Illusion (Renaissance album)

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Studio album by Renaissance
Released 1971
Recorded Spring/Summer 1970 at Olympic Studios and Island Studios, London
Genre Progressive rock, symphonic rock
Length 44:31
Label Island
Elektra Records (US)
Repertoire Records (reissue)
Producer Keith Relf
Renaissance chronology
Original UK release cover
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[1]

Illusion was a 1971 album by progressive rock band Renaissance. It was originally released only in Germany and did not receive a wider release until 1973.[2] It was first released in the U.K. in 1977, with a cover that had the original front and rear cover artwork swapped.[3]

Information about the album[edit]

The original Renaissance lineup fell apart during the recording of this, their second album. Jim McCarty was the first to leave; he departed in 1970, when the band was about to start a European tour, because he hated to fly. Keith Relf and Louis Cennamo left next, subsequently forming the new group Armageddon.[2] McCarty continued to be associated with Renaissance as a songwriter, however, receiving writing credits on the new band's first, second and third albums.

John Hawken kept the band going by recruiting new members, including Michael Dunford and Terry Crowe, former bandmates of his from The Nashville Teens. New bassist Neil Korner had previously been part of The New Vaudeville Band (though he did not appear on their big hit, "Winchester Cathedral".)[4] This new lineup, which recorded "Mr. Pine", was one of several short-lived transitional lineups that existed between the original one and the classic Annie Haslam band.

"Mr. Pine" is the only released Renaissance track in which members of the original lineup (Hawken, Jane Relf) are heard together with a member of the classic lineup (Dunford). It includes a theme that was later used in the far better-known Renaissance song "Running Hard"[5] (from Turn Of The Cards, 1974).

In order to complete the album, the (already disbanded) original lineup got back together—minus Hawken and plus guest keyboardist Don Shinn—to record "Past Orbits Of Dust".[2]

One track recorded during the Illusion sessions, a fairly short song called "Statues", was not used on the album. It was eventually released in 2002 on the album Live + Direct.[6]

Illusion is notable for being the first Renaissance album to feature lyrics by Betty Thatcher, who would work with the band throughout its entire "classic" period (1972–79) and beyond. Thatcher was brought to the band by her friend Jane Relf.[2]

When the four surviving members of the original Renaissance reunited in 1976, after the death of Keith Relf, the Renaissance name was still in use by their successors in the band, and they named the band Illusion. Their first album under that title, "Out of the Mist", included a reworking of the song "Face of Yesterday", while their second album was simply titled "Illusion".

Track listing[edit]

Island 89 076 Germany, Netherlands, France (1977: Island HELP 27 UK)

  1. "Love Goes On" (K.Relf) - 2:51
  2. "Golden Thread" (J.McCarty/K.Relf) - 8:15
  3. "Love Is All" (J.McCarty/B.Thatcher) - 3:40
  4. "Mr. Pine" (M.Dunford) - 7:00
  5. "Face of Yesterday" (J.McCarty) - 6:06
  6. "Past Orbits of Dust" (J.McCarty/K.Relf/B.Thatcher) - 14:39


  • Jane Relf - lead (1, 5, 6) and backing vocals, percussion
  • Keith Relf - guitars (all but 4), backing (all but 4) and lead (3) vocals
  • John Hawken - keyboards, piano (all but 6)
  • Louis Cennamo - bass (all but 4)
  • Jim McCarty - drums (all but 4), backing (all but 4) and lead (2) vocals
Additional Personnel
  • Don Shinn - keyboards (6)
  • Michael Dunford - guitars (4)
  • Terry Crowe - lead vocals (4)
  • Neil Korner - bass (4)
  • Terry Slade - drums (4)



  1. ^ Eder, Bruce (2011). "Illusion - Renaissance | AllMusic". Retrieved 6 July 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d The History Of Renaissance
  3. ^ Renaissance Discography
  4. ^ allmusic ((( New Vaudeville Band > Biography )))
  5. ^ "Running Hard" is probably based on Jehan Alain's "Litanies".[citation needed]
  6. ^ Liner notes from Live + Direct.

External links[edit]