English folk rock singer, songwriter and guitarist Roy Harper was born on 12 June 1941. He started his career as a musician in 1964. He recorded demo recordings and played his first paid performance at a poetry reading in Newcastle. Eventually he obtained a residency at London’s famous Soho folk music club, Les Cousins in 1965, having been introduced to it by Peter Bellamy of the Young Tradition. Within his first week Harper saw John Renbourn, Alexis Korner, Paul Simon, Alex Campbell and Bert Jansch play and he would play, associate, and ‘rub shoulders’ with other artists arriving later, including John Martyn, Joni Mitchell and Nick Drake.
Since his debut album ‘Sophisticated Beggar’ (1966) he has released 32 albums (including 10 live albums) across his 50-year career. As a musician, Harper is known for his distinctive fingerstyle playing and lengthy, lyrical, complex compositions, reflecting his love of jazz and the poet John Keats. His influence upon other musicians has been acknowledged by Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, Pete Townshend, Pink Floyd, and Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull, who said Harper was his “…primary influence as an acoustic guitarist and songwriter.” Across the Atlantic his influence has been acknowledged by Seattle-based acoustic band Fleet Foxes, American musician and producer Jonathan Wilson and Californian harpist Joanna Newsom with whom he has also toured.
In 2005, Harper was awarded the MOJO Hero Award, and in 2013 a Lifetime Achievement Award at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. His most recent album, ‘Man and Myth’, was released in 2013. In 2016, Harper celebrated his 75th birthday by performing concerts in Clonakilty, Birmingham, Manchester, London and Edinburgh.
Harper provides backing vocals on Kate’s song Breathing. She returned the favour by recording a duet with Harper, You (The Game Part III) on his album ‘Unknown Soldier’ and the song Once on his album ‘Once’. Kate and Peter Gabriel performed his song Another Day on the television special Kate.
- Roy Harper (singer). Wikipedia, retrieved 10 August 2017.