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No More Sad Refrains: The Life and Times of Sandy Denny

No More Sad Refrains: The Life and Times of Sandy Denny [Kindle Edition]

Clinton Heylin
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Product Description


With intimate accounts from friends and colleagues, this is a bold but never sensationalised look at the finest British singer-songwriter of them all -- Uncut

[This]is essentially yet another sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll tale, with stage fright and alcohol chasers…. Compelling -- The Herald

Product Description

Clinton Heylin's biography No More Sad Refrains, draws on hours of interviews with Sandy's closest friends and musical collaborators, access to her diaries and unreleased work, to produce a moving portrait of a complex, driven, but fatally flawed genius, who remains the finest female singer-songwriter this country has ever produced.About The Artist

Sandy Denny provided the original vocals, alongside Robert Plant, for the classic Led Zeppelin song The Battle Of Evermore. Island Records released a limited edition nineteen CD retrospective of Denny's work in 2010."She was a perfect British folk voice" - Pete Townshend."My favourite singer out of all the British girls that ever were" - Robert Plant
About The Author

Clinton Heylin is one of the most respected rock historians writing today. He is the author of acclaimed biographies of Bob Dylan, Sandy Denny and Van Morrison. He was nominated for the Ralph J. Gleason award for his Bob Dylan: The Recording Sessions.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3155 KB
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Omnibus Press (23 Sep 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005P1A34C
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #222,471 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
For many people, Sandy Denny remains Britain's foremost female singer-songwriter. After a brief stint with the Strawbs, she came to prominence in the seminal folk-rock band Fairport Convention. Three ground-breaking albums later she left to form her own band, Fotheringay, and then recorded four beautiful solo albums. (She was also the only singer ever to guest on a Led Zeppelin album, on "The Battle of Evermore".) The last line of the last song on her last album was, "I won't be singing any more sad refrains." In April 1978, less than a year after its release, Sandy Denny was dead, aged just 31.
Denny's most famous song is "Who Knows Where The Time Goes?", and somehow it's taken over two decades for the unvarnished story of her life and death to come out. Clinton Heylin's biography is no hagiography; Sandy Denny was no saint. Most of her fans will be surprised to learn that she was a heavy drinker, and terribly insecure. Heylin blames many of those around her for making her insecurity even worse. He brands her adored but roving husband Trevor Lucas (who died in 1989) "a mediocre musician" who badgered Denny into writing more songs, then dismissed them as sounding too much the same. He blames Denny's early producer, Joe Boyd, for pulling the plug on Fotheringay half way through recording their second album, forcing her unwillingly to go solo. ("Solo" is one of her most ironic songs, as much about broken love as about singing.)
Heylin's book, which includes photographs, some of Denny's drawings, pages from her diaries, and unrecorded and draft lyrics, is a sharp-edged record of her personal and professional frustrations and missed opportunities.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An extremely readable "must." 10 April 2002
By A Customer
Sandy Denny has to be one of the greatest British singers ever. Her voice had a haunting quality and a truly natural sound and was able to make your spirits soar or break your heart.
This book acquaints you with the woman behind the voice. As the author says, "Solo the voice could now be heard in all its resonating purity, driven by an unerring instinct, but the secret Sandy remained a deeply unhappy person, for whom the songs remained her only release."
There are lots of touching anecdotes, like the time Sandy invited her friend Bambi Ballard to a studio at one in the morning to play the songs of the album "Sandy." After each song the insecure Sandy asked "You don't want to hear any more, do you?" Bambi Ballard, the sole audience, with tears running down her face had to reassure her that each song was lovely and to urge her to play another.
The book also corrects the notion that Sandy fell as a result of falling downstairs - and helps to explain why the some of the facts were played down.
In short if you like Sandy Denny's music, this book is a "must" and is extremely readable.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A moving story 8 Sep 2003
If you have ever enjoyed Sandy's music, you should read this, but be warned. It is very depressing to read about someone so talented and so hell-bent on self-destruction. Despite the total contrast in their voices, Sandy consciously modelled herself on Janis Joplin, and the ensuing lifestyle wreaked the inevitable consequences. If I have one criticism of this book, it is in the sometimes shoddy writing/editing. There are a number of spelling and grammatical errors, but by far the most annoying feature is the way Heylin insists on inserting his own words into other people's quotations - ostensibly for reasons of clarity, but in most cases completely unnecessary. I don't have an actual example to hand, but to give you the idea, if someone says something like "She was a bit of a heavy drinker", it's likely to come out as "[Sandy][at that time] was a bit of a heavy [brandy] drinker". It adds nothing to the meaning, and after a while becomes highly intrusive and irritating. That aside, it's a very good (if sobering) read.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Tragic Book. 31 Aug 2006
By Solzhi
Heylin took the writing of this book on after the publisher rejected the manuscript of the original author, and I can't help but feel that his reasons for so doing were as much about his ego as anything else. The book is a depressing read, by and large, and not just for the relentless details of the Denny's self destruction. Heylin misses no opportunity to give us the benefit of his negativity regarding the recorded work. One really gets the impression that he doesn't much like most of the things she did - some great songs, yes, and the voice of course, but there's almost always something wrong as far as our Clinton is concerned, from production, through song selection, to Sandy's "shot" voice latterly (according to Clint). The writing also sometimes canters towards the cliche ridden from time to time, almost as if Heylin coudn't really be bothered. I hope someone else has another go whilst most of the main players are still alive. There is a great biography waiting for someone with the ability (and feeling) to write it.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars No corrections, but still something was added 17 Jun 2011
Why it took so long to reprint this book remains a mystery. It has been out of print for many years. Since then a renewed interest in Sandy Denny has steadily been growing and the book had become something of a collector's item. There was money to be made by reprinting it and it could have been made 5 years ago. Anyhow: the reprint has finally arrived.

The book has received a lot of bad publicity over the years; nobody who is considered an authority on Sandy Denny seems to think it is any good. And sure enough the book has it's faults. It offers almost everything there is to know on Denny's personal life, but her music is hardly being discussed, let alone analised.
In general, Heylin, in telling his story, does not keep enough distance in some parts, giving personal opinions where a clean representation of the facts or just sticking to quotes of witnesses would have made situations perfectly clear. He is also a little too anxious to lay the blame for Sandy's personal problems and downfall with certain people.
The book still seems to contain many of the spelling errors and crooked sentences that it did when it first appeared, which I find rather respectless to it's new readers.
The more strange it is to find that Heylin did have time to add, at the end of the book, a separate piece on all the CD's with 'previously unreleased tracks' that have appeared since the book was written. Heylin dismisses most of them as mere attempts to empty the pockets of the hardcore fans, the CD's themselves being marred by the wrong choices of song-versions and other evils.
It is especially in this part of the book that Heylin shows why some people dislike him so much.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars TMI
Clinton Heylin tells us nearly everything we wanted to know, and a few things we didn't want to know, about Sandy Denny. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Steve B
5.0 out of 5 stars The somewhat sad refrain of the Queen of Avalon
I was touched by this superb biography of the life and times of one of my all-time favourite female vocalists, even to the point of tears at times (call me sentimental). Read more
Published 13 months ago by Gert Volkmer
5.0 out of 5 stars A gift
This was a present that was greatly appreciated. It went well with Sandy Denny Reflections on her music. Many thanks
Published 14 months ago by mt
5.0 out of 5 stars Rewarding but sad
For all those who admire and love Sandy's music this revealing book provides some background information that is both rewarding and a little sad. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Ian P
5.0 out of 5 stars A Loving And Understanding Insight Of An Amazing Singer/Songwriter
This book has been so well researched, thought out and written, I feel like I know her very well, and her troubled life, and also a greater understanding of her song writing and... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Silverfox
3.0 out of 5 stars Adequate, but no more than that
I've just finished reading Clinton Heylin's NO MORE SAD REFRAINS, which took just a couple of sessions. Read more
Published on 8 Feb 2012 by Virgil Hilts
3.0 out of 5 stars Troubling...
Firstly, the book seems to be full of the author's weird conceited thoughts. Secondly, the cover is wrong, Amazon. Read more
Published on 10 Sep 2011 by Mr. C. J. Iredale
5.0 out of 5 stars oh music lover
It,s finally nice to meet Sandy Denny.An emotional trip through a much too short of a life.Never knowing much about her other than in her songs,this is as close as I can get.
Published on 7 Sep 2011 by sammy soft
1.0 out of 5 stars Reissue of poor Heylin biog complete with demented epilogue
The only reason this book was of any importance was because it was the only published biography of UK's finest singer, Sandy Denny. Read more
Published on 21 Jun 2011 by Mr. J. C. Taylor
4.0 out of 5 stars OK - if you can get hold of a copy
Having always wanted to read Heylin's biography of English folk singer Sandy Denny (1947-1978) since I heard it had been published in 2000, but never being able to locate a copy, I... Read more
Published on 17 Oct 2010 by cathy earnshaw
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