Five Leaves Left

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Five Leaves Left
Studio album by Nick Drake
Released 1 September 1969 (1969-09-01)
Recorded July 1968 – July 1969 at Sound Techniques, London
Genre Folk, folk rock, baroque pop, folk baroque
Length 41:43
Label Island
Producer Joe Boyd
Nick Drake chronology
Five Leaves Left
Bryter Layter
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars[1]
BBC Music (favourable)[2]
Pitchfork Media (9.5/10)[3]
Sputnikmusic 5/5 stars[4]

Five Leaves Left, recorded in 1969, was the first of three albums by British folk musician Nick Drake. Like Bryter Layter but unlike Pink Moon, this album contains no unaccompanied songs. Drake was accompanied by members of the British folk-rock groups Fairport Convention and Pentangle.

Reception and influence[edit]

Five Leaves Left was ranked 85th in a 2005 survey held by British television's Channel 4 to determine the 100 greatest albums of all time. In 2003, the album was ranked number 280 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

NME (2 October 1993, p. 29) – Ranked No. 74 in NME's list of the 'Greatest Albums of All Time.'

Q (November 1999, p. 162) – Included in Q's Best Folk Albums of All Time – "The pinnacle of a melancholy canon of work so distinctive that admirers can only speculate miserably on what might have been."

Entertainment Weekly (12 May 2000, p.24) – "On his ageless debut, everything – Drake's lispy voice and delicate guitar fingerpicking, arranger Robert Kirby's stately strings – feels shrouded in mist....Drake's most glorious miniatures." – Rating: A

Alternative Press (March 2001, p. 88) – "With a voice paradoxically feather-light and grave, [one] of the most beautiful and melancholy albums ever recorded."

Mojo (July 2000, p. 99) – "Represents the first flourish of promise....God, how damn confident it all sounds. He knew how good he was."

"Five leaves left" is a reference to the old Rizla cigarette papers packet – which used to contain a printed note near the end saying "Only five leaves left". The album title could also be a reference to an O. Henry short story entitled "The Last Leaf".

The song Saturday Sun is featured in the British television show Misfits, early in the show's second season.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Nick Drake. 

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Time Has Told Me"   4:27
2. "River Man"   4:21
3. "Three Hours"   6:16
4. "Way to Blue"   3:11
5. "Day is Done"   2:29
Side two
No. Title Length
6. "Cello Song"   4:49
7. "The Thoughts of Mary Jane"   3:22
8. "Man in a Shed"   3:55
9. "Fruit Tree"   4:50
10. "Saturday Sun"   4:03



Nick Drake performs vocals on all songs and acoustic guitar on all except "Way To Blue" and "Saturday Sun".

  • "Cello Song"
    Clare Lowther – cello
    Danny Thompson – bass
    Rocky Dzidzornu – congas, shaker
  • "The Thoughts of Mary Jane"
    Robert Kirby – arrangement
  • "Man in a Shed"
    Paul Harris – piano
    Danny Thompson – bass
  • "Fruit Tree"
    Robert Kirby – arrangement


Release history[edit]

Region Date Label Format Catalogue
United Kingdom 1 September 1969 Island LP ILPS 9105
March 1987 CD CID 9195
26 June 2000 IMCD 8


  1. ^ Raggett, Ned. "Five Leaves Left - Nick Drake : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards : AllMusic". Allmusic. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  2. ^ Jones, Chris. "BBC - Music - Review of Nick Drake - Five Leaves Left". BBC. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  3. ^ Greene, Jayson (22 January 2014). "Nick Drake: Tuck Box : Album Reviews : Pitchfork". Pitchfork. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  4. ^ Schroer, Brendan (7 November 2013). "Nick Drake - Five Leaves Left (album review) : Sputnikmusic". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 

External links[edit]