Kevin Ayers (16 August 1944 – 18 February 2013) was an English singer-songwriter and a major influential force in the English psychedelic movement. Ayers was a founding member of the pioneering psychedelic band Soft Machine in the mid-1960s, and was closely associated with the Canterbury scene.
The album was one of the first released on the new Harvest label. Joy of a Toy established Ayers as a unique talent with music that varied from the circus march of the title cut, to the pastoral "Girl on a Swing", and the ominous "Oleh Oleh Bandu Bandong", based on a Malay folksong. Ayers' colleagues from Soft Machine backed him, with the addition on some cuts of Rob Tait, sometime Gong drummer.
The 2004 CD reissue of Joy of a Toy includes a mix of the song "Religious Experience (Singing a Song in the Morning)", early recordings of which featured Syd Barrett on guitar and backing vocals featuring Barrett's guitar, as a bonus track.