Robert Wyatt

Robert Wyatt Biography

In the early 1960's a number of artists began to emerge in what has become termed 'The Canterbury Scene', despite the fact that they were born in far-flung fields from Canterbury and mostly performed or recorded in London, England. Robert Wyatt is one of these seminal musicians.

Born: Robert Wyatt, January 28, 1945 in Bristol, England to Honor Wyatt a teacher and BBC journalist. Wyatt became Robert Ellidge [or Robert Wyatt Ellidge] and moved with his mother and father, George Ellidge an industrial psychologist, to West Dulwich, England in 1950. The family included three other children from previous relationships: George's son Mark Ellidge [later a renowned photographer and a pianist on Wyatt recordings] and Honor's daughter Prudence and son Julian Glover [later to become a renowned actor]. When George was diagnosed with MS the family moved from South London to Wellington House, a large Georgian home near Canterbury in Lydden, Kent. As Robert Ellidge, Wyatt attended the Simon Langton school.

At this school Wyatt met three people who would shape his career: Hugh Hopper and his elder brother Brian Hopper, and Brian's classmate Mike Ratledge. Skiffle and Jazz became their collective interests through school and home life.

To help maintain their large country home Wyatt's parents took in lodgers, three of whom would have a further decisive effect on his career: In late 1960 Daevid Allen arrived with a huge pile of jazz records and an unconventional lifestyle and musical philosophy. He, in turn, brought in George Neidorf from Paris, an American jazz drummer who paid his rent by teaching Wyatt the art of drumming. A footloose Kevin Ayers also arrived to share in this house's Bohemian lifestyle of jazz, beat poetry and Dadaist art concepts. In the Spring of 1962 Wyatt & Neidorf stayed in Deya on the island of Majorca at the home of poet/author Robert Graves, a friend of Wyatt's parents. [Wyatt also stayed there later with Ayers in 1965]

Allen moved to London, where he was later joined by Wyatt and Hugh Hopper. They formed the Daevid Allen Trio, gigging in the Spring & Summer of 1963 until Allen moved to Paris.

In the Summer of 1964 Wyatt co-founded Wilde Flowers with the Hopper brothers & Ayers. The band included Wyatt on drums, Hugh Hopper on bass guitar, Brian Hopper on lead guitar & sax, Kevin Ayers on vocals and young rhythm guitarist Richard Sinclair. Ayers later departed and Wyatt became the vocalist, with Richard Coughlan on drums.

Whilst still the vocalist in Wilde Flowers, Wyatt co-founded Soft Machine with Daevid Allen, Kevin Ayers and Mike Ratledge in the Summer of 1966, funded by a chance meeting on a trip in Deya with a philanthropic American spectacle-manufacturer named Wes Brunson from Tulsa, who was dropping out and tuning in to the music scene. The result was that the two bands often gigged collectively during that year. Soft Machine gained a strong 'cult' following on the London 'psychedelic underground' music scene, sharing club billings with bands such as Pink Floyd and the Jimi Hendrix Experience.

In January 1967, Soft Machine's first single release was recorded ("Love Makes Sweet Music" b/w "Feelin' Reelin' Squeelin'"). Celebrating its release on February 22nd the band gave a press conference at The Speakeasy, performing that even .... Click here to read the full bio on DISCOGS.

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