One of the most influential figures in psychedelic music in the UK, Kevin Ayers, has passed away. He was 68. The singer-songwriter was one of the founding members of the seminal 60’s psych band The Soft Machine, who among others in the so-called ‘Canterbury Scene’, like Caravan, Egg, Gong and Hatfield And The North, were instrumental in their pioneering of psychedelic and progressive rock scenes that dominated the UK for much of the next decade or so.
Ayers time with The Soft Machine will be remembered fondly by many. Only involved in their debut album, it was nevertheless arguably their most influential one. Ayers also had a big impact as a solo artist too, going on to collaborate with numerous artists including Brian Eno and Mike Oldfield, and releasing 17 solo albums under his own name, according to The Guardian.
Ayers last solo album came in 2007, The Unfairground, which featured contributions from a whole range of younger musicians who’d looked up to him hugely, including Neutral Milk Hotel, Teenage Fanclub and Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci. Other stories about Ayers including him holding the infamous party in 1973, in which his former Soft Machine band mate Robert Wyatt drunkenly fell out of the window, paralyzing himself from the waist down. In his later life, Ayers spent some time in Ibiza, and had recently been dwelling in southern France. He died at his home in Montolieu.