Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Book No. 13: Amanda Petrusich - Nick Drake's Pink Moon

Some of the commenters on Amazon's page have been unkind to this book because Petrusich spends a good chunk of space talking about the VW commercial that spurred Nick Drake's current popularity. I think that's a stupid attitude.

I hadn't been a Nick Drake fan for long when I heard that commercial. Maybe a year, but less, I think. I was in a different room while my wife was watching TV. I heard the opening strains of the song "Pink Moon," and yelled to my wife, "You're playing Nick Drake?" She sounded surprised herself, and said no, it was on a commercial.

I felt a little put-out at first. Drake seemed like such a private pleasure that I felt conflicted about sharing his music with the world via a commercial. But I liked the commercial. I made peace with it.

Drake's story is pretty cut-and-dried at this point. Too young and sensitive for this world. Petrusich found a way to tell it again by gathering stories from Drake's sister and Joe Boyd, who knew him best. She asked a number of fans to submit a few paragraphs about their relationship to Drake's music. And she talked about the commercial, how it opened him up to a brand new audience. Good stuff.

On a personal note, I want to mention that the musicians on Drake's first record are many of the same ones from the album I wrote about, Shoot Out The Lights. Richard Thompson on guitar, Dave Pegg on bass, and David Mattacks on drums. Not always, but sometimes. I also wrote a short section that dealt with September 11, 2001, which Petrusich talks about as a time that she turned to Pink Moon for comfort. And yet our books are quite different. Cool, huh?


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