Tony Hooper, co-founder of folk-rockers the Strawbs who left the band on brink of stardom – obituary

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With the occasional addition of the singer Sandy Denny, their warm style soon found an audience, and they recorded their first, low-profile LP All Our Own Work in Denmark in 1967 – including two original Hooper compositions – although it did not get widespread release until six years later.

While Sandy Denny moved on to join Fairport Convention, Hooper’s guitar arrangements and gentle vocals knitted neatly with Cousins’s more acerbic vocals and narrative songwriting to establish a distinctive folk-rock sound which led to five increasingly successful albums – notably From The Witchwood and Grave New World – and an expanding line-up that included the keyboard virtuoso Rick Wakeman, later to join Yes.

Success, however, brought impossible demands. Cousins had become the band’s predominant songwriter and, suffering from an element of stage fright and disillusionment with his own songwriting, and under pressure from the record company for hits, from a rigorous touring schedule and from colleagues intent on abandoning their folk roots in favour of progressive rock, the laid-back, unassuming Hooper decided to walk away.

By this time he had met Jane Hunter at a party, and after their marriage he moved to Hampshire and stepped out of the limelight for a more stable, sedate lifestyle, in which he could enjoy simple pleasures such as the countryside, walking, stamp collecting and going for a pint at his local pub.

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