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Top 10 Sandy Denny Songs

Updated on June 23, 2012

My 10 Favourite Sandy Denny Songs

Just to clarify this lens is about songs Sandy Denny wrote herself, so I haven't included songs written by other members of Fairport convention for example.

This made it difficult as some of my favourite Sandy Songs were not written by her like "I wish I was A Fool For You" is actually a Richard Thompson song, I enjoy the rock element of this song a lot which is very present on Sandy's final solo album "Rendezvous".

There are however many songs she wrote herself that are firm favourites of mine so I had no trouble compiling this list despite having to miss out songs she didn't write.

From AlbumCover of  "Like An Old Fashioned Waltz"
From AlbumCover of "Like An Old Fashioned Waltz"

Sandy Denny

Influential And Talented Folk Rock Female Singer Song Writer.

I started this lens because I've long been a fan of Sandy Denny, my dad introduced me to her music when I was a child and I've never stopped listening to it. I even sing some of her songs accompanied by my dad on guitar.

Sandy Denny was British Folk singer who was born in Wimbledon London in 1947, she came from a musical background and learned to play the guitar as a child, she also played the piano and sang in the school choir.

She originally went to college to become a nurse, but earned a good reputation playing at folk clubs in London and left college within a year to pursue a career in music. She worked solo for a couple of years then joined the Strawbs who she recorded one album with "All our own work".

In May 1968 Sandy joined Fairport Convention replacing Judy Dyble, she recorded three significant albums with the group at this time, the first was called "what we Did On Our Holidays", the second was called "Unhalfbricking", and the third "Liege And Lief" is considered one of the most important Folk Rock albums of all time by many.

She left Fairport in 1969 to form "Fotheringay", they only recorded one album together sadly and disbanded whilst recording their second. An album of previously unreleased recordings by this group has now been released however called "Fotheringay 2".

She then began a successful solo career starting with the album "The North Star Grassman And The Ravens" (several of my favourite songs are from that album). Her second solo album was called "Sandy", and a later one was called "Like An Old Fashioned Waltz".

In 1971 Sandy was invited by Robert Plant from Led Zeppelin to duet with him on the song "The Battle Of Evermore" which appeared on their fourth album, she was the only guest vocalist ever to appear on a Led Zeppelin album.

In 1973 she married her long term boyfriend and former band mate in Fairport and Fotheringay Trevor Lucas, they briefly rejoined Fairport in 1974 and recorded the Album "Rising For The Moon" they left again in 1975.

Sadly her career began to suffer as she drank more and her marriage also began to suffer, Rendezvous which was to be her final album came out in 1977.

In 1978 she fell down the stairs of her parents house in Cornwall, a month later she was found collapsed at her friends house, and 4 days later she died in hospital from a central brain hemorrhage caused by earlier fall on the 21st April 1978.

I wanted to share my favourite Sandy Denny songs so here they are, I will add a more detailed biography of Sandy soon and more detail to why I chose the songs I have. If you have never heard of Sandy take a moment to listen to some of her songs, she was a brilliant lyricist and singer as well as being able to play the piano and guitar beautifully, I'm sure you'll come to love her as much as I do.

No. 10 - Stranger to himself.

One of my favourite songs from "Rising For The Moon", it has a very powerful military style drum beat I like, and the way the song seems to "build up" and the drum pattern becomes more complex as the lyrics become more hard hitting adds to it's effectiveness. The subtle use of a synthesizer at some points adds another dimension to the song, it is just generally a very powerful and memorable sounding song I find.

No. 9 - Solo

A beautiful and emotional song I've always loved, I love the piano arrangement and the rather blunt but still poetic style of the lyrics, comes from her solo album "Like An Old Fashioned Waltz". Also quite poignant as Sandy was apparently forced by her management to break up Fotheringay as they felt she would do better as a solo artist though she always wanted to be part of a band. She kind of had the last laugh though as she hired all her own band mates as session musicians so they played and worked together with her on all her solo albums anyway.

Sandy Denny Under Review. - Good Documentary About Sandy Denny's Life And Musical Career.

If you want to know more about Sandy Denny's music and influences I recommend this DVD.

Sandy Denny:Under Review
Sandy Denny:Under Review

The DVD is a lovingly made documentary about Sandy's career, with interviews from people who were close to Sandy like Dave Swarbrick (Sandys band mate in Fairport Convention) and Martin Carthy (of steeleyespan fame) which is cool.

The "new footage" is mainly clips of footage that' is already on youtube, though there is some new footage of "Gypsy Davey" with Fotheringay. and there are some live recordings I hadn't heard before. There is apparently no live footage of Sandy and Led Zeppelin performing together, as there was just a montage of Robert Plant and Jimmy Page over the song "Battle Of Evermore".

The DVD won't tell hardcore fans anything they didn't know about her life and bands, but if you are a new fan of Sandy or are interested in British Folk Rock music from this era I highly recommend it. It is nicely and thoughtfully made.


No. 8 - Next Time Around

A beautiful and melancholic song that evokes lots of strong images whenever listen to it, she really was genius. This video is interesting too, it seems to be an earlier version you can hear her talking on the beginning and this is not the vocal they used on the later released recording. Taken from her first solo album "The North Star Grassman and the Ravens"

No. 7 - The Optimist

A song I find more lighthearted and funny than some of her other songs, though it still has a serious side I feel. Taken from her first solo album "The North Star Grassman and the Ravens"

No. 6 - Bushes And Briars

Quite A philosophical song where Sandy seems to debate religion, her own religious beliefs are unclear, though she is supposed to have been involved with Scientology at one point I read. In this song she concentrates on Christianity however. From the Album "Sandy".

Sandy's Albums.

A selection of my favourite solo albums by Sandy.

No.5 - John The Gun

Another powerful song that is anti gun and anti violence, I think the title John the Gun is a metaphor for violence and war in general however and it is not specifically an anti gun song. Taken from her first solo album "The North Star Grassman and the Ravens"

No. 4 - The Sea

A song I sing accompanied by my dad on guitar, it's very close to my heart as a friend of my dads transposed the chords for him and he recently died so my dad and me are hopefully going to start performing it again in memory of him. The song comes from the album she recorded with Fotheringay, simply called "Fotheringay"

No. 3 - The North Star Grassman And The Ravens

Rare live footage of Sandy performing one of my favourite songs. Taken from her first solo album (and my favourite) "The North Star Grassman and the Ravens"

No. 2 - Late November

Another favourite track of mine from "The North Star Grassman And The Ravens" performed live.

No. 1 - One More Chance

A song that is thought by many to be one of her greatest, a powerful and haunting song, another one taken from "Rising For The Moon" her final album with Fairport.

Books About Sandy

Learn more about Sandy Denny's life and influences with these books available on Amazon.

Which is your favourite?

Which is your favourite out of the 10 songs I've listed here?

See results

Have I missed out your favourite self pen by Sandy Denny? Let me know in a comment.

Thanks to Chazz for creating above thanks you image use them yourselves by visiting their lens Thank You Art For Squidoo Lenses and following the instructions.

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    • greenspirit profile image

      poppy mercer 5 years ago from London

      Lovely tribute to a wonderful talent, and very beautiful lady

    • Paul Ward profile image

      Paul 5 years ago from Liverpool, England

      Nicely done. I've long had Sandy Denny/Fairport/all the rest of that mix in my mind for lenses - I like the angle you've taken.

    • JohnTannahill profile image

      John Tannahill 5 years ago from Somewhere in England

      Thanks, the folk side of the 60s/70s is often overlooked. Sandy was an important part of that.

    • nancyrowina profile image

      nancyrowina 5 years ago

      I should really include "Banks Of The Nile" since female character is called Nancy, my dad plays that on guitar too I should sing it, we are going to start working on "The Sea" again soon, and we've always done "It'll Take long Time" Which I also haven't included.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Great page. Thank you. I'd put "Banks of the Nile" in my top ten, perhaps at number one!