Five Leaves Left

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Five Leaves Left
Five Leaves Left.jpg
Studio album by Nick Drake
Released 3 July 1969[1]
Recorded July 1968 – June 1969 at Sound Techniques, London, England
Genre Folk, folk rock, baroque pop, folk baroque
Length 41:43
Label Island
Producer Joe Boyd
Nick Drake chronology
Five Leaves Left
Bryter Layter

Five Leaves Left is the debut studio album by English folk musician Nick Drake. Recorded between 1968 and 1969, it was released the latter year by record label Island.


Five Leaves Left was recorded between July 1968 and June 1969 at Sound Techniques in London, England.


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.

The title of the album 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".[3] The album title could also be a reference to an O. Henry short story entitled "The Last Leaf".[citation needed] Coincidentally, Drake died five years after recording the album.

Reception and influence[edit]

An original UK advert for Five Leaves Left, detailing its 3 July 1969 release through the Island label, as found in International Times, 4-17 July 1969.
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars[4]
BBC Music (favourable)[5]
Pitchfork Media (9.5/10)[6]
Sputnikmusic 5/5 stars[7]

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."

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Nick Drake. 

Side A
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 B
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 – vocals, acoustic guitar on all songs except "Way to Blue" and "Saturday Sun", piano on "Saturday Sun"
Additional personnel

Release history[edit]

Region Date Label Format Catalogue
United Kingdom 3 July 1969 Island LP ILPS 9105
March 1987 CD CID 9195
26 June 2000 IMCD 8


  1. ^ Drake, Gabrielle, Nick Drake: Remembered For A While, Little, Brown and Company, 2014.
  2. ^ Drake, Gabrielle, Nick Drake: Remembered For A While, Little, Brown and Company, 2014.
  3. ^ "Five Leaves Left - Nick Drake". Retrieved 2010-10-02. 
  4. ^ Raggett, Ned. "Five Leaves Left - Nick Drake: Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards: AllMusic". Allmusic. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  5. ^ Jones, Chris. "BBC - Music - Review of Nick Drake - Five Leaves Left". BBC. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  6. ^ Greene, Jayson (22 January 2014). "Nick Drake: Tuck Box: Album Reviews: Pitchfork". Pitchfork. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  7. ^ Schroer, Brendan (7 November 2013). "Nick Drake - Five Leaves Left (album review): Sputnikmusic". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 

External links[edit]