Andrew H. Walker, Getty Images Nine days after the deadly tornado that touched…
- Posted on Jun 10th 2010 5:30PM by Pat Pemberton
The epitaph on the back of Nick Drake's tombstone is a hopeful message from the grave of a hopeless man. And the fact that the line -- "Now we rise and we are everywhere" -- comes from the last song on Drake's final album is either ironic or fitting but most certainly a sad reminder of what might have been.
Despite Drake's sad life -- his death at 26 was ruled a suicide -- his 1972 song 'From the Morning' is somehow pulled out of the darkness in this AT&T ad. The commercial also pays homage to (or rips off, depending on how you see it) the work of big-thinking artist couple Christo and Jeanne-Claude.
In the ad, several recognizable landmarks are covered in orange fabric -- reminiscent of Christo and Jeanne-Claude's grand installations. (They once wrapped the Reichstag in cloth.) As the structures are draped, Drake begins to sing, "A day once dawned, and it was beautiful." Connecting the covering theme, a narrator finishes with "AT&T covers 97 percent of all Americans."
Known for soft, almost whispery vocals and somber lyrics, Drake epitomized the tortured soul. In 1972, the Englishman produced his third and final album, 'Pink Moon,' a dour acoustic record containing 'From the Morning. Two years later, his mother found him dead in his bedroom, overdosed on antidepressants.
While some Drake fans object to the use of his music in an commercial, he might never have become a cult figure were it not for a previous TV ad. When his song 'Pink Moon' was used in a Volkswagen Cabrio spot in 1999, Drake finally escaped from obscurity. With more fans in death than in life, his grave site in England frequently bears the offerings -- handwritten notes, guitar picks, flowers -- of visitors seeking some sort of connection.
While Drake can never weigh in on the commercial use of his music, the artist Christo was clearly not pleased with the obvious play on his art. (His wife, Jeanne-Claude, is now deceased.) According to the New York Post, Christo complained about the advert to his attorney, causing AT&T to add a disclaimer: "The artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude have no direct or indirect affiliation or involvement with AT&T."
At least not until a lawsuit is filed.
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