ROY HARPER is my most favourite songwriters and I try to aspire, without imitating, to write songs as good or even better than he has. I use him as a challenge and teacher when it comes to writing songs. I have even invited him to drop in and have a cup of tea with me if he is ever in the country and has the time, because I would love to learn more about the man.
I know that he is respected by and has written, collaborated and performed with many well known musicians and is the only person other than the members of Pink Floyd, to ever sing a lead vocal track on a Pink Floyd song ( Have A Cigar – Wish You Were Here).
Led Zeppelin write a song for him (Hats Off To Roy Harper – Led Zeppelin 3).
Paul and Linda McCartney did backing vocals on the beautiful “One Of Those Days In England” from his wonderful album, Bullinamingvase.
One of his most hauntingly beautiful and interesting songs would have to be “Asleep At The Wheel”, a song I like to play if I get the opportunity, to people I meet because I know if they make a comment about it or look as though they’re enjoying it, then they’ve got good taste in music and I’ll probably get along quite well with them.
I was first introduced to this album by a friend who took me on a drive through the beautiful countryside in which I lived at the time.
At first it didn’t do much for me until I heard the song “Hope” and then my ears opened up and I began to listen to the album properly. What I heard were some great songs that left me feeling like “I want to write songs as good as that”.
They are interesting, funny, beautiful and a journey within themselves.
If you have never listened to Roy Harper before, then please do yourself that favour and listen to some of the most beautifully crafted songs you will ever hear.
Whatever Happened to Jugula? is a 1985 album by Roy Harper and Jimmy Page.
With a working title of Rizla due to the album’s cover art (an unravelled orange Rizla pack), Jugula, as this album is often called, was released on the Beggars Banquet label and reached the UK Top 20. The album contains a number of well crafted, original songs written by Harper.
It is recorded in a fresh and spontaneous manner, often with only the unique and beautiful sound of Ovation guitars and vocals. Occasionally, the spacious arrangements are filled with synthesizer and electric guitar.
This album in particular brought Harper to a new and wider audience, mainly due to Harper and Jimmy Page’s appearances at the Cambridge Folk Festival in 1984, an album tour and a 15 minute televised interview by Mark Ellen on the Old Grey Whistle Test.
The interview featured Harper and Page playing their acoustic guitars on the side of Scafell Pike in the English Lake District, a somewhat different and unusual interview for the time. Songs played included “Hangman” and part of “The Same Old Rock”.
The first track on the album, “Nineteen Forty-Eightish”, a reference to George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, crescendos with a fine piece of lead guitar by Page.
This album was the fifth that Harper and Page had worked on, but the first entire record they made together. For those used to Page’s guitar playing, his input is quite evident throughout the album.
Page is a natural and perfect complement to Harper’s deft, fresh and unique guitar playing. Other standout tracks include “Hangman”, a powerful song that expresses the feelings of an innocent man condemned to die and “Frozen Moment”, a particularly beautiful song played entirely in the chord of C.
The title for ‘Jugula’ came from playing Trivial Pursuit, in order to explain to everyone how they should go about answering the questions as straight and honestly as possible I’d say, “Go for the jugula”.
It was going to be ‘Harper & Page’ for a while, but that’s like selling Jimmy’s name, then it went to ‘1214’ which is the year that the Magna Carta was signed… but that was a bit esoteric. So one day we were talking and “jugula” came up, so I phoned the artist and they’d designed up to the ‘Whatever happened to…’ bit so I said leave it there and put Jugula at the end”.
David Gilmour wrote the music for the third track, “Hope”, Harper penned the lyrics, and Nick Harper (Harper’s 16 year old son at the time), played the lead guitar on this track (not Gilmour as is often mistakenly stated).
A faster tempo version of this melody with different lyrics, appears on the White City: A Novel album by Pete Townshend, entitled “White City Fighting”.
A cover version of “Hope”, with “Bad Speech” as an introduction, can be found on the album Eternity by the Liverpudlian band Anathema, an album that Harper also makes an appearance on.
1. “Nineteen Forty-Eightish” – Harper
2. “Bad Speech” – Harper
3. “Hope” Harper, – Gilmour
4. “Hangman” – Harper
1. “Elizabeth” – Harper
2. “Frozen Moment” – Harper
3. “Twentieth Century Man” – Harper
4. “Advertisement (Another Intentional Irrelevant Suicide)” – Harper
* Roy Harper – acoustic guitar and/or electric guitar
* Jimmy Page – acoustic guitar and/or electric guitar
* Tony Franklin – electric bass
* Nik Green – keyboard
* Ronnie Brambles – drums
* Steve Broughton – drums
* Preston Heyman – drums
* Nick Harper – semi-acoustic guitar
* Nik Green – mixing desk
(thanks to Wikipedia for the information supplied)
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