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Jackie Leven

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The first officially released recording by Scottish cult legend Jackie Leven (born in Fife on June 18, 1950), a musician who has drawn from folk, punk, blues, country, and the music of his Celtic heritage, was issued under another name. Control, an album released in 1971, was credited to the pseudonym John St. Field. Years later, he formed and fronted Doll by Doll, a punk-spirited band that released four albums from 1979 through 1982. After its demise, Leven hit a streak of bad luck -- his girlfriend left him for the Dalai Lama's bodyguard, for instance -- and a flirtation with drugs became a full-on addiction. Eventually, he got clean and lived to sing about his troubles on his 1994 debut for Cooking Vinyl, The Mystery of Love Is Greater Than the Mystery of Death, which set off a prolific run; on through the early 2000s, Leven recorded well over a dozen albums for the independent label, including Forbidden Songs of the Dying West (1995), Shining Brother Shining Sister (2003), and Elegy for Johnny Cash (2005). (Cooking Vinyl also reissued Control during the early part of this phase.) He was so productive during his forties and fifties, in fact, that some releases surfaced under another alias, Sir Vincent Lone, and a fan club dubbed The Haunted Valley served as an outlet for official bootlegs and other projects. Leven died on November 14, 2011 after a prolonged battle with prostate cancer. He was 61. ~ Jason Ankeny & Andy Kellman

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June 18, 1950 in Fife, Scotland

Years Active:

'90s, '00s