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.