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About Robyn Hitchcock


Robyn Rowan Hitchcock is an English singer-songwriter and guitarist. While primarily a vocalist and guitarist, he also plays harmonica, piano, and bass guitar.


After leading the Soft Boys in the late 1970s and releasing the influential Underwater Moonlight, Hitchcock launched a prolific solo career. His musical and lyrical styles have been influenced by Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Syd Barrett, Captain Beefheart, Martin Carthy, Lou Reed, Roger McGuinn and Bryan Ferry.


Hitchcock's earliest lyrics mined a rich vein of English surrealist comic tradition and tended to depict a particular type of eccentric and sardonic English worldview. His music and performance style was originally heavily influenced by Bob Dylan, but also by the English folk music revival of the 1960s and early 1970s, and this was soon filtered through a then-unfashionable psychedelic rock lens during the punk rock and New Wave music eras of the late 1970s and early 1980s. This combination of musical styles won Hitchcock's band of the time, The Soft Boys, a very enthusiastic if small fanbase, but an extremely frosty critical reception from the UK music press of the era. However, the Soft Boys' final album together, Underwater Moonlight, posthumously earned them a glowing reputation as a major influence on bands like R.E.M..


After finding a measure of success in the latter 1980s in America, Hitchcock's lyrical and musical horizons broadened further to encompass a range of approaches while still retaining a recognisably surreal, but more serious, signature style. He has recorded for two major American labels over the course of the 1980s and 1990s, and was the subject of a live performance/documentary film by major motion picture director Jonathan Demme in 1998. Since the turn of the millennium he has also finally received belated critical recognition in his home country.


Despite this, mainstream success remains limited. He continues to tour and record prolifically and has earned strong critical reviews over a steady stream of album releases and live performances, and a dedicated "cult following" for his unique body of work.


Hitchcock was educated at Winchester College, where he was a "groovy and alternative" friend of Julia Darling. While at art school in London around 1972, Hitchcock was a member of the college band the Beetles. In 1974, he moved to Cambridge, where he did some busking, and joined a series of local bands: B.B. Blackberry and the Swelterettes, the Worst Fears, and Maureen and the Meatpackers. His next group, Dennis and the Experts, became the neo-psychedelia band The Soft Boys in 1976, recording their first EP, "Give It to the Soft Boys", at Spaceward studios, Cambridge, in 1977. After recording A Can of Bees and Underwater Moonlight , the latter of which was described in Rolling Stone as a "classic" and influential on bands such as R.E.M. and The Replacements, the group broke up in 1981.


This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "Robyn Hitchcock", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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