Lesley Duncan was a singer-songwriter born in Stockton-On-Tees in 1943 and although she released singles on Parlophone, Mercury, RCA, CBS and Columbia between 1963 and 1970 she didn’t release her first album until 1971. She had become a regular session-singer, singing back up vocals for lots of different artists including, Dusty Springfield and The Walker Brothers and she can also be heard singing Love Suite on, To Markos 111 aka Black Flower, released by the original Nirvana in 1970.
Also in 1970 Elton John recorded her most famous composition, Love Song on his album Tumbleweed Connection the same year that Duncan released it as a single – it appeared on her first album Sing Children Sing a year later – by the end of the eighties there were 160 recorded versions of the song. (Marianne Faithful recorded the song on her Horses And High Heels album released in 2011).
Duncan was a sensitive soul, singing about life, love, people, the environment and although she was played a lot on the radio in the UK she never had any real commercial success throughout her career, even though she released six albums between 1971 and 1977. In 1973 she sang backing vocals on Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon, in 1979 she was guesting on the Alan Parson’s Project album, Eve.
It soon became apparent that her interest in the music business was fading and her unwillingness to perform due to stage fright had her retire to the countryside, get involved in charity work and bring up her children. Sadly she died in 2010 at the age of 66 after a long illness.
Lesley Duncan is quite forgotten and through these links it may surprise you to see how many records she appeared on, how good she was and how few people remember her. Unfortunately the performance list is incomplete but through that incomplete list, you gain some insight into Lesley Duncan the busy session musician in the sixties and seventies.The interview posted below from 1987 is also well worth a read as she describes her experiences as a woman that wrote songs, fighting her way through the male dominated music business in that era.
Lesley Duncan – Chain Of Love – 1971
Lesley Duncan – Love Song – 1971
Lesley Duncan – Earth Mother – 1972
Nirvana – Love Suite – 1970