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Darker Than the Deepest Sea: The Search for Nick Drake [Hardcover]

Trevor Dann
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

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Book Description

2 Feb 2006
When Nick Drake (1948-1974) died of a drug overdose at twenty-six, he left behind three modest-selling albums, including the stark Pink Moon and the lush Bryter Layter. Three decades later, he is recognized as one of the true geniuses of English acoustic music. Yet Nick Drake--whose music was as gentle and melancholy as the man himself-- has always maintained a spectral presence in popular music. This groundbreaking biography reconstructs a vanished life while perfectly capturing the bohemian scenes surrounding the music business in London in the late '60s and early '70s. Using many newly discovered documents and all-new interviews, Trevor Dann reveals more detail on Nick Drake than ever, from his upbringing in a quintessentially English village, through his hash-fueled school days at Cambridge University, to the missed opportunities and mismanagement that defined his career. Friends and colleagues describe the difficulties that he faced as each new album was released, only to fail, and the insidious despair that consumed him. Complete with discography and rare photos, Darker Than the Deepest Sea is essential reading for anyone who has been moved by Nick Drake's unforgettable blend of beauty and sadness.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Portrait (2 Feb 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0749950951
  • ISBN-13: 978-0749950958
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 14.6 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 811,273 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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A bold attempt to unravel the tragic secrets of an enduring, but still elusive, cult hero. -- MOJO

The result of wide travels, prolific interviews and an enthusiasm for the subject which never overboils into frothing fanmania. Excellent. -- The Guardian

This is a haunting tribute to this most passionately adored of musicians. -- The Independent on Sunday

[A] spirited attempt to get inside Drake’s world. -- The Sunday Times

About the Author

The former head of BBC Music Entertainment and producer of Live Aid, Trevor Dann has written for The Times, Q, Mojo, and The Independent. He lives near Cambridge, United Kingdom. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
NICK DRAKE wrote his own epitaph: no one knows the fruit tree, he sang, except the rain and air, but everyone will stand and stare when it's gone. Read the first page
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One Half of the Balance 1 May 2006
This book is as relevant and as interesting to read as the Patrick Humphries version and if both are read, the two together will probably provide the closest interpretation there will ever be on the life and recorded works of the enigmatic Drake. Dann does take a different slant to Humphries it wouldn't be worth the effort if it wasn't - perhaps it's a more clinical interpretation, warts and all. Dann (in much the same way that Humphries did) traces Drakes life and recording history based on interviews (and reference to other written records) with contempories of Drake but it's best remembered that the recall of individuals can change a lot over 30 years (for better or worse). Dann's view that Drake had a schizophrenic form illness that may or may not have been a substance abuse psychosis is interesting based on what a modern day psychiatric diagnosis of the symptoms would conclude - but again the truth can never be known, lots of questions are left unanswered and are perhaps unaswerable. A biography of this type can never be totally accurate - but it's still worth reading!
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The (Continuing) Search for Nick Drake 6 Mar 2006
By Nigel
For fans and others who have read Patrick Humphries's biography (Nick Drake, Bloomsbury, 1977) Trevor Dann's book may come as something of a disappointment. Although an enjoyable read, to the casual reader it adds little to Humphries's work. What it does have that Humphries's lacks, is permission (I assume) to quote lines from Drake's songs, which makes interpretation of the songwriter's increasingly fragile mental state a much easier task. Dann's book also suggests that Drake's drug use was far greater than is suggested in the Humphries book and as a result the reason for Drake's rapid spiral into despair appears much more clear cut. In a sense, although this "another late-60s/early 70s artist destroyed by drugs" theory may well be the case, for me it detracted from my mental image of Drake the tortured, sensitive and possibly spoilt artist who, like others before him, was simply destined never to find a comfortable fit with society nor to be accepted by it during his lifetime.
The book contains a useful discography, extensive references and mini-reviews of all Drake's songs, which I enjoyed.
Darker than the Deeper Sea does move the story on in that it attempts to explain the rise in popularity of Drake's music in the 1990s and into this century; what it fails to capture, in my humble opinion, is the bleak, frightening intensity of Drake's implosion in the way that Humphries captured it. But that may simply be because I read the latter's book first.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A triumph, the sort Mr. Drake deserves 31 July 2007
This is a wonderful book. I bought it when it was released and have read it again recently and loved it more than the first time round. It succeeds where Pat Humpheries' biog failed (albeit ever so slightly); it has some levity and doesn't draw more than it has to on the concept of 'poor boy' and 'misunderstood poet'; he openly discusses whether Nick's personality had faults and flaws, something that has been over looked as he has become something of a legend. Not than Mr. Dann is having a pop at Nick Drake, but just attempting to paint a more balanced and level picture of this much loved artist. A cautious purchase and you will not be disappointed, especially if you are familiar with the Nick Drake story. For converts and the converted alike...
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
This second biography of the musician Nick Drake (1948-1974) uncovers new turf by conducting the first interview with Sophia Ryde (to whom, it is revealed, Drake wrote a letter left by his bedside when he died) and drawing upon a 2004 Belgian radio interview with Drake's sister and friends. Trevor Dann went up to Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, four years after Drake and thus has the advantage of being able to draw upon his near-contemporary recollections.

Dann's narration of Drake's childhood and early adult experiences is evenly paced and open-minded. With both of Drake's parents having died, Dann speculates openly on the atmosphere at home in Tanworth-in-Arden, concluding that "childhood in a posh family in a quiet, isolated village could indeed be a torment". Nick is painted as an aloof, somewhat supercilious figure, "the apple of his mother's eye", who was tall, articulate, academically unmotivated and, as he got older, near-schizophrenic as a result of excessive cannabis consumption. Stories of sex are conspicuous by their absence: Nick seemed to "float above the carnal world of student sex", Dann states. Both Linda Thompson and Robin Frederick deny that their relationships with him were consummated. Rumours that Drake's bulging jeans on the front cover of his first album betray an erection brought on by the male photographer are humorously handled by Dann, who states that this might rather be "...well, bollocks".

His handling of Drake's three albums - Five Leaves Left (1970), Bryter Layter (1970) and Pink Moon (1972) - is hampered by scant analysis of his lyrics, and is rather too influenced by Joe Boyd's and Robert Kirby's recollections. He does suggest that the proliferation of the word "ride" in later songs (e.g.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Nick Drake
I was unsure about this biography but I loved it very interesting and well written and full of information. Very easy to read and loved photos of grave at tanworth in Arden
Published 3 months ago by Michael Freeman
5.0 out of 5 stars a vulnerable, wandering soul
An absorbing read that put flesh on the bones of my own recollections of the man. Although i knew him for less than a year, and then for 'fleeting moments' when we would pass in a... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Ed Gilchrist
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not good enough
Whilst i love Nick Drake's music, i didn't know much about him. I'm not sure i know much more now. Some of the author's thoughts and ideas were not supported by anything... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Mr George Easterbrook
2.0 out of 5 stars Memory of Nick
As a "part time friend" of Nick's -many years ago - i was more saddened than happy with this perception. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Embo
4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth the read
Darker than the Deepest Sea is absolutely required reading for all lovers of Nick Drake's music. Dann paints a well-documented and insightful picture of a life tragically cut... Read more
Published on 7 Oct 2011 by Kasper N
5.0 out of 5 stars Darker Than the Deepest Sea
More books about the enigmatic Nick Drake are to be welcomed and the fact that there are now several good biographies available allows the reader to cross-reference and come to... Read more
Published on 23 Jun 2011 by Ric
5.0 out of 5 stars Nick Drake Biography
Excellent - basically a re-hash of Patrick Humphries earlier biog but with different photographs and up-to-date information about recent releases and You Tube offerings.
Published on 23 May 2011 by vintagecentral!
2.0 out of 5 stars Class Hatred is a venomous thing...
The main thing that put me off this book was the constant references to how much money they had, how big the house is and how he didn't take advantage of all the advantages that he... Read more
Published on 5 Jan 2011 by Jesamine
4.0 out of 5 stars Nick Drake
It's a well written biography - and interesting on the history of the late 1960s pop scene - but Nick Drake's own story is just unremittingly depressing and futile...
Published on 2 Jan 2011 by C. E. Bowyer
4.0 out of 5 stars Well written and thoughtful...
This is perhaps the best written of the books I have read about Nick Drake. It is sensitive and sympathetic but without losing objectivity. Read more
Published on 25 Dec 2010 by marcoscu
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