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Heath Ledger's Nick Drake Obsession

January 23, 2008 10:47 AM ET

While promoting I'm Not There in September at the Venice Film Festival, late actor Heath Ledger said at one point in his life he had wished to pursue another rock biopic: the story of Nick Drake, the singer-songwriter who overdosed on anti-depressants in 1974 at the age of twenty-six. According to MTV News, Ledger told a news conference, "I was obsessed with his story and his music and I pursued it for a while and still have hopes to kind of tell his story one day." Evidently, Ledger's "obsession with an artist by the name of Nick Drake" led him to make a video for Drake's "Black Eyed Dog" that has only been screened twice (once at Bumbershoot and once at a Drake event in L.A.) and has yet to leak to the Internet. The black-and-white clip reportedly consists mainly of footage of Ledger, and concludes with the actor drowning himself in a bathtub.

Ledger also reportedly had plans to start a record label with Ben Harper called Masses Music Co. Ledger directed the video for Harper's "Morning Yearning," as well as a clip for the label's first signing, Australian singer Grace Woodroofe.

Related Stories:
Shock at Sundance: Peter Travers Remembers Heath Ledger
Heath Ledger's Lonesome Trail: March 2006 Cover Story
"I'm Not There" at the Venice Film Fest: Video Interview With Todd Haynes and Heath Ledger

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Song Stories

“American Girl”

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

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