Friday, October 26, 2007

It's a Pink Moon


One of the benefits of working at a media company is that there’s a lot of, well, media lying around.

For example, in the mailroom I recently found a discarded paperback book - a booklet, really - called “Pink Moon,” by Amanda Petrusich. It’s the story of singer/songwriter Nick Drake and his “Pink Moon” album, recorded in 1972, just a few years before Drake died from an overdose of prescription meds.

The book’s premise can basically be summarized as: “Isn’t this a great album?” It’s hard to argue with that. But it also offers an interesting history of Drake’s career, punctuated by recollections from semi-famous pop culture figures about when they first discovered him.

My Nick Drake discovery story goes like this: It was 1994, and I was wrapping up my two years in the Peace Corps. I was in Ouarzazate, Morocco, visiting an acquaintance, and we were sitting on her roof one night listening to music and talking. She played songs by two singers I’d never heard before: Nina Simone and Nick Drake.

They both blew me away. When I came back to the states several months later, I bought a Nick Drake compilation album almost immediately. I eventually traded up to CDs of his three original releases: “Five Leaves Left,” “Bryter Layter” and “Pink Moon,” the last album he completed before he died.

I don’t think of his music as gloomy, though there are certainly gloomy themes in the lyrics, and his life came to a gloomy conclusion. In fact, the music can be comforting and warm, even peppy at times. He was a masterful guitarist with a soft, mesmerizing voice, and “Bryter Layter,” in particular, comes with some snappy horn arrangements.

Have you heard Nick Drake? At the very least, if you’ve seen this - probably my favorite car commercial of all time - then you’ve heard the song “Pink Moon.”

(Photo: Tent at the P.S. 1 art museum in Long Island City, Queens - July, 2007)

5 comments:

J. David Zacko-Smith said...

That is a VERY COOL photo!

Reya Mellicker said...

The psychodrama of Steve's blog is EXTREMELY interesting to me! I, too, decided to ramp down on my expectations of myself (to post daily). You and I are funny that way.

Nick Drake is a big fav of mine, too (of course! Should I be surprised??)

GLAD YOU'RE BACK!!! Yay!!!

Pod said...

i love pink moon. i find it very soothing. perfect sunday mid-afternoon music. reading. tea. cake. not so keen on the rest of his stuff though. you should check jose gonzales if you like nick drake.

and who can beat a snappy horn?

;0o

lettuce said...

hmmmmm don't know much nick drake i must admit. i shall give him some attention.

i like the pink pic. too

The Bug said...

Well look - I found lot os posts about the Peace Corps :)

I'm cmomenting on this one because I've listend to the Pink Moon album before - a coworder loaned his CD to me one time about 12 years ago. Wow - I had forgotten all about Nick Drake. I need to get a copy of the album for myself!