The New European: Music’s greatest nearly man – the man music’s radar missed

He was among the greatest talents of his generation, but never hit the big time. With a new film of his life in the pipeline, Sophia Deboick tells the remarkable story of Terry Reid

When a 21-year old Terry Reid opened the first Glastonbury festival in 1971, he was in the right place at the right time. The rock explosion of the 1970s was coming like a fireball and, as footage of Reid’s performance captured in Nicolas Roeg’s Glastonbury Fayre film shows, he had everything required to capitalise on it: the looks, the presence, the guitar skills and, more than anything else, the best blues-rock voice ever recorded.

It conjured up Steve Marriot or Rod Stewart in its gravelly quality, certainly, but it was so soulful it frequently lapsed into a distinctive wordless scatting that was about pure sound. On the evidence of this 1971 performance alone, Reid should have been the megastar of the decade.

Instead, he released just six albums in 50 years and remained firmly under the radar. Recent years have found him playing small club venues and in such financial dire straits that a fundraiser was launched to get his guitars out of hock. How such promise came not be realised is a story of near misses and incredibly bad luck, as Reid constantly hovered on the edges of the big time…

The New European, 15 February 2018, pp. 38-40.

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