This reached number 7 on the US charts and it peaked at number 15 in the UK. A song with a very wintry feel to it to match the title.
Great harmonies. Their record company thought this needed more drums but the band said no. I think the lack of a strong drum beat is what makes this song somewhat timeless. This seems to be pretty cut and dry. The title describes exactly what the song is about…or does it? The lyrics definitely describe life in a northern town. The Beatles and John F. Kennedy are mentioned so it must be life in a northern town in the early 1960s. In fact they even mention 1963. If you listen close though you will hear them singing about someone telling them all this. “He took a cigarette out”…and…”He said in winter 1963”. Believe it or not, this song is not about life in a northern town, its about Nick Drake, with references to where he grew up in England.
Drake was 26 years old when he died in November of 1974 of an antidepressant overdose which may have been suicide. His work was very influential to many British musicians and songwriters, and his legend grew after his death. He was best known for somber pieces composed on his favorite instrument, the guitar, and The Dream Academy intended the song as a tribute to Drake. It is certainly odd that his name is never mentioned in this song or any of his work. The last verse about going to the train station, watching it leave and never waving goodbye represents his death and how he won’t be forgotten.