Tim Hart: Tim Hart is also the name of the original Theory of a Deadman drummer.Tim Hart (9 January 1948 – 24 December 2009) was an English folk singer and multi-instrumentalist, best known as a founding member of British folk rock band Steeleye Span.
Early yearsTim Hart was born in Lincoln. His father, Rev. Canon Dennis Hart, was the vicar of St Saviour's in St Albans. Hart began his life as a musician performing with the Rattfinks, St Albans School's second band, the first being The Zombies. In 1966, he began performing with the Blackpool-born Maddy Prior, touring English folk clubs. In 1968 and 1969 the duo recorded two albums: Folk Songs of Olde England, Volumes One and Two.
Steeleye SpanFrom 1970 to 1982, Hart and Prior were the backbone of Steeleye Span. Hart's contribution to the band demonstrated his musical abilities on a wide range of instruments, some electric, including: acoustic guitars, dulcimer, organ, 5 string banjo, mandolin, bells, tabor and spoons as well as vocals.
In 1971, as well as recording two albums as part of Steeleye Span, they recorded Summer Solstice – a much more professional recording than their first two albums, including a string arrangement by Robert Kirby, better known for his work with Nick Drake. Almost every song that Hart sang was traditional. Steeleye Span's commercial success peaked in 1975. They toured in the United States and Australia and used electric instruments more frequently. However, further hits eluded them. They announced that their 1978 tour of the United Kingdom would be their farewell, although they reformed and continue recording and performing live to this day.
The fragmentationHart took this opportunity to release a solo album, Tim Hart, in 1979. Steeleye Span members Maddy Prior, Rick Kemp, and Nigel Pegrum contributed vocals, bass, drums, and percussion. Bob Johnson and Peter Knight recorded a narrative project in 1977, The King of Elfland's Daughter. Maddy Prior produced two solo albums in 1978, Woman in the Wings and Changing Winds, that included her own compositions. Hart appeared on one more Steeleye Span record, Sails of Silver, before resigning in 1982. His last gig was at the Theatre Royal, Norwich.
In 1981 Hart released two albums of nursery rhymes originally written for his own children on the Music for Pleasure label. He used most of Steeleye Span, and other musicians who had small children and could take the project seriously. In a bold move, he became a record producer for a rock band, The Monochrome Set. Their album Eligible Bachelors was a whimsical cynical view of relations between the sexes.
Hart's health seriously declined, and in 1988 he emigrated to La Gomera, a small island in the Canary Islands. Abandoning music altogether, he became a full-time writer and photographer, married again, built himself a house on the side of a mountain, and restored his health. As there was no guidebook to La Gomera available in English, Hart wrote, and took most of the photographs for, La Gomera: A Guide to the Unspoiled Canary Island (2004).
The JourneyIn 1995, Hart was persuaded to return to the United Kingdom for a five-hour marathon performance. It was a concert in aid of the charity War Child, and featured almost every member of Steeleye Span. A recording of the concert, The Journey did not appear until 1999. Hart also appeared occasionally as a support act on Steeleye Span tours, opening the show with a solo set and typically joining the band on stage for the encore.
For many years he did not perform outside of La Gomera. However, Hart performed with Maddy Prior as part of the BBC Electric Proms on 23 October 2008.
Illness and deathIn December 2008, Hart was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer, and returned to England with his wife Conny to seek continuing medical treatment. It was announced during Steeleye Span's 2009 winter tour that Park Records would be reissuing Hart's recordings of nursery rhymes to support him through his illness. He and his wife returned to their home in La Gomera in early December 2009, where he died peacefully in the early morning of 24 December 2009, aged 61. He was cremated at a private ceremony with half of his ashes being scattered over La Gomera, and the other half being returned to his family plot in St. Albans.
DiscographyTim Hart and Maddy Prior
Tim Hart and Friends