhouse club in 1968 so impressed Fairport Convention bass player Ashley Hutchings that he arranged an audition with the band’s producer Joe Boyd.
Describing the audition Mr Boyd later said: “From the first few bars, I knew this was something special.
“Nick was very shy and soft-spoken but his music was very individual and unlike anything else.
“He had total command of the guitar, using unusual tunings he invented for himself.”
The singer’s first album Five Leaves Left was released in 1969 - a fusion of acoustic folk with blues and bossa nova jazz influences.
Drake’s second album Bryter Layter in 1970 was recorded while he was living in London. It featured contributions from John Cale as well as members of Fairport Convention. A more commercial offering it failed to sell in large numbers and Drake became depressed and physically ill, moving back to his parents’ house in Tanworth-in-Arden.
He continued to write and record songs leading up to the release of his third album Pink Moon in 1972.
Again commercial success did not match the critical acclaim it received and in the wake of its release Drake became more depressed and reclusive. He suffered a breakdown and was hospitalised for a short time.
Supported by his family and friends, and prescribed the antidepressant tryptizol, he recovered and by 1973 was ready to record again.
At the time of his death Drake was perceived as having a new focus by the people around him but on the night of November 24, while writing songs, he took too many tryptizol pills.
Drake was buried in the graveyard at St Mary Magdalene’s church in Tanworth-in-Arden and his grave continues to be a place of pilgrimage for fans.
His spirit also lives on in the Lunar Festival, a music festival which takes place each summer on the Umberslade Estate in Tanworth-in-Arden.
The anniversary of Drake’s death also sees the release of a new book by two of the people who were closest to him, his sister Gabrielle and Cally Callomon, the manager of the singer’s estate.
Remembered For A While features contributions from Drake’s friends, critics, fans, family - and from the singer himself.
A spokesman for publisher John Murray said: “Remembered For A While is not a biography. It is, rather, an attempt to cast a few shards of light on Nick Drake the poet, the musician, the singer, the friend, son and brother, who was also more than all of these.”