Solid Air

Album: Solid Air (1973)

Songfacts®:

  • This song of comfort and understanding to a depressed friend was dedicated to a close pal and label mate of Martyn's, Nick Drake. Drake died of an antidepressant overdose 18 months after Solid Air was released.
  • According to Martyn's ex-wife Beverley, the song is about Drake, but not exclusively so. She told Mojo magazine April 2013: "At the time I had mental health problems and was on anti-depressants. Make of that what you will."
  • Martyn recorded a live version of the song shortly after Nick Drake's death. Uncut magazine asked him if it was difficult singing that song in the aftermath of his passing. Martyn replied: "No, it was never difficult singing that people shuffle off their mortal coil left, right and center, don't they?" >>
    Suggestion credit:
    DeeTheWriter - Saint Petersburg, Russia Federation
  • Danny Thompson, who played double bass on the track, recalled Martyn's friendship with Nick Drake to Uncut magazine. "Nick was a bit of a fragile lad. Very talented. Great fingerstyle guitar player, great songwriter. John liked him a lot. I don't think it was a protective thing, or the big brother thing. He just realized what a remarkable musician and songwriter he was."

    Thompson added that he has no idea if Nick Drake was aware that "Solid Air" was about him. "John would not be the kind of person to phone up Nick and say, 'I've written this about you!,'" he said. "But the song allows the listener the freedom to hear how he feels about it. It's very astute and tender. All John's stuff is very personal. He didn't make up fanciful stories, it was from the heart."

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