“Kevin Ayers’ talent is so acute you could perform major eye surgery with it.”
Sad to hear that founding Soft Machine member, Kevin Ayers, one of the most important characters in the history of psychedelic rock, has died at the age of 68. The singer-songwriter guitarist passed away at his home in the French village of Montolieu.
During his career that spanned five decades, Ayers worked with the likes of Brian Eno, John Cale, Syd Barrett, Elton John, Nico, Robert Wyatt, Andy Summers and Gong.
Fun fact: Kevin Ayers is “The bugger in the short sleeves fucked my wife” who is referred to in John Cale’s “Guts.” Cale caught them the night before the famous June 1, 1974 recording.
“Eleanor’s Cake (Which Ate Her)”:
The gorgeous “The Lady Rachel” from 1970’s Joy of a Toy album:
In this clip taken from the POP2 TV series, Ayers (who obviously spoke French pretty fluently in that plummy public school voice of his) performs in Paris at Taverne De L’Olympia, sometime in May of 1970. Supporting the release of his second solo album, Shooting at the Moon, Ayers plays with The Whole World, a group that included a young Mike Oldfield on bass, avant-garde classical composer David Bedford on keyboards (Bedford had orchestrated Ayers’ Joy of a Toy record previously), and the great jazz saxophonist, Lol Coxhill.