English folk/blues guitarist Roy Harper will celebrate his 60th birthday on Sunday with his family — his musical progeny, that is, and it won’t be a quiet event.
During a sold-out concert at the Royal Festival Hall in London, he’ll be joined onstage by Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, guitarist Nick Harper — his son — folk guitarist John Renbourn, Tea Party guitarist Jeff Martin, and possibly Jethro Tull flutist and vocalist Ian Anderson. Kate Bush is scheduled to attend as well, but the event publicist wasn’t sure if she would perform. And while Pink Floyd guitarist and vocalist David Gilmour was invited, it’s unclear whether he’ll be able to attend.
Although Harper’s evocative fretwork and intimate lyrics remain somewhat unknown in the United States, he’s well-respected in England, especially by the elder statesmen and women of rock, many of whom have cited him as a major influence. Led Zeppelin immortalized him on the track “Hats Off to (Roy) Harper” from Led Zeppelin III (1970), and Pink Floyd invited him to sing lead vocals on “Have a Cigar” off Wish You Were Here (1975).
Over the years, Harper — whose actual birthday is Tuesday — has worked with nearly all of the aforementioned acts, as well as original Who drummer Keith Moon, Paul and Linda McCartney, Ten Years After guitarist Alvin Lee, Faces/Small Faces bassist Ronnie Lane, and Yes and King Crimson drummer Bill Bruford.
On June 19, the Right Stuff/EMI will release the Harper career retrospective Hats Off, which features a mix of his best collaborations and solo recordings.
The track listing for Hats Off:
- “Death or Glory?”
- “Me and My Woman” (w/ David Bedford Orchestra)
- “Male Chauvinist Pig Blues” (w/ Jimmy Page, Keith Moon and Ronnie Lane)
- “Highway Blues” (w/ Jimmy Page)
- “You” (w/ Kate Bush and David Gilmour)
- “1948ish” (w/ Jimmy Page)
- “Another Day (Live)” (w/ David Bedford Orchestra)
- “Don’t You Grieve”
- “Ten Years Ago”
- “These Fifty Years” (w/ Ian Anderson)
- “One of Those Days in England (Part 1)” (w/ Paul and Linda McCartney, Alvin Lee, and Ronnie Lane)
- “The Same Old Rock” (w/ Jimmy Page)
- “The Game” (w/ David Gilmour, John Paul Jones, Bill Bruford and Chris Spedding)