如果你和我一样是Led Zeppelin的死忠，那么你一定知道Led Zeppelin III的最后一首歌是什么——Hats Off To (Roy) Harper，Roy Harper，一个能让Robert Plant和Jimmy Page向他脱帽致敬的艺术家，你可以想象至少在某些方面他是多么的伟大。Roy Harper是英国的民谣歌手及作曲家，Robert Plant是他的歌迷，也好几次带著Jimmy Page去见他，双方似乎相当熟稔。Roy Harper以成为诗人为目标而营造出一个独立的诗意世界，而Robert Plant则被此所惑。Jimmy Page参加过Roy Harper的数张作品，也共同製作过专辑"Whatever Happened To Jugula"。John Paul Jones和Bonham也参与过Harper的专辑和live。另外，Roy Harper也和另一支伟大的乐队Pink Floyd有着长期的友谊和合作关系，One of My Turns等许多Pink Floyd的歌，也是与Roy Harper一起完成的。
Harper was born in the Manchester suburb of Rusholme, England. After the death of his mother a few weeks after his birth, he was raised near Blackpool by his father and step-mother, whose Jehovah's Witness beliefs eventually alienated him. Harper's anti-religious views would later become a familiar theme in his music. At the age of 10, he began playing skiffle music with his younger brother, David Harper, as well as being influenced by blues music, jazz and classical. Leaving school when he was 15, he joined the Royal Air Force only to reject its rigid discipline. He managed to feign madness in order to get a discharge. Harper then busked around Europe until 1964 when he returned to England and gained a residency at London's famous Les Cousins folk club in Soho.
His first album, The Sophisticated Beggar, was recorded in 1966 after Harper was spotted at the Les Cousins club and signed to Peter Richard's Strike Records. It consisted of his sung poetry backed by acoustic guitar with an echoplex tape machine. CBS Records saw his potential and hired producer Shel Talmy to arrange Come out Fighting Genghis Smith, with the 11 minute track "Circle", marking a widening of Harper's audience away from contemporary folk. Its cover was controversial at the time, depicting a new born baby, complete with umbilical cord.
1968's Folkjokeopus virtually mirrored the previous album, with a 15 minute version of "McGooghan's Blues". From May, 1968, Harper was making regular appearances at free concerts in London's Hyde Park attracting a cult following of fans from the underground music scene. Harper's first tour of the United States followed the release of the album Flat Baroque and Berserk in 1969 which featured The Nice on one track called "Hell's Angels". Its ethereal sound was achieved by a wah-wah pedal attached to an acoustic guitar. Flat Baroque and Berserk also marks the beginning of Harper’s relationship with EMI records with 8 of his early albums recorded at the Abbey Road Studios and released on EMI’s Harvest label. Harvest began in 1969 as a response to the growing emergence of ‘underground’ or ‘progressive music’.
After the Bath Festival of 1970, Led Zeppelin wrote a song titled "Hats Off to (Roy) Harper", which appeared on the album Led Zeppelin III. According to Jimmy Page, the band admired the way Harper stood by his principles and did not sell out to commercial pressures. In a mutual appreciation of their work, Harper would often attend live performances by Led Zeppelin over the subsequent decade as well as contribute sleeve photography to the album Physical Graffiti. He also appears, uncredited, in the 1976 film, The Song Remains the Same.
Harper's 1970 critically acclaimed album was the four song epic, Stormcock, featuring Jimmy Page on guitar (credited as "S. Flavius Mercurius") and David Bedford's orchestral arrangements. David Bedford would collaborate on future releases. In 1972, Harper made his acting debut playing Mike Preston alongside Carol White in the John Mackenzie film Made. The soundtrack for this film appeared in the following year with the title Lifemask. His next album Valentine, was released on Valentine's Day, 14 February 1974 and featured contributions from guitarist Jimmy Page. A concert to mark its release was held at London's Rainbow Theatre with Page, Bedford, Ronnie Lane on bass and Keith Moon on drums. The live album Flashes from the Archives of Oblivion soon followed.
Between 1975 and 1978, Harper spent considerable time in the United States. Pink Floyd's 1975 release Wish You Were Here saw Harper as lead vocalist on the song "Have a Cigar". Floyd's David Gilmour returned the favour by appearing on Harper's next album, HQ, along with Harper's occasional backing band called Trigger (Chris Spedding on guitar, Dave Cochran on bass guitar, and Bill Bruford on drums) along with Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones. The single "When an Old Cricketer Leaves the Crease", taken from the album, is Harper's biggest selling and best known solo record to date. Harper also co-wrote the song, "Short and Sweet" with Gilmour for Gilmour's first solo record released in 1978. He performed the song live with Gilmour at least once in the 80's singing the lead vocal.
Controversy followed the release of 1977's Bullinamingvase, with Watford Gap service station objecting to the lyrics in the song "Watford Gap", which criticised their food ("Watford Gap, Watford Gap / A plate of grease and a load of crap..."). Harper was forced under duress to drop it from future UK copies of the album, though it reappeared on a later CD reissue and remained on the U.S. LP. Bullinamingvase also featured "One of Those Days in England", with backing vocals by Paul McCartney and Linda McCartney, which became a Top 40 hit. Flat Baroque And Berserk, Lifemask, Valentine, Flashes from the Archives Of Oblivion, HQ and Bullinamingvase were all top 20 albums.
For much of the seventies, Harper was managed and had records produced by Peter Jenner.
The 1980 release, The Unknown Soldier, Harper’s last album to be recorded at the Abbey Road Studios, features David Gimour on 4 tracks including Harper’s version of “Short and Sweet”. Kate Bush also appears on the album for a duet on the song “You”. This album marks the end of Harper’s relationship with EMI records.
In 1980, Harper sang backing vocals on the song "Breathing", found on the Kate Bush album Never For Ever.
Harper's 1982 album, Work of Heart, marked the formation of Harper's own record label with Mark Thompson, entitled Public Records. Throughout 1984, Harper toured the United Kingdom with Jimmy Page, performing a predominantly acoustic set at folk festivals under various guises such as The MacGregors, and Themselves. They released an album called Whatever Happened to Jugula? under Harper's name and co-credited to Jimmy Page. Tony Franklin, the bass player in Harper's group at this time would later join Page in The Firm. In 1987 he briefly rejoined EMI for the release of the Descendants Of Smith. The album contains several important Harper tracks and is underrated. After he and EMI went their separate ways again, Harper inherited the record and changed the title to The Garden Of Uranium.
Since 1987, Harper has had a relatively low public profile, although 1990's Once was a tour-de-force, again featuring David Gilmour and Kate Bush.
After the end of his marriage to Jacqui in 1992, Harper composed the melancholy Death or Glory?. Harper's spoken words can be heard on The Tea Party's 1995 album The Edges of Twilight and he sings on the track "Time" from their 1996 multimiedia CD, Alhambra. In 1998, Harper released The Dream Society, a concept album based on his own life, particularly his youth. Jethro Tull's singer Ian Anderson also sessioned, contributing flute to the song, "These Fifty Years". Anderson is reported to have said that the only reason he originally left Blackpool was because Harper did.
The 2000 album, The Green Man was an entirely acoustic effort, with help from the Tea Party's Jeff Martin on guitar, hurdy gurdy and numerous other instruments.
In June 2001, Harper celebrated his 60th birthday with a concert at London's Royal Festival Hall, featuring many guest artists. A recording of the concert was released as a double CD shortly afterwards.
In 2002, Today Is Yesterday, a compilation of rare and previously unreleased material from 1964 - 1967, was released.
In 2003, Harper published The Passions of Great Fortune, a large format book containing all the lyrics to his albums (and singles) to date, including a wealth of photographs and commentary on his songs.
In April 2005, he released a lengthy CD single, The Death of God. This 13 minute song is a critique of the Iraq War and features guest guitarist Matt Churchill, who has also joined Harper on-stage at his live performances. May 2005 saw the release of Harper's latest album Counter Culture, a double compilation album featuring songs from a 35 year songwriting period. It received a five star review from Uncut magazine.
Early 2006, saw the release of Roy’s first DVD, Beyond The Door. The DVD is composed of De Barras Folk Club 2004 live footage along with images and footage collected by Roy to illustrate and compliment the songs... included is a 10 track audio cd of the songs.
Beyond The Door has received a 4 star review from Mojo Magazine, Uncut and Classic Rock, with the latter making it their dvd of the month.
Harper has dedicated the last 4-5 years collecting and compiling his life work in various formats. One of his future projects is likely to be the making of a documentary DVD to round off this process.
HQ was awarded ‘Record Of The Year’ in Portugal in 1975. Harper received a similar award in Finland for the same record in the same year.
After an influential, individualistic and uncompromising recording career spanning 40 years, Harper was awarded the Mojo Hero Award by the staff of Mojo magazine on June 16th 2005 at the Porchester Hall, Central London. The award itself was presented by long time collaborator and friend, Jimmy Page.
1. Sgt. Sunshine
2. She's The One
3. In The Time Of Water
4. Composer Of Life
5. One For All
6. Exercising Some Control
7. McGoohan's Blues