Shawn Phillips

Shawn Phillips (born February 3, 1943) is an American folk-rock musician, primarily influential in the 1960s and 1970s.

Phillips has recorded twenty six albums[1] and worked with musicians including Donovan, Paul Buckmaster, J. Peter Robinson, Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, Bernie Taupin, Tim Hardin, Manos Hatzidakis and many others.[2] The Texas-born singer-songwriter was described as "the best kept secret in the music business" by the late rock impresario Bill Graham.[3]

Shawn Phillips
Phillips in 2006
Background information
BornFebruary 3, 1943 (age 76)
OriginFort Worth, Texas, U.S.
GenresFolk rock
Years active1960s–present


Shawn Phillips
Phillips in 1971

Phillips was born in Fort Worth, Texas. He is believed to have lived with Donovan in England in the 1960s and appeared as a session musician on several of the singer-songwriter's albums, including Fairytale, Sunshine Superman, and Mellow Yellow. Phillips claims to have contributed backing vocals to "Lovely Rita" by The Beatles.[3] He was cast to play the lead in the original production of Jesus Christ Superstar, but had to withdraw due to his heavy recording and touring schedule. In February 1969 Phillips wrote and performed, with The Djinn, the music for the controversial Jane Arden play Vagina Rex and the Gas Oven at the Arts Laboratory on Drury Lane.

Phillips worked the folk music scene in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City's Greenwich Village, and London. In 1967, Phillips moved to Positano, where he remained throughout the 1970s, recording the albums Contribution, Second Contribution, Collaboration, and Faces.

Four of his albums (Faces, Bright White, Furthermore, and Do You Wonder) charted in the Billboard 200 between 1972 and 1974. In addition, the singles "Lost Horizon" and "We" appeared on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1973 (numbers 63 and 92, respectively).

His album No Category, featuring his longtime collaborators Paul Buckmaster and Peter Robinson, was released in 2002.

In 2007, his first live album, Living Contribution, was released, along with a Live DVD of the same title.

After living near Port Elizabeth, South Africa for fifteen years with his South African wife Juliette, since 2016 Phillips has resided in Louisville, Kentucky with Juliette and their son Liam.[4] He is still a dedicated artist to his craft, dividing his time between writing, recording, touring, and his work as an emergency medical technician (EMT) and firefighter.

In an interview with Chicago music critic Scott Itter, Phillips was reminded that he had once been described as "the best kept secret in the music business" by the late rock impresario Bill Graham. Asked why he was still "a secret" to many people, Phillips replied:

I'm not that interested in the fame, and popularity, but I would like to have the money that comes with it. I suppose the two have to go hand in hand. My "secrecy", is simply because none of the companies I have ever been affiliated with have cared enough to hire a national PR firm on an annual basis as part of the machine that creates the fame and popularity. Also, if you use a word like xenophobia in a song, or any word that the general public has to look up, they tend to shy away from any semblance of intelligence in popular music.[3]

Family and personal life

Phillips's uncle, David Atlee Phillips, was a top CIA officer who was associated with the alleged assassin Lee Harvey Oswald.[5]



  • I'm a Loner (1964) [re-issued in 1965 as Favourite Things]
  • Shawn (1965) Columbia Records [re-issued in 1966 as First Impressions]
  • Contribution (1970)
  • Second Contribution (1970) US #208
  • Collaboration (1971)
  • Faces (1972) US #57
  • Bright White (1973) US #72
  • Furthermore (1974), A&M Records US #50
  • Do You Wonder (1974) US #101
  • Rumplestiltskin's Resolve (1975) US #201
  • Spaced (1977)
  • Transcendence (1978) RCA Records
  • Favourite Things (1987) Capitol Records
  • Beyond Here Be Dragons (1983) Wounded Bird Records
  • Best of Shawn Phillips (1990)
  • The Best of Shawn Phillips: The A&M Years (1992)
  • The Truth If It Kills (1994)
  • Another Contribution: Anthology (1995)
  • No Category (2002) Universal Records / Fat Jack Records
  • Living Contribution (2007) Sheer Sound
  • At the BBC (2009) Hux Records
  • Reflections (2012)
  • Perspective (2013)
  • Infinity (2014)
  • Continuance (2017)


  • "A Christmas Song" (1970, A&M AMS-819)
  • "We" (US #89, 1972, A&M 1402)
  • "Lost Horizon" (US #63, 1973, A&M 1405)
  • "Anello (Where Are You)" (1973, A&M 1435)
  • "Bright White" (1973, A&M 1482)
  • "Do You Wonder" (1974, A&M 1750)


  1. ^ "Shawn Phillips official website home page". Archived from the original on March 17, 2012. Retrieved February 19, 2012.
  2. ^ Eder, Bruce. "Shawn Phillips". AllMusic. Retrieved February 19, 2012.
  3. ^ a b c "Shawn Phillips". Retrieved June 17, 2015.
  4. ^ Review
  5. ^ Rolling Stone

External links

Ashley Kozak

Ashley Kozak (c.1930 – 2008) was a British jazz bassist, record producer and artists' manager, best known as having been Donovan's manager.

After working, and recording, with Tony Crombie and His Orchestra in 1954, together with leading UK-based jazz musicians such as Crombie, Dizzy Reece, Joe Temperley and Harry South, Kozak went on to join the Vic Ash Quartet which recorded with

Maxine Sullivan. He later joined the Don Rendell Sextet (1954–55) and The Ivor and Basil Kirchin Band (1955–56), together with Stan Tracey, and later with the Basil Kirchin Small Band. He would return to record with Tony Crombie in the late 1950s.

By 1962 he was leading his own quartet, which included Harry South and Dick Morrissey, and which spent several months in India.Shortly after their return, Kozak started working as an executive at Brian Epstein's NEMS Enterprises as well as managing artists such as Shawn Phillips (1965–67), Donovan (1965 to May 1968), and the duo Michael-Claire (1968).

He produced Marc Brierley's second album for CBS Records Hello (1969), the band Clear Blue Sky (1970–71), and put together the band Tranquility, a “hybrid of pop, rock and English folk music” 1971 - 1974.

Kozak died in 2008.

Bruce Rowland (drummer)

Bruce Rowland (22 May 1941 – 29 June 2015) was an English rock drummer best known for his memberships of The Grease Band and folk rock band Fairport Convention. He was also a prolific session musician.

Caleb Quaye

Caleb Quaye (born 9 October 1948), is an English Afro-European rock guitarist and studio musician best known for his work in the 1960s and 1970s with Elton John, Mick Jagger, Pete Townshend, Paul McCartney, Hall & Oates and Ralph McTell, and also toured with Shawn Phillips in the 1970s. He is the son of Cab Kaye, younger brother of Terri Quaye, and older half-brother of former 1990s singer Finley Quaye.


Contribution may refer to:

Contribution (album), a 1990 album by Mica Paris

"Contribution" (song), title song from the album

Contribution (Law), a payment between defendants in a suit to apportion liability

Contributions, a vital goal of fundraising

Contribution, a 1970 album by Shawn Phillips

Fairytale (album)

Fairytale is the second album from British singer-songwriter Donovan. It was first released in the UK on 22 October 1965 through Pye Records (catalog number NPL 18128). The US version of Fairytale was released by Hickory Records (catalog number LPM 127 [monaural] / LPS 127 [stereo]) in November 1965 with a slightly different set of songs. Peter Eden and Geoff Stephens produced the album.

Guy Buttery

Guy Buttery (26 November 1983) is a South African musician primarily known as a guitar player. Cited as “one of South Africa’s most influential artists over the past decade" by The Sunday Independent, Buttery's distinctive acoustic style is influenced by traditional South African culture, music and instrumentation. In live performances, Guy also uses an EBow and a looper to create "synth-like textures". He is influenced by artists such as Michael Hedges, Steve Newman, Madala Kunene, Tony Cox, Tananas, Led Zeppelin, Mark Kozelek and Ralph Towner. Guy has received numerous accolades for his recorded work as well as for his live performances. He has collaborated, toured, supported and recorded with dozens of artists including Dave Matthews, Jethro Tull, multiple Grammy Award winner and founder of Windham Hill Records, William Ackerman, Vusi Mahlasela, Piers Faccini, Dan Patlansky, Shawn Phillips, Violent Femmes, Martin Simpson, Salif Keita, the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra, Steve Newman, Jon Gomm, Preston Reed and many others.

If Only for a Moment

If Only for a Moment is the second L.P. by the Blossom Toes, released in 1969.

Line-up features a guest appearance on sitar from US folk musician Shawn Phillips.

J. Peter Robinson

John Peter Robinson (born 16 September 1945, in Fulmer, Buckinghamshire) is an English composer, musician, and arranger known for his film and television scores. He studied piano and composition at the Royal Academy of Music and enjoyed a successful career as a session keyboardist throughout the 1970s, working with artists such as Brand X, Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford, Shawn Phillips, Quatermass, Sun Treader/Morris Pert, Carly Simon, Bryan Ferry, Stealers Wheel, Andrew Lloyd Webber and others.

He made his film music debut as a solo composer in 1985, scoring a number of successful films including The Believers (1987), The Kiss (1988), Cocktail (1988), Blind Fury (1989), Wayne's World (1992), Wes Craven's New Nightmare (1994), Highlander III: The Sorcerer (1994), Vampire in Brooklyn (1995, also directed by Wes Craven), Firestorm (1998), The World's Fastest Indian (2005) and The Bank Job (2008). He also composed for numerous television films and series including The Wonder Years, Eerie, Indiana, Tales from the Crypt, Todd McFarlane's Spawn, The Outer Limits, and Charmed.

In addition he scored the horror films The Wraith (1986) and The Gate (1987) with Michael Hoenig, and scored the English-language version of Godzilla 2000. He also composed music for the 1989 movie The Wizard, as well as two songs from the film Shelter (2007), and music in dozens of episodes of the TV series Charmed.

As a successful pop arranger, he has collaborated with Eric Clapton, Manhattan Transfer, Al Jarreau and Melissa Etheridge.

John Gustafson (musician)

John Frederick Gustafson (8 August 1942 – 12 September 2014) was an English bass guitar player and singer, who had a lengthy recording and live performance career. During his career, he was a member of the bands The Big Three, Ian Gillan Band, Roxy Music and his own group, Quatermass, among others.

Josie (Donovan song)

"Josie" is a song written and recorded by British singer-songwriter Donovan. The "Josie" single was backed with a cover of "The Little Tin Soldier" by Shawn Phillips and released in the United Kingdom on 18 February 1966 through Pye Records (Pye 7N 17067).

Like Hickory Records in the United States, it was clear by early 1966 that Pye Records retained the rights to the tracks Donovan recorded while recording at Pye. Unlike Hickory Records, however, Pye retained the right to release future Donovan albums and singles as stipulated by Donovan's original contract. Meanwhile, any new recordings from Donovan were legally barred from release.

As Hickory Records did with "You're Gonna Need Somebody on Your Bond" and "To Try for the Sun" in the United States, Pye Records took an album track and released it as a single without Donovan's consent. "Josie" was originally released on Donovan's debut album What's Bin Did and What's Bin Hid and was viewed as a single that could possibly sell well. Pye chose the Fairytale album track "The Little Tin Soldier" for the b-side. The "Josie" single became the first Donovan release to fail to chart in the United Kingdom, just as the "You're Gonna Need Somebody on Your Bond" and "To Try for the Sun" singles failed to chart in the United States.

Lost Horizon (1973 film)

Lost Horizon is a 1973 American fantasy musical film, directed by Charles Jarrott and starring Peter Finch, Liv Ullmann, Sally Kellerman, George Kennedy, Michael York, Olivia Hussey, Bobby Van, James Shigeta, Charles Boyer, and John Gielgud. It was also the final film produced by Ross Hunter. The film is a remake of Frank Capra's film of the same name, with a screenplay by Larry Kramer. The stories of both this version and that from 1937 were adapted from James Hilton's novel Lost Horizon.

Lost Horizon was lambasted by critics at the time of its 1973 release, and its reputation has not improved since. It was selected for inclusion in the book The Fifty Worst Films of All Time, co-written by critic Michael Medved, and is listed in Golden Raspberry Award founder John Wilson's book The Official Razzie Movie Guide as one of The 100 Most Enjoyably Bad Movies Ever Made. The film was also a box office bomb, losing an estimated $51 million.

Mick Weaver

Mick Weaver (born 16 June 1944, Bolton, Lancashire, England) is an English session musician, best known for his playing of the Hammond B3 organ, and as an exponent of the blues and funk.

Paul Buckmaster

Paul John Buckmaster (13 June 1946 – 7 November 2017) was a Grammy Award-winning British artist, arranger, conductor and composer.

He is best known for his orchestral collaborations with David Bowie, Elton John, Harry Nilsson, The Rolling Stones, Carly Simon, Shawn Phillips and Miles Davis in the 1970s, followed by his contributions to the recordings of many other artists, including Stevie Nicks, Lionel Richie, Celine Dion, Carrie Underwood, Kenny Rogers, Guns N’ Roses, Taylor Swift, Train, and Heart.

Rainbow Quest

Rainbow Quest (1965–66) was a U.S. television series devoted to folk music and hosted by Pete Seeger. It was videotaped in black-and-white and featured musicians playing in traditional American music genres such as traditional folk music, old-time music, bluegrass and blues. The show's title is drawn from the lyrics of the song by Seeger "Oh, Had I A Golden Thread".

Season of the Witch (song)

"Season of the Witch" is a song written by Donovan and Shawn Phillips, and first released in September 1966 on Donovan's Epic Records (USA) album, Sunshine Superman. The song is an early example of psychedelic rock.

Splashy Fen

Established in 1990, Splashy Fen is South Africa’s longest-running music festival, which every Easter attracts thousands of people to a farm near Underberg, KwaZulu-Natal for a unique outdoor music experience. Also present are arts and crafts stalls, food and drink outlets, crèche and children’s entertainment programme, as well as various camping and accommodation options. The most recent festival took place from the 29 March to 1 April 2018.

Well-known artists who have performed at Splashy Fen over the years include: Bowling for Soup, Syd Kitchen, Tony Cox, Steve Newman, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Vusi Mahlasela, Koos Kombuis, Shawn Phillips, Hinds Brothers, Madala Kunene, Neill Solomon, Landscape Prayers, Tananas, Just Jinjer, Hothouse Flowers, Tree63, Dan Patlansky, Watershed, Springbok Nude Girls, The Parlotones, Prime Circle and Chris Chameleon.


Taupin is lyricist Bernie Taupin's first solo album. It is a spoken word album of his poetry. Taupin is well known for his collaboration with Elton John writing the lyrics to the vast majority of songs on his albums, and he worked with the same musicians John used on his albums in order to create his own. Gus Dudgeon produced the album and Steve Brown coordinated it.

All the poems were written by Bernie Taupin.

World Popular Song Festival

The World Popular Song Festival (世界歌謡祭, Sekai Kayōsai), also known as Yamaha Music Festival and unofficially as the "Oriental Eurovision", was an international song contest held from 1970 until 1989. It was organised by the Yamaha Music Foundation in Tokyo, Japan from 1970 until 1989. The first edition of the World Popular Song Festival (WPSF) took place on 20, 21 and 22 November 1970 with 37 participating countries from all continents. The concert was cancelled in 1988 due to the illness of the Shōwa Emperor; the final year was a charity concert for UNICEF, after which the contest was formally ended.

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