Dubbed “the best kept secret in the music business” by the late rock musician Bill Graham, Shawn Phillips’ musical palate is as wide as his more-than-4-octave vocal range. Praised for his unusual style and full use of the English language, Phillips defies all conventions of popular music. He has composed some of the most intense and thought-provoking music in the business, and has earned a devoted following.
Phillips got his start on the mid-1960s London folk scene, assisting roommate Donovan with writing songs like “Sunshine Superman” and “Season of the Witch.” He is widely credited with introducing the sitar to popular music, coaching Brian Jones and George Harrison on the instrument (the latter helping Phillips land a backing vocal credit on the Beatles’ “Lovely Rita”). Phillips moved to Greenwich Village, where he quickly found himself playing clubs alongside Tim Hardin and Richie Havens. In 1970, he relocated to Italy, where he based himself for most of the next three decades.
Phillips is a rock pioneer. Keeping true to his roots in folk music, he has experimented with classical, fantasy iconography, surreal verse, mysticism and voice. The results produced the multi-million selling album “Second Contribution.” Four of his 18 albums charted on Billboard’s top 100. Four singles charted on Billboard’s top 40. Celebrating 40 years of recording and touring, Universal Music honored Phillips with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002.
Facts about Shawn Phillips
- In the 1960s Phillips worked as a session player on several Donovan albums including Fairytale, Sunshine Superman, and Mellow Yellow
- He was cast to play the lead in the original production of Jesus Christ Superstar (he had to withdraw due to his heavy recording and touring schedule).
- Phillips today lives in Port Elizabeth, South Africa with his wife Juliette and their son Liam. He quit touring after 2011 and now he divides his time between writing, recording, and his work as an emergency medical technician (EMT), firefighter, 1st Officer, Navigator, and Extrication Specialist with the National Sea Rescue Institute of South Africa (NSRI).
GoldMinemag.com – Article – http://www.goldminemag.com/
“Shawn Phillips is stranger than fiction” – http://www.phoenixnewtimes.
What Other People Have Been Saying...
“For all of Phillips’ prowess as singer/songwriter, he’s also a hell of a player – a cat with jazz stylings on his whiskers and R&B on his beard.” -Classic Rock Music Blog
“willowy fingerpicking, multi-octave vocal range, and penchant for high-flown lyrics… his persona as a mystical hippie troubadour has stayed pretty much intact.” –Chicago Reader