|Genres||Progressive rock, Canterbury scene, psychedelic rock, jazz|
|Past members||Richard Coughlan
Caravan are an English band from the Canterbury area, founded by former Wilde Flowers members David Sinclair, Richard Sinclair, Pye Hastings and Richard Coughlan. Caravan rose to success over a period of several years from 1968 onwards into the 1970s as part of the Canterbury scene, blending psychedelic rock and jazz to create a distinctive sound like their contemporaries Soft Machine. Caravan still remains active as a live band in the 21st century.
Following the dissolution of their former band, Wilde Flowers, David Sinclair, Richard Sinclair, Pye Hastings and Richard Coughlan formed Caravan in 1968. The band became the first British act to sign for American record label, Verve, who subsequently released the band's debut LP, Caravan, later the same year. After this Verve closed their rock and pop division, causing Caravan to move to Decca Records for the release of If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You in 1970, from which the title track gained the band an appearance on Top Of The Pops, and then Deram (Decca's progressive subsidiary) for 1971's In the Land of Grey and Pink. After the third album's release David Sinclair chose to leave the group, to be replaced by Steve Miller. The change in keyboardist caused a change in musical direction, and the band's next album, Waterloo Lily, was distinctly more jazz influenced than earlier work. This caused some unrest for followers of the group and the band disintegrated soon after Waterloo Lily's release, leaving just Hastings and Coughlan. The duo recruited viola player Geoffrey Richardson, bassist Stu Evans and keyboardist Derek Austin and toured extensively. This line-up did not make any recordings before Evans was replaced by John Perry and Dave Sinclair rejoined the group in 1973. The resulting album For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night was well-received critically. Perry left soon afterwards and was replaced by Mike Wedgwood.
Despite considerable success in continental Europe – particularly in France, the Netherlands and Germany where they played some of those countries' most prestigious venues and enjoyed healthy record sales – the band's chart performance in the UK and US was minimal, charting one album, Cunning Stunts at US No. 124. In the UK, Cunning Stunts (No.50) and Blind Dog at St. Dunstans (No.53) were their only hits. Caravan's best-known recording is the 1971 set In the Land of Grey and Pink, their second album for Decca. This album achieved Gold disc award status.
The band were largely dormant in the eighties until a 1990 reunion, planned as a one-off for television, reinvigorated their career. Latterly they have also achieved steady sales and a fan following with the support of the more eclectic corners of radio, like BBC Six Music's "Freak Zone" and the growing re-emergence of progressive rock. After performing at NEARFest in 2002, they released The Unauthorized Breakfast Item album in 2003.
In 2010, Pye Hastings announced that the band had resumed activity in anticipation of a one-off concert recording at Metropolis Studios for ITV, which took place in December 2010. New material was written for a debut performance and the band was joined by Mark Walker on drums and percussion, as Richard Coughlan, whilst still a member of the band, was too ill to tour with the group. The DVD of this gig was released in May 2011 and the recording was shown on ITV as part of the Legends series.
In January 2013 the band completed a successful UK tour to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the album “For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night".
On 14 October 2013 the band went into the studio in Canterbury to record a new album. On 1 December 2013, founding member Richard Coughlan passed away.
- Caravan (1968)
- If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You (1970)
- In the Land of Grey and Pink (1971)
- Waterloo Lily (1972)
- For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night (1973)
- Cunning Stunts (1975)
- Blind Dog at St. Dunstans (1976)
- Better by Far (1977)
- The Album (1980)
- Back to Front (1982)
- Cool Water (1994)
- The Battle of Hastings (1995)
- The Unauthorized Breakfast Item (2003)
- Caravan and the New Symphonia (1974)
- BBC Radio 1 Live in Concert (1991)
- Live in Holland: Back on the Tracks (1998)
- Live 1990 (1992)
- Songs for Oblivion Fishermen (1998)
- Ether Way (1998)
- Live: Canterbury Comes to London (1999)
- Surprise Supplies (1999)
- Bedrock in Concert (2002)
- Green Bottles for Marjorie: The Lost BBC Sessions (2002)
- Live at the Fairfield Halls, 1974 (2002)
- A Night's Tale (2003)
- Nowhere to Hide (2003)
- With Strings Attached (2003)
- The Show of Our Lives – Caravan at the BBC 1968–1975 (2007)
- Canterbury Tales (1977)
- Show of Our Lives (1981)
- Songs and Signs (1991)
- The Best of Caravan – Canterbury Tales (1994)
- All Over You (1997)
- Travelling Man (1998)
- Headloss (1999)
- All Over You...Too (2000)
- Traveling Ways: The HTD Anthology (2000)
- Where But For Caravan Would I? (2000)
- The World Is Yours (2010)
- Elder, Bruce. "Caravan Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2007-04-20.
- "Chart Stats – Caravan – Cunning Stunts". www.chartstats.com. Archived from the original on 2013-01-19. Retrieved 2009-11-04.
- "Chart Stats – Caravan – Blind Dog At St Dunstan's". www.chartstats.com. Archived from the original on 2012-07-22. Retrieved 2009-11-04.
- "Prog Sphere – Pye Hastings". www.prog-sphere.com.
- "Plump Caravan tour announced". www.gettothefront.co.uk.
- "Caravan Information Service". www.caravan-info.co.uk. Retrieved 2009-05-16.