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Roy Harper

Today we are going to tell you some interesting facts about singer-songwriter Roy Harper, who influenced many artists like Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, Pete Townshend, Kate Bush, Pink Floyd, Ian Anderson, "Fleet Foxes" and more:


(Photo: George Scott)


  • Roy Harper was born on June 12, 1941, in Rusholme, Manchester, England.


  • His mother, Muriel, died three weeks after he was born. He was brought up by his father and stepmother whom he didn't get along with, due to her religious beliefs.


  • He was influenced by American blues and jazz musicians during his formative years.


  • Harper began writing poems when he was 12. At the age of 13 he began playing skiffle music with his younger brother David.


  • He formed his first group "De Boys" with his brothers David and Harry when he was only 14.


  • He join the Royal Air Force to follow an ambition to be a pilot. After two years He rejected the rigid discipline and feigned madness to obtain a military discharge.


  • Harper's first advertised performance was on 5 October 1965.


  • Harper is known for his distinctive fingerstyle.


  • He also known for his lengthy, lyrical, complex compositions, reflecting his love of jazz and the poet John Keats.


  • Harper Released his debut album, "Sophisticated Beggar", in 1966, showcasing his early folk style and poetic lyrics.


  • In 1968 He released his second studio album "Come Out Fighting Ghengis Smith", that includes the 11-minute track "Circle", which is a soundscape of Harper's difficult youth.


  • In 1969 he released "Folkjokeopus", including the track "McGoohan's Blues," reflecting his political and social commentaries.


  • In 1970 he released "Flat Baroque and Berserk", featuring the song "Another Day", which became one of his most recognized tracks, covered by several including "This Mortal Coil" (featuring Elizabeth Fraser) and Kate Bush. The album also featured "the Nice" on the track "Hell's Angels".


  • Harper gained critical acclaim with "Stormcock" released in 1971, an album characterized by long, complex compositions and featuring contributions from Jimmy Page and David Bedford.


  • In 1973 he released "Lifemask", including the epic track "The Lord’s Prayer," a 23-minute song reflecting Harper’s deep philosophical musings.


  • In 1974 he released "Valentine", featuring "Twelve Hours of Sunset". The album was celebrated with a Valentine’s Day concert at London’s Rainbow Theatre.



  • The same year Harper collaborated with "Led Zeppelin" on their song "Hats Off to (Roy) Harper," from the album "Led Zeppelin III".


  • More in the same year, harper was the lead vocalist on "Pink Floyd’s" song “Have a Cigar”, from the album "Wish You Were Here".


  • In 1977 he released "Bullinamingvase", that became one of his most commercially successful albums.


  • In 1978 he co-wrote the song "Short and Sweet" with David Gilmour. The song appears in Gilmour's debut album from the same year, and also on Harper's tenth album "The Unknown Soldier", released in 1980.


  • The song "You" from his album "The Unknown Soldier", featured a duet with Kate Bush.


  • In 1984 Harper toured the UK with Jimmy Page, performing acoustic sets under names like "The MacGregors" and "Themselves", leading to the 1985 release of "Whatever Happened to Jugula?".


  • He established his own record label, "Science Friction", in 1993, re-releasing much of his back catalogue on CD.


  • In 1990 he released "Once", featuring contributions from David Gilmour, Kate Bush, and Nigel Mazlyn Jones.


  • In 1998 he released "The Dream Society" with contributions fromIan Anderson of "Jethro Tull".


  • In 2007 Harper announced a break from live performances to focus on writing.

  • In 2011 he performed a 70th birthday concert at the Royal Festival Hall, joined by guests like Jimmy Page and Joanna Newsom.


  • In 2013 he released his last (to date) and 22nd studio album "Man and Myth", featuring Pete Townshend and Jonathan Wilson.


  • He is the father to singer-songwriter Nick Harper and son Ben Harper.


  • Songwriter and record producer Felix Howard claims Harper as his children's biological grandfather.


  • Harper is an atheist and known for his critical views on organized religion.


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