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Beggars Opera

Glasgow, Scotland, progressive rock band Beggars Opera was formed in the late 60s by Marshall Erskine (bass/flute), Ricky Gardener (guitar/vocals), Martin Griffiths (vocals/percussion), Alan Park (keyboards) and Raymond Wilson (drums). The group’s grandiose ambition was to fuse classical and progressive rock elements, an accommodation they achieved but only to moderate critical and commercial interest. The dominant Hammond organ sound drew comparison with the Nice, who were the leading organ-led prog band at that time. Signed to Vertigo Records, they made their debut in 1970 with Act One, released concurrently with ‘Sarabande’. The single was the most successful of the two releases, charting in several mainland European countries. The album included a preposterous rendition of ‘Classical Gas’, which was eventually released as a single in its own right four years later. The group then expanded to a quintet with the addition of multi-instrumentalist Gordon Sellar (bass, guitar, vocals) for the follow-up collection, Waters Of Change. Abandoning some of the progressive rock elements of earlier recordings, the group pursued a more melodious rock direction on this album, heavily indebted to musical developments on America’s west coast. Erskine had left the group by the time they recorded 1972’s Pathfinder, which included a cover version of Richard Harris’ ‘MacArthur Park’. Their final effort, 1973’s Get Your Dog Off Me, was completed as a trio, with Sellar joined by founder members Gardener and Park. Unfortunately, this again proved unsuccessful, and with Vertigo wary of further investment in the group, they broke up in 1974. Sellar attempted a re-formation in the mid-70s when two further albums were issued in Germany - still the group’s most receptive market. Gardener enjoyed greater success as a member of David Bowie’s touring band and played on Low.
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: A Visit To The Spaceship Factory

1. Why Not Tonight

2. Greenfields

3. That Don't Help Me None

4. Just Look Around You

5. So Come One

6. Tadpole

7. It's Happening to Me And You

8. I Need You

9. Sarabande

10. Spirit Of Joy

11. Just A Game

12. Bring It On Home

13. Air

14. Spaceship

15. Evil

16. Ladder

17. Ska Child

18. People Come, People Go

19. Do You Wanna Know

20. Nervous Shakin'

x

Track List: Time Machine, A Vertigo Retrospective

Disc 1

1. The Kettle

2. Who Do You Love?

3. My Heaven

4. Travelling Lady

5. Behind The Wall Of Sleep

7. Introduction

8. Three Sisters

10. I Don't Know

11. Torrid Zone

12. Handbags & Gladrags

13. Nothing At All

Disc 2

3. The Man

4. Thinking Of My Life

5. Half Baked

8. Time Machine

9. Bring Out Your Dead

10. Mouthpiece

11. Lady In Black

12. Through The Years

13. Midnight Moses

14. Lord Of The Ages

Disc 3

2. Life Child

4. Song For The Bearded Lady

5. Pantagruel's Nativity

7. Powers Of Darkness

8. Paper Plane

9. Little Known

10. Let It Happen

11. Mwenga Sketch

12. The Four Horsemen

13. Spiral Architect

Comments

Report as inappropriate
Their McArthur Park cover is arguably better than the original! Nice!
Report as inappropriate
nolan211255
Very nest of early prog-rock
Report as inappropriate
jackr8727
THIS BAND IS GREAT. CHECK OUT "SOURCE OF MADNESS." LETME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK! som.com CHECK OUT "NEKTAR" & "CAMEL"
Report as inappropriate
Saw this band at a weekend festival in Heidelberg, Germany (1969-70) right before Black Sabbath was boo-ed off stage. Beggar's Opera rocked!!! The next night saw Osibisa do the same to Deep Purple.
Report as inappropriate
Inside my time machine... got some interestin early prog when I made a station with these guys.
Report as inappropriate
trippy
Report as inappropriate
This band is great.

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