American-born she may have been, but as Julie Felix found success she was claimed ” Britain’s First Lady of Folk”.
The Californian forged a major career path on British television and across the airwaves during the sixties and seventies.
Felix, who sang protest songs, championed various causes throughout her life, visiting visited the Middle East as a humanitarian ambassador for Christian Aid, campaigning on behalf of Latin American refugees and founding the Guitars Against Landmines fundraising campaign.
Julie Felix was a lovely lady with a great talent and a huge heart. I’ll miss her goodness, her kindness & her unique Christmas cards. She was special. RIP. https://t.co/z9HPChAymZ
— Gyles Brandreth (@GylesB1) March 25, 2020
Born in 1964, the singer, who has died at the age of 81, moved to the UK and became the very first solo folk singer signed to a major British record label – in this case Decca Records.
Felix never truly returned to her native America, choosing instead to make a name for herself in the UK.
Throughout the 1960s and 1970s she was at the forefront of the blossoming hippie scene and a familiar face due to her many appearances on both stage and television.
In less than a decade she had performed at the Royal Albert Hall, become resident singer on BBC’s The Frost Report and featured guests such as the Kinks, Fleetwood Mac and Jimmy Page on her own series: Once More With Felix.
The Times named her “Britain’s First Lady of Folk.”
She had two UK Singles Chart hits in 1970: “If I Could (El Cóndor Pasa)” and “Heaven is Here”, the latter of which was written by Errol Brown and Tony Wilson of Hot Chocolate.
Felix lived in Chorleywood, Hertfordshire and, until her death, was still recording and performing.
In 2018, aged 80, she was still appearing on stage and last October played an intimate gig on the Isle of Skye.
The same year, she sang on Glastonbury’s acoustic stage. She continued performing until just a few weeks before her death on Sunday, following a short illness.
With a professional career spanning more than 50 years the incredible Julie Felix is playing a special concert at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Isle of Skye on Saturday the 5th of October. You can book tickets HERE > https://t.co/yuKKhqmFbs pic.twitter.com/MjShWKQgPL
— Cuillin FM (@cuillinfm) October 3, 2019
Her agent Fran Collier said in a statement: “It is with great sadness we announce that folk legend Julie Felix died peacefully in her sleep on Sunday evening, March 22, after a short illness.
“We offer our condolences to Julie’s family, friends and legions of fans at this time.
“She was a legend who will never be forgotten.”