In The News

Kevin Ayers of sixties band Soft Machine passes away

Kevin Ayers of sixties band Soft Machine passes away

KEVIN Ayers, who founded the sixties psychedelic band Soft Machine, has passed away at the age of 68.

If it had not been for what was regarded as a lofty disdain for chart success, coupled with a total lack of desire to develop anything resembling a career in music, Kevin Ayers would be more widely known.

But his lack of recognition by the public obscures the fact that he was an influential figure within the music scene of the 1960s. When he founded Soft Machine in 1967 it was to follow his desire to experiment and fuse musical genres. Chart success was not sought, but it followed anyway.

The band is credited with being among the founders of British psychedelic music. After the release of their debut album, Volume One, they toured America with Jimi Hendrix.

But Mr. Ayers had long embraced the bohemian ethos and he decided to abandon the band for a quieter-paced life in Ibiza (see below). But he was persuaded by EMI to put together what was his first solo album, Joy Of A Toy, which was released in 1969.

A number of well-received albums were to follow and by 1974 when The Confessions Of Doctor Dream And Other Stories was released, it appeared that the singer-songwriter had finally decided to accept the fame and recognition he so deserved. But, instead, he appeared to decide that the price of this recognition was too high and he returned to his hippyish existence, this time setting-up home in Deia, Majorca. 

He recorded several albums in the 1980s which had limited appeal. It was not until 2007 that the London record label Lo-Max released the album The Unfairground that featured work which again caught the attention of a music buying public. 

By this time Mr. Ayers was living in the South of France. The response to the new album again raised the prospect of him making an effort to tour his work and win wider-recognition. But it was not to be.

The Unfairground was to be his final work.

To view an interview in which Kevin Ayers discussed the music scene in the Balearic Islands during the 60s & 70s, click here.

To listen to an excerpt of Kevin Ayers singing Stranger In Blue Suede Shoes, click here.

To see Kevin Ayers sing Falling In Love Again, click here.

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