Kevin Ayers has died aged 68 at his home in the South of France. As a teenager in the early 60s Ayers gravitated towards Robert Wyatt's parents's house, at Lydden near Canterbury. He became a vocalist and songwriter in the earliest incarnation of The Wilde Flowers, a group he left in 1965. He then travelled to Ibiza with Daevid Allen, where they met an American millionaire who gave them money to form a group. On returning to Canterbury in 1966 Allen and Ayers started the Soft Machine with Mike Ratledge and Robert Wyatt.
After touring twice in the support slot for Jimi Hendrix in early 1968, the group recorded their first album, after which which Ayers left. He began releasing solo material, and recorded with Lol Coxhill and a teenage Mike Oldfield, among others. Always on the brink of a commercial breakthrough, but with "an extraordinary ability to drink, and an extraordinary ability to rejuvenate himself" (according to Daevid Allen), Ayers appeared to lose his way by the early 80s, by which time he was living and recording in Spain. In later years he lived a reclusive life in France. He released his final album The Unfairground in 2007.