What We Did Instead of Holidays

What We Did Instead of Holidays: A History of Fairport Convention and Its Extended Folk-Rock Family by leading music historian Clinton Heylin, a comprehensive new biography of Fairport Convention and their many offshoots, telling the full story of English folk-rock in its golden era (1968-1982).

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  • Signed First Edition Hardback - 20.00
  • Paperback - 14.99

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Book details

ISBN: 978-1901927-73-3
Extent: 384pp + 24pp Photos

Author: Clinton Heylin

Signed first edition hardback. Cover price £25. Direct price £20 + P&P. Click ‘Buy Now’ above to order.*
Paperback edition £14.99. (Select ‘Paperback’ from drop down menu above to order)

A History of Fairport Convention and Its Extend Folk-Rock Family

In June 1968, a group of Muswell Hillbillies made their official album debut as Fairport Convention. In the next fifteen years, three of those founding Fairportees – Richard Thompson, Ashley ‘Tyger’ Hutchings and Simon Nicol – along with the next generation of Fairport recruits – Iain Matthews, Sandy Denny, and the three Daves: Swarbrick, Pegg and Mattacks – would form a veritable dynasty of English folk-rock, each pursuing their own path, but always returning to work with each other, to collectively produce albums with a near-eternal appeal.

Which is why every year since 1979 in a field somewhere near Banbury, 20,000-plus fans have congregated to celebrate this music’s enduring appeal at the Cropredy Festival.

So, fifty years on, now seems like the right time to tell the full story: to collect all the family lore that surrounds Fairport and its surrogates, and to disentangle the many highs and lows from those first fifteen years of Fotheringport Confusion.

Drawing on interviews with all the musicians and key figures in English folk-rock – including producers extraordinaire Joe Boyd and Sandy Roberton – Clinton Heylin has produced the definitive history of a folk-rock family in its golden era.

Candid, clear and cogent, presented with insight and chronologically, Clinton Heylin ties the loose threads of Fairport and its offshoots together in their own words. Diving deep beneath the surface of the music into the lives of the principals, he answers many un-asked questions.
Simon Nicol, Fairport Convention co-founder & longest serving member

We were young and ambitious. Learning the game without a manual or safety net. No one was exempt. Clinton Heylin has absolutely nailed the way it was. I recognize myself in this story and realized some interesting things about my former band mates. An enthralling read for any Fairport fan.
Iain Matthews, lead vocalist of Fairport Convention 1967-69

Contains previously unpublished photographs.

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Clinton Heylin With Tim Moon on Coast and County Radio

Clinton Heylin interviewed by Tim Moon on The Folk Programme on Coast and County Radio about What We Did Instead of Holidays. They talk in detail about the Faiport Convention family and a little bit about Bob Dylan. Click play above to listen. Running time 21:12.

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What We Did Instead of Holidays Reviews


Clinton Heylin

Clinton Heylin is one of the leading rock historians in the world, with over two dozen books to his name. These include biographies of Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Bruce Springsteen and Sandy Denny. Route publish Clinton's account of Bob Dylan's gospel years, Trouble In Mind; the infamous turning electric era of 1965/66, JUDAS!; a history of Fairport Convention and English folk-rock, What We Did Instead of Holidays; and his explosive look at the birth of punk, Anarchy in the Year Zero.


Prelude | A Coat of Many Colours

Clinton Heylin's prelude to 'What We Did Instead of Holidays: A History of Fairport Convention and It's Extended Folk-Rock Family'


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