Harvey Andrews was born in Birmingham on May 7th 1943. He trained as a schoolteacher but began his singer/songwriter career in 1964 when he was paid ten shillings for singing three of his songs for the first time in a folk club. He turned full time pro in 1966.
He has produced 15 albums of his own songs, many of which have been recorded by other artists.
He has appeared at many festivals including Tonder in Denmark, Lunenburg and Regina in Canada, and five Cambridge Folk Festivals in the U.K.
Tours have taken him to Canada, Newfoundland, U.S.A, Germany, Cyprus, Belgium, Ireland, Switzerland, Belize, Malta, Holland, Sardinia, Gibraltar, Italy, Portugal, Denmark and Ascension Island.
Television appearances include The Old Grey Whistle Test, Rhythm on Two and over 50 other shows. He has made two television specials featuring his songs, The Camera and The Song, and The Same Old Smile. Two further specials were produced in Holland and Ireland.
He wrote and sang the theme songs for the TV series Golden Pennies and The Haunted School and sang the theme song in the British movie Psychomania.
He has hosted BBC Radio Two’s Folk on Two and a Radio Four Kaleidoscope special was devoted to his work.
The lyrics of one of his songs were used in course work for the national G.C.S.E. English language examination. Another lyric was included in the Oxford University Book of English Traditional Verse.
In 1996 he was voted International Artiste of the Year in the Canadian Porcupine Awards for Folk music.
He wrote the songs for the musical ‘Go and Play Up Your Own End’ which premiered at the Solihull library Theatre in 1998 where he made his acting debut. Subsequently the musical played at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, the Birmingham Hippodrome and, in 2003 at the Alexandra Theatre, thus setting a record of having been staged at every one of the second city’s major theatres.
About the song “Soldier”:
When I wrote it, based on the Sgt Willetts incident, the protest song movement was well established. I had no idea the song would become so big.
It was banned from broadcasting in Britain and I was not allowed to sing it on “Folk on Two” on BBC radio. Soldiers were not allowed to play it. One has E mailed me that he was charged and locked up for a few days.It was sold in the streets in Belfast and was basically number one over there but was never printed as such, I think. It has been bootlegged as well as re-recorded by Protestant bands in Scotland and sold illegally in pubs.
If I learned anything from all this it is that words and music have an extraordinary power and care must be taken in their use.
The cd containing the song, “Writer of Songs”, is still the biggest seller on my website.