b. Cecilia Rosemary Hardman, 26 February 1945, Manchester, England. Hardman began writing songs at the age of 13 and made her first folk club appearance in 1965, at the Manchester Sports Guild. She established herself as resident singer, and organizer of a number of folk clubs over the next three years. Her 1968 debut Queen Of Hearts, released on the Folk Heritage label, was a mixture of traditional and contemporary material. In December of the same year she turned fully professional, and six months later teamed up with south London guitarist Bob Axford, performing only original material. The first release as a duo, on the defunct Leader label, Second Season Came, contained the much lauded, and much covered, Hardman song ‘Lady For Today’. The self-penned Firebird was a solo recording, and in 1974, Hardman played the Cambridge Folk Festival.
In 1978, Hardman was signed to the Plant Life label, with whom she made three albums. The backing musicians on these recordings included Dave Cousins of the Strawbs, Maddy Prior and Rick Kemp. In 1980, Hardman wrote the theme music for the children’s television programme Talk Write And Read. She toured Europe regularly, and made her first visit to Hong Kong in 1981. That same year, she wrote and recorded ‘The Man From Brooklyn’/‘Just One Time’. Both songs were about Barry Manilow, always claimed by Hardman to be a major influence. Indeed, she ran the Birmingham branch of the Barry Manilow Fan Club for a number of years.
The release of 1983’s The Weakness Of Eve was an attempt by Hardman to diversify her style, with musical influences ranging from Manilow to Whitesnake (she also ran the Whitesnake fan club for two years). For a while, Hardman teamed up as a duo with ex-Whitesnake guitarist, Mel Galley. Owing to the smoking in many of the venues she played, and lack of sound systems, she suffered a lot of throat problems during the mid-80s, resulting in a long course of hospital treatment. By 1990 Hardman had virtually retired, apart from two one-off ‘farewell performances’ in Germany and Jersey in 1991. There was always a strong romantic side to her songs, many of which have been covered by other folk singers. She now teaches swimming for Birmingham City Council and runs computer courses online.