Needle Of Death

Album: Bert Jansch (1965)

Songfacts®:

  • Bert Jansch is a Scottish folk musician and founding member of the band Pentangle. He has recorded at least 25 albums and toured extensively starting in the 1960s and continuing into the 21st century. Jansch recorded his self-titled debut album in 1965 on a single microphone and a borrowed guitar in the kitchen of his London flat. It proved to be a vastly influential work on such artists as Jimmy Page, Nick Drake and Neil Young. The best known tracks on the album are this number about hard drugs and the protest song "Do You Hear Me Now" which was covered by the singer Donovan on his Universal Soldier EP.
  • This tune influenced the drug-taking habits of a generation of British youth even though Jansch never touched them himself. He told the story behind the song to Uncut magazine January 2010: "It's inspired by a friend called Buck Polly, a folk singer and one of the people I met when I first came to London. Buck used to drive (folk singer) Alex Campbell to gigs, because what he did for a living was repair gardens - we would drive along in these jalopies. About six months after meeting Buck and Alex, I was with them one day, Buck was in a bad mood: his wife wouldn't let him see the kids or something, something to do with money. And we went up to Goodge Street, a pub there called Finch's. Buck scored from a dealer. And the next day, I'd heard he'd died."

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