Acquiring the Taste

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Acquiring the Taste
Acquiring the Taste front cover.jpg
Studio album by Gentle Giant
Released July 16, 1971
Recorded January–April 1971, Advision Studios & A.I.R. Studios, London
Genre Progressive rock, symphonic rock
Length 39:26
Label Vertigo
Producer Tony Visconti
Gentle Giant chronology
Gentle Giant
Acquiring the Taste
Three Friends
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars [1]

Acquiring the Taste was the second album of English progressive rock band Gentle Giant, released in 1971.[2]


The recording was made at the following studios

  • Advision Studios – (Engineers: Martin Rushent, Big A & Garybaldi)
  • A.I.R. Studios, London – (Engineer: Bill Price)

This was a departure from the blues and soul styles found on their self-titled debut. It was more experimental, more discordant, and with more varied instrumentation. In the sleeve text, the band made this famous declaration:

It is our goal to expand the frontiers of contemporary popular music at the risk of being very unpopular. We have recorded each composition with the one thought - that it should be unique, adventurous and fascinating. It has taken every shred of our combined musical and technical knowledge to achieve this. From the outset we have abandoned all preconceived thoughts of blatant commercialism. Instead we hope to give you something far more substantial and fulfilling. All you need to do is sit back, and acquire the taste.

The song "Pantagruel's Nativity" is inspired by the books of Gargantua and Pantagruel by François Rabelais.


Most versions of this album (both LP and CD) have a mastering defect at the beginning of the title track. The first two notes of the synthesizer are heard at the wrong pitch before the correct pitch stabilizes. This error was probably caused by an analog tape recorder coming up to speed. The correct version of this track can be found on the remastered 2 CD Gentle Giant collection titled The Edge of Twilight released in the UK in 1996 as well as the original UK Vertigo (swirl and spaceship) label vinyl pressings.

Art cover[edit]

The album cover has some innuendo in that it is made to look like a tongue licking an anus. However, when opened completely, it is actually a tongue licking a peach. In 2005, it was featured in Pitchfork Media's list of "The Worst Record Covers of All Time."[3] At 39 minutes and 26 seconds, it is the longest studio album the group has ever released.

Track listing[edit]

Arranged by Gentle Giant, except where noted.

All songs written and composed by Kerry Minnear, Derek Shulman, Phil Shulman, and Ray Shulman

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Pantagruel's Nativity"     6:53
2. "Edge of Twilight"   Percussion section written and arr. by Minnear 3:51
3. "The House, the Street, the Room"     6:05
4. "Acquiring the Taste" (instrumental) arr. by Minnear 1:39
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Wreck"     4:39
2. "The Moon Is Down"     4:49
3. "Black Cat"     3:54
4. "Plain Truth"     7:36


Gentle Giant[edit]

Guest musicians[edit]

Release details[edit]

  • 1971, UK, Vertigo 6360 041, release date July 16, 1971, LP
  • 1971, UK, Vertigo 6360 041, release date ? ? 1971, Cassette
  • 1971, US, Vertigo VEL 1005, release date August 1971, LP (with gatefold cover)
  • 1971, US, Vertigo VEL 1005, release date ? ? 1971, Cassette
  • 1997, UK, Vertigo 842 917-2, release date ? February 1997, CD
  • 1997, US, Polydor 8429172, release date ? February 1997, CD
  • 2005, UK, Repertoire REPUK1072, release date 28 November 2005, CD (limited edition reissue)


  1. ^ "allmusic ((( Acquiring the Taste > Overview )))". Retrieved 2009-12-05. 
  2. ^ "Gentle Giant - Acquiring The Taste (LP, Album) at Discogs". Retrieved 2009-12-05. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ Gentle Giant's website (