Over the next three years she performed as a solo artist and was to record three albums; North Star Grassman and the Ravens, Sandy and Like an Old Fashioned Waltz. The BBC later released The BBC Sessions 1971-73, a compilation of live studio tracks they had recorded with her.
Sandy duets with Robert Plant on The Battle of Evermore, Led Zeppelin IV
Sandy was the only female singer to guest on one of Led Zepplin’s albums singing a duet with Robert Plant on The Battle of Evermore, a song from their 1971, album Led Zeppelin IV. The album’s cover, from a suggestion by Jimmy Page, had four symbols chosen by each of the four band members. For her contribution to The Battle of Evermore Sandy was awarded a place for a symbol and she chose a symbol of three triangles connecting to each other at their points.
A return to Fairport Convention
During 1974, she and her husband, Trevor Lucas performed again with Fairport Convention and some of these appearances were recorded on Fairport’s Live album. She also made significant contributions to the band’s Rising for the Moon album. She also seems to have overcome her anxieties about travelling to America as in 1974 she and her husband toured there with the Fairport Convention line-up of the day.
In 1977, Sandy was to once again leave Fairport Convention and recorded Rendezvous, a solo album which achieved minimal success. In 1977 she had given birth to a baby daughter, Georgia, and she and her husband were considering moving to the USA to build new careers.
Sadly, this was never to be. Sandy suffered a brain haemorrhage after falling down stairs which caused her to fall into a coma. Tragically she never recovered and passed away at the age of 31 on the 21 April, 1978. Her final resting place was to be Putney Vale Cemetery.
After her death, Gold Dust - Live at the Royalty a recording of her last concert which was at the Royalty Theatre, on 27th November, 1977. Later The Attic Tracks were also released.
She was to win the prestigious Melody Maker’s Best Female Singer in 1971 and 1972 an outstanding achievement in itself.
In a public vote conducted by the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2006, Liege and Lief, by Fairport Convention was voted the Most Influential Folk Album of All Time. Georgia Lucas, the now grown-up daughter of Sandy and Trevor Lucas accepted the award. This was followed by a rendition of Matty Groves by members of the 1969 line-up, Dave Swarbrick, Dave Mattacks, Simon Nicol, Richard Thompson, Ashley Hutchings, with lead vocals by Chris While.
In 2007, Sandy’s song, Who Knows Where The Time Goes, received the audience vote for Favourite Folk Track Of All Time and the award was accepted on behalf of Sandy by Simon Nicol.
A tribute tour - he Lady: A Homage to Sandy Denny
In May 2012 her last three solo albums are set to be re-released by Universal, timed to correspond with a tribute tour titled, The Lady: A Homage to Sandy Denny. The line-up includes many of her old friends and contemporaries as well as some of the top folk singers and musicians of modern times.
The tour highlighted all her old songs as well as some new material that Thea Gilmore had made a significant contributed to. This was a collection of Sandy’s unfinished songs that she was asked to work on by the widow of Trevor Lucas, Elizabeth Hurtt-Lucas, who had found some lyrics of Sandy’s in a box. Thea put music and arrangements to Sandy’s words resulting in the highly praised album, Don’t Stop Singing, by Thea Gilmore and Sandy Denny.
If she was alive today Sandy would be the grandmother of the twin daughters of Georgia - Ariel Rose and Jahmira Jade.