Monday, November 25, 1974

Nick Drake died: November 25, 1974

Originally posted November 25, 2012.

image from

Nick Drake was an English folk singer/songwriter born in Rangoon, Burma, on June 19, 1948. Only three albums were released during his lifetime and each sold less than 5000 copies upon initial release. However, after his death he emerged as a doomed romantic hero. In the mid-‘80s, musicians such as The Cure’s Robert Smith and R.E.M.’s Peter Buck cited him as an influence. The Dream Academy’s 1985 single “Life in a Northern Town” was about Drake.

Drake’s parents were musically inclined, even composing music. At an early age, Nick wrote songs and recorded them on reel-to-reel. He played piano in the school orchestra and learned clarinet and saxophone. In 1967, he won a scholarship to study English literature at Cambridge. He was a bright student who didn’t apply himself. He was more interested in playing and listening to music while smoking marijuana.

He discovered the folk scene via performers like Bob Dylan and Phil Ochs and began performing in clubs and coffee houses around London. With the help of college friend Robert Kirby and American producer Joe Boyd, Drake recorded Five Leaves Left in 1968.

In the autumn of 1969, Drake moved to London to concentrate on music. 1970’s Bryter Layter sported a more upbeat and jazzier sound and featured John Cale and members of Fairport Convention. In October 1971, Drake recorded songs over two nights for what would become 1972’s Pink Moon. Thinking that the sound of Bryter Layter was too elaborate, Drake opted for a stark collection of bleak songs in which his singing was accompanied solely by his own guitar with one piano overdub on the title track.

He visited a psychiatrist in 1971 and was prescribed antidepressants. He also suffered from insomnia and his friend Kirby worried at one point that Drake was showing early signs of psychosis. In 1972, Drake had a nervous breakdown and was hospitalized for five weeks. He returned home to live with his parents. Musician John Martyn, who wrote the title song of his 1973 album Solid Air about Drake, described him as the most withdrawn person he’d ever met. Nick died at age 26 on November 25, 1974, of an overdose of amitriptyline, a prescribed antidepressant. The death has largely been assumed to be a suicide although some have considered it an accidental overdose.

A Skin Too Few (documentary about Nick Drake)

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Monday, November 18, 1974

Genesis The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway released

The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway


Released: November 18, 1974

Peak: 41 US, 10 UK, 15 CN, 80 AU, 13 DF

Sales (in millions): 0.5 US, 0.1 UK, 2.0 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: progressive rock

Tracks – Disc 1:

Song Title [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to charts.

  1. The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway [4:55] (11 CL)
  2. Fly on a Windshield [2:47]
  3. Broadway Melody of 1974 [1:58]
  4. Cuckoo Cocoon [2:14]
  5. In the Cage [8:15]
  6. The Grand Parade of Lifeless Packaging [2:45]
  7. Back in N.Y.C. [5:49]
  8. Hairless Heart [2:25]
  9. Counting Out Time [3:45] (11/15/74, --)
  10. The Carpet Crawlers [5:16] (4/18/75, 12 CL)
  11. The Chamber of 32 Doors [5:40]

Tracks – Disc 2:

  1. Lilywhite Lilith [2:40]
  2. The Waiting Room [5:28]
  3. Anyway [3:18]
  4. The Supernatural Anaesthetist [2:50]
  5. The Lamia [6:57]
  6. Silent Sorrow in Empty Boats [3:06]
  7. The Colony of Slippermen (The Arrival/A Visit to the Doktor/The Raven) [8:14]
  8. Ravine [2:05]
  9. The Light Lies Down on Broadway [3:32]
  10. Riding the Scree [3:56]
  11. In the Rapids [2:24]
  12. It [4:58]

Songs written by Banks/Collins/Gabriel/Hackett/Rutherford.

Total Running Time: 95:17

The Players:

  • Peter Gabriel (vocals, various instruments)
  • Steve Hackett (guitar)
  • Mike Rutherford (bass, 12-string guitar)
  • Tony Banks (keyboards)
  • Phil Collins (drums, percussion)


4.203 out of 5.00 (average of 20 ratings)


“Sooner or later, every progressive-rock band has to do its double-LP concept/opera/extraganza, and for Gabriel’s Genesis, it was The Lamb.” – Jon Pareles, Blender magazine


(Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

“Sooner or later, every progressive-rock band has to do its double-LP concept/opera/extraganza, and for Gabriel’s Genesis, it was The Lamb.” JP It would be the group’s most ambitious project and Gabriel’s swan song with the band.

“The plotline, a surreal odyssey, tracks” JP “a half-Puerto Rican juvenile delinquent named Rael living in New York City,” WK “through a phantasmagoria of urban squalor and subterranean ghoulies” JP “in this musical drama.” AMG Rael “is swept underground to face bizarre creatures and nightmarish dangers in order to rescue his brother John. Several of the story’s occurrences and places were derived from Peter Gabriel’s dreams, and the protagonist’s name is a play on his surname. In an interview Phil Collins remarked, "It’s about a ‘split personality.’ In this context, Rael would believe he is looking for John but is actually looking for a missing part of himself.” WK

“The individual songs also make satirical allusions to everything from mythology to the sexual revolution to advertising and consumerism. The title trackWK which “ranks with Genesis’ most majestic moments,” JP “as well as The Carpet Crawlers and In the Cage, are live favourites for the band.” WK

“Gabriel, for his part, insisted on writing the story and all the lyrics himself, which caused friction, in particular because Rutherford had originally suggested another project for the band – an album based on Antoine de Saint ExupĂ©ry’s The Little Prince. In the event, Banks and Rutherford did write the words for The Light Dies Down on Broadway, as Gabriel could not come up with a linking piece between Ravine and Riding the Scree. In addition, when Gabriel put lyrics to a piece of music written by one of the other band members (such as Banks’ The Lamia and Hackett’s Here Comes the Supernatural Anaesthetist) the composer would often insist on adjusting the lyrics slightly to better fit the music, an action Gabriel did not take kindly to.” WK

While Gabriel wrote the lyrics, “most of the music was written by band members Tony Banks, Phil Collins, and Mike Rutherford, with some contribution from Steve Hackett.” WK Gabriel’s absence was “due to personal problems – his first wife was having difficulties with her first pregnancy.” WK

However, “Gabriel did contribute more to the writing of the music than is sometimes assumed. His then-wife Jill pointed out in Spencer Bright’s Peter Gabriel: An Authorized Biography that he wrote the main melody for ‘The Carpet Crawlers’, of which he is especially proud. Tracks like Anyway and Lilywhite Lilith and Colony of Slippermen were developed from earlier unused 1969 compositions by the band (‘Frustration’ and ‘The Light’ respectively) which were likely to have been group efforts, which Gabriel had played some part in creating.” WK

“There are some nicely creepy set pieces,” JP but “the piece’s length,” AMG which has “filler [that] stretches on and on,” JP “makes it something of an acquired taste.” AMG Still, “most serious fans regard this as the best record the group ever cut.” AMG


The Genesis box set Archive 1967-75 features a full live performance of The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.

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First posted 3/4/2010; last updated 1/25/2024.

Saturday, November 16, 1974

Lynyrd Skynyrd's “Free Bird” flies on to the chart

Free Bird

Lynyrd Skynyrd

Writer(s): Allen Collins, Ronnie Van Zant (see lyrics here)

First Charted: November 16, 1974

Peak: 19 US, 25 CB, 24 GR, 31 HR, 1 CL, 21 UK, 47 CN, 1 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 2.11 US, -- UK, 2.11 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 3.0 radio, 128.84 video, 348.6 streaming

Free Bird

Arnold McCuller

Released: September 12, 2000 (album cut on Duets soundtrack)

Peak: 1 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 3.0 radio, 0.07 video, -- streaming

Awards (Lynyrd Skynyrd):

Click on award for more details.

Awards (Arnold McCuller):

About the Song:

It “has become a rock and roll joke” to shout out “Free Bird!” at concerts, SF but it is also a tribute to “a towering rock anthem crowned with the mother of all guitar solos” BBC that “has entered hard rock folklore.” HL The song “extend[ed] the influence of Southern rock...started by the Allman Brothers.” RS500 The song was, in fact, a tribute to Allman Brothers Duane Allman and Berry Oakley, DT who died in motorcycle crashes in 1971 and 1972 respectively.

“‘Free Bird’ is the tale of a restless spirit attempting to explain to his sweetheart” HL “why he can’t settle down and make a commitment.” SF Guitarist Allen Collins’ “steady girlfriend, who realized that the band would always come first, kept asking him questions like, ‘If I leave here tomorrow, would you still remember me?’” KN

He worked on the song on and off for two years. SF When he “first brought it into rehearsals, volatile singer Ronnie Van Zandt was unenthusiastic, claiming it had too many chords.” BBC The band first recorded the song as a ballad BBC in 1972 that clocked in at 7 ½ minutes. SF Club audiences didn’t respond until “the climatic guitar duel” BBC was added to the end, stretching the song to 10 minutes.

The “record company…thought it was too long [for a single]. Even the band never thought this was going to be a hit.” SF After “Sweet Home Alabama” was a chart success, an edited “Free Bird” was released, but “the long version from the album has always been more popular.” SF

“When Skynyrd reformed in the late ‘80s it was performed as an instrumental, with an empty mic stand...adorned with Ronnie’s trademark cowboy hat” BBC as a memorial to him. He was killed in a plane crash in 1977 along with two other band members.

In 2000, the movie Duets focused on karaoke competitions. One of the contestants, Reggie Kane (Andre Braugher), is a convict. While he is performing a stripped-down, emotional version of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird,” the police arrive to arrest him.


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Last updated 4/1/2023.

Saturday, November 9, 1974

BTO hit #1 with “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet”

You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet

Bachman-Turner Overdrive

Writer(s): Randy Bachman (see lyrics here)

First Charted: September 21, 1974

Peak: 11 US, 11 CB, 14 GR, 11 HR, 13 RR, 1 CL, 2 UK, 13 CN, 4 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 1.0 radio, 44.52 video, 237.48 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Randy Bachman made his name as a member of the Guess Who, co-writing their #1 hit “American Woman.” He went on to form Bachman-Turner Overdrive, who built a following and had a #12 hit with “Taking Care of Business.” When Charlie Fach, the A&R guy, listened to the band’s third album, Not Fragile, he liked it but didn’t hear a hit. The band played him “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet” and he said “that’s the track. It’s got a brightness to it.” WK

Bachman, however, saw it as an embarrassment. SG He wrote the song making fun of his brother, Gary, who had a stutter and was the band’s original manager. Randy thought, “just for fun, we’d take this song and I’d stutter and we’d send it to him. He’ll have the only copy in the world.” FB It was “the song that the band bangs out while procrastinating on doing their real work.” SG A “record company guy…heard about the gag recording, insisted on hearing it, insisted it be on the album, and later insisted it be released as a single.” PW

Randy initially resisted, but BTO tried to record a straight version, and it just didn’t work. SJ Randy eventually relented, saying, “Why am I stopping this? Some of my favorite records are really dumb things like ‘Louie Louie.’ So I said, ‘OK, release it.’” PW The stuttering version, with its “marvelously free, unselfconscious, loud crunching, right-on-the-money power chords” PW became “the biggest thing his band would ever make” SG and “the song that defines the band.” SG

Because of his religious beliefs, Bachman maintained strict rules about the band members staying away from drinking, drugs, and premarital sex on the road. SG The irony is that “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet” is “about a guy who’s so overcome by having the best sex of his life that he basically loses his mind.” SG It became “one of the most giddily horny classic-rock anthems of the ‘70s.” SG

Billboard described the song as a “basic rocker featuring licks of the Velvet Underground’s ‘Sweet Jane.’” WK Rock critic Dave Marsh called it “the ultimate Who pastiche.” DM Vocally, the stuttering is reminiscent of the Who’s “My Generation.” Bachman did acknowledge the song was made of “stitched-together parts” including the “surging rhythm guitar” of the Who’s “Baba O’Riley,” “the grand guitar melody” from Dave Mason’s “Only You Know and I Know,” the “bright, sparkly beat” from the Doobie Brothers’ “Listen to the Music,” and the heavy cowbell from Free’s “All Right Now.” SG


First posted 4/3/2022; last updated 4/29/2024.