2003-07-12 02:29:11 UTC
<Guardian, April 27, 1978>
SANDY DENNY, who has died in a London hospital aged 31, was one of the
most individual and compelling British songwriters and singers of the
last 10 years.
She was in a coma for four days at Atkinson Morley Hospital,
Wimbledon, after falling down stairs at a friend's flat. Sandy, who
died of a brain haemorrhage, was planning to move to America with her
musician husband Trevor Lucas and nine-month old baby Georgia.
She was one of the originators of "folk-rock", a ballad artist of
considerable sensitivity and insight, and a singer who could switch
easily between high amplified rock styles and gentle emotional and
personal solopieces at the piano.
Sandy's career started in typical mid-60s fashion. A student at
Kensington Art College, London, she performed around the folk club
circuit, introducing her own songs alongside traditional material.
She joined a then-struggling band, The Strawbs, with whom she recorded
an album. Then, almost exactly ten years ago, she auditioned for
Fairport Convention confessing after she had got the job that she had
thought they were American.
In 1969 the Fairports reached their peak. By now Sandy was known also
for her songwriting abilities and she seemed set to become a major
But at the end of 1969, just as the Fairports were becoming
well-known, she left and started a new band Fotheringay with
Australian guitarist Trevor Lucas whom she married three years later.
Fotheringay rarely matched Fairport on stage.
After Fotheringay she went on to make four solo albums which included
highly personal, quietly introspective ballads.
From 1974-6 she rejoined Fairport Convention, which now included her
husband, and their 1975 album Rising For the Moon was an impressive
return to a strong mixture of rock tunes and ballads.
The public were not so impressed and Sandy quit again, returning to
solo work. Her last album Rendezvous came out last year. At her last
London concert her haunting, sensitive voice was as fine as ever.
She may have suffered from the whims of fashion and her own
insecurity, but she had the personality and talent to develop even
further. She'll be sadly missed. -R.D.