Rolling Stone magazine, as I read online yesterday, places Sandy Denny 164th in its list of 200 “greatest singers of all time”.
If that seems insultingly low, as it initially did to me though it was hardly any surprise, imagine the competition. From the top three - Aretha Franklin - to Numbers 198 to 200, this necessarily subjective rating is brimming with outstanding vocal talent.
Maybe not a majority of them appealed that much to me. But for a folk or folk-rock singer to make the list at all was some achievement.
Then I noticed this morning that today, Jan 6 2023, would have been Sandy’s 76th birthday. As most will know, she died aged just 31 from a brain haemorrage, depriving a daughter, Georgia, of a mother and the world of a supremely gifted songwriter with, as Judy Collins put it, the voice of an angel.
So I used social media - Twitter and relevant Facebook groups to which I belong* - to seek the opinions of fans on the best of her songs and performances .
Jef Aerosol's image, much-used (with his consent) on these pages
This is how I introduced a wholly unscientific poll at my own Salut! Live Facebook group:
The wonder that was Sandy Denny would have been 76 today. A girl may like to dance on her birthday so I have chosen White Dress, written for her by David Swarbrick and invite members of the group, 45 years after Sandy’s cruelly early death, to post links to theirown favourites. To stir the imagination, let us rule out Who Knows Where the Time Goes? RIP
‘Kiss me and I might,
Put on a white dress,
If you'll take me,
I can tell you the response has been tremendous and ahows the sheer depth and varied richness of this woman’s art. At the last count, I had received nominations for about 30 different songs.
Nominations are still coming and I shall produce the resultss in due course. For now, let me just say that two things. Not everyone resisted the temptation to go for Who Knows Where the Time Goes? And the song with the largest number of votes, by a clear margin, is Banks of the Nile.
Watch this space. And RIP Sandy …
ps this was my own sneaky second nomination ...
* The groups include: Sandy Denny and Family, Fairporters, Uncharted Jukebox, 60s 70s Folk Music, I Love Folk Music, Sandy Denny Fan Club, Folk Music from Anywhere, Anytime, Dave Swarbrick and maybe more. Most of the Comments below were posted in response to my references at those groups. It is a fact of life that while this site attracts healthy numbers of visitors, few leave comments. On the other hand, comments flow freely when I post links at Facebook.