Bill Fay

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For the Irish stage actor, see William Fay.
Bill Fay
Bill Fay By Erica Parrott 2012.jpg
Background information
Birth name William Fay
Origin London
Genres Progressive folk
Years active 1967–1971, 2010–present
Labels Deram, Durtro, Dead Oceans, Wooden Hill, Coptic Cat

Bill Fay is an English singer, pianist and songwriter whose early releases were made on the Deram label in 1967. Following the release of his second album in 1971, Fay was dropped by the label and no further releases were made until 2005. Fay's 2012 album, Life Is People, was his first album of all-new material since 1971.


Fay was born in north London, where he still lives.[1]

His first single, "Some Good Advice" / "Screams in the Ears", was issued on the Deram label in 1967, and was followed by two albums, Bill Fay in 1970 and Time of the Last Persecution in 1971.[2] The recordings did not sell well, and Fay was dropped from Deram soon after the release of his second album.[citation needed] Fay's original Deram albums are available on CD after being reissued in 2005.[3]

Despite returning to the recording studio in the late 1970s, the follow-up to Time of the Last Persecution did not emerge until January 2005. Entitled Tomorrow, Tomorrow & Tomorrow, it was credited to the Bill Fay Group and was released on the Durtro Jnana label.[4] In 2004, the British label Wooden Hill released a collection of demos recorded between 1966 and 1970 entitled From the Bottom of an Old Grandfather Clock.

The American band Wilco has played Fay's song "Be Not So Fearful" in live performances and the band's singer, Jeff Tweedy, can be heard singing it in the documentary, I Am Trying to Break Your Heart: A Film About Wilco. Fay has joined the band and Tweedy onstage for the rendition of the song at shows at the Shepherd's Bush Empire in 2007, and at the Union Chapel, Islington in 2010 respectively, both in London.[5]

The English singer-songwriter and pianist John Howard recorded a cover version of the song "Be Not So Fearful" for his E.P. Songs for the Lost and Found (2008). The song "Be Not So Fearful" was also covered by Ed Harcourt on the benefit compilation album Songs to Save a Life - In Aid of Samaritans (2011).

A cover version of Fay's "Pictures of Adolf Again", by producer and musician Jim O'Rourke and Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche, can be heard in the film from Kōji Wakamatsu, United Red Army.[citation needed] The title track of "Time of the Last Persecution" became a live standard of the British Apocalyptic folk group, Current 93.[citation needed]

The compilation album Still Some Light appeared on the Coptic Cat label in 2010,[6] a double CD containing a mix of older material and newer, home-recorded songs.[7] Life is People, released August 21, 2012 on Dead Oceans, is his first new studio LP in over 40 years.[8]

His song "Be not so Fearful" got a cover by A.C. Newman and was used in the episode "Us" of The Walking Dead.



Compilation albums[edit]

  • From the Bottom of an Old Grandfather Clock (Wooden Hill, 2004)
  • Still Some Light (Coptic Cat, 2010)


  1. ^ Robert Helbig (2012-08-23). "Review: Bill Fay - Life Is People". Retrieved 2012-09-16. 
  2. ^ Unterberger, Richie. "Bill Fay Biography". allmusic. Retrieved 10 January 2010. 
  3. ^ "Disc of the Day". Mojo. Retrieved 10 January 2010. 
  4. ^ Mulvey, John. "Some Bill Fay News". Uncut. Retrieved 10 January 2010. 
  5. ^ Clarke, Betty (23 May 2007). "Wilco". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 January 2010. 
  6. ^ "Still Some Light". allmusic. Retrieved 10 January 2010. 
  7. ^ Mulvey, John. "Bill Fay: Still Some Light". Uncut. Retrieved 12 July 2012. 
  8. ^ Breihan, Tom. "Bill Fay Life is People details". Stereogum. Retrieved 12 July 2012. 

External links[edit]