Get this crazy baby off my head!


Lesley Duncan

Lesley Duncan - Everything Changes - 1974 - GM Records

Born 12 August 1943 in Stockton-on-Tees, England. Died 12 March 2010 in Scotland on the Isle of Mull, Scotland. Lesley Duncan was a pioneering singer-songwriter best known for her composition "Love Song", which was recorded by various artists including Elton John, Peggy Lee, David Bowie, Olivia Newton John and Dionne Warwick. Born in Stockton on Tees, she came to London in the mid-1960s and became one of the first female singer song writers of the pop era. Her early recordings, on labels such as Parlophone, Mercury and RCA, and including "Tell Me" and "See That Guy", attracted positive attention within the industry but failed to generate meaningful sales. During this time and throughout the next two decades she worked with other female artists and friends such as Dusty Springfield, Madeleine Bell, Kay Garner, Vicky Brown and Kiki Dee as a successful session singer. This close-knit group evolved a new type of American-influenced backing vocals for each other's recordings and for leading artists of the day. Lesley's distinctive vocals can be heard on many hit records throughout the '70s and '80s, including Elton John's Madman Across the Water, Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, Black Flower by the original Nirvana and Ringo Starr's Goodnight Vienna. Public recognition came in the early '70s when Elton John, whom she had known and worked with for many years, recorded her "Love Song" on his Tumbleweed Connection album with Duncan singing harmonies. Signing to CBS she released the albums Sing Children Sing and Earth Mother, working not only with Elton John but with other leading musicians such as Chris Spedding, Tristan Fry, Andy Bown, Terry Cox and her producer and first husband Jimmy Horowitz. Duncan was a gregarious, thoughtful and intelligent woman, her lyrics demonstrating her commitment to social-action issues, conservation and spiritual beliefs, including a strong interest in Buddhism and the peace movement. Earth Mother was dedicated to Friends of the Earth and reflected her passionate belief in preserving nature and the environment. Also buried within the lyrics of several of her compositions were more hidden references to close friends and to her much-loved sons Sam and Joe. Three subsequent albums – Everything Changes, Moonbathing and Maybe it's Lost – continued to build a cult following but lacked big commercial sales. Duncan's own interest in the music industry faded in favour of a more normal life in the countryside with her second husband, Tony Cox, in Cornwall, Oxfordshire and later Scotland. Cox – himself a highly regarded musician and producer – encouraged her on a couple of special projects such as a reworking of the Bob Dylan number "Masters of War" and a powerful version of "If I Could Change Your Mind" on the Alan Parson album Dammed if I Do. In 1979 she agreed to re-record "Sing Children Sing" with Kate Bush, Phil Lynott and Pete Townsend for the International Year of the Child. It generated considerable airplay and made it to the fringes of the charts. Duncan's heart, however, was firmly rooted in her new life in the countryside, including her voluntary work for Oxfam, photography and dedicated walking of the entourage of dogs she and Cox accumulated. Her warm-hearted nature, great sense of humour and generous spirit endeared her to a wide array of friends around the world. Life in her final home on the Isle of Mull generated a whole new network of friends largely unaware of her past existence in the pop world – or her still considerable worldwide following on numerous websites dedicated to her music. She was aware and appreciative of this constant and continued interest in her work but was never tempted to capitalise on it. © Richard Stanley - from [Lesley Duncan: Singer and songwriter who worked with Elton John and Pink Floyd Monday - Obituary from The Independent 12 April 2010] © independent.co.uk http://www.independent.co.uk

Active from the 1960s well into the 1980s, the late Lesley Duncan recorded several solo releases and sang backing vocals on recordings by many great artists including the Dave Clark 5, Donovan, Tim Hardin, Alan Hull, Ringo Starr, and Dusty Springfield. Both Lesley and Liza Strike sang backing vocals on Pink Floyd's "The Great Gig In The Sky" from the DSOTM album. As a songwriter she was best known for "Love Song", recorded in 1970 by Elton John. She is still a relatively obscure artist, and "Everything Changes", her 3rd album is a really good "undiscovered" album. The LP was never released in the US, although it did lead to her signing with MCA records in 1976. "Everything Changes" is full of good tuneful, soulful, mellow and melodic songs sung by a lady who was a wonderful songwriter with a truly unique vocal style. "The Serf" or "Watch the Tears" are great songs and worth mentioning. Her first husband, record producer and keyboardist Jimmy Horowitz gathered some of the top studio musicians in England to record on Lesley’s albums. Peter Frampton plays guitar on the album. Try and listen to her "Moonbathing" album [All tracks @ 320 Kbps: File size = 79.9 Mb]


A1 My Soul 3:25
A2 Broken Old Doll 3:50
A3 The Serf 3:54
A4 Hold On 3:30
A5 Everything Changes 3:43

B1 Love Melts Away 3:40
B2 Sam 2:55
B3 You 4:23
B4 Watch The Tears 4:20
B5 We'll Get By 4:43

All songs composed by Lesley Duncan except "Love Melts Away" and "Watch The Tears" by Lesley Duncan & Jimmy Horowitz


Lesley Duncan - Guitar, Mandolin, Vocals
Peter Frampton, Bob Cohen - Guitar
Andy Bown, Larry Steele - Bass
Jimmy Horowitz - Keyboards
Barry DeSouza - Drums
Liza Strike, Sue Glover - Vocals


One of England's top session vocalists, Lesley Duncan sang on recordings by Elton John, the Dave Clark Five, Pink Floyd, the Alan Parsons Project, Michael Chapman, and Joyce Everson and the soundtrack of Jesus Christ Superstar. Her songs have been covered by Elton John, Olivia Newton-John, and Long John Baldry. Although her debut 1963 single, "I Want a Steady," credited to Lesley Duncan & the Jokers, was a commercial failure, Duncan found success six years later when Elton John included her tune "Love Song" on his album Tumbleweed Connection. The song's popularity led to a recording contract with CBS/Columbia. Her debut eponymously titled album, produced by her husband and keyboard player, Jimmy Horowitz, included her song "Sing Children Sing," featuring John on piano. Duncan and John continued to collaborate on Duncan's 1976 album, Moonbathing, which included a live duet version of "Love Song." While her vocals and songwriting brought her respect from the British music press, Duncan was unable to break through as a soloist. Dropped by MCA in 1976 due to poor album sales, she continued to work with producer Tony Cox as a singles artist until 1986. Her last album vocal appearances came in 1979 with "If I Could Change Your Mind" on the Alan Parsons Project album Eve and in 1980 with "Hold on to Love" from the album Exiled by the Bob Mitchell/Steve Coe Mysteries. Duncan's early albums, Sing Children Sing and Earth Mother, were released on CD in the early 2000s. During her latter years Duncan continued to perform with Jimmy Horowitz on keyboards and Chris Spedding on guitar. She died from cerebrovascular disease at age 66 on March 12, 2010, on the Isle of Mull in Scotland. © Craig Harris © 2011 Rovi Corporation. All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/artist/lesley-duncan-p17178/biography


Born August 12, 1943; Died March 12, 2010. Lesley Duncan, who has died aged 66, was Britain’s first hit-making female singer-songwriter. She maintained she only bluffed her way into the business after knocking up a couple of songs in her head. She was waitressing in a Bayswater coffee bar and living in a bedsit when her brother, Jimmy, fresh out of Wormwood Scrubs, announced he was going to become a songwriter. Thinking anyone could do that, she composed two songs, without any instruments, and promptly sang them unaccompanied to the head of a music publisher she had arranged to meet. The pair of diminutive kids with thick Teeside accents were immediately offered a retainer and her future was sealed. The company was Francis Day and Hunter, now part of EMI, and her career, collaborating with rock and pop glitterati from David Bowie to Elton John, Pink Floyd and Dusty Springfield, was about to take off. Hundreds of artists, including Elton John, Dionne Warwick, Peggy Lee, Topol and Barry White, have since recorded her best known composition, Love Song. It’s not bad for a girl who thought she “wasn’t much of a singer” and had no great ambition. Duncan was born in Stockton-on-Tees to a Scottish father, Ranald Duncan, from Cluny, Aberdeenshire, who left her mother, Kathleen, while she was expecting their daughter. She and her late brother were raised by their mum, a bit of a good-time girl, according to Duncan, who was a fine pianist and played in clubs, often leaving the children at home at night. Despite the lack of parental support she made it to grammar school but left before her 15th birthday. She later made up for that by reading intensely. She waitressed in north of England hotels before moving to London, aged 16, and making the leap into the music business. She and her brother won their retainers in 1963: he got £10 a week, she was on £7. “On Friday I was a waitress, and on Monday I was in showbusiness,” she once said, adding: “It was all bluff really, I was just bluffing.” Within weeks Duncan was in the movie business, winning a part in the pop film What A Crazy World, with Joe Brown, Susan Maughan and Marty Wilde, and later a recording contract with Parlophone Records, the same label as The Beatles. Although she then did not have any huge success recording her own songs – nice but naive affairs – she was well known as a backing singer. She worked with Dusty Springfield, Madeline Bell and Kiki Dee, all singing on each other’s records. It was not until Elton John, with whom she worked together on sessions, recorded Love Song on his Tumbleweed Connection album that she got an album deal. Her songwriting had matured and she produced Sing Children Sing, on which Elton played, and appeared on Top of the Pops. She released her album Earth Mother in 1972, dedicating it to Friends of the Earth, of which she was an enthusiastic member. By that time she had married record producer Jimmy Horowitz and went on to have two sons with him, Sam and Joe. Although their profes­sional creative relationship went well, the marriage broke up and in 1976 she dropped out and went to live in Cornwall. It was there she got to know her second husband, Tony Cox, also a record producer and music arranger. They had previously met when she was doing session work. “I recall thinking she was a rather stroppy, difficult little woman,” he said. “She later said she thought I was a pretty weird guy – views which we never entirely let go of in 30 years.” They hit it off better in Cornwall in 1977 and married the following year. They later spent 11 years in Oxford, where Duncan worked at Oxfam’s HQ and helped to promote fundraising concerts with up and coming acts, including Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie. In 1979, she released Sing Children Sing again as a fundraiser for Oxfam for Year of the Child. During her career she released a number of albums and also sang on the Alan Parson’s Project release Eve, the Jesus Christ Superstar album, Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, Elton John’s Madman Across the Water and with Ringo Starr, Donovan and the Dave Clark Five. Never comfortable with being on the road or performing, and taking her duties as a mother seriously, she was happiest in the recording studio. Duncan, who latterly suffered from cerebrovascular disease, never officially retired but her last record was released in 1986. The couple moved to Tobermory on Mull in 1996 where her illus­trious music career was unknown to many of the locals but where condolences arrived from Elton John and David Bowie. She died in the island’s hospital with her husband at her side, just as Love Song, playing in the background, came to a close. [Published on 25 Mar 2010 by & © www.heraldscotland.com]


A.O.O.F.C said...


p/w is aoofc

ratso said...

Great! I have her other album from 1971 Sing Children Sing, which featured the original version of Mr Rubin, which was covered by Long John Baldry on his It Ain't Easy album. I have been waiting paitiently for this one. My Christmas present from Mr Fingal. Thank you.

A.O.O.F.C said...

Cheers,ratso. No probs. She was a great lady. I have her SCS album...probably much better than the album here. Thanks, ratso. I'll have a few New Year pressies coming your way also. TTU soon...P

Muffinman said...

Dear AOOFC, I want to kindly thank you for the wonderful music you give us to listen to.
Each time it's a very good surprise to discover your choice and it makes me very happy.
I wish you and to all your family a Merry Christmas.

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi,Muffinman. Thank you very much. Your kind words mean a lot to me. I wish you and your loved ones a happy and peaceful festive season, & TTU soon...P

billy said...

already have this but always check you out because of the wonderful variety of music in these parts-i think sam was a hit for olivia newton john in this country and broken old doll is a favourite of mine.have a great one.

A.O.O.F.C said...

Thanks, Billy! Keep in touch...P

n8w8 (nightwatch) said...

Liza & Sue are not well known for having hitrecords but they were singing on a lot of them.
Liza Strike did backing vocals for Pink Floyd, Elton John, John Cale, Leo Sayer, The Who, Chris De Burgh, Steve Harley, Alex Harvey, Roger Glover, Carly Simon, Ashman Reynolds, Nazareth and Whitesnake and many, many others.
Sue Glover did backing vocals for , Dusty Springfield, Elton John, Love Affair, Lulu, Mott the Hoople, T. Rex, Tom Jones, David Bowie, Joe Cocker and many others.
Two amazing singers!
Thank you for this gem!

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi,n8w8. Thanks for your comment. Thats really good info. Always needed on this blog. Keep in touch...P

Henri said...

I love Lesley's voice. "If I could change your mind" is one my favourite Alan Parsons Project songs. Now I understand the relation between Alan Parsons and Lesley Duncan. It's all about The dark side of the moon...

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi,Henri. I've been listening to and analysing music for years. I'm constantly amazed at the "connections" I come across. Many albums are worth putting under the microscope. A lot of musical revelations are still waiting to emerge. Thanks, & TTU soon...P