Roy Harper is an English folk rock singer, songwriter and guitarist. He was born in June 1941 in Manchester. His mother died three weeks after he was born, and he was raised by his father and stepmother.
As a musician, Harper is known as an excellent acoustic guitarist, writes charged and moving lyrics and especially an amazing singer with a range that shakes the soul, very lively, but accurate and never flattering.
Another Day– one of the saddest love song i know. The feeling of exhaustion and loss involved in love- Two characters who interfere with their relationshipת They themselves prevent them from being together- neither of them initiates.
“Oh, really, my dear, I can’t see what we fear
Standing here with ourselves in between us
And at the door, we can’t say no more than just another day
And without a sound I turn around and I walk away”
With his sheer simplicity, scathing criticism and refusal to flatter, Harper created something else that could not be avoided. Harper’s works can be treated as a kind of time travel, from pure chaos to monstrous order, humanity on the edge of the cliff, moving between intoxication and sobriety, between understanding and concern and institutional cruelty.
“I Hate the White Man” -one of his most notable composition. a combination of ironic self-hatred with muddled reflections on the chaos that is the modern world.
“Where slot machine confusion
“And the plastic universe
Are objects of amusement
In the fiction of their curse
And where the crazy whiteman
And his teargas happiness
Lies dead and long since buried
By his own fantastic mess
For I hate the whiteman
And his plastic excuse
For I hate the whiteman
And the man who turned him loose
And I hate the whiteman
And his ever-green excuse
Oh I hate the whiteman
And the man who turned you all loose
And the man who turned him loose…”
Harper was charged in November 2013 with ten counts of alleged historic child sexual abuse over a period of several years with two under-age females. After a two-week trial in 2015, he was unanimously acquitted by a jury of two of the charges with no verdicts on the remaining five, then in November 2015, following a review by the Director of Public Prosecutions, the remaining charges were dropped.
Hors D’Oeuvres (Stormcock, 1971):
“The judge sits on his great assize
Twelve men wise with swollen thighs
Who never ever told no lies
Whose minds were ever such a size
Whose lives were ever such a prize
Whose brains bred answers just like flies
Whose answers stalked their thoughts like spies
Whose lead ball through the courtroom flies
To rip a hole clean between two eyes
That never ever wore disguise
And never ever saw blue skies
Who quickly lived now slowly dies
Who closed unopened otherwise
Well you can lead a horse to water
But you’re never gonna make him drink
And you can lead a man to slaughter
But you’re never gonna make him think”
‘One Man Rock and Roll Band‘- A song by a lost soldier returning home after the war.
‘Welcome home, you total stranger
Welcome to the Fountainhead
Welcome home, there is no danger
You do not need your gun, man, we’re already dead.’
‘The Same Old Rock‘– Some argue that this song is about the oppression of religion. Some would say that this song was written (in a way that suits Harper) for human hypocrisy, two-facedness and forgery, whether in religion or in our social culture.
Oh, and of course Jimmy Page in a beautiful solo on the acoustic guitar.
‘Hell’s Angels’– EMI, who had just signed Roy to the Harvest label, were looking to promote him. They had expectations. They thought Roy could be big. They thought that a hit single would be a good step to promote the album so they were applying a little pressure. It provoked Roy’s usual response, of coures- he decided to do as they requested and produce a single, ‘Hell’s Angels’. It was a deliberate attempt to create something that he knew could never appear on Top of the Pops or get radio play.
if you think you need a better world
why don’t you just make one
like the Hell’s Angels
live your own law, lick your own paw
fancy seeing all of you slugs, well I don’t know
fancy seeing all of you mugs
drinking all your government drugs
well I don’t know
helping all your government thugs
Harper is one of the leading, learned and enthusiastic speakers of British folk rock (anyone who needs receptions is welcome to check in with Jimmy Page, Johnny Marr or Pink Floyd members who are still alive).
“Jugula“- a unique and dark album by from Roy Harper, Nick Harper, Jimmy Page and David Gilmour. “Hangman“- the story of an innocent man condemned to die.
Pink Floyd’s “Have a Cigar” The third track off of 1975’s ‘Wish You Were Here’ is a scathing critique of the music industry. Harper’s involvement with the recording arose from the dissatisfaction that Waters and David Gilmour felt with their own attempts to sing the lead vocal line. After trying it both separately and as a duet they turned to Harper, who was recording his album HQ at Abbey Road at the same time as Pink Floyd. Harper agreed to sing the part as a way of repaying a ‘favour’ to Gilmour.
“once”- the sixteenth studio album released in 1990, Many of the lyrics deal with the impact of the fall of communism, which had taken place as Harper recorded the album. “The Black Cloud of Islam” – “I knew that I’d let it slip. I wanted it to slip. I was absolutely sick of being politically correct. I am not politically correct, I never have been..”. His stated reason for penning the song was the religion, which he said “about to storm the world” and “take over whole swathes of humanity”; a thought that he detested and made him “want to die on the spot”.
Harper has never burst into the consciousness of the general public, but still, has been an inspiration to many and great. Paul McCartney sang vocals on his album. Led Zeppelin dedicated an entire song to him. Pink Floyd used him as a singer on one of their most successful albums. Ian Anderson (Jetro Tull) said about him ‘a major influence for him’ all Cherish and fall before him. Backing vocals of Paul McCartney- ‘One Of These Days In England’:
“Hats Off to Harper“- Led Zeppelin’s third album is a homage to this huge band and especially to an old friend, Jimmy Page towards Harper.
I first discovered Roy Harper on my trip to India. Along with the breathtaking views and many good souls I met, I also had quite a few thoughts and frustrations: on the one hand, the insecurity and even existential fear I felt walking down the street put before my eyes my daily threat as a woman, as a mobile target; On the other hand, the unfair and obvious privilege, that in a sense, the very color of my skin as such, allows me.
The music was the shelter. She contained the helplessness, she was able to deal with questions to which I could not find answers. She helped me transcribe the feelings, attack the emotions, stabilize my crystallizing values.
On one of the long train rides (40 hours), I dived through my western headphones into the dark depths of YouTube and by chance, clicked to play a song called ‘I hate the white man’.
I do not know if it is the smell of urine, the eyes of the hungry child or the sacred cow, but the point where this song caught me changed the trip for me and to some extent, me as a human being too. I invite you to join Roy Harper’s journey, to experience, to listen, to think, to doubt.
Published: May 9, 2022
Latest Revision: May 19, 2022
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