We are sad to hear that one of the most underrated songwriters in the UK, Jackie Leven, has died.
We knew he was Ill but his death is still a shock…full obituary to follow.
The Scottish Telegraph reported…
His career spanned four decades and included homeless spells for the Kirkcaldy contemporary of former Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
Born into a Romany family in 1950, Leven played in local bands as a young man before leaving Scotland when he attracted the attention of gangs.
He slept rough, spent time busking and became addicted to heroin as well as a heavy drinker.
But along the way, his distinctive works were hailed as masterpieces, taking in the characters and experiences he met with on his travels.
A statement on his website announced his battle with cancer shortly before he died.
It said: “Sometimes, you have to tell people about the Bad[sic], as well as the Good[sic].
“It is with a heavy heart, therefore, that I have to relate the sad news that the great Scottish singer-songwriter JACKIE LEVEN is gravely ill, suffering from cancer, and, in all candour, has only a few days to live.
“From his emergence as leader of the underrated DOLL BY DOLL in the seventies, through well documented addiction problems which Leven overcame with remarkable strength of will, culminating in a solo resurgence through the 1980s to the here and now, Jackie has amassed an amazing body of work ”â the composer of over four hundred songs, including arguably his greatest song ”â ”ËCall Mother’, from the album ”ËMystery of Love’ (ranked by Q magazine as one of ”Ë100 Best Albums of All Time’).
“If sales didn’t always reflect the overwhelmingly positive critical reception his albums received, he nonetheless remained a perceptive writer and performer.
“Jackie was imbued with a restless creativity, and always searching for new settings for his ruminative lyrical forays, laced with humour and melodic grace. As a performer, Jackie could enthral and entrance the audience with picaresque tales taken from first-hand experience.
“Those that have worked with Jackie will know of his mordant wit and very idiosyncratic world view. His latest release, Wayside Shrines and The Code of the Travelling Man, recorded with multi-instrumentalist Michael Cosgrave was yet more proof of Leven’s enduring talent and inexhaustible creative energies.”