Barclay James Harvest Bibliography

Barclay James Harvest Bibliography



This page is based on an article which originally appeared in the International Barclay James Harvest Fan Club magazine, Nova Lepidoptera, issue 54, and features some books of interest to the BJH fan. Special thanks to Terry Luck for his contribution.


The Barclay James Harvest Story first edition The Barclay James Harvest Story second edition

The only biography of the band published to date is our own The Barclay James Harvest Story (Swallowtail Publishing), first published in hardback and paperback formats on October 28th, 2005, with a completely revised, hardback-only second edition appearing on 30th October, 2013. The book includes the definitive history of the band from school days to the present day, many previously unpublished black and white photos and group and solo discographies.

It was based on three decades of research, numerous interviews with all the band members and key players including members of former bands, producers, cover artists and managers, and the second edition also includes a new sectionof recollections and essays from other fans of the band.

Further information can be found on the book mail-order page.

Social History

Alex Torres - 'Fifties Child' book cover

The Fifties Child - A Social History Through The Songs Of Barclay James Harvest by Alex Torres is a social history covering many of the key aspects of the second half of the 20th century and the early part of the 21st through an analysis of more than a hundred and twenty-five BJH songs.

Amongst the aspects included in this social history are the Cold War (the Soviet threat, nuclear warfare, Berlin); the Troubles in Northern Ireland; South Africa under apartheid; Vietnam; politics & the media; sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll (along with other aspects of popular culture); nature and the environment.

380 page hardback book, published by Desert Hearts, February 18th, 2013.


Musicians will want to track down the band’s three books of sheet music (sadly now all out of print). Music From Two Hit Albums (Chappell) has all the songs from Gone To Earth and XII and The Best Of Barclay James Harvest (Francis, Day and Hunter GmbH) includes songs from 1977 to 1981 - the latter book and one with all of the songs from Ring Of Changes (IMP) were only printed in Germany, and The Best Of has German text. All three include some background information and photos of the band.

Barclay James Harvest songbooks
Songs Included:

Music From Two Hit Albums
Hymn; Love Is Like A Violin; Friend Of Mine; Poor Man's Moody Blues; Hard Hearted Woman; Sea Of Tranquility; Spirit On The Water; Leper's Song; Taking Me Higher; Fantasy: Loving Is Easy; Berlin; Classics: A Tale Of Two Sixties; Turning In Circles; Fact: The Closed Shop; In Search Of England; Sip Of Wine; Harbour; Science Fiction: Nova Lepidoptera; Giving It Up; Fiction: The Streets Of San Francisco

The Best Of Barclay James Harvest
Back To The Wall; Berlin; Echoes And Shadows; Friend Of Mine; Hard Hearted Woman; Life Is For Living; The Song (They Love To Sing); Spirit On The Water; Waiting On The Borderline; Capricorn; Death Of A City; Doctor Doctor; How Do You Feel Now; Hymn; Leper's Song; Love Is Like A Violin; Loving Is Easy; Poor Man's Moody Blues; The Streets Of San Francisco

Ring Of Changes
Fifties Child; Looking From The Outside; Teenage Heart; High Wire; Midnight Drug; Waiting For The Right Time; Just A Day Away (Forever Tomorrow); Paraiso Dos Cavalos; Ring Of Changes

UK Music Encyclopædias

There was a time when books about popular music were few and far between, presumably because the subject wasn’t deemed worthy of serious study. The first true encyclopædia was The NME Book Of Rock (Star Books), first published in serial form in the New Musical Express music paper, and a number of editions of this have been published over the years. However, it was the involvement of the Guinness empire in publishing which led to the plethora of music books available today. Chart watchers can find single and album chart positions for their favourite bands’ in the many editions of The Guinness Book Of Hit Singles and The Guinness Book Of Hit Albums, whilst those in search of information about personnel, discographies etc. can find brief details in The Guinness Book Of Rock Stars (more recently revised and re-published as the Q Rock Stars Encyclopædia), The Guinness Encyclopædia Of Popular Music, Guinness Rockopedia etc etc.

Not to be outdone, many other publishers have jumped on the bandwagon, including Penguin and even the Rough Guide series. To be honest, though, the BJH fan is not likely to learn much from such books, and is more likely to be annoyed by inaccuracies and lazy repetitions of clichés like the old “Poor man’s Moody Blues” chestnut.

Other Reference Works

The previously mentioned Guinness chart books are well-known, but there are other music reference books worthy of a place on the BJH fan’s shelf. There is a German equivalent of the British chart books, called Hit Bilanz (Taurus Press). Mention must also be made here of Terry Hounsome’s Rock Record series, an attempt to catalogue all rock albums and singles with tracklistings, release dates etc., which was described by one reviewer as “an insane and magnificent triumph”! Essential reading for anoraks everywhere. Also fascinating is Ken Garner’s In Session Tonight (BBC Books), which details the songs, recording and transmission dates for every Radio One live session broadcast on the John Peel and other shows.


Cover of Feel So Real by Tony Jasper There are one or two books of interest which don’t fit easily into the other categories. The 1982 edition of the Daily Mirror Pop Club Annual (World International Publishing), for instance, has three pages about the Berlin concert and album.

John’s religious beliefs rate a whole chapter in Tony Jasper’s Feel So Real (Marshall Pickering, 1991), a study of Christians in rock music.

The slightly macabre Rock Obituaries: Knocking On Heaven's Door by Nick Talevski (Omnibus Press, 2006) includes a reasonable, if occasionally inaccurate, piece on Mel.

Last, but not least, look out for Johnny Rogan’s Starmakers & Svengalis (Macdonald Queen Anne Press, 1988), which includes a chapter on Harvey Lisberg of Kennedy Street Enterprises, who was BJH’s manager from late 1973 to 1977. Lisberg’s no-holds-barred recollections reveal a great deal about the old-style artist/manager relationship, and the portraits of other famous rock managers such as Don Arden, Brian Epstein and Malcolm McLaren are equally rivetting.

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