"Steeleye Span" are a British folk-rock band, formed in 1970 and who remain active in 2006. Along with Fairport Convention they are the best known act of the 1970s folk revival, and were the most commercially successful, thanks to their hit singles 'Gaudete' and 'All Around My Hat'.
The name Steeleye Span comes from a character in the traditional song "Horkstow Grange" (which they did not actually record until they released an album by that name in 1998). The song gives an account of a fight between John "Steeleye" Span and John Bowlin, neither of whom are proven to have been real people.
Throughout their long history, Steeleye Span has seen a great many personnel changes but has maintained a strong continuity of tradition. Lead vocalist Maddy Prior was one of the main attractions of the band's music, being one of a handful of strong-but-melodically-voiced women in rock music in the 1970s (along with Sandy Denny, Renaissance's Annie Haslam, Jacqui McShee, and Linda Thompson).
Their typical album is a collection of mostly traditional songs with one or two instrumental tracks of jigs and/or reels added in; the traditional songs often include some of the Child...