Sandy Denny

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About Sandy Denny

With her warm tone and lithe embellishments, Sandy Denny was an icon of the turn-of-the-’70s English folk scene and the composer of some of its most enduring songs. Born in London in 1947, she began singing traditional music as a child under the tutelage of her Scottish grandmother. In her late teens, Denny began to make a name for herself on the London folk circuit, joining singer/songwriter Dave Cousins’ band The Strawbs before moving on to Fairport Convention in 1968. In the Richard Thompson-led Fairport, Denny’s star would rise in earnest; she contributed both vocals and original material to their 1969 albums What We Did On Our Holidays, Unhalfbricking, and Liege and Lief. The Unhalfbricking standout “Who Knows Where the Time Goes?” became ubiquitous through interpretations by Nina Simone, Judy Collins, and others. Denny left the band in 1970, forming her own short-lived group Fotheringay, and two tour de force solo releases followed in the next two years. Amid working on her own music, she would guest on Led Zeppelin’s Tolkien-inspired “The Battle of Evermore” and reunite briefly with Fairport in 1974. Struggles with mental health and substance abuse led to increasingly self-destructive behavior in the mid-’70s, resulting in a coma-inducing fall. Denny died of a brain hemorrhage in 1978 at age 31.

Wimbledon, London, England
January 6, 1947
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