Steeleye Span still going strong after six decades

Steeleye Span
Steeleye Span

Superstar band Steeleye Span are legends in British music, with a career spanning an amazing six decades.

Contemporaries of Led Zeppelin and Fairport Convention, they have gone on to change the face of folk music, taking it from small clubs and festivals into the world of chart-topping albums and international tours.

Down the years the band has been home to some of the biggest names on the circuit, including Martin Carthy, Ashley Hutchings and John Kirkpatrick,

Still fronted by original singer Maddy Prior, the seasoned travellers have had a busy year with visits to Belgium, Holland, Spain and the USA under their belts and a show in Chesterfield on their radar next week.

Rick Kemp, bass player in Steeleye Span since 1971, said: “The concert can be broken down into three parts - there are some things the fans have never heard before...some things that are quite old that they all know....and The Wintersmith, which is the last album.”

This time last year a deluxe version of The Wintersmith had just been released and fans were listening to Steeleye’s collaboration with Sir Terry Pratchett.

Rick said: “Terry asked the band if they would like to have a look at things that he had written and write a concept album. The writing was a shared thing.

“We found out that he was a fan of Steeleye years ago...he heard a Steeleye track when he was at university and that is what hooked him on the band.

”We played at his 60th birthday.”

Six years later, the passing of the fantasy author, who suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease, was marked by the band dedicating their music to him at concerts in spring 2015.

Rick said: “Terry died towards the end of our last tour. We were all devastated. The only thing that softened the blow was that it wasn’t totally unexpected. The funeral was a private family affair, but Maddy Prior did attend.”

December sees the band playing at Chesterfield’s Winding Wheel on the first day of the month and hoping to capture the Christmas market with the lead track from compilation album, Essential Steeleye.

Writing for the new album is a work in progress which should be completed early in 2016 and will be followed by Steeleye’s annual tour.

Steeleye Span in Concert is at the Winding Wheel, Chesterfield, on Tuesday at 7.30pm.

Tickets cost £21.50 or £36 (dinner and show). To book, call 01246 345 222 or visit