Steeleye Span

Steeleye Span is a British folk rock band. It is one of the most important bands of the genre.

Name of the band

The band's name comes from a character from the English folk song Horkstow Grange. Of Steeleye Span even this song was recorded in 1998.

Band History

Founded Steeleye Span in 1969 by bassist Ashley Hutchings, who wanted to develop from the folk-rock of his old band Fairport Convention to a more folk-style - old English original as possible interpretation of folk songs - and this with the duo Maddy Prior ( vocals) and Tim Hart ( vocals, guitar, percussion, dulcimer) and the couple Gay and Terry Woods teamed; latter were replaced in 1970 by Peter Knight ( violin ) and Martin Carthy (guitar, vocals).

But to commercial breakthrough for Steeleye Span did not occur until 1971, when the band went over to more electrically amplified instruments and developed the characteristic for them blend of old folk songs and rock. This tendency was reinforced when in 1974 the drummer Nigel Pegrum joined the band, which led to that produced by Ian Anderson LP Now We are Six. The singer Maddy Prior published 1977-1993 various solo albums.

Rick Kemp replaced the band's founder Ashley Hutchings and Bob Johnson replaced Martin Carthy; to 1976, the group stayed together in the occupation Prior, Hart, Knight, Johnson, Kemp and Pegrum. Then Carthy came back for Johnson and John Kirkpatrick replaced Peter Knight.

In the 1970s, Steeleye Span was one of the most famous English folk rock groups. The group played almost exclusively traditional songs that they had re-arranged. Mike Batt as a music producer turned the music more towards pop. During this time succeeded Steeleye Span to bring in addition to their albums and two songs in the British charts. Hat On, produced by Mike Batt album All Around My found himself with the title song the biggest hit of the group, but also Gaudete - a Christmas carol dating from the 16th century in the Latin language - came into the charts. However, there were anyway not necessarily the hits of this era, which led to Steeleye Span concerts, especially in England and the Netherlands were still well attended by 2000: This was ensured more titles like Cam Ye o'er Frae France, Allison Gross and Lovely on the Water.

With the ebbing of the folk-rock boom, this group also lost its importance and disbanded in 1978 temporarily. However, they found around 1980 in the cast of the 1974 back together. Although all major international success in the 1990s were recorded: Steeleye Span albums produced again and gave concerts, including in 1995 an eight-hour charity concert at London's Forum, which brings together played nearly all of the band members.


Steeleye Span impressed with the combination of traditional songs with modern sounds the English folk rock instrumental with and can be considered as one of the most important groups in this genre, along with bands like Fairport Convention and Pentangle. Many later folk-rock musicians are influenced by them, including the Fleet Foxes.


  • Ashley Hutchings - bass guitar, vocals ( born January 26, 1945)
  • Maddy Prior - vocals ( born August 14, 1947)
  • Tim Hart - guitar, vocals ( born January 9, 1948 † 24 December 2009)
  • Peter Knight - violin ( born May 27, 1947)
  • Nigel Pegrum - Drums ( born January 22, 1949)
  • Rick Kemp - bass (* November 24, 1941 )
  • Bob Johnson - guitar, vocals ( born March 17, 1944)
  • John Kirkpatrick - accordion
  • Martin Carthy - guitar, vocals ( born May 21, 1941)
  • Gay Woods - vocals
  • Terry Woods - Mandolin
  • Gerry Conway - drums
  • Ken Nicol - guitar, vocals
  • Liam Genockey - drums

Discography (selection)

  • Hark! The Village Wait ( 1970)
  • Please to See the King ( 1971)
  • Ten Man Mop, or Mr. Reservoir Rides Again (1972 )
  • Below the Salt (1972 )
  • Parcel of Rogues (1973 )
  • Now We Are Six (1974 )
  • Commoner 's Crown (1975 )
  • All Around My Hat (1975 )
  • Rocket Cottage ( 1976)
  • Storm Force Ten (1977 )
  • TimeSpan (1977 )
  • Original Masters (1977 )
  • Sails of Silver (1980 )
  • Back in Line ( 1986)
  • Tempted and Tried (1989 )
  • Tonight's the night - LIVE ( 1992)
  • Time ( 1996)
  • Horkstow Grange ( 1998)
  • Bedlam Born ( 2000)
  • The Very Best of Steeleye Span - Present (2002)
  • They Called her Babylon ( 2004)
  • Winter ( 2004)
  • In Concert (2006)
  • Bloody Men (2006 )
  • Cogs, Wheels and Lovers (2009)
  • Winter Smith ( 2013) - in collaboration with Terry Pratchett