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Bryter Layter, recorded in 1970 and released in November 1970,[1] was the second of three albums by British folk musician Nick Drake.

Content and production[]

Like Five Leaves Left, the album contains no unaccompanied songs: Drake was accompanied by part of the British folk rock group Fairport Convention and John Cale from The Velvet Underground, as well as Beach Boys musicians Mike Kowalski and Ed Carter.[2] Arranger Robert Kirby claims that Drake intended the instrumentals to evoke Pet Sounds.[3] Initially scheduled for release in November 1970, with UK promotional copies being sent out at the time, dissatisfaction with the artwork meant that the album was held over into the New Year.[1]


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic5/5 starsStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svg[4]
Entertainment WeeklyB+[5]
Q5/5 starsStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svg[7]

Mojo called the album "Certainly the most polished of his catalogue".[8] Alternative Press called it "[one] of the most beautiful and melancholy albums ever recorded."[9]


In 2000, Q placed Bryter Layter at number 23 in its list of the "100 Greatest British Albums Ever". It ranked at number 14 in NME's list of "The Greatest Albums of the '70s".[10]

In 2003, the album was ranked number 245 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

Track listing[]

All tracks are written by Nick Drake.

Side one
2."Hazey Jane II"3:46
3."At the Chime of a City Clock"4:47
4."One of These Things First"4:52
5."Hazey Jane I"4:31
Side two
6."Bryter Layter"3:24
8."Poor Boy"6:09
9."Northern Sky"3:47


Nick Drake performs vocals and guitar, except where indicated otherwise.

  • "Introduction"
    Nick Drake – guitar
    Dave Peggbass
    Dave Mattacksdrums
    Strings arranged by Robert Kirby
  • "Hazey Jane II"
    Dave Pegg – bass
    Dave Mattacks – drums
    Richard Thompsonlead guitar
    Brass arrangement by Robert Kirby
  • "At the Chime of a City Clock"
    Ray Warleighalto sax
    Dave Pegg – bass
    Mike Kowalski – drums
    Strings arranged by Robert Kirby
  • "One of These Things First"
    Paul Harrispiano
    Ed Carter – bass
    Mike Kowalski – drums
  • "Hazey Jane I"
    Dave Pegg – bass
    Dave Mattacks – drums
    Strings arranged by Robert Kirby
  • "Bryter Layter"
    Nick Drake – guitar
    Lyn Dobsonflute
    Dave Pegg – bass
    Dave Mattacks – drums
  • "Fly"
    John Caleviola and harpsichord
    Dave Pegg – bass
  • "Poor Boy"
    Ray Warleigh – alto sax
    Chris McGregor – piano
    Dave Pegg – bass
    Mike Kowalski – drums
    Pat Arnold and Doris Troybacking vocals
  • "Northern Sky"
    John Cale – celeste, piano and organ
    Dave Pegg – bass
    Mike Kowalski – drums
  • "Sunday"
    Nick Drake – guitar
    Ray Warleigh – flute
    Dave Pegg – bass
    Dave Mattacks – drums
    Strings arranged by Robert Kirby

Release history[]

Region Date Label Format Catalogue
United Kingdom 6 March 1971 Island LP ILPS 9134
CD CID 9134


  • The cover of the North American version of the 2003 album Akuma no Uta by Japanese metal band Boris pays tribute to Bryter Layter.
  • The lyrics to "Fly" were heavily referenced in the 2005 film Zathura: A Space Adventure and the song was featured in Wes Anderson's "The Royal Tenenbaums".
  • The song "One of These Things First" was featured on the Grammy award winning Garden State soundtrack, compiled by Zach Braff. The song was also used in the 2008 film Seven Pounds starring Will Smith.
  • The song "Northern Sky" was featured in the 2001 film "Serendipity"
  • The song "Northern Sky" is frequently featured in the 2016 TV Show "This is Us."


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Drake, Gabrielle, Nick Drake: Remembered For A While, Little, Brown and Company, 2014.
  2. Music Blogger. Bryter layter: Nick Drake's Gabrielle Drake sheds a little light on her late sibling. SF Bay Guardian Online. 27 September 2007.
  3. "An interview with Robert Kirby". Retrieved 22 March 2014.
  4. Raggett, Ned. "Bryter Layter - Nick Drake : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards : AllMusic". Allmusic. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
  5. Entertainment Weekly: 24. 12 May 2000. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. Greene, Jayson (22 January 2014). "Nick Drake: Tuck Box : Album Reviews : Pitchfork". Pitchfork. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
  7. Q, May 2007, Issue 250.
  8. Mojo: 99. July 2000. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. Alternative Press: 88. March 2001. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  10. NME: 19. 18 September 1993. Missing or empty |title= (help)

The title is in reference to Queen's English and BBC weather reporters who would describe the weather as "brighter later".[citation needed]

External links[]

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