4. Nick Drake, Five Leaves Left (1968)
The talented Nick Drake’s first album, Five Leaves Left, represents the start of what was a short-lived but very musically rich career that would be characterized by melancholy lyrics, listless guitar melodies, longing for connection with others, expressions of isolation and alienation, and recursions into fantasy scenarios and worlds. The song featured here, “Fruit Tree,” deals with Drake’s failure to achieve fame as a singer/ songwriter, although one would expect that Drake would have had a really hard time dealing with fame. By the end of his life, Drake – so distant and alienated – ended up moving back to his parents place. From his Wikipedia entry:
Referring to [the time just before his death], John Martyn (who in 1973 wrote the title song of his album Solid Air for and about Drake) described him as the most withdrawn person he’d ever met. He would borrow his mother’s car and drive for hours without purpose on occasion, until he ran out of petrol and had to ring his parents to ask to be collected. Friends have recalled the extent to which his appearance had changed. During particularly bleak periods of his illness, he refused to wash his hair or cut his nails. Early in 1972, Drake suffered a nervous breakdown, and was hospitalized for five weeks.
In 1974, Drake died at home via an antidepressant overdose. He was 26 years old.