Sandy Denny Biography


Alexandra Denny was born in Wimbledon on June 6, 1947. Music was a central part of her younger years and she had a natural ease in leaming the guitar.

Sandy was studying at the Kensington Art College when she made her debut at a London suburban folk club. In less than a year she was getting regular work and decided to leave art college to pursue a career in music.

For two years she worked solo, gained quite a reputation on the British folk scene and then joined the early Strawbs She made one album with them called 'All Our Own Work' During that period she also made a solo album called simply 'Sandy Denny'.

In May 1968 Sandy joined Fairport Convention replacing Judy Dyble. As lead singer for Fairport Convention she was instrumental in introducing traditional folk songs into the group's repertoire as well as some of her own material.

With the first Fairport album recorded with Sandy, 'What We Did On Our Holidays', the direction she was leading them in was already developing. Just before 'Unhalfbrickering' her second album with the group was to be released, Martin Lamble their rhythm guitarist died in an automobile accident. The album is considered to be one of Fairport's better works. Fairport made some line-up changes and then recorded 'Leige and Life' which is their very best and is justifiably regarded as the most important folk-rock album ever! While with Fairport Sandy had also strengthened her songwriting reputation when American singer Judy Collins recorded and had a hit with Sandy's 'Who Knows Where The Time Goes' However, the time came, as it eventually does with talents like Sandy's, that she outgrew Fairport Convention. She left the group at the time of the group 's greatest national popularity (late '69), to form her own band Fotheringay (named after one of Sandy's old compossitions..

The group, consisting of bassist Pat Donaldson, guitarist Jerry Donahue, guitarist Trevor Lucas {who she later married) and drummer Gerry Conway, made one album together 'Fotheringay'. It was a good album which promised great things but bad business management forced the group to disband while in the throes of recording a second album.

Sandy modestly began an extremely successful (from a critical point of view) solo career.

Three albums followed 'The North Star Grassman And The Ravans', 'Sandy', and 'Like An Old Fashioned Waltz'. The first two were folk rock and the third showed a definite change in direction as Sandy risked doing several Fats Waller numbers but they all met with critical and some commercial success.

In 1974 she rejoined Fairport Convention, which then included Lucas and Donahue. She appeared with them on one studio album 'Rising For The Moon ' which again immediately established Sandy as a vital memberof the group but arguments within the group made her leave again in 1976.

Her career underwent a slump and it was rumoured her private life did too. The album 'Rendezvous' therefore remained on the shelf for about a year before it was f finally released in 1977. Nevertheless the album is, in many aspects, of such high quality that it is hailed as her best ever and can easily be considered the best album ever made by any female recording artist.

An end came to Sandy's presumably rather tragic life on April 21st 1978. She fell down some steps while at a friend's house and was immediately rushed to hospital where she lay in a coma for a week before she died of a brain hemorrhage.

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