The lanky multi-instrumentalist rode to fame at the dawn of the 1970s, winning the 1971 APRA Silver Scroll Award for his emotional ballad, ‘Have You Heard A Man Cry’, and while fronting BLERTA released three albums in quick succession; the first with the Littlejohn band then two solo LPs.
Simpson delivered commanding and passionate performances as a headlining solo artist, as a busker and fronting the theatrical mayhem that was BLERTA where his appearances became increasingly unpredictable.
Following a series of successful tours supporting major local and international artists, his eccentricities saw him fall out of favour with promoters. From the late 1970s, the singer-songwriter with a finely tuned ear, modifying his own guitars and travelling with a customised pyramid shaped sound system, was hardly scraping together a living from the immense talent that once promised so much.
Read the Corben Simpson story part 1 here
Read the Corben Simpson story part 2 here
Images courtesy of Helen Whitford, Kimberley Simpson, Barbara Vail Middleton and Keith Newman
Simpson’s first band at age 15 was called The Plague. His second was Sons & Lovers.
Jose Feliciano took Have You Heard A Man Cry back to the States with the intention of recording it, but it was never released.
In 1970 Simpson wowed the audience at a Max Cryer-organised Royal Command Performance for Prince Charles and Princess Anne.