Roy Harper

Born 12 June 1941.
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The First Time With...Roy Harper (Excerpt)

Folk rock hero Roy Harper talks about the music that shaped him.

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Roy Harper (born 12 June 1941) is an English folk rock singer, songwriter and guitarist who has been a professional musician since 1964. He has released 22 studio albums and 10 live albums.

Musically, American blues musician Lead Belly and folk singer Woody Guthrie were his earliest influences, and, in his teens, jazz musician Miles Davis. Harper was also exposed to classical music in his childhood and has pointed to the influence of Jean Sibelius's Karelia Suite. Lyrical influences include the 19th century Romantics, especially Shelley, and Keats's poem "Endymion". Harper has also cited the Beat poets as being highly influential, particularly Jack Kerouac. As a musician, Harper is known for his distinctive fingerstyle playing and lengthy, lyrical, complex compositions, a result of his love of jazz and Keats.

His influence has been acknowledged by many musicians including Jimmy Page and Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin, who named the song "Hats Off to (Roy) Harper" after him, Pete Townshend of the Who, Kate Bush, Pink Floyd, who asked him to sing lead vocals on their song "Have a Cigar", and Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull, who stated Harper was his "...primary influence as an acoustic guitarist and songwriter." Neil McCormick of The Daily Telegraph has described him as "one of Britain’s most complex and eloquent lyricists and genuinely original songwriters."

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BBC Reviews

  1. Review of Songs of Love and Loss

    Songs of Love and Loss 2011

    Reviewed by Sid Smith
    His erratic genius is finally getting the recognition it so richly deserves.
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