33 1/3: Nick Drake’s Pink Moon

Amanda Petrusich


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  • Bloomsbury Publishing
  • 2007
  • ISBN 9780826427908
  • 128 pages
  • Softcover
  • 16.5 × 12 × 0.7 cm

Pink Moon explores how Nick Drake’s third and final album has puttered and purred its way into a new millennium. Features interviews with producer Joe Boyd, string arranger Robert Kirby, and even the marketing team behind the VW Cabrio commercial that launched the album to platinum status more than thirty years after its release.


“The latest addition to the evergrowing 33 1/3 series (now up to volume 51) is an in-depth look at Nick Drake’s final album „Pink Moon“. Tackling a 28 minute album of sparse folk by an artist whose life went largely undocumented (there are no known video clips or interviews with Drake) is a daunting task, but Petrusich handles the job nicely by telling the story through interviews with the people who knew Drake and worked with him musically, as well as testimonials from current artists who have felt his influence. She also does a great service to the readers by not painting Drake as some romantically doomed poetic soul, like so many other writers have done in the past. In fact, she does an excellent job of dispelling many Drake myths (ex: he didn’t anonymously leave the tapes for Pink Moon at Island’s reception desk without saying a word), and even points out flaws in the album (many of the vocals are garbled). The most interesting part of the book is the final third which focuses on Pink Moon’s 21st Century revival thanks to a 2000 Volkswagon commercial featuring the title track. While many make the argument that using a song to push a product cheapens the artistry of the song, „Pink Moon“ was used to such great effect that it has simultaneously become synonymous with Volkswagon. More importantly, thanks to commercial exposure, annual sales of the album jumped from 6,000 to 74,000 in the year that it hit the airwaves – exposing Drake’s work to a new generation. Perhaps the best praise I can give the book is that after I finished reading it I put it down and listened to Pink Moon.” –  Losing Today.com

“One of my favourites in Continuum’s 33 1/3 series of books on seminal albums.” –  Largehearted Boy, August 2008“Is an ambitious project…Petrusich is up to the task, and her travels weave an essential sense of place into her exploration of the evolution of Americana music.” –  Julian Koster, Largehearted Boy, August 2008“[A] fascinating read and a worthy inclusion in the pantheon of great books about great records.” –  Matthew van DeWitt, Skyscraper magazine

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