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Roy Harper

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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 the mid 1960s. He has released a large catalogue of albums as an artist (22 studio albums and 12 live albums) and 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), Pink Floyd (who invited him to sing guest lead vocals on their song “Have a Cigar”), Pete Townshend of The Who , Kate Bush, and Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull, who is on record as saying that Harper has been his “primary influence as an acoustic guitarist and songwriter”.

Few survivors from the golden age of British folk-rock have kept their reputations intact. Of the generation of troubadours who came of age in the folk clubs of London in the mid-1960s, some have passed away, others have surrendered to the regurgitation of the blandest form of acoustic folk music. But among the survivors, there is one figure whose body of work, comprising 23 studio LPs and almost as many live and compilation releases, has come to stand for a particularly single-minded form of integrity. That man is Roy Harper.

Now officially ‘retired’, and living in a secluded corner of Ireland, Harper has recently been hailed as a key influence by a much younger generation of devoted starsailors who instinctively recognise his innovations, his refusal to compromise and his visionary world view. It is rumoured that Joanna Newsom insisted she’d only play her recent UK shows if he would support her.

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