Folk Guitar Great Michael Chapman Dead At 80
English folk singer-songwriter and guitar virtuoso Michael Chapman has died. “It is with regret and indescribable sadness that we must tell all of his friends that Michael Chapman died earlier today at home,” reads a post on his official Instagram. No cause of death has been revealed. He was 80 years old.
Born in Hunslet, south Leeds, West Yorkshire in 1941, Chapman attended art college in Leeds and played in local jazz bands while working as an art and photography teacher. In the late ’60s and early ’70s, he started playing on the folk and progressive music circuits, and he released his debut album Rainmaker on Harvest in 1969.
“I had an art college education and on a rainy night in 1966 I went into a pub in Cornwall, but I couldn’t afford to pay to go in,” reads a statement on Chapman’s website. “So I said, I’ll tell you what, I don’t want to stay outside in the rain, I’ll play guitar for half an hour for you. They offered me a job for the rest of the summer and I’ve been at it ever since.”
Although Chapman might not have been a household name, artists like Elton John, Thurston Moore, William Tyler, and Ryley Walker sang his praises. He continued working and making music for decades, celebrating half a century as a professional musician in 2017 with his Steve Gunn-produced album 50. Gunn aso worked on his final studio album, 2019’s True North.