Steeleye Span are an English folk rock band formed in 1969. Still active today, along with Fairport Convention, they are amongst the best known acts of the British folk revival, and were among the most commercially successful, thanks to their hit singles “Gaudete” and “All Around My Hat”. They had four Top 40 albums and achieved a certified gold record with sales of “All Around My Hat”.
Throughout their history, Steeleye Span have seen many personnel changes. Their typical album is a collection of mostly traditional songs with one or two instrumental tracks of jigs and/or reels added; the traditional songs often include some of the Child Ballads. In their later albums there has been an increased tendency to include music written by the band members, but they have never got completely away from traditional music, which draws upon pan-British traditions.
Steeleye Span began in late 1969, when London-born bass player Ashley Hutchings departed Fairport Convention, the band he had co-founded in 1967. Fairport had been involved in a road accident in 1969 in which the drummer, Martin Lamble, was killed and other band members injured. They convalesced in a rented house near Winchester in Hampshire and worked on the album Liege & Lief. Despite the success of the album, Ashley Hutchings and the band’s vocalist Sandy Denny left Fairport Convention.
In part, Hutchings departed because he wanted to pursue a different, more traditional, direction than the other members of Fairport did at that time. However, Fairport’s co-founder, guitarist Simon Nicol, says in an interview on the band’s website: “Whatever the upfront reasons about musical differences and wanting to concentrate on traditional material, I think the accident was the underlying reason why Ashley felt he couldn’t continue with us.”Hutchings’ new band was formed after he met established duo Tim Hart and Maddy Prior Source Wikipedia