The first time I heard Nick Drake was in an ad. A beautiful VW ad. From there I backtracked the music and became a fan.
Nick only recorded three albums during the late 60s and early 70s. None of them sold well. But as time has gone by people have discovered him, even making pilgrimages to his childhood home. It's a genuine popularity that the artist, unfortunately, never personally experienced.
99% Invisible did an award-winning piece on his music.
I was taken by one part in particular...
When asked if he was surprised about how popular Nick Drake has become today, the original producer who discovered Nick and created the first two albums with him said:
"No. I always thought he should be that popular. I don't know how to deal with questions like, 'was it ahead of its time?' I don't think so. It happened in that time, and it was a set influences from then. But in a way its failure at the time has been part of its success now in the sense that people growing up in the 80s didn't have parents who were playing Nick Drake to death. There are no films from the 60s with Nick Drake as the soundtrack. It's not identified with that period. It is culturally unanchored. So it's free to be adapted and embraced by people from other generations and people who just come upon it. It doesn't say 'I'm from the 60s. It just says, I'm Nick Drake.'"
What a wonderful sentiment. Most things are locked to an era. But sometimes things aren't. They're free. Unanchored.