Does anybody listen to British folk-rock? Stuff that flourished, really, in the late 1960s on the back of the counter-culture and some of which floated away on a cloud of Tolkien influences into the 1970s.
That wasn’t surprising. In its British incarnation the counter-culture took on overtones of ‘Merrie England’, the nineteenth century sense of nostalgia for a supposedly perfect pre-industrial world. That keyed the movement directly into J R R Tolkien’s Shire and the world of his hobbits, which referenced the same thing from his perspective of two generations earlier.
The outcome was a lot of stoned twenty-somethings wandering around at Glastonbury and other places communing with nature and talking in fillers: ‘Wow, like, you know, heavy heavy, wow, man, LENTILS, like, wow, like, groovy, like, man’, all the while reading dog-eared copies of The Lord Of The Rings, which played out in their minds to a soundtrack of bands such as Fairport Convention, Jethro Tull, The Strawbs, Steeleye Span and Led Zeppelin (whose music directly referenced Tolkien, repeatedly).
When it came to Tolkien, of course, the whole lot were trumped by a Swedish virtuoso keyboardist named Bo Hansson (1943-2010) who – inspired by the great fantasy master – invented the prog-concept album in 1969, which was released in Sweden the following year. The album? Music Inspired by The Lord Of The Rings. Everybody else got to hear it via the Charisma release in 1972.
Anybody heard it? And if you have, do you remember the cover?
Copyright © Matthew Wright 2016