Helpless Dancer

The Endless Note

Cover Story – Elton John and Nick Drake


In June 1970 Joe Boyd was wondering how to turn the genius that was Nick Drake into a marketable star. As a taster to see if other artists might record some of Nick’s songs, he got Elton John into the studio at Sound Techniques in Chelsea to record a variety of his whitchseason stable artists’ songs, including a couple of John and Beverley Martin songs from their Stormbringer album and four by Nick Drake, all from his first album, 1969’s Five Leaves Left.

The Elton session included Linda Peters (later Linda Thompson) on backing vocals, Dee Murray on bass, Ray Cooper on percussion, Nigel Olsson on drums and Davey Johnstone on guitar. The sound is similar to the Tumbleweed folk-rock soul Elton was recording at that time.


Here is Elton’s take on one of my favourite Nick Drake songs.

“Way To Blue” – Elton John

nick drake sessions
To download tracks from this session visit the great Aquarium Drunkard

Some tracks are also available via the Southcosting blog.

To buy Nick Drake music click HERE

To buy Elton John music click HERE


June 10, 2009 - Posted by | Cover Stories, Old Music | ,


  1. Hi…
    Just wanted to let you know that Davey Johnstone does not play on these Nick Drake Songs. He did not even meet Elton John until the Madman Across the Water Sessions. The guitarist on these session is Caleb Quaye. Caleb was Elton’s original lead guitarist. They played together in a band called Bluesology before Elton’s solo career. Quaye also produced three unreleased albums worth of songs before Elton’s first album “Empty Sky”.

    Caleb Quaye played on
    EMPTY SKY (1969) ELTON JOHN (1970)
    BLUE MOVES (1976)

    Caleb Quaye as a young guitarist played on the TROGGS’
    WILD THING single in 1967. He has also played with Paul McCartney, THE WHO’s Pete Townshed, Hall & Oates and more.
    Today Caleb is living in San Dimas, California. He fronts a fantastic band called Caleb Quaye and The Faculty. A live album was released late last year called “One Night In San Dimas”. By November a studio album release will be available.

    Comment by Robert Linder | September 11, 2009 | Reply

    • Hi,

      Thanks for dropping in and t remains good to know that you can learn something new every day!

      Interested to note that Caleb worked with Pete Townshend who is someone I greatly admire, can you tell me what he worked on, was it in a touring band of a session player in the studio?


      Comment by thehelplessdancer | September 11, 2009 | Reply

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