Peter Bellamy

(c. 1944—1986) folk-singer

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b. Peter Franklyn Bellamy, 8 September 1944, Bournemouth, Dorset, England, d. 24 September 1991, England. After dropping out of art school in 1964, Bellamy formed the highly influential and innovative Young Tradition in 1965, with Royston Wood and Heather Wood. The trio specialized in a cappella arrangements of traditional English folk songs. Bellamy was influenced early on by traditional Norfolk singers Harry Cox and Sam Larner, and revivalists such as Ewan MacColl and A.L. Lloyd. The Copper Family were also a great influence on the Young Tradition’s arrangements. They disbanded in 1969, and Bellamy commenced his solo career later that same year. In 1970, he began a series of recordings of his own arrangements of the poems of Rudyard Kipling. As a result of the series, he was elected to the vice-presidency of the Kipling Society. In 1977, he releasedThe Transports, a self-composed ‘ballad opera’, featuring the talents of Martin Carthy, Nic Jones, June Tabor, Cyril Tawney, A.L. Lloyd and the Watersons, among others. It was judged as Folk Album of the Year by Melody Maker. Bellamy’s career was halted for a couple of years during the 80s, after throat problems caused him to curtail his singing. He toured the USA and Canada regularly, and occasionally accompanied himself on guitar or concertina, but usually sang unaccompanied. His high vocals were unmistakable. Sadly, despite his obvious talent, Bellamy was not well known outside the mainstream of the hardcore folk music world. In 1991, with work on the horizon, and Songs An’ Rummy Conjurin’ Tricks released, Bellamy committed suicide, leaving a void that is unlikely to be filled easily.


From Encyclopedia of Popular Music in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Music.

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