|Studio album by Nick Drake|
|Released||25 February 1972|
|Recorded||October 1971Sound Techniques in London, United Kingdomat|
|Nick Drake chronology|
Pink Moon is the third and final studio album by the English folk musician Nick Drake, released in the UK by Island Records on 25 February 1972. Pink Moon differs from Drake's previous albums, in that it was recorded without a backing band, featuring only Nick Drake on vocals, acoustic guitar and a small piano riff on the title track.
Released two years before Drake’s death in November 1974, at the age of twenty-six, the lyrical content of Pink Moon has often been attributed to Drake's ongoing battle with depression. The songs are shorter than on his previous albums, with a total album running time of just over twenty-eight minutes.
Pink Moon, like Drake's previous studio albums, did not sell well while he was still living but has since gained in notoriety, critical acclaim and record sales. Stephen Holden, in a 1972 review for Rolling Stone magazine said, "The beauty of Drake's voice is its own justification. May it become familiar to us all."
Nick Drake's first two albums with Island Records, Bryter Layter (1970) and Five Leaves Left (1969), sold poorly, and combined with Drake’s reluctance to perform live or engage in album promotion, Island was not confident of another album from Drake. Additionally, Drake had isolated himself in his London apartment and was suffering from depression. In 1971 he saw a psychiatrist and was prescribed antidepressants which he was reluctant to take due to the stigma associated with depression and his fears concerning the medication's interaction with marijuana, which he smoked regularly. Although critics often associate Drake's music, and especially the perceived melancholy of Pink Moon, with his depression, Cally Calloman of Bryter Music, which manages Drake's estate, remembers it differently: "Nick was incapable of writing and recording while he was suffering from periods of depression. He was not depressed during the writing or recording of Pink Moon and was immensely proud of the album." After facing disappointment with various aspects of his first two albums, Drake sought a more organic sound with Pink Moon.
After a brief hiatus in Spain spent at a villa belonging to Island Records' head, Chris Blackwell, Drake returned to London refreshed, and in October 1971 approached record engineer and producer, John Wood. Wood had worked with Drake on his previous two albums and was one of the few people Drake felt he could trust. Wood has worked with other artists such as Fairport Convention, Cat Stevens, and Pink Floyd, and he often worked in partnership with record producer Joe Boyd. Boyd produced Drake's first two albums with Wood acting as sound engineer. Although Wood primarily focused on the engineering of an album, he often contributed as a producer.
BBC Radio2 Documentary from 2005 with John Wood about the two nights of recording Pink Moon.
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When Drake reached out to Wood in 1971 expressing his interest in recording another album, the ensuing process was significantly pared down compared to Drake's other two albums. The album was recorded at Sound Techniques studio in London in late 1971 with just Drake and Wood present. The studio was booked during the day, so Drake and Wood arrived around 11:00 p.m. and simply and quietly recorded half the songs. The next night, they did the same. In only two late night sessions, with just his voice and acoustic guitar, Drake created what is considered by many to be one of the "most influential folk albums of all time". Contrary to a popular legend that Drake dropped the album off in a plastic bag, anonymously, in the reception area of the record label, Drake delivered the master tapes of Pink Moon to Chris Blackwell at Island. The tapes of the Pink Moon session also included Drake's recording of "Plaisir d'amour" (translated from French as "The Pleasure of Love"), a classical French love song written in 1784 by Jean-Paul-Égide Martini. Although "Plaisir d'amour" was on the track listing of the Pink Moon master tape box as the first track of Side Two, when the tapes were presented they included a note in reference to the song which read, "Spare title – Do not use", so the song didn't make it onto the album. The recording was less than a minute long, featured guitar with no vocals, and was eventually included as a hidden track on UK editions of the Nick Drake compilation A Treasury (2004). Had "Plaisir d'amour" been included on the Pink Moon album, it would have been the only song on any of his albums that Nick Drake did not write himself.
Keith Morris was the photographer who took Nick Drake's photo for the cover of Bryter Layter (1970) and he was commissioned to photograph Drake for the cover of Pink Moon. However, the photos were not used as Drake's rapidly deteriorating appearance, hunched figure and blank expression were not considered good selling points. Island's Creative Director Annie Sullivan, who oversaw the shoot, recalled the difficulty in making a decision around the cover of the LP, "I remember going to talk to him, and he just sat there, hunched up, and even though he didn't speak, I knew the album was called Pink Moon, and I can't remember how he conveyed it, whether he wrote it down... he wanted a pink moon. He couldn't tell me what he wanted, but I had 'pink moon' to go on." Island picked a piece of surrealist Dali-esque art by Michael Trevithick, who was incidentally a friend of Drake's sister Gabrielle. Although Drake was not outspoken in his opinion on the cover art of Pink Moon, many close to him felt that he approved.
Reception and legacy
|The Music Box|||
Island Records launched an unusual promotional campaign for the initial release of Pink Moon. They spent the entire promotional budget on full-page advertisements in all major music magazines the month of the records release.
Initially, Pink Moon garnered a small amount of critical attention. Jerry Gilbert, who conducted the only known interview with Drake the previous year, wrote the first review of Pink Moon; he was not impressed. Writing in Sounds, Gilbert stated that, "The album consists entirely of Nick's guitar, voice and piano and features all the usual characteristics without ever matching up to Bryter Layter. One has to accept that Nick's songs necessarily require further augmentation, for whilst his own accompaniments are good the songs are not sufficiently strong to stand up without any embroidery at all. 'Things Behind The Sun' makes it, so does 'Parasite' – but maybe it's time Mr. Drake stopped acting so mysteriously and started getting something properly organised for himself." Another early review was written by critic Mark Plummer and appeared in the May issue of Melody Maker. Plummer appreciated the music, but was distracted by Drake's growing ascetic mythology: "His music is so personal and shyly presented both lyrically and in his confined guitar and piano playing that neither does nor doesn't come over... The more you listen to Drake though, the more compelling his music becomes – but all the time it hides from you. On 'Things Behind The Sun', he sings to me, embarrassed and shy. Perhaps one should play his albums with the sound off and just look at the cover and make the music in your head reciting his words from inside the cover to your own rhythmic heart rhymes... It could be that Nick Drake does not exist at all."
On 11 November 1999 Volkswagen announced that it was debuting, for the first time, a television advertisement on the internet. The campaign, named "Milky Way", featured the Volkswagen Cabriolet with the title track of Pink Moon as the soundtrack. Ron Lawner, Chief Creative Officer of Arnold Communications stated in the press release, "The song is very special. It's an old song by a guy named Nick Drake. It's called 'Pink Moon' and is actually a very good introduction to Nick Drake if you're not familiar with him. It's very transporting. And to us seemed very fitting for a beautiful drive in the country on a very special night." The Volkswagen Cabriolet commercial, directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris and filmed by Lance Acord, lead to a large increase in record sales, and a number-five placing for Pink Moon in Amazon.com's sales chart. The VW and "Pink Moon" pairing marked a new step in advertising. Bethany Klein, a professor in the Department of Media and Communication at the University of Central England states, "The role of 'Pink Moon' in the success of "Milky Way" was interesting, in that it both added to the artistry of the commercial and was also protected by the visual artistry of the spot: because the ad 'worked' (it was an aesthetic success) the usual negative discourse surrounding the use of popular music in advertising was, if not stopped, at least reduced and accompanied by positive appraisals... The linking together of the ad being a 'watershed' and being 'nicely done' is no coincidence; it is because the ad is so well executed and so aesthetically successful that the industry and the public reassessed the use of music in advertising around this example."
In the 2000s, Pink Moon was critically lauded, making it to the Melody Maker "All Time Top 100 Albums" as number 48. In 2003, the album was ranked number 320 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. In 2012, that ranking was revised to number 321.
American singer Meshell Ndegeocello recorded a cover of the title track "Pink Moon" for the album Time of No Reply by Misja Fitzgerald.
All songs written and composed by Nick Drake.
|2.||"Place to Be"||2:43|
|6.||"Things Behind the Sun"||3:57|
|11.||"From the Morning"||2:30|
All personnel credits adapted from the album's liner notes.
- Nick Drake – vocals, acoustic guitar, piano (1)
- Design personnel
|United Kingdon||1972||Island Records||LP||ILPS 9184||Original release on the first "palm tree" label|
|United States||1972||Island Records||LP||SMAS 9318||First US release|
|United Kingdon||1980s||Island Records||LP||ILPS 9184||Re-release on the orange-blue "palm tree" label Discogs|
|United Kingdon & United States||1990||Island Records||CD||IMCD 94 / Polygram 842,923-2||CD release within the Island Masters series; Discogs|
|United States||1992||Hannibal Records||CD||HNCD 4436||Discogs|
|Worldwide Reissue||2000||Island Records||CD||IMCD 94 / Universal 842,923||International re-release within the Island Masters series now labelled "Island Re-Masters" with additional slip cover, and original label reprint on the CD.|
|United States||2003||Island Records||CD||422,842,923-2||Discogs|
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- Raggett, Ned. Nick Drake – Pink Moon > Review at AllMusic
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- Gilbert, Jerry (25 March 1972). "Review: Nick Drake – Pink Moon". Sounds (London, England: United Newspapers).
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- "'Milky Way' is the First Volkswagen Ad to Launch on Web Sneak Preview on the Internet Prior to National Broadcast". Volkswagen of America. 11 November 1999. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
- Drake, Nick (16 July 2006). "Nick Drake: You're Nicked". The Independent (London, England: Independent Print Limited). Retrieved 19 November 2013.
- "Rock Star Back from the Dead". The Birmingham Post (UK). 7 April 2000.
- Klein, Bethany (2010). As Heard on TV: Popular Music in Advertising. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate Publishing. p. 46. ISBN 978-1-4094-0764-5.
- "All Time Top 100 Albums". Melody Maker (London, England: IPC Media). 5 January 2000.
- "Nick Drake, 'Pink Moon'". www.rollingstone.com. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
- Wenner, Jann S. (ed.) (2012). The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. New York City, USA: Wenner Media. ISBN 978-7-0989-3419-6.
- Pink Moon (LP). Nick Drake. Island Records. 1972. ILPS 9184.