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Kevin Ayers

Kevin Ayers

Kevin Ayers and Ollie Hallsall

Kevin Ayers and Ollie Hallsall – Thanks to Marvin Siau for this wondeful photo!

This site is made by fans of Kevin Ayers, there is nothing official about this site at all. If you would like to get involved by providing some content of any sort we would love to hear from you. We would love this site to grow through the interaction of readers, so don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Kevin Ayers was a legend: from the early heavy bass lines of Soft Machine when he was just a young lad to his first solo album Joy of a Toy in 1969, to his final masterpiece The Unfairground, his music has always been interesting to say the least. I can’t think of any artist that has released such a wide collection of work that ranges from the ridiculous ‘Hat Song’ to the mind bending ‘Irreversible Neural Damage’. Kevin’s music is influenced by blues, rock, jazz, calypso, reggae and more which all seem to collide together perfectly. His albums always features a huge range of instruments including mellotrons, penny whistles and kazoos. Kevin was always very proud of the musicians that played with him, which we will talk about in more detail later in the musicians section. But for the moment, let’s spare a moment for Ollie Hallsall who played with Kevin on the majority of his albums. Truly one of the greatest guitarists of all time. Oh yes and there was Mike Oldfield and Elton John too!

It is true to say that for a guy who has the utmost admiration, love and respect amongst fans and musicians, he was never particularly famous. There are lots of stories about Kevin Ayers saying that he sabotaged his own success, but I like to think that he just liked things the way he liked them. I believe Kevin was a man who didn’t like people telling him what to do or how things should be done. In 2008 there was a documentary on a Catalan TV station called Sputnik, called ‘Les Illes Escollides’ (The Selected Isles) which was about the music scene in the Balearic Islands during the 1960s and 70s. In the show there was an interview with Kevin who said,

“The only important thing in your life will be your freedom of thought, of speech and expression. If you can’t have that you are zero, you are just another piece of shit on the Earth”

There is quite a lot of information about Kevin Ayers already on the internet in places like Wikipedia, so the intention here is not to just regurgitate what has already been written, but to try and pull a lot of this information together and make it easily accessible and at the same time add to it. For this reason I would urge you to comment on anything you read here and add your own thoughts, opinions and express yourself. Conversely if you are new to the music of Kevin Ayers, don’t feel afraid to ask any questions you might have. To a newcomer, some of Kevin’s music might appear a bit strange, possibly silly, sometimes even very frightening!

Kevin Ayers released a stunning volume of work over the years and I am currently putting together a big spreadsheet of all his songs and albums. The idea is that you will be able to use this site to cross reference his songs and get familiar with different versions that appeared on different albums, live recordings, compilations and singles. It’s a big task, but I think it will be a good project and hopefully along the way we will get to discover and hear some Kevin Ayers music that we didn’t even know existed.

We began writing this blog at the end of July 2013 and shortly afterwards we went to Kevin’s Memorial Event in Deia, Mallorca which was held on the 16th August 2013, which would have been Kevin’s 69th birthday. Susan has written a book about the events leading up to this event and the even itself. It is now available on Amazon.

17 comments… add one
  • Derek styles July 15, 2015, 9:30 pm

    Please forward my email address to Nigel Stoneley

    • Rick July 15, 2015, 10:15 pm

      Hi Derek, Nigel doesn’t do the internet, but I can email you his phone number/address if you wish.

  • polarlow November 28, 2015, 11:33 am

    Could you please send me the link to get the MP3 files.


    • Rick November 28, 2015, 7:36 pm

      please check your email, you will have a link there.

  • Phil Brown December 27, 2015, 10:12 am

    Your site is a welcome surprise!
    Saw Kevin and the Wizards at a packed Borderline, London 7 June 2003. Excellent gig. Would greatly appreciate any music links you are willing to share. Keep up the good work.



    • Rick December 27, 2015, 10:30 am

      Hi Phil, well this site is a ‘work in progress’ but unfortunately ‘real work’ 🙁 gets in the way a bit. It’s happening slowly and we will let you know when we have something worth looking at. Meanwhile, you have the downloads yeah?

  • kevin faulkner January 23, 2016, 3:36 pm

    Had the pleasure of hearing Kevin Ayers perform at the University of East Anglia in ’76. Was a fan years before that and still am ! Shame he never got the fame he deserved, not wanting to play the music industry’s exploitative game, choosing to be his own man in music, to his great credit. http://aquariumofvulcan.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/kevin-ayers.html

  • Kim Lee Harvey March 4, 2016, 11:54 am

    Hi, this site is great. I listen to Kevin Ayers every day, what an amazing guy, unique and brilliant, not only was his music brilliant but his whole outlook on life was and still is inspiring. Is there some MP3 files I can be sent? Thanks in advance if so. Have a great day, Kim.

    • Rick March 4, 2016, 12:02 pm

      Hi Kim, thanks – there’s a long way to go with this site and progress is slow, meanwhile please check your email 🙂

  • Phil Morley March 18, 2016, 2:53 am

    Great to find people that care about music and not just about money 🙂

  • Diane Williams (now Rafferty) March 27, 2016, 3:25 am

    I saw Kevin Ayers play in Deya at a new museum Bill Waldron built with a little help on the archeology front from me, and later saw him in London at a club I can’t remember. The Soft Machine with Ayers I loved because they had a sense of humor. I heard about his death from Tomas Graves. The crazy thing is, I’ve been trying to get in touch with Nigel Stoneley for the past few years, and stumbled upon your website, and the query for his contacts. He has always been my guardian angel–it’s a long story– and I would love to hear from him. I think he was/is a good poet and made me laugh a lot. Hope someone will please ask him to email me his phone so we can talk a bit. He knew me as Diane Williams, and I am still an American, whatever that means.

  • Diane Williams (now Rafferty) March 27, 2016, 3:36 am

    Sorry if I messed up. Just hope that Rick will kindly ask Nigel Stoneley to contact me at my email or if not email me with his address and phone number. Not sure my first comment got through.

    • Rick March 27, 2016, 9:30 am

      Hi Diane, well stumbled upon! Comments have to be approved by us first time to avoid spammers and weirdos! I’ve emailed you some details about Nigel. I’m sure he would love to hear from you.

  • al perry May 12, 2016, 7:46 am

    the first and only time i ever saw kevin ayers was when he performed at maxwell’s in hoboken, new jersey in 1993…(i had been living in new jersey at the time; now i’m in portugal)…it was a great solo acoustic show…i had seen many acts perform at the venue but that was the first time the whole crowd was sitting on the floor…maxwell’s was a bar/performance venue…the bar was at the front of the building and the stage was in a rear area with no tables or chairs so the audiences would always stand…but at kevin’s show, coinciding with his own laid back hippie attitude, the audience sat on the floor…sort of an indoor woodstock…there was enough room for all of us to do that; the show was not sold out nor a packed house…in fact, when kevin arrived on stage he looked into the crowd and his first words were “a small but select crowd”…

    as far as i can remember, the performance was great and flawless…kevin only became slightly flustered toward the end when some of us began calling out requests for songs which, he admitted, he had forgotten how to play…

    a great night with a living legend…i wish i had a recording of the event…

  • Angel August 14, 2016, 9:40 pm

    I discover your blog tonight (from France). Fantastic ! And, of course, your cassette recording of J. Peel (on Youtube, unfortunately, with “holes”….).
    As you, my life has changed when I heard K. Ayers (but I was 18). To me, the five first albums are the best. Nothing to throw away ! I have the french lp’s. So, if you want the scan of sleeves or labels, they are available.

    • Rick August 15, 2016, 7:05 am

      Hi Angel, you should now have an email with a link to get all the recordings we have. This includes the John Peel show without the holes. Enjoy. Tomorrow is a special day 🙂

  • Napo CamassaIII August 18, 2016, 11:52 am

    Thanks a lot…..I was and I still I am one of the Arch European Canterburian archivist/sax player…Probably one of the very very few who met and interviewed Mike….witt Kevin , Robert and Elton
    the ‘stories’ are a joy to remember

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