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Stormcock is the fifth album by English folk/rock singer-songwriter and guitarist Roy Harper. It was first released in 1971 by Harvest Records and is widely considered his best record.[2][3]

Studio album by
ReleasedMay 1971
RecordedJuly 1 – December 20, 1970
Abbey Road Studios, London
GenreProgressive folk, folk baroque
LabelHarvest SHVL 789,
Chrysalis CHR 1161,
Science Friction HUCD004, HUCD047
ProducerPeter Jenner
Roy Harper chronology
Flat Baroque and Berserk
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic4.5/5 stars[1]



Harper was inspired by a trip to, and time spent in, Big Sur, California. "Me And My Woman" is a love song backed by David Bedford's orchestral arrangements (Bedford would also collaborate on some of Harper's later releases). "Hors D’Oeuvres" was inspired by the fate of Caryl Chessman who spent nearly 12 years on death row – at the time the longest ever in the United States – before being executed in a gas chamber in May 1960. "One Man Rock And Roll Band" is a critique on the pointlessness of violence.

"Same Old Rock" is an attack on government, the history of war, and organized religion featuring both guitar work and a final intense solo by Jimmy Page.[4]

The album's four extended songs showcase Harper's talents, both as a songwriter and guitarist. But, Stormcock "...epitomized a hybrid genre that had no exclusive purveyors save Harper — epic progressive acoustic.".[1]

At the time, the album was not particularly well promoted by Harper's record label. Harper later stated:

They hated Stormcock. No singles. No way of promoting it on the radio. They said there wasn't any money to market it. Stormcock dribbled out.[5]

Nonetheless, Stormcock would remain a favourite album of critics and Harper's fans. In October 2013 NME placed Stormcock at 377 in their list of "The 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time"[6]

Although Jimmy Page performs on the album, he was credited as "S. Flavius Mercurius" for contractual reasons.


In 2006, 35 years after its initial release, fellow Mancunian Johnny Marr of English alternative rock band The Smiths said:

If ever there was a secret weapon of a record it would be Stormcock. I don’t know why it’s such a secret. If anyone thinks it might be a collection of lovely songs by some twee old folkie then they’d be mistaken. It's intense and beautiful and clever: [Bowie's] Hunky Dory's big, badder brother.[7][8]

Joanna Newsom cited Stormcock as an influence upon her 2006 release Ys[9] and in 2011, Robin Pecknold of Seattle, Washington-based folk band Fleet Foxes stated that he took inspiration from Stormcock when recording Fleet Foxes second album Helplessness Blues.


The album's title, Stormcock, is an old English name for the Mistle thrush (Turdus viscivorus). The male of this species "is most vocal in the early morning" and has a "tendency to sing after, and sometimes during, wet and windy weather" which "led to the name "Stormcock"". It is also, perhaps, a metaphor for Harper himself.[clarification needed][citation needed] Harper has an appreciation of birdlife and has made reference to many birds within songs on his albums.

Digital remasterEdit

The album was digitally remastered in 2007. The package included in a 20-page case-bound booklet with new pictures, prose and poetry, and Page's name was added to the album's credits.

Track listingEdit

All tracks written by Roy Harper.

Side One
1."Hors D’Oeuvres"8:37
2."The Same Old Rock"12:24
Side Two
3."One Man Rock and Roll Band"7:23
4."Me and My Woman"13:01



  1. ^ a b "Stormcock - Roy Harper - Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 7 December 2018.
  2. ^ Savage, Jon (26 January 2011). "Jon Savage on song: Roy Harper serves up Hors D'Oeuvres". Retrieved 7 December 2018.
  3. ^ Fricke, David; Fricke, David (26 September 2008). "Fricke's Picks: Hats Off to Harper". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 7 December 2018.
  4. ^ "Roy Harper". Retrieved 7 December 2018.
  5. ^ Petridis, Alexis (13 October 2011). "Roy Harper: 'I fought like hell to stay alive'". Retrieved 7 December 2018.
  6. ^ "NME: The 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time : October 2013". Retrieved 7 December 2018.
  7. ^ "Music's secret weapons". 6 October 2006. Retrieved 7 December 2018.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-06-09. Retrieved 2011-12-09.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ Mark Guarino (December 2006). "Joanna Newsom:Strings Attached". Retrieved 2015-12-04.

External linksEdit