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Darker Than The Deepest Sea: The Search for Nick Drake Paperback – 8 Feb 2007

4.2 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Piatkus; New Ed edition (8 Feb. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0749951338
  • ISBN-13: 978-0749951337
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 243,613 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

A haunting tribute to this most passionately adored of musicians (INDEPENDENT on Sunday)

Excellent (GUARDIAN)

A spirited attempt to get inside Drake's world (The Sunday TIMES)

A bold attempt to unravel the tragic secrets of an enduring, but still elusive, cult hero. Dann is a fan, but he's not blinkered and goes beyond the usual clichs of Byronesque sensitivity (MOJO)

About the Author

The former Head of Music Entertainment at the BBC and a producer of Live Aid, Trevor Dann has written for The Times, Q Magazine, Mojo and the Independent. He is a media consultant who presents a weekly show on Classic Gold. He lives near Cambridge.


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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Paperback
Cards on the table, I've really liked Nick Drake for the last 20 years or so, but that's no thanks to the efforts of his various biographers.

Trevor Dann's book is no exception; maybe it has to be accepted after all these years that there's really very little story here, but I didn't even think he made the most of what he had; way too much of what Salinger calls 'that David Copperfield crap' (which would be OK if it didn't just make Drake sound like a spoilt, moody and not particularly interesting public schoolboy), even more padding about his Dad's adventuring in Singapore and the West Midlands motor trade (interesting enough in a 'not-really' sort of way), some very tenuous drug and mental illness speculation, the usual ragbag of semi-learned digressions (how easy must they be to pull off in these Google-equipped days).

As seems obligatory when discussing Drake too, every recollection or anecdote or detail is driven home with sledgehammer weight and significance and simultaneously treated with a kind of precious reverence in the context of the Events to Follow. The title is much in keeping with that style - next to 'Heavier than Heaven', which does the same job for Kurt Cobain, it's my new favourite stinky rock-biog title.

I remain convinced there is a story there though - I would loved a great deal more digging into where that remarkable style came from, and exactly how this weightless, almost context-free individual came up with an astonishing collection of songs - unfortunately it's not here. The closest anyone has come to that is in Ian Macdonald's extended essay in '
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