Born as Alexandra Elene MacLean Denny on 6 January 1947, Sandy Denny was an English singer-songwriter who was lead singer for the folk rock band Fairport Convention. She joined the band in 1968, remaining with them for one year. She formed the short-lived band Fotheringay before starting a solo career. Between 1971 and 1977 she released four albums: ‘The North Star Grassman and the Ravens’, ‘Sandy’, ‘Like an Old Fashioned Waltz’, and ‘Rendezvous’.
The pressures of performing and touring (particularly flying) took an increasingly heavy toll on her. She had a troubled relationship with her partner Trevor Lucas, with whom she married on 20 September 1973. In the mid-1970s the couple relocated to the village of Byfield in Northamptonshire, in July 1977 Denny gave birth to their only child, a daughter, Georgia Rose Lucas. In late March 1978, while on holiday with her parents and baby Georgia in Cornwall, Denny was injured when she fell down a staircase and hit her head on concrete. Following the incident, she suffered from intense headaches. A doctor prescribed her the painkiller Dextropropoxyphene, a drug known to have fatal side effects when mixed with alcohol. A few weeks later, concerned about his wife’s erratic behaviour and fearing for his daughter’s safety, Trevor Lucas left the UK and returned to his native Australia with their child, leaving Sandy without telling her.
On 17 April 1978 Denny collapsed and fell into a coma while at friend’s house. Four days later, she died at Atkinson Morley Hospital in Wimbledon. Her death was ruled to be the result of a traumatic mid-brain haemorrhage and blunt force trauma to her head.
Kate mentions Sandy Denny in the lyrics of her song Blow Away (For Bill).