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Sandy Denny

Sandy Denny

Alexandra Elene MacLean "Sandy" Denny (6 January 1947 – 21 April 1978) was an English singer and songwriter, perhaps best known as the lead singer for the folk rock band Fairport Convention. She has been described as "the pre-eminent British folk rock singer".After briefly working with British folk band the Strawbs, Denny joined Fairport Convention in 1968, remaining with that band until the end of 1969. She formed the short-lived band Fotheringay in 1970, releasing one album with them (another unreleased album surfaced over thirty years later), before focusing on a solo career. Between 1971 and 1977, Denny released four solo albums: The North Star Grassman and the Ravens, Sandy, Like an Old Fashioned Waltz, and Rendezvous. She is also noted as the only guest vocalist on a Led Zeppelin studio album, when she shared a duet with Robert Plant for "The Battle of Evermore" on Led Zeppelin's untitled fourth album (1971).Music publications Sunday Express, Uncut and Mojo have each called Denny Britain's finest female singer-songwriter. Her composition "Who Knows Where the Time Goes?" has been recorded by many artists as diverse as Judy Collins, Nina Simone, 10,000 Maniacs and Cat Power.Estate and familyAfter relocating to Australia and remarrying, Trevor Lucas died of a heart attack in 1989. Denny's estate is now managed by Lucas' widow, Elizabeth Hurtt-Lucas.Sandy Denny's daughter, Georgia, has never spoken about her mother in a public forum and in the mid-2000s turned down an invitation to write the liner notes for Sandy Denny Live at the BBC. However, she flew to Britain from Australia in 2006 to accept, on behalf of her mother, the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards award for Most Influential Folk Album Of All Time, which was given for Fairport Convention's Liege and Lief. Georgia gave birth to twin daughters on 29 April 1997, and a tribute album, Georgia On Our Mind, featuring many of Sandy Denny's former band mates and friends, was compiled in the children's honour.TributesSince her death, many tributes have been made to Denny, both in music and elsewhere. Dave Pegg of Fairport Convention recorded the tribute "Song for Sandy" on his 1983 solo album The Cocktail Cowboy Goes It Alone. Dave Cousins of Strawbs wrote "Ringing Down the Years" in memory of Sandy Denny shortly after her death. Songs more specific to the death were Bert Jansch's "Where Did My Life Go" and Richard Thompson's "Did She Jump or Was She Pushed?". Fellow Brit folk pioneers Spriguns changed the title of their 1978 album to Magic Lady after hearing of Denny's death while recording. In 1998, a variety of Daylily was named after her.Denny's songs have been covered by numerous artists in the years since her death. Some of the notable acts to have covered her music include Yo La Tengo, former Marillion frontman Fish, who covered "Solo" on his album Songs from the Mirror, Cat Power, Judy Collins and Nina Simone. Kate Bush named Denny in the lyric of "Blow Away (For Bill)", a track on her 1980 album Never for Ever.Several radio specials have been produced about Denny's life and music, including BBC Radio 2's The Sandy Denny Story: Who Knows Where the Time Goes. In 2007, Denny's song "Who Knows Where the Time Goes?" also received BBC Radio 2's 2007 Folk Award for "Favourite Folk Track of All Time." In 2010, she was recognized by NPR in their 50 Great Voices special series.In April 2008, a tribute concert was held at The Troubadour in London, to mark the thirtieth anniversary of Denny's death. Those taking part included Martin Carthy, Linda Thompson and Joe Boyd. A more extensive tribute was given later that year in December at the Southbank in the Queen Elizabeth Hall called The Lady: A Tribute to Sandy Denny with a band composed of members of Bellowhead, the evening featured a mix of young folk acts like Jim Moray and Lisa Knapp alongside those that had known and worked with Denny such as Dave Swarbrick and Jerry Donahue. These acts were joined by performers from outside the world of folk like PP Arnold and Marc Almond. The concert – which primarily featured songs written by Denny – received a four-star review in The Guardian. In May 2012 the Southbank concert was expanded into an eight date UK tour called The Lady: A Homage to Sandy Denny. The tour showcased Sandy's entire songbook taking in her work with Fairport Convention, Fotheringay, her solo career and the new songs completed by Thea Gilmore on her album ‘Don’t Stop Singing’. The band was once more composed of members of Bellowhead. Acts performing included the aforementioned Thea Gilmore, up and coming folk acts Lavinia Blackwall of Trembling Bells, Blair Dunlop and Sam Carter, alongside more established folk stars Maddy Prior, Dave Swarbrick and Jerry Donahue. The line-up was completed with performers not normally associated with the folk scene; Green Gartside, Joan Wasser aka Joan As Police Woman and PP Arnold. The tour was well received, getting a four-star review in the Times. and the London concert at the Barbican was filmed for BBC4, and broadcast in a 90 minute programme called 'The Songs of Sandy Denny' on 9 November 2012 at 10.05pm.In the 2012 Irish film "Silence" (Harvest Films & South Wind Blows) ‘Who Knows Where the Time Goes’ by Sandy Denny is used in the final credits and also during the film.


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