As most of you have probably heard, Academy Award nominee Heath Ledger was found dead in a New York City apartment yesterday. Hazy details of a possible overdose/ possible suicide are beginning to emerge. Naturally, the tabloid media is circling around the blood, turning every morbid detail into a front page headline, but one tiny connection, which at most could be a key to this tragedy or at least is a bizarre coincidence, is being overlooked. Heath Ledger was obsessed with Nick Drake.

Who? Nick Drake was an eccentric English singer-songwriter born in 1948. By all accounts, he was a brilliant student and received a scholarship to study at Cambridge University. For fun, he began performing at local coffee houses and word of his talent quickly spread to industry insiders. He was signed to Island Records and released his debut album Five Leaves Left. Largely ignored at the time, it developed a cult following among musicians and was later included in Rolling Stone’s Top 500 Albums.

In the next three years, Nick Drake recorded two more albums (both of which made Rolling Stone’s Top 500 Albums), but they received even less fanfare. Seemingly out of nowhere, the depressed singer developed stage fright. He refused to perform and retreated into the dark recesses of his mind. He couldn’t sleep and began taking large quantities of sleeping pills. In 1974, at the age of twenty-six, Drake overdosed on prescription drugs. To this day, his family still doesn’t know if it was on purpose.

According to MTV, Heath Ledger was fascinated by Nick Drake. He often talked of getting a script written about the Pink Moon crooner’s life. Unsatisfied with delays in getting the project started, Ledger filmed his own music video for Drake’s track “Black Eyed Dog”, an autobiographical piece about depression. It’s yet to be released commercially, but the clip reportedly ends with Ledger solemnly drowning himself in the bathtub. It was the last song Nick Drake wrote before he Od’ed on sleeping pills, and it’s music video ended up being the last project Ledger completed before his overdose, which many have prematurely linked to sleeping pills.

Two brilliant minds. Both were just coming into their artistic primes, and both suffered from bouts of paranoia, making it impossible for either to sleep. We’ll probably never know if Nick Drake’s words pushed Ledger further away or closer to the abyss, but somehow it’s fitting they eventually found each other and that damn pink pink pink pink moon.

Here’s a clip of Nick Drake foreshadowing his own death...

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