Nick Drake Songs Ranked

Nicholas Rodney Drake (19 June 1948 – 25 November 1974) was an English singer-songwriter and musician known for his acoustic guitar-based songs. He failed to find a wide audience during his lifetime, but his work has gradually achieved wider notice and recognition. Drake signed to Island Records when he was 20 years old and a student at the University of Cambridge. He released his debut album, Five Leaves Left, in 1969. By 1972, he had recorded two more albums—Bryter Layter and Pink Moon. Neither sold more than 5,000 copies on initial release. His reluctance to perform live, or be interviewed, contributed to his lack of commercial success. There is no known video footage of the adult Drake; he was only ever captured in still photographs and in home footage from his childhood. Here are all of Nick Drake’s songs ranked.

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18. Hazey Jane II (Bryter Layter, 1971)

“Hazey Jane II and I are both are prime examples of this. “If songs were lines in a conversation, the situation would be fine”. The songs really let you into Drake’s mind. His problems with depression seep into this record and permeate through all of it. You can hear his ups, his downs and his in betweens. These nuances of feeling just make it a more interesting listen.”

17. Hazey Jane I (Bryter Layter, 1971)

“Hazey Jane I”, the tom rolls both contrasting and complementing the tragic strings, as bass and acoustic guitar weave intricate embroideries.”

16. Blossom (Family Tree, 2007)

“An intimate and moving look at the formative years of drake at home,university and on holiday working on his songs,playing the songs he loves and enjoying musical gatherings with his family. It’s clear the drakes were a talented bunch and nicks mother in particular does a fine turn herself.”

See more: Nick Drake Albums Ranked

15. Clothes of Sand (Time of No Reply, 1986)

“I had never heard Clothes of Sand and it is also a lost Nick Drake classic that was going to go on the 4th album. Drake died before it was completed.”

14. Place to Be (Pink Moon, 1972)

“People talking about Nick Drake having been depressed and suicidal and what-not, like they know it all. Like it matters. This man made such sweet music, just listen to the lyrics, listen to the songs. If you can’t love him for that, search your heart!”

13. Time of No Reply (Time of No Reply, 1987)

“Posthumous doodlings, some of it brilliant and some of it samey. The alternative takes of previous cuts are nothing particularly special.”

12. Road (Bandslam, 1972)

“Powerful yet delicate guitar playing, notes tumbling out all about. A voice so soft and calm it seems to come from your bedroom closet (in a not scary way, like during summertime or something).”

11. Things Behind the Sun (Pink Moon, 1972)

“Totally haunting and beautiful melody. Folk music is nothing more than a simple melody, a sweet voice, and involving lyrics that need to be carried by a strong personality; Nick Drake, sadly, was never a strong personality.”

10. Cello Song (Five Leaves Left, 1969)

“Beautiful. Honestly surprised to see this song only at no.10, but I guess the man made a lot of great music. I think Road, River Man, Black Dog, Things Behind the Sun, Time Has Told Me and Northern Sky are my favourites although I’ve always preferred Nicks more acoustic stuff.”

9. Which Will (Pink Moon, 1972)

“What can I say. Terrific song. And the bare bones production is just perfect. The Lucinda Williams version is pretty darned good as well.”

8. Black Eyed Dog (Fruit Tree, 1979)

“A great misunderstood genius until his death, now the right recognition to its beautiful, touching music and poetry. Rest in peace Nick.”

7. Fly (Bryter Layter, 1971)

“Fly”, a John Cale assisted track, is different in the way that it invokes a distinctly English sound which should be a reflection of Nick’s own musical lineage.”

6. Three Hours (Five Leaves Left, 1969)

“This proves to be a double-edged sword, and passages like the stunning acoustic/bass interplay on “Three hours” don’t quite compensate for the treacly strings that clog up a number of potentially great songs.”

See more: Bill Withers Albums Ranked

5. River Man (Five Leaves Left, 1969)

“Another arranger, Harry Robinson, is responsible for the mysterious and cinematic strings on “River Man” and the way the album is produced (by Joe Boyd), with the voice often mixed at equal level with the strings; also contributes to the magic of the sound;”

4. Time Has Told Me (Five Leaves Left, 1969)

“Drake has a sweet fingerpick guitar style that I jus’ dig. On most of the album it’s jus’ himself on vocals and acoustic guitar, occasionally accompanied by Danny Thompson on bass. Guitarist David Thompson adds a little electric guitar twang on “Time Has Told Me”.

3. Northern Sky (Bryter Layter, 1971)

“hile the integrity behind the change in sound isn’t that inspiring, the execution is.  Who would have known that John Cale of all people who bring the crowning moment of the album when he plays the piano solo in “Northern Sky”

2. Day is Done (Five Leaves Left, 1969)

“Drake plays it into his strengths on some tracks, drowning out his voice in the mix to create a depressive atmosphere despite the warm instrumentals, but on others it just gets in the way.”

1. Pink Moon (Pink Moon, 1972)

“It is a complete self-portrait, a life statement, and whatever your heart tells you it is.  Nick Drake didn’t have any answers for any questions, but he painted every infallible essence of himself on Pink Moon.”