< Return to Famous Jehovah's Witnesses
The Religious Affiliation of Songwriter, Musician
"Roy is one of the greatest English songwriters we've had, and people just don't realise it. And I really think that when they do we're going to have another top songwriter up there. He's brilliant." -KATE BUSH
Current line up: Roy Harper - (acoustic guitar, tambourine, vocals, washboard), John Fitzgerald (piano, trumpet, concertina, harp, keyboards, organ), Ian Anderson (flute), Nick Harper (guitars), Jeff Ward (bass, mandolin, percussion, guitar, drums), Steve Barnard (drums), Ric Sanders (violin)
Rusholme-born Roy Harper is one of the greatest British songwriters of all time. His guitar work has influenced many including Led Zepplelin and Jethro Tull to name but a few.
At the age of 15, life at home with his devout Jehovah's Witness mother became too much and he left, lying about his age to join the RAF. He performed skiffle at camp concerts until he suffered a nervous breakdown that led to his committal in the Lancaster Moor Mental Institute. Roy escaped in his pyjamas through a bathroom window and was later arrested in London, where he was sentenced to jail for trying to climb the clock tower at St. Pancras Station.
Roy Harper was born June 12, 1941, in Manchester, England, his mother dying only weeks later. His step-mother, a devout Jehovah's Witness, instilled in him a hatred of religion. At 12, a more benevolent woman, his English teacher, armed him with poetry -- Keats, Shelly, and Wordsworth. He recounts sadly that he was shipped off to an all-boys school shortly thereafter, running away at 15 to join the Royal Air Force. Denied the job of a pilot for health reasons, he plotted to end his stay in the RAF. "I feigned insanity, which wasn't too difficult." That led to a successful discharge, but also to committal in a mental institution, and later a stint in prison. His assorted incarcerations, both literal and virtual, have provided lasting fodder for his work.
Webpage created 23 July 2005. Last modified 23 July 2005.
We are always striving to increase the accuracy and usefulness of our website. We are happy to hear from you. Please submit questions, suggestions, comments, corrections, etc. to: firstname.lastname@example.org.