Man behind folk rock heroes

Joe Boyd, appearing at The Greystones to talk about his career in music
Joe Boyd, appearing at The Greystones to talk about his career in music
Have your say

It’s a career that encompasses a raft of pivotal moments in popular music history.

There are stories to be told about Muddy Waters, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Pink Floyd, Fairport Convention, the Incredible String Band and Nick Drake.

And record and film producer Joe Boyd will be telling them at The Greystones in Sheffield on Friday, March 6.

He’ll be in conversation with Sheffield writer JP Bean, author of Singing From The Floor, A History of British Folk Clubs, who shared a stage with him at a festival last summer.

“Joe is a great speaker with some wonderful stories,” says Bean. “He discovered, nurtured and produced most of the great names in folk rock, as well as his involvement with Dylan and Hendrix.

“He doesn’t do many appearances like this, so to get him at The Greystones is something special.”

Joe Boyd may not be a household name but he exerted a hefty behind-the- scenes influence in those heady days in the Sixties.

Born in Boston in 1942, he graduated from Harvard before becoming a production and tour manager in Europe, travelling with the likes of Muddy Waters, Coleman Hawkins and Stan Getz.

He was at the centre of the storm as a stage manager at the Newport Festival in 1965 when Dylan memorably went electric, a scene described in glorious detail in Boyd’s memoir, White Bicycles,

Making Music in the 1960s. “It’s far too loud,” complained Pete Seeger and other traditional folkies.

In London in 1966, Boyd opened the short-lived psychedelic ballroom, UFO.

His first record production was four tracks by Eric Clapton and the Powerhouse, then Pink Floyd turned to him to produce their single, Arnold Layne.

British folk and especially folk-rock owes a huge debt to the American, who produced Fairport Convention, Sandy Denny, Richard and Linda Thompson, Shirley Collins, The Incredible String Band and John and Beverley Martyn.

His CV extends to work with Maria Muldaur, Toots and the Maytals, REM, Kate and Anna McGarrigle, 10,000 Maniacs, Billy Bragg, Taj Mahal and many others.

He also started Hannibal Records, which he ran for 20 years.

As if that was not enough, as head of music for Warner Brothers Films, he organized the scoring of Deliverance, Clockwork Orange and McCabe and Mrs Miller and made Jimi Hendrix, a feature-length documentary.

He was executive producer of the film Scandal, about the Profumo Affair.

So there is plenty to talk about at The Greystones during an evening that will offer the audience the chance to ask questions.

At the end his book, Boyd reflects: “I cheated. I never got too stoned. I became the eminence grise I aspired to be, and disproved at least one Sixties myth: I was there and I do remember.”

The show, which takes place at the popular Sheffield music pub on Greystones Road, starts at 8pm.

Tickets avaiable form the pub from noon to 6pm or go online at