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Hatfield And The North

Emerging from the Canterbury, England musical community that also launched Gong and Kevin Ayers' the Whole World, the whimsical progressive rock unit Hatfield and the North formed in 1972. Named in honor of a motorway sign outside of London, the group's founding membership brought together a who's who of the Canterbury art rock scene -- vocalist/bassist Richard Sinclair was a former member of Caravan, guitarist Phil Miller had tenured with Robert Wyatt in Matching Mole, and drummer Pip Pyle had served with both Gong and Delivery. After a series of lineup shuffles, keyboardist Dave Stewart (an alumnus of Egg) was brought in to complete the roster, and in tandem with the Northettes -- a trio of backing vocalists consisting of Barbara Gaskin, Amanda Parsons, and Ann Rosenthal -- the group began gigging regularly.

Upon signing to Virgin, Hatfield and the North recorded their 1974 self-titled debut LP, a jazzy work halfway between melodic pop and more avant-garde stylings. A single, "Let's Eat (Real Soon)," appeared at the end of the year, and in 1975 the group resurfaced with The Rotters' Club; although the record briefly landed in the U.K. charts, their commercial future looked dim, and so Hatfield and the North disbanded within months of the album's release. Sinclair soon joined Camel, while Stewart recorded with Bill Bruford before finding pop success in 1981 with ex-Zombie Colin Blunstone on a cover of the Jimmy Ruffin chestnut "What Becomes of the Broken Hearted?" Stewart then continued in a pop direction in a duo with former Northette Barbara Gaskin, releasing a cover version of "It's My Party," which became a number one pop single in the U.K. during September 1981. Stewart & Gaskin continued issuing singles and albums throughout the '80s, although none achieved the pop success of "It's My Party."

In 1989, Hatfield and the North reunited for a series of live dates featuring Miller, Sinclair, Pyle, and -- in place of Dave Stewart -- keyboardist Sophia Domancich (Pyle's girlfriend at the time and also a member of his band Equipe Out); a document of a March 1990 performance by this lineup in Nottingham, Live 1990, arrived in 1993, followed by the Classic Rock Legends DVD in 2002. This incarnation of the group was short-lived, although Hatfield and the North would return in the mid-2000s with keyboardist Alex Maguire replacing Domancich. The band toured during 2005 and 2006, making festival appearances at such events as BajaProg in Mexico and NEARfest in the United States. On August 28, 2006, Pip Pyle died at age 56 in a Paris hotel room shortly after returning to his adopted home country of France following a Hatfield and the North show in Groningen, The Netherlands. ~ Jason Ankeny & Dave Lynch, Rovi
full bio

Comments

How can you have a profile of Hatfield and the North with nary a mention of National Health?
Just a fun comment for those who don't know where the name comes from.

The first English motorway (freeway) was the M1 linking London to the industrial North of the country. The signpost off the North Circular ring road onto the M1, which almost everyone leaving London to travel North saw said Hatfield and the North, Hatfield being the first exit once you were on the Motorway.
Along w/soft mahnn
Dave Stewart (keyboardist ) here links to Dave Stewart (guitarist) from The Eurythmics. They are NOT the same person. Dave Stewart (keyboardist ) played with Egg (not The Egg, just Egg - different bands), Hatfield and the North, National Health, Bill Bruford, and with his wife, Barbara Gaskin. Dave Stewart (guitarist) played with Eurythmics and I think maybe had his own band. Please fix this error.
Both great bands. From there it is all personal preference. Some people like country or rap. God knows why, but there you go.
Thanks Pandora for including some hatfield and the north in your file- I Recently bought this prog fusion masterpiece - Rotter club is a brilliant reocord there are some beautiful tunes on this record there is not one bad tune on the whole album -jimmy hastings is an excellent flautist and yes dave stewart is another pogressive rock keyboard player that will blow you away. thanks pandora
And I'll agree and disagree, sort of, with both of you. I don't think either was superior; I think both bands were brilliant, in similar and different ways. I'll agree that I missed Richard's singing in NH, but the changes resulting from having Alan Gowen aboard gave the band a considerably different direction. I think The Rotters Club and Of Queues and Cures are equally supreme records, and the best of each band.
Sorry, gotta disagree. National Health was great, but they lost a major element of what made Hatfield so wonderful without Richard Sinclair's singing and bass playing....
I agree with rustingram: National Health was essentially the successor group to Hatfield and the North (and superior, IMO). Their first 2 albums are sadly missing from Pandora as of this writing.
and then ... National health

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