Steeleye Span's Maddy Prior on Cropredy, the 70s and boozing with Status Quo

A photograph of Steeleye Span in their 2016 line up

Steeleye Span are three years away from being around for 50 years. Few of us do the same thing for such an amount of time.

Well, I got an MBE for it [laughs]. But the line-up has changed and we’ve a vast repertoire. We’re not turning the lathe making the same product every day.

The band became famous during the mid-70s with All Around My Hat. Was it fun?

It was. I loved being on Top Of The Pops. We laughed so much back then. In many ways it was the band’s most enjoyable era. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

Many people think folk rock is all about Aran sweaters and being nicey-nicey.

Oh, that’s rubbish. Some of the tunes are beautiful, but it’s the stuff with great power – lyrically and musically – that does it for me. A song like Long Lankin is just as topical as it was back in 1975 because it addresses the disaffected.

Having guested with Status Quo on their 1990s remake of All Around My Hat, you appear to be having a ball in its live promo. Were they a corrupting influence?

No. Having a few drinks has always been my thing. The video was filmed at Christmas, and we’d supported them, and I found myself down in the mosh pit. Francis [Rossi] saw me and told the audience: “Oh look, there’s a Maddy lookalike down there… Fuck me, it is Maddy!” I was hoyed over the barrier [to the stage] to join them for the encore. It was all very jolly.

Is Steeleye’s new album nearly done?

Yeah. We’re pretty confident it’ll be available for our UK tour in October.

Steeleye Span have played at the Cropredy festival before. What’s it like?

It’s a really enjoyable family day. They’ve broadened out the acts, with artists like Alice Cooper, but it’s still a bit of a ritual.

Steeleye Span Live In Bristol

Steeleye Span in Somewhere Along The Road promo

Dave Ling

Dave Ling was a co-founder of Classic Rock magazine. His words have appeared in a variety of music publications, including RAW, Kerrang!, Metal Hammer, Prog, Rock Candy, Fireworks and Sounds. Dave’s life was shaped in 1974 through the purchase of a copy of Sweet’s album ‘Sweet Fanny Adams’, along with early gig experiences from Status Quo, Rush, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Yes and Queen. As a lifelong season ticket holder of Crystal Palace FC, he is completely incapable of uttering the word ‘Br***ton’.