Gong, even though they have a bizarre band name, are a successful progressive rock band formed by Australian musician, Daevid Allan. They formed in 1967, after Allan, then a member of Soft Machine, was denied entry into the UK due to a visa complication.
He remained in France, where he and a London born professor, Gilli Smyth, began the band now known as Gong.
They apparently found saxophonist Didier Malherbe living in a cave in Deya, before the band were invited back to France to record the soundtrack to Jerome La Perrousaz movies. Following this, they were signed to independent label BYG, and signed up for two albums (Magick Brother, Mystic Sister and Bananamoon).
The next feat for the band was playing at the first ever Glastonbury festival, and were subsequently one of the first acts to sign up to Virgin Records. By 1971, a regular line-up had established itself, and Gong released their ‘Camembert Electrique’ album, priced at just 49p. How times can change. Sadly though, it was barred from entering the charts due to it being so cheap!
Between 1973 and 1974 the band released their ‘Radio Gnome Trilogy’. Following this in 1975, Allan refused to go on stage, claiming there was a ‘wall of force’ stopping him. He later left the band, along with Smyth. The band continued to tour with a new line-up, eventually morphing into Pierre Moerlen’s Gong, taking their main influences from the jazz genre.
Although not as recognised as they were n previous years, there are many space-rock wannabe bands keeping the Gong spirit going.
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