Earlier this week, Kevin Ayers died, at age 68. The hugely influential musician, bass guitarist, vocalist, composer, songwriter and lyricist was perhaps best known as the founding member of Soft Machine, having helped shape early psychedelic rock, influencing Jimi Hendrix and Pink Floyd. After leaving Soft Machine, Ayers worked with artists including Elton John, Mike Oldfield, Brian Eno, Syd Barrett, Mike Ratledge, John Cale, Nico, Robert Wyatt, Daevid Allen, Ollie Halsall, Joan Bibiloni, Tomás Graves and Andy Summers, amongst others, and released 17 solo albums.
During the late Seventies and early Eighties, Kevin Ayers lived in Mallorca. He set up house in Deià and lived in this mountain village for almost a decade. There, he is said to have had his most prolific and inspired epoch. Before he came to Mallorca, he had lived in Morocco and Ibiza, and when he moved away from Deià, he tried Menorca before settling in south-western France, near Carcassonne. Ayers died in his sleep at his home in the village of Montolieu, February 18th.
The late John Peel (BBC Radio 1) had been a great champion of Ayers; he once famously remarked that Ayers was the
most important, under-acknowledged innovator in contemporary popular music in Britain.
(note: Diminished, But Not Finished is the title of a song by Kevin Ayers, first published on the LP Sweet Deceiver (Island Records, March 1975).