Roy Harper (born 12 June 1941) is an English folk/rock singer, songwriter and guitarist who has been a professional musician since 1964. He has released a large catalogue of albums (21 studio albums and 10 live albums) most of which are available on his record label Science Friction (as CD and / or Music download).
Musically, American blues musician Lead Belly and folk singer Woody Guthrie were his earliest influences, and whilst in his teens, jazz musician Miles Davis. Harper was also exposed to classical music in his childhood and has pointed to the influence of Jean Sibelius' Karelia Suite. Lyrical influences include the 19th century Romantics (especially Percy Shelley), and John Keats poem Endymion. Harper has also cited the Beat poets as being highly influential, particularly Jack Kerouac. As a musician, Harper is known for his distinctive fingerstyle playing and lengthy, lyrical, complex compositions, a result of his love of jazz and Keats.
His influence has been acknowledged by many musicians including Jimmy Page and Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin (who named the song "Hats Off to (Roy) Harper" after him), Pete Townshend of The Who, Kate Bush, Pink Floyd (who invited him to sing guest lead vocals on their song "Have a Cigar"), and Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull; who stated Harper was his "...primary influence as an acoustic guitarist and songwriter."
More recently, Harper's influence has reached across the Atlantic and been acknowledged by Seattle-based acoustic band Fleet Foxes and Californian harpist Joanna Newsom, with whom he has also toured. In 2011, Harper turned 70 and performed a celebratory concert at London's Royal Festival Hall.
Early life (1941–65)
Harper was born in 1941 in Rusholme, a suburb of Manchester. His mother, Muriel, died three weeks after he was born. From the age of 6, he was raised in St Annes on Sea by his father and stepmother, with whom he became disillusioned because of her Jehovah's Witness beliefs. Harper's anti-religious views would later become a familiar theme within his music.
At the age of 13, he began playing skiffle music with his younger brother David, ("Davey" on the album Flat Baroque and Berserk), as well as becoming influenced by blues music. At 14 he formed his first group (De Boys) with his brothers David and Harry. Harper was educated at King Edward VII School, Lytham St Annes, then a Grammar school and left at the age of 15 (1956) to join the Royal Air Force. Harper eventually rejected the rigid discipline, feigned madness in order to obtain a military discharge and received one electroconvulsive therapy treatment at Princess Mary's RAF Hospital, Wendover. After being discharged from there, he spent one day inside the former 'Lancaster Moor Mental Institute' before escaping. These experiences would later make their way into "Committed", a song on Sophisticated Beggar, Harper's debut album.
Upon his eventual exit from a troubled youth, c. 1961, he busked around North Africa, Europe and London for a few years. On his return to London, he gained a residency at London's famous Soho folk music club, Les Cousins in 1965, having been introduced to it by Peter Bellamy of The Young Tradition. Within the first week Harper saw John Renbourn, Alexis Korner, Paul Simon, Alex Campbell and Bert Jansch play and he would play, associate, and 'rub shoulders' with other artists arriving later, including John Martyn, Joni Mitchell and Nick Drake.
The first record deals (1966–69)
Harper's first album, Sophisticated Beggar, was recorded in 1966 after he was spotted at Les Cousins and signed to Peter Richards' Strike Records. The album consisted of Harper's songs and poetry backed by acoustic guitar and recorded with a Revox tape machine by Pierre Tubbs. (English guitarist Paul Brett also contributed his skills).
Columbia Records recognised Harper's potential and hired American producer Shel Talmy to produce Harper's second album, Come Out Fighting Ghengis Smith, which was released in 1967. The 11 minute track "Circle" was notable for marking a widening of Harper's musical style away from the more traditional side of contemporary folk music heard at the time. Harper had an interest in traditional folk but did not consider himself a bona fide member of the folk scene. He later explained:-
Bert Jansch wrote the sleeve note for the album. During this period, Harper was managed by American music entrepreneur Jo Lustig; manager of The Pentangle and former agent to Julie Felix.
In June 1968, Harper performed at the first free concert ever held at Hyde Park, sharing the bill with Jethro Tull, Pink Floyd and Tyrannosaurus Rex, and began to attract a following of fans from the underground music scene. He also toured the UK, performing at numerous venues such as the Lyceum Ballroom, Klooks Kleek and Mothers; venues that would gradually gain recognition for the variety and quality of their musical acts. Mothers in Birmingham was one such venue, and one to which Harper would frequently return. Harper later told Brum Beat magazine:
In 1969 Harper undertook a short 6-venue tour with Ron Geesin and Ralph McTell. The tour programme contained the introductory paragraph:-
That same year, Harper released his third album Folkjokeopus. The album was again produced by Shel Talmy, and released by Liberty Records. Side two included an extended 17-minute track, titled "McGoohan's Blues", which Harper referred to as the "main statement" within the album. Of his non-conformance to radio-friendly, standard, three-minute songs, Harper claimed it to be a revolt, and that he regarded the three-minute pop song as an anathema, a jingle to sell a band. (The title for "McGoohan's Blues" was a reference to actor Patrick McGoohan, who had starred in the UK TV series The Prisoner two years earlier).
Harvest years (1970–80)
With Harper's reputation growing, Pink Floyd's manager Peter Jenner signed him to a long-term (and at times confrontational) deal with EMI's 'underground' subsidiary, Harvest Records. Over a ten-year period, Harper would record 8 albums at the Abbey Road Studios, for the Harvest label and for much of this period was managed and produced by Jenner, initially acting for Blackhill Enterprises. According to Jenner, "Harper is a terrific songwriter, but a bit crazy".
Harper's first tour of the United States followed the release of his fourth studio album, Flat Baroque and Berserk, in 1969. The album also featured The Nice on the track "Hell's Angels". Its ethereal sound was achieved by a wah-wah pedal attached to Harper's acoustic guitar.
After the Bath Festival of 1970, Led Zeppelin paid tribute to Harper with their version of the traditional song "Shake 'Em on Down". Retitled "Hats Off to (Roy) Harper", it appeared on the album Led Zeppelin III. According to Jimmy Page, the band admired the way Harper stood by his principles and did not sell out to commercial pressures. In mutual appreciation of their work, Harper would often attend live performances by Led Zeppelin over the subsequent decade, contributed sleeve photography to the album Physical Graffiti and also appeared, albeit uncredited, in the 1976 Led Zeppelin documentary film, The Song Remains the Same.
Harper's critically acclaimed 1971 album was a four-song epic, Stormcock. The album featured Jimmy Page on guitar (credited as "S. Flavius Mercurius" for contractual reasons) and David Bedford's orchestral arrangements (Bedford would also collaborate on some of Harper's future releases). Harper felt the album to be not particularly well promoted by his record label at the time and later stated:
Nevertheless, Stormcock would remain a favourite album of Harper's fans and influence musicians for decades to come. Thirty-five years later (in 2006) fellow Mancunian Johnny Marr of English alternative rock band The Smiths said:
Joanna Newsom cited Stormcock as an influence upon her 2006 release Ys and in 2011, Robin Pecknold of Seattle, Washington-based folk band Fleet Foxes stated that he took inspiration from Stormcock when recording Fleet Foxes second album Helplessness Blues.
In 1972, Harper made his acting debut playing Mike Preston alongside Carol White in the John Mackenzie film Made. Harper also recorded the soundtrack for the film, released the following year as Lifemask. At the time, Lifemask was created as Harper's final bow, as he had been diagnosed with the (then) little-known genetic condition HHT, which caused polycythemia, incapacitating him. The cover art shows Harper's life mask, as opposed to the 'death mask' it might have been.
After recovering (treatment involved frequent venesection), his next album (Valentine) was released on Valentine's Day, 14 February 1974, and featured contributions from Jimmy Page. A concert to mark its release was held on the same day at London's Rainbow Theatre, with Page, Bedford, Max Middleton, Ronnie Lane and Keith Moon performing alongside Harper. His first live album Flashes from the Archives of Oblivion, recorded at that concert, soon followed.
Pink Floyd's 1975 release Wish You Were Here saw Harper sing lead vocals on the song "Have a Cigar". Roger Waters intended to record the part himself, but had strained his voice while recording "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" and David Gilmour declined to sing. Harper was recording his album HQ in Studio 2 of Abbey Road at the same time as Pink Floyd were working in Studio 3; learning of the band's dilemma, Harper offered to sing the lead. The song is one of only two songs by Pink Floyd not sung by one of their permanent members. David Gilmour returned the favour by appearing on HQ, along with Harper's occasional backing band, 'Trigger' (Chris Spedding, Dave Cochran, Bill Bruford and John Paul Jones). The single "When an Old Cricketer Leaves the Crease", taken from HQ, is one of Harper's best known songs. Harper also co-wrote the song "Short and Sweet" with Gilmour for Gilmour's first solo record, David Gilmour, released in 1978.
Controversy followed the release of 1977's Bullinamingvase. The owners of Watford Gap service station objected to criticism of their food – "Watford Gap, Watford Gap/A plate of grease and a load of crap..." – in the lyrics of the song "Watford Gap". Harper was forced to drop it from future UK copies of the album, though it remained on the U.S. LP and reappeared on a later CD reissue. The album also featured the song "One of Those Days in England", with backing vocals by Paul McCartney and his wife at the time Linda; the single from the album went to number 42 in the UK charts. During this period, Harper's band were renamed 'Chips' and included Andy Roberts, Dave Lawson, Henry McCullough, John Halsey and Dave Cochran. In April 1978, Harper began writing lyrics for the next Led Zeppelin album with Jimmy Page, but the project was shelved when lead singer Robert Plant returned from a sabbatical after the death of his son, Karac Pendragon.
Following the success of Bullinamingvase, Harper was asked "to write another record quickly". Demo recordings with Harper's newly formed backing band 'Black Sheep' (Andy Roberts, Dave Lawson, Henry McCullough, John Halsey and Dave Cochran, a.k.a. Dave C. Drill). were made, but Harper felt them to be rushed and the record company who "...were in the first stages of a collapse in sales..." were not interested in the recordings, nor were they prepared to provide studio time when requested, telling Harper to come back in six months. As a result, Harper withheld the publishing rights to that which had been recorded; an album provisionally entitled Commercial Breaks (doesn't it?) and was (in his own words) "outlawed" by the record company.
From 1975–1980 Harper worked with English musician and 'Black Sheep' member Andy Roberts sometimes performing as a duo. During this period, Harper spent considerable time in the United States and signed with the US division of Chrysalis Records, who released HQ with a different title – When an Old Cricketer Leaves the Crease – and with alternative artwork. Chrysalis considered the original Hipgnosis-designed album cover of Harper walking on water to be too offensive for an American release. Harper disagreed, but was given no choice by the label. Chrysalis also changed the title of Harper's next album, Bullinamingvase, to One of Those Days in England. In 1978, US Chrysalis reissued Harper's first five Harvest albums, only one of which (Flat, Baroque and Berserk) had been previously released in America.
Harper returned to the studio a few years after his dispute with EMI to record and prepare his next album The Unknown Soldier (1980). At the time, Harper knew it would be his last release on the label and it was these demos that "...were destined to gather dust on a shelf labelled 'Commercial Breaks'...". (It was not until Harpers 1988 release Loony on the Bus that some of these songs became officially available, and another six years until the album was finally released as Commercial Breaks (1994)).
In 1980, Harper released The Unknown Soldier, which was indeed his final Harvest release. The album contains a duet with Kate Bush on the track "You". Harper later reciprocated by singing backing vocals on "Breathing", on Bush's album Never For Ever. During a BBC Radio interview by Paul Gambaccini, Bush praised Harper, stating:
Of Bush, Harper later said,
A decade later, Harper and Bush would again collaborate on his 1990 release Once.
Recession and repossession (1981–89)
Harper's 1982 album Work of Heart was released on Public Records, a newly-formed record label Harper created with Mark Thompson (son of English historian, socialist and peace campaigner E.P. Thompson and brother of Kate Thompson). During this period Harper toured with a band consisting of Tony Franklin on Bass, Bob Wilson of The Steve Gibbons Band, George Jackson on drums and Dave Morris on keyboards. The album was chosen by Derek Jewell of The Sunday Times as "Album of the Year" in 1982, but it did not sell well and the short-lived label went under.
During this period Harper lost his home, a farm in the village of Marden, Herefordshire, to the bank. His manager at the time mortgaged Harper's house (by virtue of the Power of Attorney Harper had granted him), pocketed the proceeds and disappeared to America. Of this period Harper stated:-
The original demo version of Work of Heart was later released (in 1984) on a limited edition (830 copies) vinyl release entitled Born in Captivity.
Throughout 1984, Harper toured the United Kingdom with Jimmy Page performing a predominantly acoustic set at folk festivals under various guises such as The MacGregors, and Themselves. In 1985, Whatever Happened to Jugula? was released. The album caused a resurgence of interest in Harper and his music. (Tony Franklin, bass player in Harper's group at this time, would later join Page in The Firm). In April 1984, Harper and Gilmour performed "Short and Sweet" (a song they co-wrote) during Gilmour's three-night run at The Hammersmith Odeon. This version later appeared on the David Gilmour Live 1984 concert film. Harper also provided backing vocals on Gilmour's newly released album, About Face.
On 20 June 1984 Harper performed at the last Stonehenge Free Festival along with Hawkwind and The Enid. The concert was videoed and released as Stonehenge 84.
As a result of Harpers continual touring and the popularity of Whatever Happened to Jugula?, Harper re-signed to EMI and in 1986 released a live album, In Between Every Line (containing recordings from his performances at the Cambridge Folk Festival), and in 1988 the studio album, Descendants of Smith. The renewed relationship between Harper and EMI did not last and from 1985 more of his earlier albums were becoming available on the newly formed Awareness Records label.
1988 also saw the release of Loony on the Bus, a collection of tracks recorded a decade earlier and intended for release in 1977 as Commercial Breaks (with the sub-title, 'doesn't it?'). The original release having been held back because of disputes over funding and content between Harper and EMI. Sales of Loony on the Bus would fund Harper's 1990 release; Once.
Science Friction (1990–99)
In 1993 Harper established his own record label Science Friction and obtained the rights to all his previously released albums. As a result, from 1994 much of Harper's back catalogue became available on CD once more.
Harper was very productive during the decade, releasing five studio albums: Once (1990), Death or Glory? (1992), Commercial Breaks (1994), The Dream Society (1998), a collection of poetry and spoken word tracks Poems, Speeches, Thoughts and Doodles (1997); two live albums: Unhinged (1993) and Live At Les Cousins (1996), and six individual CDs of live concerts and sessions recorded by the BBC (1997).
In addition, Harper released a live video Once (1990), an EP Burn the World (1990), a 4-track CD single Death or Glory? (1992), a limited edition live cassette Born in Captivity II (1992) (featuring cricketer Graeme Fowler and a cricket poem written by Harper: "Three Hundred Words"), a compilation album An Introduction to ..... (1994), and a reissue of Descendants of Smith (his 1988 release) renamed Garden of Uranium (1994).
Once again Harper collaborated with David Gilmour and Kate Bush on his 1990 release, Once. The album also featured contributions from Nigel Mazlyn Jones, a fellow English guitarist, singer and songwriter. In 1992, his marriage to his wife Jacqui ended and Harper released Death or Glory? an album that (upon its original release) contained a number of songs and spoken word pieces referencing his loss and pain.
Throughout the decade, Harper's musical influence began to be recognised by a younger generation of musicians, some of whom covered his songs or invited him to make guest appearances on their albums. In 1995 Harper contributed spoken words on The Tea Party's 1995 album The Edges of Twilight, and appeared on stage for their New Year concert in Montreal. In 1996 Roy recited "Bad Speech" from his album Whatever Happened to Jugula? on Anathemas album Eternity (the album also contains a cover version of "Hope" from the same album). The track "Time" from The Tea Party's 1996 multimedia CD, Alhambra, was sung and co-written by Harper.
Harper contributed his version of Jethro Tull's song, "Up the 'Pool" (from Living in the Past) for the 1996 tribute album, To Cry You A Song - A Collection Of Tull Tales, a version Anderson liked so much, he began to perform the "forgotten piece" again in concert.
In 1998, Jethro Tull singer Ian Anderson contributed flute to the song, "These Fifty Years" on Harper's The Dream Society, an album based on emotional, philosophical and actual events in Harper's life. Views of procreation, his mother's continued presence in him and something of his psychological impulses are punctuated by a couple of moments of satire, a love song and a lament, followed by the lengthy "These Fifty years", of which he has said, "In some ways its (anti-organised religion) theme is similar to 'The Same Old Rock', but in many others I think it's stronger". Reportedly, Anderson said that the only reason he originally left Blackpool was because Harper did. Other artists who covered Harper's songs (or songs on his albums) throughout the decade include Dean Carter, Ava Cherry & The Astronettes, Green Crown, The Kitchen Cynics, The Levellers, Roydan Styles and Pete Townshend. Harper also undertook a short tour of the USA, where some performances were supported by Daevid Allen, former Soft Machine and Gong band member.
Into a new millennium (2000–2010)
In 2000, Harper released an almost entirely acoustic album, The Green Man, accompanied by The Tea Party's Jeff Martin on guitar, hurdy gurdy and numerous other instruments. The following year (2001) Harper celebrated his 60th birthday with a concert at London's Royal Festival Hall. Harper was joined by numerous guest artists, including David Bedford, Nick Harper, Jeff Martin and John Renbourn. A recording of the concert Royal Festival Hall Live – June 10th 2001 was released as a double CD shortly afterwards.
In 2003, Harper published The Passions of Great Fortune, a large format book containing all the lyrics to his albums (and singles) to date, which also included a wealth of photographs and commentary on his songs.
In April 2005, Harper released a lengthy CD single, The Death of God. The 13 minute song, a critique of the war in Iraq, featured guest guitarist Matt Churchill, who has also joined Harper on stage at his live performances. A video of this song, intermixing animation with a live performance, is available in four parts on YouTube. The same year saw the release of Counter Culture, a double compilation album featuring songs from a 35-year songwriting period. Counter Culture received a five-star review from UNCUT magazine. Harper also contributed a recital of "Jabberwocky" for The Wildlife Album, an 18-track compilation CD to benefit the World Wide Fund For Nature and the Ulster Wildlife Trust.
2006 saw Harper release his first DVD, Beyond the Door. Composed of live footage recorded in 2004 at Irish folk club "De Barra's" in Clonakilty, Cork, the package includes an additional 10-track audio CD and received a 4-star review from both Mojo and UNCUT, as well as from Classic Rock magazine, who made it their "DVD of the month".
In September 2007, Harper supported Californian harpist Joanna Newsom at her Royal Albert Hall performance. Newsom had been impressed by Harper's 1971 album Stormcock, and it served as an inspiration for her second album, Ys. During his Royal Albert Hall appearance with Newsom, Harper played Stormcock in its entirety. At the time, Harper made an announcement on his website that he was "...taking a break from the live scene... retired from gigging..." and just wanted "...the time and space to write..."
During this period, Harper dedicated his time to collecting and compiling his life's work in various formats. One of the intended projects was to be the making of a documentary DVD to round off this process.
In 2008, plans were announced for a Roy Harper tribute album. The album, What You Need Is What You Have, The Songs of Roy Harper is being compiled by Laurel Canyon folk singer, musician and producer Jonathan Wilson, and features Chris Robinson (The Black Crowes), Gary Louris (The Jayhawks), Johnathan Rice, Eric Johnson (Fruit Bats, The Shins), Benji Hughes, Will Oldham, Andy Cabic, Dawes, Jenny O., Josh Tillman and others. At present, the collection remains unfinished, having been delayed beyond its planned 2009 release date. Some of the tracks can be heard on the project's Myspace page.
In 2010, Newsom once again invited Harper to be special guest for her on several of her European Tour Dates. Plans for Harper to star in the film Rebel City Rumble were also announced.
On 2 April 2011, Roy Harper played a concert for a small audience at Metropolis Studios as part of the ITV Legends series. The concert was recorded on video and released on DVD as Classic Rock Legends: Roy Harper. Through the summer of 2011, Harper made a number of appearances on broadcast media. On 24 July 2011, Harper appeared as the lunchtime guest on the British cricketing radio programme, Test Match Special. During the show Harper was interviewed and also performed "When An Old Cricketer Leaves The Crease". A televised interview followed on BBC Breakfast on the 19 September 2011, and Harper was also interviewed by Robert Elms on his BBC London 94.9 show on the 20 September 2011. During the show, Harper performed "Another Day", (a song from his 1970 album Flat Baroque and Berserk) live in the studio. A further interview took place on Mike Hardings BBC Radio 2 show on the 21 September 2011.
On 23 September Harper was interviewed on Later... with Jools Holland. A segment of Harper performing "Commune" (from his 1974 album Valentine) on The Old Grey Whistle Test in 1974 was shown. Harper performed "Another Day", an abbreviated version of "I Hate The White Man" (from his 1970 album Flat Baroque and Berserk) and "The Green Man" (as part of a web exclusive performance).
The media appearances were to promote the release of a new compilation album, Songs of Love and Loss, a compilation of Harper's love songs released as an introduction to the digital release of 19 of Harper's albums for the first time. The digital catalogue is to be released in batches of four in the coming months. The album (and most of Harper's back catalogue) is also available to download on Harper's website in FLAC and MP3 formats.
On 5 November 2011 Harper returned to London's Royal Festival Hall to celebrate his 70th birthday and perform once again with special guests Jonathan Wilson, Nick Harper, Joanna Newsom and Jimmy Page. The performance was described in the media as "...an evening of devastating musical brilliance..." and an "...historic concert".
In 2012, the Press Photographers Association of Ireland awarded third place in the Portraits section of their annual competition to a photographic portrait of Harper by photographer Alan Place.
In December 2012, plans to release a new album in 2013 were confirmed. This would be Harpers first studio release of newly recorded material for 13 years. The album Man and Myth is due to be released in September 2013, with a tour to follow.
HQ was awarded Record of the Year in Portugal in 1975. That year Harper also received a similar award in Finland for the same record.
Work of Heart was awarded The Sunday Times Album of the Year in 1982.
Harper was awarded the MOJO Hero Award by the staff of Mojo magazine on 16 June 2005 at the Porchester Hall, Central London. The award itself was presented by longtime collaborator and friend, Jimmy Page and now hangs upon the wall at De Barras Folk Club in Clonakilty, Ireland.
On 30th January 2013, Harper was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.
One of Roy's sons, Nick Harper, is a successful singer / songwriter in his own right. In the past, Nick occasionally toured and recorded with Roy, and has appeared (as guitarist) on a number of his albums since 1985.
- 1966 – Sophisticated Beggar
- 1967 – Come Out Fighting Ghengis Smith
- 1969 – Folkjokeopus
- 1970 – Flat Baroque and Berserk
- 1971 – Stormcock
- 1973 – Lifemask
- 1974 – Valentine
- 1975 – HQ (US title: When an Old Cricketer Leaves the Crease)
- 1977 – Bullinamingvase (US title: One of Those Days in England)
- 1980 – The Unknown Soldier
- 1982 – Work of Heart
- 1984 – Born in Captivity
- 1985 – Whatever Happened to Jugula? (with Jimmy Page)
- 1988 – Descendants of Smith
- 1988 – Loony on the Bus
- 1990 – Once
- 1992 – Death or Glory?
- 1994 – Commercial Breaks (previously unreleased album from 1977; 9 of its 12 tracks are available on Loony on the Bus)
- 1994 – Garden of Uranium (reissue of Descendants of Smith)
- 1997 – Poems, Speeches, Thoughts and Doodles (A collection of spoken tracks with occasional instrumentation)
- 1998 – The Dream Society
- 2000 – The Green Man
- 2013 – Man and Myth - Due for release in the Autumn
- 1974 – Flashes from the Archives of Oblivion
- 1984 – Live at the Red Lion, Birmingham (Volume I & II Limited edition cassette)
- 1985 – Live at the Red Lion, Birmingham (Volume III Limited edition cassette)
- 1986 – In Between Every Line
- 1992 – Born in Captivity II (Limited edition cassette)
- 1993 – Unhinged (Edited version of Born in Captivity II)
- 1996 – Live At Les Cousins
- 1997 – The BBC Tapes – Volume II (In Concert 1974)
- 1997 – The BBC Tapes – Volume IV (In Concert 1975)
- 1997 – The BBC Tapes – Volume VI (In Concert 1978 with Andy Roberts)
- 2001 – Royal Festival Hall Live – June 10th 2001
- 1978 – Harper 1970–1975
- 1994 – An Introduction to .....
- 1997 – Song of the Ages (3-CD collection of Roy Harper interviews)
- 1997 – The BBC Tapes – Volume I (1969–1973)
- 1997 – The BBC Tapes – Volume III (BBC Sessions 1974)
- 1997 – The BBC Tapes – Volume V (BBC Sessions 1975 - 1978)
- 2001 – Hats Off (compilation of collaborative tracks)
- 2001 – East of the Sun (compilation of love songs)
- 2002 – Today Is Yesterday (compilation of demo, unreleased and rare material from 1964–1967)
- 2005 – Counter Culture (double disc compilation)
- 2007 – From Occident to Orient (compilation and initially, only released in Japan whilst Harper toured there)
- 2011 – Songs of Love and Loss (two volume compilation of love songs)
Reissues and remixes
- 1977 – The Early Years (reissue of Come Out Fighting Ghengis Smith)
- 1994 – Garden of Uranium (reissue of Descendants of Smith)
- 1998 – Death or Glory? (tracks 1 & 9 remixed)
- 1970 – "St. Thomas" (guest lead vocal and lyrics for The Nice and appears on America – The BBC Sessions)
- 1971 – "Ravneferd" (co-written with Lillebjørn Nilsen and appears on the album Tilbake)
- 1975 – "Have a Cigar" (guest lead vocals for Pink Floyd)
- 1978 – "Short and Sweet" (co-written with David Gilmour and appears on The Unknown Soldier)
- 1995 – The Edges of Twilight (spoken word on hidden track for The Tea Party)
- 1995 – "Time" (guest lead vocals for The Tea Party's Alhambra multimedia CD)
- 1996 – "Hope" & "Bad Speech" on Anathema's album Eternity.
Singles / 12" Singles / EPs
- 1966 – Take Me Into Your Eyes / Pretty Baby
- 1967 – Midspring Dithering / Zengem
- 1968 – Life Goes By / You Don't Need Money
- 1972 – Bank of the Dead / Little Lady
- 1974 – (Don't You Think We're) Forever / Male Chauvinist Pig Blues (live)
- 1974 – Home (live) / Home (studio)
- 1975 – When an Old Cricketer Leaves the Crease / Hallucinating Light (live)
- 1975 – Grown-Ups Are Just Silly Children / Referendum (Legend)
- 1977 – One of Those Days in England / Watford Gap
- 1977 – One of Those Days in England / Watford Gap (Germany)
- 1977 – Sail Away / Cherishing the Lonesome
- 1978 – When an Old Cricketer Leaves the Crease / Home (studio)
- 1980 – Playing Games / First Thing in the Morning
- 1980 – Short and Sweet / Water Sports / The Unknown Soldier
- 1982 – No-One Ever Gets Out Alive / Casualty (live at Glastonbury 1982)
- 1983 – I Still Care / Goodbye Ladybird (acoustic)
- 1985 – Elizabeth / Advertisement / I Hate the White Man (live) (12" single)
- 1988 – Laughing Inside (acoustic)
- 1990 – Burn the World (2 track CD / EP)
- 1992 – Death or Glory? (4-track CD / single)
- 2005 – The Death of God (2-track CD / single)
- 2005 – The Passions of Great Fortune, Vol. 1 (iTunes Download)
- 1992 – Heavy Crazy (Live in London 1974) (incomplete bootleg CD of The BBC Tapes – Volume II (In Concert 1974))
- 1984 – Stonehenge 84
- 1986 – Live in Your Living Room
- 1990 – Once
- 2005 – Beyond the Door (DVD) (Includes CD recorded live in Clonakilty 2004)
- 2011 – Classic Rock Legends: Roy Harper (DVD)
- 1972 – Made
- 1976 – The Song Remains the Same
- 2009 – Brokeback Cowboy
- 2011 – Rebel City Rumble (in pre-production)
- 2003 – The Passions of Great Fortune – The Songs Explored (ISBN 0-9545264-0-6)
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Image from Discogs