Roy Harper: Every Album, Every Song (On Track) Paperback – 29 July 2021
by Opher Goodwin (Author)
Roy Harper must be one of Britain s most undervalued rock musicians and songwriters. For over fifty years he has produced a series of innovative albums of consistently outstanding quality. He puts poetry and social commentary to music in a way that extends the boundaries of rock music. His 22 studio albums 16 live albums, made up of 250 songs, have created a unique body of work. Roy is a musician s musician. He is lauded by the likes of Dave Gilmour, Ian Anderson, Jimmy Page, Pete Townsend, Joanna Newsom, Fleet Foxes and Kate Bush. Who else could boast that he has had Keith Moon, Jimmy Page, Dave Gilmour, John Paul Jones, Ronnie Lane, Chris Spedding, Bill Bruford and Steve Broughton in his backing band? Notable albums include Stormcock, HQ and Bullinamingvase. Opher Goodwin, Roy s friend and a fan, guides the reader through every album and song, providing insight into the recording of the songs as well the times in which they were recorded. As his loyal and often fanatical fans will attest, Roy has produced a series of epic songs and he remains a raging, uncompromising individual.
A celebration of Roy’s songs, music and poetry.
With thanks to Liz Goodwin and Mark Ruston for their help.
- Sophisticated Beggar + Outtakes & Unreleased 1966
- Come Out Fighting Ghengis Smith 1967
- Folkjokeopus 1969
- Flat Baroque And Berserk 1970
- Stormcock 1971
- Lifemask 1973
- Valentine 1974
- Flashes From The Archives Of Oblivion 1974
- HQ 1975
- Bullinamingvase 1977
- Commercial Breaks 1977
- Harper 1970-1975 1978
- Unknown Soldier 1980
- Born In Captivity 1984
- Work Of Heart 1982
- Whatever Happened To Jugula? 1985
- In Between Every Line 1986
- Descendants Of Smith 1988
- Loony On The Bus 1988
- Once 1990
- Burn The World 1990
- Live At The Red Lion 1,2 and 3 1984-5 1990
- The Death Of God 1992
- Born In Captivity 2 – Unhinged 1993
- An Introduction To 1994
- Live At Les Cousins 1996
- The BBC Tapes 1-6 1997
- Poems, Speeches, Thoughts And Doodles 1997
- Song Of The Ages 1997
- The Dream Society 1998
- The Green Man 2000
- Hats Off 2001
- East Of The Sun 2001
- The Royal Festival Hall 2001
- Today Is Yesterday 2002
- The Death Of God 2005
- Counterculture 2005
- Beyond The Door 2005
- From Occident To Orient 2007
- Songs Of Love And Loss 2011
- Live In The Metropolis Studios 2011
- Man And Myth 2013
- Miscellaneous Tracks, Guest Appearances And Rarities 1970-2000
Roy Harper is a unique individual and innovative songwriter who took his first uncharacteristically tentative steps into the London folk scene during the mid-sixties.
Roy was born on the 12th of June 1941 into the middle of World War 2 and sadly his mother died a few days later from mastitis – a common breast infection that is nowadays easily treatable. The loss of his mother has naturally had a lifelong impact on Roy’s personality.
Roy’s father married again. His stepmother was a strict and religious woman and Roy’s life of rebellion began.
Roy’s first memory is of being held in someone’s arms looking towards a red glow on the horizon and being told ‘Manchester’s really copping it tonight’.
Roy was a wayward child and his younger years were marked by him constantly being in trouble at home and school. As a young boy he was found pedalling on his trike towards Liverpool, many miles from home. Roy’s dislike of the religion his stepmother imposed led to him performing pagan ceremonies and burying effigies in his back garden.
The genteel town of Lytham St Annes where Roy lived, was once described by him as a cemetery with a bus stop. The tedium of life in the drowsy town portrayed a conservative ethos he fought against.
As Roy moved into his teenage years, minor incidents progressed into more serious crimes. He and a small group of friends alternated between running free in the countryside and taking part in sprees of shoplifting and vandalism. These ranged from stealing chocolates in Woolworth to breaking into Lytham’s cricket pavilion. They drank the booze they found inside the pavilion and then burnt the building to the ground.