With Folk out of fashion and the band having young families and other business interests. Steeleye reformed in 1980  but it was never more than a part time job for the 80's. Yet they still toured the UK every year apart from 1983, released 3 studio albums and had multiple tours of Australia and the US!


A return of the 'Classic' line up

The Reunion

Rumours of a return started around June in the press. Chrysalis Records approached Maddy and Rick to return for a new album after Warwick Records had approached Chrysalis to Licence a 'Best Of' collection for them to sell via their normal TV Advert route (which never actually happened). Chrysalis realised that with the interest and free advertising this would generate, that an album of new material would sell well along side it. They were only interested however if the classic line up returned, which meant Maddy and Rick reaching out to the rest of the band.  
Tim explains it slightly differently in that Chrysalis spoke to him about the band doing a TV promotional film to support the above planned Greatest Hits - and maybe a tour.  Tim, Maddy and Rick spoke about it and were keen but also had to discuss the contract arrangements. During these discussions with the other members they all got on so well that they decided they might as well get back together properly. 

The band themselves were struggling with Solo efforts, with none being as successful as they would have liked.
This offer gave them the opportunity to explore their own songwriting in a band setting that had a better chance of success. Maddy had noted that one of the reasons the band initially split in '76 was the music had become formulaic and so coming back fresh, writing original material was a good motive to return. They also decided that it would be a shame not to tour with the new album.
Apparently the the band wanted Mike Batt to produce new album but he was taking 2 years off music, sailing around the world. They got in Gus Dudgeon, long time producer for Elton John.
Adrian Hopkins takes over from Tony Secunda and handles all Management/Promotion etc for the band.

Classic line up reforms

Bob Johnson; Maddy Prior; Rick Kemp; Nigel Pegrum; Peter Knight; Tim Hart

20th: Torquay - Harbour side. Per Poster. 1st Appearance Back?
Europe?? I have seen one mention of a tour in Europe. 

1st August: 'Maddy Prior Band' Single - Wake up England (Kemp)/Paradise (Prior) (EMI).
This song did not appear on either of the 'Maddy Prior Band' albums and was released 2 years before any album (and not on the EMI label). So a bit of a curious release. Whether it was released to latch-on to the Steeleye relaunch, or was actually an already committed to single, and a potential album was aborted because of the Steeleye re-launch is not known. Not available on any collections. 

Click on image for details

12th Album: 'Sails of Silver'

14th Nov. (Chrysalis). With the return of the Classic line up the band for the first time released an album of mainly original compositions. As Maddy said: "What we came up with reflected traditional themes, yet sounded contemporary". Not least due to Peter playing more keyboard than fiddle. When the band first practised Gus Dudgeon (Elton John's producer) thought they had only had 1 1/2 songs (Let Her go Down and verse of Tell Me Why) and the others needed to have more contemporary arrangements, and so sent them off to write some more or alter them. He gave them 2 weeks! Tim said that they were at one point one track short and so he went off into a little studio to finish 'My Love' so they could add it to the Album, Rick did the same with 'Where are they now', sitting up all night to finish.  Bob described the overall sound as too 'sophisticated' and the whole band referred to it as a transitional album. The Tim Hart booklet, 'The Complete Steeleye Span', was given with initial purchases of the LP at HMV. The Album was not a commercial success and Steeleye were dropped by Chrysalis.

Single: Sails of Silver

b-side (Senior Service). Written by Tim Hart. Picture sleeve single with the same image as the album above.  

UK Comeback Tour

Supported by Canis Major a short November tour but played at big venues and was pretty well
advertised within music press.  
Set List: (Thanks Chris!) 7 of the 10 tracks on the new album make it into the set with only 'Cam Ye' surviving from the 77/78 line up. There was a conscious decision to mix in the old material with the new to not alienate the audience. 
The King; Black Jack Davy; Barnet Fair; My Love; Two Magicians; Long Lankin; Sails of Silver; Gone to America; Let Her Go Down; Back Goes Limerick; Longbone; Thomas the Rhymer; Where are They now? Cam Ye O'er Frae France; All Around My Hat. Encore: Gaudete; Sligo Maid. Encore 2: Reels

3rd Nov Brighton Dome
4th Ipswich Gaumont
5th Birmingham Odeon (Set List above)
6th Southport Theatre
7th King Georges Hall, Blackburn
8th St Georges Hall, Bradford
11th Colston Hall, Bristol
12th Winter Gardens, Bournemouth
13th Southampton Gaumont
14th Manchester Apollo
15th Newcastle City Hall
16th Edinburgh Odeon
18th Hammersmith Odeon


January: 20th: BBC2 TV: 'Jake Thakray and Songs'. 
Guest Appearance by 'Maddy Prior Band' on one of these 6 episode series.  Recorded at the Hare and Hounds in Kings Heath, during 1980. The episode is still held by the BBC and Jake's songs from it have appeared on a collection DVD but not sadly this guest appearance by Maddy. It is not known how many songs they played but the guests usually did 2 or 3.

Single: 'Gone to America'

(b side: Let Her Go Down). Both written by Peter Knight. Released around April to support the upcoming tour. 2nd and last single from the album but again didn't trouble the charts, not unexpectedly so.

UK Spring Tour

23 dates and coming quite quickly off the back of the comeback tour with another set of big venues.

Set List, thanks Chris! The new album still dominates with 7 songs whilst Rogues in a Nation and Little Sir Hugh are brought into the set :

  Little Sir Hugh; Sails of Silver; Black Jack Davy; Let Her Go Down; Gone to America; Two Magicians; Rogues in a Nation; Barnet Fair; Back Goes Limerick; Longbone; Poem; Senior Service; Where are They now?; Thomas the Rhymer; All Around My Hat. Encore: Gaudete; Sligo Maid. Encore 2: Cam Ye O'er Frae France; Reel.

21st Mch Ipswich Gaumont
22nd Fairfield Halls, Croydon
23rd Brighton Dome
24th Birmingham Odeon
26th Gloucester Leisure Centre
27th Stoke Hanley Victoria Hall
29th Liverpool Royal Court Theatre
30th Glasgow Apollo. £3.75. Up from £1.50 in '75 & '78. Last appearance at the Apollo.
31st Endinburgh Usher Hall
1st April Newcastle City Hall
2nd Sheffield City Hall
4th Free Trade Hall, Manchester
5th Wolverhampton Civic Hall
6th Leicester De Montford Hall
7th ST Georges Hall, Bradford
8th Assembly Rooms, Derby
10th Colston Hall, Bristol
11th Hammersmith, Odeon
12th Croydon, Fairfield Halls
14th Oxford New Theatre
15th Portsmouth Guildhall
16th Poole Arts Centre
17th Cornwall, St Austell Coliseum

May 25th London, Barbican Bank holiday with Akimbo.

July 17th: Fete des Leus Frasnes-Lez-Couvin, Belgium.

"Series of Gigs at Summer Festivals' (Europe) - Newspaper article

June 18-21st: Vienna Folk Festival. Festival auf der Donauinsel.
With Richard & Linda Thompson, Pete Tosh, Donovan.
A have seen reference to a DVD that exists of this festival that does feature Steeleye but have not seen it or seen any further details.  
Brief clip appeared on 2005 Folk Awards

31st July: Cambridge Folk Festival

A return to a major Festival for the returning band. Recorded by BBC. Tracks played on Radio 2's 'Folk on Two' programme (3rd Sept '81 & 29th March '82). In total the following were broadcast in the UK: All Around My Hat; Cam Ye; Long Lankin; Royal Forester; Gaudete and Senior Service. The latter can be found on Youtube - LINK) . 'Hat' can be found on a Cambridge Folk Festival collection CD, the others on Bootlegs. Almost the whole concert was broadcast on Belgium Radio. Chris Dobson has kindly confirmed that they played two separate sets. 

Based on the bootlegs, the sets lists were:
Set1: Black Jack Davy; Two Magicians; Saucy Sailor; Longbone; Sir James the Rose; Thomas the Rhymer.
Set 2: Sails of Silver; Long Lankin; Cam Ye (not broadcast in Belgium so not sure of order); Senior Service; Royal Forester; Encore: All Around My Hat; Gaudete.

3rd:BBC TV Highlights of the 17th Cambridge Folk Festival
Included Cam ye o'er Frae France/All Around my Hat. A short video clip was shown on the 2005 BBC Folk Awards when Steeleye were awarded the Good Tradition Award so all the footage should still exist somewhere.

18th BBC TV: Pebble Mill at One.
Appearance by Steeleye Span. Performed 'Saucy Sailor' . Pete's pickup falls off his violin at the climax of the song for a few moments!

27th BBC2 TV: ' The Other Music'.
Documentary about The folk revival from 1945 to now. Not sure what is shown but Steeleye Span definitely featured.

Unknown Date (1981)
Isla St. Claire " The song and the Story". Children's TV programme plus Soundtrack LP
This TV series (plus LP) features Scottish presenter and singer Isla St. Claire singing traditional songs backed by members of Steeleye Span (band not on screen) - Rick Kemp and Nigel Pegrum. It also features Richie Close who was part of the 'Maddy Prior Band'. Some songs can be seen on You Tube.

Tim Hart - Nursery Rhyme Record

Unknown Date (1981)
 Tim Hart & Friends - My Very Favourite Nursery Rhyme Record (EMI - Music for Pleasure). Not a Steeleye release, and although the 'Friends' were many, it included Maddy on a most songs, along with Rick on Bass, Peter on Fiddle and Bob on vocals on a couple.

Nov: UK Tour

The only information about this tour initially was thanks to Chas Gilbert and Brian Dawes who were kind enough to let me know about a date each they attended. This has enabled me to search out further dates, which is still very much WIP! The venues still look to be a decent size although we don't know how well tickets sold. 
Brian remembers the following songs from the Dominion concert: Longbone; Prince Charlie Stuart; Long Lankin; Royal Forester. All of these apart from Longbone were additions to the set list from earlier in the year.

10th Nov Odeon Theatre, Birmingham
11th Assembly Rooms Derby
16th Hexagon, Reading
20th Apollo Theatre, Oxford.
21st Dominion Theatre, London.


Tim Hart's final year

Sunday Folk ABC Radio (Australia): 'The Steeleye Span Story'

9 part radio series (one hour per episode) broadcast 28th Dec - 25th Feb Chronicling the story of Steeleye Span. Each episodes focused on a particular time period with interviews from various current and ex members of the band and songs played from the period in question. The interviews took place between 1977-1982
 Alongside the current band Ashley and Martin also featured. A fascinating listen and although there are not many new significant insights, looking back with hindsight it does sound like it was the source for many of the quotes used in various articles over the years.

Jan/Feb: Australian Tour

After 7 years the band return to Australia for their third tour here. Support act was a local band, 'The Cobbers'. The set
list very much in line with the last couple of years with 'Alison Gross' a welcome addition. Noted as being a very successful tour. Virtually all of the Adelaide concert is available on the 'Gone to Australia' and 'A Rare Collection - 1972-1996' CD releases. The gaps can be filled from the 'On Tour' LP.   

Set list: The King; Black Jack Davy; Sails of Silver; Let Her Go Down; Alison Gross; Barnet Fair; I have a Wish; Gone to America; Longbone; Bach goes Limerick; Little Sir Hugh; Thomas the Rhymer; All Around My Hat; Gaudete; Royal Forester; Sligo Maid; Cam Ye O'er France

28th Sydney Capitol Theatre
29th Canberra Theatre. 2 Shows. Evening show was sold out so an additional show was put on starting at 5.30pm
30th Brisbane Festival Hall
2nd Newcastle Civic Hall
4th Sydney Capitol Theatre
5th   Melbourne Dallas Brooks Hall
6th   Melbourne Dallas Brooks Hall 2 shows 5pm and 8pm
8th   Adelaide Opera Theatre. 
On Tour album recorded during the Sound Check with the Audience applause then dubbed in. One of the two Adelaide concerts was then recorded and played out in full on Australian Radio on 28th December on ABC-FM.
9th   Adelaide Opera Theatre.
10th Perth concert Hall

Maddy Prior Band: Hooked on Winning

Date Unknown. Kempire Music/PantLife. Plus Single: 'Face to Face'
The Album features Rick Kemp and is made up of original songs written by Rick and Maddy. In line up was also Richie Close, keyboards; Mick Dyche, guitar & Gary Wilson on drums. It was released on Nigel Pegrum's own record label - Plant Life. Maddy's first 'solo' album since the two with Chrysalis back in 1978. The band played more 'pop' sounding original songs but despite pretty decent Radio/TV/Festival/Press exposure they were never commercially successful. There was a follow up album in 1983.

Maddy Prior Band c1982. Richie Close; Gary Wilson; Mick Dyche; Rick Kemp
16th June: Maddy Prior Band: 'Greenwich Festival'. This was also shown live on BBC Two, don't know if Maddy Prior was shown.
9th July Maddy Prior Band at the Bracknell Folk Festival 
9-11th July: Lisdoonvarna Festival, County Clare, Ireland. Steeleye Span. Included UB40; WishBone Ash. Steeleye played 'Cam Ye O'er Frae France'. 
14th August: Cropedy Appearance for 'Maddy Prior Band'. 
A DVD of the weekend ('A Peculiar Old Weekend') with the band singing 'Love's not just a Word' is available. It is also on YouTube 'HERE'. They are at 7.30 minutes in. 
20th Aug: 'Billingham Town Centre' 'Folklore festival, Cleveland.

"Over a dozen European Festivals"/European Tour?
There is a T Shirt that is printed "European Tour 1982" that was for sale on Ebay. No dates on it.
27th August: Rimini, Italy. (Bootleg): BlackJack Davy; Sails of Silver; Alison Gross; Let Her Go Down; Barnet's Fair; Long Lankin; Royal Forester; Longbone; Bach Goes Limerick; Little Sir Hugh; Gone to America; Thomas the Rhymer; Cam Ye O'er Frae France; All Around My Hat; Gaudete; Jigs.

September: Australian Tour?? One mention of it but no evidence.

Nov/Dec: Winter UK Tour

No support. Proved to be Tim Hart's last tour. The venues are smaller than the last UK tours and hence Tim's later comment about 'poxy little theatres' when he decided to leave! Thanks to Gary Bowman we now believe that this is the tour when the band brought back 'Lyke Wake Dirge' briefly as the opening number, along with the tall hats and cloaks from 1973. A little later in the 80's Maddy Prior confirmed in an interview that they did try and bring the song back but in her words 'It didn't really work', which is why it appears by the time we get to Birmingham, where Chris Haines attended (full set list below), it had been dropped!
Saucy Sailor and Sir James the Rose are added since the last UK Tour but Sails of Silver still features heavily and overall the set list did not change much from 1980-82. Gary also recalls the Lyke Wake Dirge merging into
'Robbery with Violins' and then Royal Forester.

Birmingham Set List: Rosebud in June; Black Jack Davy; Saucy Sailor; My Love; The King; Alison Gross; Cam Ye O'er Frae France; [Interval] Prince Charlie Stuart; Gone to America; Sails of Silver; I live not Where I love; Let Her Go Down; Longbone; Where are they Now?; Long Lankin; Barnet Fair; Thomas the Rhymer; Sir James the Rose; Senior Service; Royal Forester. Encore: Bach goes Limerick; All Around My Hat. Encore 2: Gaudete; Reels.

12th Goldiggers, Chippenham
13th Ipswich Gaumont
16th North Herts Leisure Centre, Letchworth
17th The Gatehouse, Stafford . w Michael Chapman
18th Apollo Theatre, Oxford
19th Odeon Theatre, Birmingham (set list above)
20th St Austell Coliseum
21st Fairfield Halls, Croydon
22nd Winter Garderns, Bournmouth
25th Charter Theatre, Preston
26th Apollo Theatre, Manchester
28th Coatham Bowl, Redcar
29th Queens Hall, Edingburgh
30th Sugarhouse, Lancaster
2nd Queensway Hall Dunstable
3rd Southampton Gaumont
5th Dartford Orchard
6th Hammersmith Odeon London
7th Sheffield Lyceum
8th Theatre Royal, Nottingham
9th Ceasars, Bradford
10th Theatre Royal, Norwich

Tim Hart Leaves the band

TIM HART ON WHY HE LEFT STEELEYE (from Sleeve notes on solo CD)
“I left the band because I'd had enough of it, and I had two kids and a wife and I wanted to spend some time with them. Steeleye had done it all, but it had got downhill and we were playing smaller and smaller concerts and there wasn't the same thrill. We'd played Carnegie hall, we'd played the Albert Hall, we'd played the LA forum, we'd done all these major things, and when you go back to playing poxy little 900 seaters, to think it's time to call it a day; it's not going to go up from there and we're not getting any younger and the material's not getting stronger. I felt Steeleye had run its course—I wasn't getting any pleasure out of the concerts. I looked around the band and they looked bored, the audience looked bored, it was no longer exciting, and the proportion of spectacles in the audience, which is one of the things you notice from the stage, had become deafening—the audience glinted back at me, which meant they were getting older. They used to be at the front of the stage waving, and then they were staying in their seats and glinting. Also you get to a point where you ask yourself if you're going to do this for the rest of your life, and the answer is no—I'm not Mick Jagger—and so at some point, you have to step out and start to do something else before it's too late, and I wanted to arrange, I wanted to produce, and that's what I did for a while. I'd also done a couple of kids albums, nursery rhyme albums, during that intervening period, and I worked with Andy Richards, the synthesiser player; I really enjoyed working with him and found I had much more freedom for my ideas working with Andy, and I disliked the thought of having to go back to Steeleye. This tour came up and I made my mind up—I went to the manager and said I was going to leave at the end of the tour, I didn't want to let people down, but I wanted out. At the end of the tour, I just slunk off. That was in 1982—the last gig was the Theatre Royal in Norwich. I remember that—as I packed up my guitar, I thought that's the end of that, I'll call them all up tomorrow morning and tell them I've left.”


No Steeleye gigs. One of only 3 times in 50 years!

Live LP: "On Tour"

An Australian only LP release recorded on Steeleye's 1982 tour of Australia. Fortunately most of the tracks were later released on the 2001 CD: 'Gone To Australia (1975-1984). Maddy later described this a 'bad album' despite listening to it after the gig and it sounding pretty good. I assume therefore she is referring to the mixing/post production values rather than the concert itself.

Maddy Prior Activity

With Steeleye not active in '83, and I suspect a little disappointment with Record sales of 'Sails of Silver' plus doubts about Tim Hart's future in the band, then it would have been seen as a good time to try again with the Rick/Maddy band. They released an album, single, gained radio play, a TV show and festival appearances, but never with the commercial success required for more significant record company backing.

Maddy Prior and the Answers' Album: 'Going for Glory'.

Again a set of original Rick/Maddy songs. This time a new band name (albeit with virtually the same band) and a new label - 'Spindrift'.

Single: Deep in the Darkest Night

Rick wrote this single (with unreleased b-side 'Western Movies'.) Dave Stewart was the producer/arranger and Annie Lennox sang backing vocals and played the flute. They were neighbours to Maddy/Rick at the time. It was about to be a minor a hit with regular radio plays but the Eurythmics suddenly got big and so their record company wouldn't licence anything else with Dave or Annie playing on so it quietly got withdrawn. 

8th July: TV Appearance for the 'Maddy Prior Band' 10.15-1045, BBC 1 (North West)  
Their own billed show. No further details other than the Radio Times description: "The Maddy Prior Band - Maddy progressed from winning a talent contest in Blackpool through a succession of arts festivals to the world of folk music and Steeleye Span. After Steeleye Span disbanded, Maddy and her husband, Rick Kemp , formed the Maddy Prior Band."

 23rd August: 'Maddy Prior Band' on BBC Radio 2 'Folk on Two' with Jim Lloyd.

 Summer: Appearance for' Maddy Prior Band' at the 'Trowbridge Pump Festival'

Click on image for details

Tim Hart & Friends - Drunken Sailor and Other Kids Songs

Unknown Date (1983) (EMI - Music for Pleasure)
The 'Friends' included Maddy and Rick again but not Bob or Peter. There was a Promo video made for 'Drunken Sailor' (the picture of three on the cover is from it) which was on Youtube for a number of years but sadly seems to have disappeared

Steeleye Activity
Chrysalis only gave Steeleye a one album deal in 1980. Sales were unfortunately not high enough to justify any more (Adrian Hopkins did try in '85 -see below) and Adrian said that this was the reason for a lack of a Steeleye album '80-'86. In addition, all the outside interests of the band members & raising families meant the band would continue on an ad-hoc basis for most of the 80's .


A busy year touring UK, Australia and US.

Steeleye Span (Mk VII). Without Tim Hart

Jan/Feb: Australian Tour 'Gone to Australia'

The 4th tour of Australia. And the bands first ever tour, or even appearance, without Tim Hart. After a two year break the band introduce 3 new songs - Lady Diamond & Scarecrow which will make their way onto the next album in 1986, and the 'Autumn to Spring Medley', which is available on the 'Rare Collection 1972-1996' CD. Blackleg Miner also appears, which apart from one known time at the Albert Hall in 1974, has not been heard live before, certainly not for a whole tour. This version in close to what ended up on the 'In Concert' CD recorded in 1986 although a little higher tempo.

10th Perth Concert hall. 
Bootleg: Back Goes Limerick; Blackleg Miner; Black Jack Davy; Longbone; Bachelors Hall; Spotted Cow; Thomas the Rhymer; Harvest Home - 'Autumn to Spring Medley'; Scarecrow; Lady Diamond; Royal Forester; All Around My Hat; Encore: Gaudete; The Mason's Apron
13th Sydney Town Hall
17th Cairn Civic Centre
18th Townsville Civic Centre
21st Brisbane Mayne Hall
23rd Canberra School of Music
24th Gellong Civic Centre
25th Melbourne Dallas Brooks Hall
28th Launceston Tasmanian Folk Festival
1st Adelaide Opera Theatre

Feb/Mch: UK Spring Tour (lots of dates missing!)
Thanks to a Newcastle Uni archive newspaper and the Folk on Two gig we can piece together some of the set list: Jigs (starting with Peter solo); Blackleg Miner; Black Jack Davy; Bachelors Hall; Cam Ye O'er Frae France; Autumn to Spring Medley; Lady Diamond; Royal Forester; The Drunkard (Maddy a capella); Thomas the Rhymer; All Around My Hat. Encores: Gaudete; Jigs; Gone to America.

15th Feb: Digbeth Civic Hall, Birmingham. with Richard Thompson
16th Liverpool Empire. (per Liverpool Echo)
22nd Dundee University (ebay ticket stub)23rd Feb Newcastle Uni (SU newspaper archive - thanks Neil for the tip off!). Michael Chapman support
24th Leeds Uni.
26th Crucible Theatre, Sheffield
5th March: Theatre Royal , Plymouth
10th Dominion Theatre (assume London)
11th Fairfield Halls, Croydon. 6 tracks played from this tour on 'Folk On Two' on 17th Dec '84. Royal Forester; All Around My Hat; The Drunkard (Maddy a capella); Thomas the Rhymer; Gone to America; Jigs.
17th Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham
19th Dominion Theatre London. (German newspaper cutting)
1984: Towngate Theatre, Basildon. Date unknown so not sure on which tour
1984 Kendal Leisure Centre. Date unknown.

US 'Reunion' Tour

April/May: US tour for '1st time in 7 years'
Finally Returning to the US for their 6th tour. The tour was tied tied to the fact that they had just signed to US record Label Shanachie who probably promoted the tour. Lady Diamond continues to be played and a continued re introduction of old songs (Bachelor's Hall; 'When I was on Horseback' & Hard Times Old England') with less reliance on Sails of Silver album. 'Brown Girl' is played on this tour in a style that would have fitted on Sails Of Silver (Peter on keyboard and a guitar solo) 

(95 minute set): Bach Goes Limerick; Black Jack Davy; Longbone; Bachelors Hall; When I was on Horseback; Hard Times of Old England; Thomas the Rhymer; Marigold/Harvest Home; The Spring Will Bring us Together; Blackleg Miner; Let Her Go Down; Cam Ye O'er Frae France; Lady Diamond; Royal Forester; All Around My Hat; Gaudete/Mason's Apron/Gone To America.

23rd April Buffalo
24th Venues hard to make out from photo
25th Venues hard to make out from photo
26th Venues hard to make out from photo.
27th Berklee Performance Centre, Boston. On Bootleg (Set list above)
28th Venues hard to make out from photo
29th Adams Theatre, Washington. The Band played two sets here so extra tracks not played on rest of tour, including Brown Girl and Scarecrow, both rarely played live. 
On Bootleg:Set 1: Bach Goes Limerick; Black Jack Davy; Longbone; When I was on Horseback; Spotted Cow; Marigold/Harvest Home; The Spring Will Bring us Together; Blackleg Miner; Let Her Go Down; Cam Ye O'er Frae France; Thomas the Rhymer; All Around My Hat. Set 2: Hard Times of Old England; Brown Girl; Scarecrow; Spotted Cow; Gone To America. Bachelors Hall; Black Leg Miner; Lady Diamond; Thomas the Rhymer; Royal Forester; Gaudete/Jigs
 1st May:  Venues hard to make out from photo
 2nd Venues hard to make out from photo
 3rd Ripley's Music Hall, Philli, PA 2 shows 
Bootleg: Set 2: Hard Times of Old England; Brown Girl; Scarecrow; Spotted Cow; Gone To America. Bachelors Hall; Black Leg Miner; Lady Diamond; Thomas the Rhymer; Royal Forester; Gaudete; The Masons Apron; All Around My Hat.
4th - 6th Bottom Line, NY (2 Shows every day) 
 Thanks to Hugh, who was at one of these shows, says Brown Girl was played, and so similar to Adams Theatre above, they mixed up the set when playing the same venue more than once. An article says they had six shows at the Bottom Line so I assume two a day.

July:  13th-15th Bracknell Folk festival. Incl Dave Swarbrick, R Digance.

21st & 22nd July: British Forces Folk Federation: International Folk and Music Festival. Edinburgh School,  Münster, Northern Westfalia.

Steeleye Headlined for two days. Thanks to Roland who told us about the Festival, the Radio show and has provided some great visual reminders. 

Festival was broadcast on the 'Folk review' BFBS Radio programme in Germany (with Wally Whiton)
 The show played half an hour of songs from the show: (The actual festival included Scarecrow.) Black Jack Davy; Spotted Cow; When I was on horseback; Autumn to spring medley; Hard times of Old England; All around My Hat.

August: UK Summer Tour.

The only time I have seen a summer Steeleye Tour, this tour seemed to be worked around some festival appearances. These tour dates are mainly thanks to Chas Gilbert

9th Harlesden,
10th (fri) Cropedy Folk Festival.
12th St Austell
15th Stevenage,
17th Brighton, The Dome. w. M Chapman
18th Farnham Maltings,
19th Windsor,
24th Schoten, België, Small festival with support - De Nieuwe Snaar.
25th Folkestonet.

26th Aug Nostell Priory Festival, Wakefield.

Other acts incl. Van Morrison, The Band, The Damned, Marillion. This was around the time of the Miners Strike and the festival had let the local Striling Miners in, so Maddy did an anti Thatcher rant and then they played 'Blackleg Miner', as they frequently did around this time. They dedicated it to the Miners which was sometimes controversial depending where they played it! At this festival they did not play 'All Around My Hat', which was unusual. Many thanks to Eddy Bewsher for the information and for use of his photos below.

17th Dec: BBC Radio folk on two.

Presented by Jim Lloyd, With Martin Simpson. Tracks played from the Fairfield Halls concert (Croydon) from 11th March:
Royal Forester; All Around My Hat; The Drunkard; Thomas the Rhymer; Gone to America; Jigs.

ITV: 'Highway'

Steeleye 'sang' 'Hard Times of old England' (22.30 in video). Although it is a very 'cheesy' bit of miming/acting by the band, it is quite amusing. The actual version is not the album version and runs at well under 2 minutes so probably recorded especially for the show. Maddy Prior and Rick Kemp appeared with Michael Chapman near the start singing the Rick Kemp song 'Love's not just a word' that appeared on The Maddy Prior Band album 'Hooked on Winning'


Continued part time touring and a final attempt at a Christmas single! 

May/June: US Tour (Rose 6 months old on tour)

The band split 'headlining' with Fairport Convention as they took in turns to play first. I think this is a tour when a major venue fell through at the last minute meaning the tour was not a commercial success. Would also explain only a few dates - although there probably are more than I have found. 

 30th May:  Philadelphia
 31st Tower Theatre, Upper Darby, PA
 2nd June Lisner Auditorium, Washington DC.  (Fairport Convention)
 6th (?) Beacons Theatre, NY (2 nights?)
 7th June Beacons Theatre, NY(Fairport Convention & Renaissance) Per 1986 programme this was Xtra Show. Bootleg (Hat played on Folkcast) Hard Times Of Old England; Black Jack Davy; Black Leg Miner; Thomas The Rhymer; Let Her Go Down; When I Was On Horseback; Cam Ye O'er Frae France; All Around My Hat ; Royal Forester; Gaudete ; Jigs

August 11th: Gloucester Festival. Headlined. 
Set list included: Hard Times Of Old England, When I Was On Horseback, Thomas The Rhymer, Blackleg Miner, Spotted Cow/Reels, Let Her Go Down, Isabelle.

Single: 'Somewhere In London'

Written by Peter Knight). b-side Lanercost. Released in October on Flutterby records  (own label). Radio play and TV appearances were not enough to get the single into the charts. 

'Flutterby Records'

This was a record label created by Adrian Hopkins especially to release this single and the upcoming album. When the band were working on a new album, which was being financed by Adrian, Adrian went back to Chrysalis records to see of they would release it. However, they had a change in policy and unless artists was going to sell 500k+ copies they were being dropped from the rota. In defiance of this Adrian wanted to call his label 'Butterfly' records but Chrysalis has already trademarked the name and hence he changed it to 'Flutterby' ! This label then released the album in question 'Back In Line'. It was due to these issues in getting a record label that delayed the album's release.

UK 'Somewhere' Tour

This tour was recorded - 'Backleg Miner (Live)' was include on the next album. Sadly I don't think anything else has been released. But thanks to Jamie we know that they opened with 'Hard Time of Old England' and played a familiar 'greatest hits' set which only included 'Edward' as a new song from the upcoming album, and of course the new single which was sarcastically dedicated to Chrysalis.

12th October Wolverhampton, 
13th? Fairfield Halls, Croydon (not sure exactly when this concert took place, may have been Dec)
14th Leicester,
15th Cardiff, ST David's Hall
16th Exeter,
17th Barnstaple,
18th Worthing,
19th Aldershot,
23rd Northampton, Derngate
3rd Nov. Wimbledon
4th Stevenage
6th Oxford, The Apollo. (Now the 'New Theatre')
7th Southport Arts Centre,
8th Maccledfield,
11th York,
21st Nottingham, Theatre Royal. Recording of Blackleg miner for 'Back in line' album.
22nd Birmingham Odeon

20th Dec TV Appearance: BBC: Pebble Mill at One
They sang 'Somewhere in London' and 'In The Bleak Midwinter'. I say 'sang', It is mimed. Sadly very much of the times with regards fashion!

Unknown Date. ITV  'The Chris Stuart Chat Show'
Similar mimed appearance on 'The Chris Stuart Chat Show' on HTV. Sadly it is just as cheesy.

Christmas Tour

UK Christmas Tour billed as 'Steeleye Span's Yuletide Show'.  'Selective major venues' per Oct/Nov tour programme. I assume dates missing

22nd Odeon Theatre, Birmingham.
23rd Dominion Theatre, London. (Final Concert per programme)

Touring with Steeleye Span - by Adrian Hopkins (Band Manager)

Adrian Hopkins was kind enough to talk to me about his time with the band, Most of what he told me I have included in the TimeLine where relevant. The funniest times he had with the band was touring with them in the 80's, they were not the most organised of travellers and he spent most of the time trying to round them up and he described his role as the 'Scout Leader'! A few snippets of his stories....

At passport control in getting on a plane: "Maddy Prior – where is your passport"; "I put in the suitcase", which had actually been checked in in Heathrow"! Eventually found it after lots of running around and just got on the now delayed flight!

"Where is Nigel, we need to book in the drum kit", but had decided to take a private booking in Milton Keynes at his studio that day, jst for £100. Quick phonecalls and a frantic journey as he arrives just in time with the drum kit, again delaying a flight.

Bob Johnson was terrified of flying , really terrified – needed Valium and Brandy most flights just to get him on....and that was fine until flights have delays, and the drinking continues... One time there was an evening flight to the US in the fog with a long delay to the flight. Eventually they get through the gate but Bob climbs up some random stairs in the middle of the runway -- but there is no plane at the top! Despite lots of shouting he almost gets the top!

"Maddy Prior, writes a postcard to her kids in the airport when going on a plane to a festival in Spain"; it says: "If I never see you two again just remember Mummy loves you" She quickly hands to one of the staff at the airport to get it posted, but they read it and think it’s a suicide note!! They took her off the plane and she had to get on a flight the next day.

France on strike, and a flight is delayed, there happened to be a free bar in the airport for an event which the band managed to get invited to, lots of drinking, but then they quickly need to board... but Rick is missing, drunk. He decided to go off and find out why the plane is delayed. He went missing, they delayed the flight for a while, but as Maddy has the baby they need to travel together, so in goes Adrian goes in to get Maddy off the lane, leaving Bob – who is convinced the plane will now crash as Maddy has made it off - "she will make a bloody career out of this" were his words! Meanwhile Rick had managed to get as far as traffic control before being promptly arrested and returned to Adrian/Maddy escorted by airport security!


Back in the Studio and Back on the (world) Road

click on link for details

April 28th:
13th Album: 'Back In line'

Released on the Flutterby label, (Owned by Adrian Hopkins and the band). It marked 6 years since the last release of new material, the most in the bands 50 years history so far. Part of the reason for the delay was Chrysalis dropping Steeleye and Adrian having to create a new label. Mainly original compositions by Rick and Maddy who were working as a duo & in a band at the time. Vince Cross on DX7 (synthesizer) was a session musician listed on the album. The single 'Somewhere In London' was not included on the LP but added to a later Park CD 1991 re-issue along with 2 live tracks - 'Spotted Cow' and 'One Misty Moist Morning'. 

28th May BBC Radio 'Folk On Two' Session. See 'BBC Sessions' page for full details.
Thought to be recorded in the week before transmission. Maddy noted that this line up had not played the Blacksmith before so 'they were putting that right' and called it Blacksmith MkIII

May: 'Back In Line' UK Tour

15 dates and advertised as 'Back in the Studio, Back on the Road'. Support Bill Zorn & John Benns. Recording of songs for 'In Collection' Live album.

8th May  Edinburgh Queens Hall
9th Newcastle City Hall. Tickets £5.
10th Carlisle Sands centre
11th Manchester Palace
13th Coventry Warwick Uni
14th Ramsgate Granville Theatre
15th London Woolwich Coronet
16th Southend Cliffs Pavilion
17th Swansea Penyrheol Centre
19th Ipswich Gaument
21th Poole Arts Centre
22th St Austell Cornwall Coliseum
23th Bristol Colston Hall
24th Eastbourne Congress. 
Almost certainly recording of songs for 'In Concert' Live CD (Park Records): The Blacksmith; The Weaver and the Factory Maid; Spotted Cow; One Misty Moisty Morning; King Henry. Plus 'Betsy Bell and Mary Gray' - which appears on the 'A Rare Collection 1972-1996 CD' and is listed as from this concert, hence why I think it is the source of the 'In Concert' CD tracks which are just shown as '1986'
25th Peterborough Cresset

  June: US and Bermuda! Tour
For a long time I was not sure if it even took place and whether the dates were confused with 85 or 87. But evidence is now available to confirm that the tour did take place and is the third year in a row in the US. Described as "entertaining and musically exciting, earning a standing ovation and two encores from the well-filled house" 

Set List: "All but two from 'Back In Line"; Betsy Bell and Mary Gray; One Misty Moisty Morning; All Around My Hat; Gaudete

18th Club Bene, Sayreville, New Jersey (Date from Preview article in local paper) 
20th Berklee, Boston, MA
21st Beacon Theatre, NY
 22nd Tower Theatre, Philadelphia.  w. Strawbs.
 24th Pittsburgh. Bootleg? (Graffiti club)

date unknown- Ruth Seaton James auditorium, Bermuda. Pictures on FB prove it took place and it was noted as being 1986. Pictures also include Rick Kemp.

5 Aug: Listed as appearing on KKCY Radio (San Francisco). No details

4th-5th July 'Hartlepool Dock Rock'.

 Including Madness, Lindisfarne; Doctor Feelgood. Up to 60,000 expected.

20th July: Trowbridge Festival
August - Possibly played at the Tonder Festival in Denmark

24th Aug: Bank Holiday. Royal Festival Hall, London. Support- 'Renaissance'  
Played Betsy Bell; Take My Heart; White Man & The Blacksmith. It was noted in the article that the band were returning to Australia and the US ('on two further occasions') later this year. But I have not seen anything about a tour in the US and it could have related to the US tour just finished. 

Sept/Oct: Australian Tour 'Back In Line'

Another tour of Australia, their 5th so far and one with good press coverage and TV appearances. 

Lark in the Morning; Lady Diamond; Blacksmith; Peace on the Border; Lanercost; Wee Weaver (? Unlikely) ; Edward; Spotted Cow; Take my Heart; White Man; Betsy Bell; All Around Hat; One Misty Moisty Morning; King Henry; Long Lankin; Gaudete; Jigs

 ?? Tweed heads, NSW. Apparently the PA system broke so Maddy ended up singing sat in the audience at one point!
 30th Sept Perth Concert Hall
 2nd Oct Adelaide Festival Theatre
 3rd Melbourne Dallas Brooks Hall
 4th Hobart, Tasman Hall
 6th Geelong Ford Theatre
 7th Appearance on Network 9 TV: 'Ray Martin Midday Show'. Singing 'Lady Diamond' Live in the Studio. See 1st Video below!
 8th Sydney Town Hall
 9th Newcastle Civic Theatre
 10th Bonaderry, RSL Club
 11th Canberra Theatre
 12th: Appearance on Network 9 TV 'The Sunday Show'. All Around My Hat and Take My Heart (fades out into end credits) played live in the studio. 2nd video below is 'All Around My Hat'
 14th Brisbane, Lyric Theatre
 15th Seagulls, Rubgy League Club

Oct/Nov: British Tour

Definitely toured. Used World Tour programme (same cover as Spring Tour) but content same as World Tour programme

City Hall, St Albans.
Rick still playing. Jamie recalls the first three songs as 'King Henry; Weaver & The Factory Maid; Longbone plus 'Betsy Bell and Mary Grey' (Peter & Maddy). They also played 'Pheonix' which appears to be a Rick original song which he later played on a solo album. Nigel Pegrum confirmed the name of the song to Jamie backstage!

22nd Nov Assembly Hall Theatre, Tunbridge Wells. Date confirmed by ticket
Date Unknown: Kirkland Charity Concert


'Early 1987' A Steeleye Span newsletter announced a forthcoming single called 'Green Man' coming out on Flutterby Records. Thanks again to Jamie for this info! The single was not released, (maybe in part because Rick left around this time). We don't know if the song was actually recorded. Adrian Hopkins told me that the potential single was part of a concept album that Bob had been working on, (although I'm not sure if it was for Steeleye or solo). Per Adrian - "All the songs revolved around A.... 'Green Man'!" Adrian described it as a very typical 'fantasy' Bob concept. 

April: Rick Kemp leaves band

Reported at the time and since, as due to a repetitive strain injury to his shoulder which prevented Rick from touring and effectively meant he left the band. In a more recent interview (RnR) it was noted that it was mainly due to panic attacks from going on stage at the time and Rick was 'quite ill'. Adrian Hopkins noted that it had been an issue for a while and ironically Rick told him he was leaving after the one tour that Rick had not been saying to the band that he was leaving at the end of! In his time off he got a degree, got into motorbikes and did some art exhibitions. His route back into music was via 'The Gathering' (which included Jerry Donohue and Gerry Conway) and working with Maddy as a duo.

 Mark Williamson (Bass) replaces Rick

Picture below with Mark (2nd from left) is from fRoots interview in 1988. He did not appear on any recordings/albums.

Spring UK Tour (13 dates) 

Support: Wild Billy Barret & Stephen Two-Name they played Padstow on this tour which is the earliest it has been noted as appearing, 2 years before the next album where it features. 

1st May:   Nottingham, Royal Centre
2nd Ipswich Corn Exchange
3rd Lincoln Ritz
4th Hereford Leisure Centre
5th Whyvale Theatre, Swindon
7th Northampton, Derngate
9th Bristol Hippodrome
10th Worthing, Pavillion
11th Lewisham Concert Hall
12th Beck Theatre, Hayes
13th Oakengates Town Hall
14th St Davids Hall, Cardiff
16th Cheltenham Town Hall

"World Tour 1987"

We know from some promo material (e.g. T Shirt below) that the band embarked on a 'World Tour'. in '87. It appears that we have dates missing for concerts in Europe and maybe more dates were in the US than we have. We have details for the UK tours.

25th May Barbican Theatre London.  with Akimbo.

20th June Verona Italy, Café Dante (more dates?)  w.Edward II, Red Hot Polka's. Tim Hart & Maddy Prior. Included: Four Nights Drunk; One Misty Moisty Morning; Betsy Bell and Mary Gray; Gaudete; Improvisation.

2nd August: Dranouter folk Festival. Broadcast on Belgium Radio
Mark Williamson on Bass (thanks Johan for all details on this Gig!). Padstow appears again. 

 Padstow; Female Drummer; 4 Nights Drunk; Weaver & the Factory Maid; One Misty Moisty Morning; Lady Diamond; All Around My Hat; Cam Ye O'er Frae France; Hard Times of Old England; King Henry; Encore: Gaudete; Canon by Telemann. (using Loop pedal); All Around My Hat (reprise)

Summer US Tour

4th year in a row that they visited the States. Mark Williamson was with the band on this tour and in Cambridge sang a song for the first encore 'All I have to do is Dream', I don't know if he did every night.  A good tour as a source of bootlegs as well as the videos from the Philli Folk festival so we get to see Mark Williamson. Likely a few missing dates here.

 30th Aug. Philli Folk Festival.  Videos below are from this concert, a rare chance to see Steeleye live in the 80's on video and the audio quality is pretty good. (2 more available are One Misty Moisty Morning and Padstow).

1st Sept. Black Thorne Tavern, Boston, MA. ('Smallest venue on this tour')
 2nd Sept. Nightstage, Cambridge, MA; 
Per bootleg: Padstow; Lady Diamond; White Man; Isobel; Take My Heart; Canon by Teleman; Betsy Bell & Mary Gray; Hard Times of Old England; One Misty Moisty Morning; Cam Ye O'er Frae France; Encore: All I have to do is Dream; All Around My Hat; Jigs; Blues Jam.

3rd Iron Horse CoffeeHouse, Nothhampton, MA. 2 shows
 4th & 5th (2 shows both days) Bottom Line, NY
 8th & 9th Birchmere, Alexandria, VA.
 Per Bootleg: Padstow; Sir James the Rose; 4 Nights Drunk; The Blacksmith; White Man; Let her go Down; Weaver; Canon by Teleman; Betsy Bell & Mary Gray; Take my Heart; One Misty Moisty Morning; Lady Diamond; Cam Ye all Frae France; Hard Times of old England; King Henry.

[24th Dec - WDPS-FM (Ohio)- 'Off She Goes' featuring Steeleye Span'. No further details known]

October: Chris Staines (Bass) joins Band.

Joined after the US Tour and before the next, so between 9th Sept and 9th Oct, not much time to prepare! Chris does not appear on an album, or any promo shots I can find, but he can still be considered a full member of the band, especially as this line up with Chris actually recorded in Chris Staines' studio (mid 1988) but nothing ever surfaced, since once Chris Staines left there was little option to use it. (Thanks to Simon Jones for the info!)

Autumn UK Tour

Chris Staines definitely in the band now even though the publicity photos all still had Mark, so must have been a late change. Jamie notes that although Chris was more prominent on vocals than Mark he did not take lead on any. Jamie also says that 'Following Me' was played on this tour, predating it on the next album by 2 years.

9th Oct Canterbury, Marlowe Theatre. Att 935
10th Eastbourne
11th Poole
12th London
14th Croydon
15th Lowestoft
16th Stevenage
18th Oxford
19th Swansea
20th Cardigan
21st Hanley
22nd Lancaster Town Hall
23rd Leeds
24th Manchester
25th York
26th Southport Art Centre.
27th Reading
30th Sunderland
31st Milton Keynes Leisure Centre
1st Nov Derby


A quiet year before the 20th Anniversary year 

June: Detailed Simon Jones Interview with Maddy Prior in fRoots. Maddy said 'we have Chris Staines in the band now.' In other later interviews it has been said that Mark and Chris only did one tour each but I suspect that it was not that simple. Maddy also mentioned that they 'recently' tried to re-create 'Lyke Wake Dirge' but it 'didn't work'. This interview took place at a London recording studio and so it is believed that the band recorded some material with Chris Staines in the band but it has never seen the light of day. It is likely that they were early versions of the tracks that ended up on Tempted and Tried, probably the early singles Padstow & Following Me which were being sung live at this time 

Rick and Maddy toured in the Spring as a duo.

Click on image for details

Silly Sisters (Maddy Prior and June Tabor) Album: 'No More to the Dance'

(Sept, Topic Records) 2nd and last Silly Sisters Album which was accompanied by a Tour. They featured on a BBC Radio concert recording from one date which is widely available as a Bootleg. It is also Here on Youtube.

Nov: Winter UK Tour

Nothing is known about this tour other than the dates! Still had Chris Staines in the line up. 
2nd Nov Colston Hall Bristol,
3rd Madeley Telford,
4th Arts Centre Southport,
5th Hexham,
6th Carnegie Workington,
7th Wolverhampton, Wulfrun Hall.
11th Poole Arts Centre,
12th Bletchley?
13th Crucible Sheffield,
14th Theatre Royal York,
16th St Davids Cardiff,
17th Cresset Plymouth,  
18th RCH Nottingham,
19th UEA Norwich,
20th Apollo Oxford,
21st Tunbridge Wells,
22nd Corn Exchange Cambridge,
23rd Stevenage,
24th Warwick University,
26th Beck Theatre, Hayes, The advert listed Mark Williamson but this must be a mistake given the info above
27th Lewisham Theatre
 'end of 1988'The Pavilion, Hemel Hemstead.
 ?? date. London - Paris Theatre

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