Joe Henderson, Jeff Hardy, Jack Hardy, and Howie Wyeth, late ’70s — © Brian Rose
I’ve written before about Jack Hardy, my songwriter friend, who died almost two years ago. I recently attended a memorial service for his father, Gordon Hardy.
Jack cultivated the role of the self-taught itinerant folk singer living hand-to-mouth even as he proudly told the story of the Studebaker family—his mother’s side–in the song Wheelbarrow Johnny. What is less known is the importance of his father, former dean of students at Juilliard, and president of the Aspen Music Festival. Jack grew up in a household steeped in classical music. One photograph displayed at the reception showed Gordon Hardy and the composer Aaron Copland. That’s the world Jack came from.
Shortly after Jack passed away I wrote a fairly long chronicle of the early days of the songwriters exchange, the arrival of Suzanne Vega on the scene, and the creation of the Fast Folk magazine. It was intended for the Jack Hardy tribute album organized by Mark Dann, which is still not widely available, and I doubt that many have read it. The death of Jack’s father spurred me to reread the piece, and I’ve decided to post it here on my blog. Some of the story may be familiar to those who knew Jack well, other parts new, even surprising.
Please forgive the many names left out, and other oversights. It’s a personal recounting, not a comprehensive history.