Earth Opera

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Earth Opera
Origin Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Genres Psychedelic rock
Years active 1967–69
Labels Elektra
Past members Peter Rowan
David Grisman
Bill Stevenson
Paul Dillon
Billy Mundi
John Nagy
Richard Grando

Earth Opera was an American psychedelic rock group, active during 1967–1969 and featuring Peter Rowan and David Grisman.


Both Rowan and Grisman were virtuoso folk and bluegrass performers in Boston clubs, who became caught up in the changes in the music scene in the mid-1960s. They formed Earth Opera in 1967 in Boston, Massachusetts, and were joined by John Nagy on bass, Paul Dillon on drums, and Bill Stevenson on keyboards and vibraphone.[1][2]

The group was signed by Jac Holzman to Elektra Records. Their self-titled debut album, produced by Grisman's ex-bandmate Peter Siegel, and including veteran drummer (and Mothers of Invention alumnus) Billy Mundi, was a mixture of folk and psychedelic influences. The group frequently opened for The Doors, who were also on Elektra Records.[3]

Although the first album never charted, Elektra was willing to record a second LP, The Great American Eagle Tragedy. By this time, Stevenson had left. The second album featured an array of eminent guests including John Cale (viola) and Bill Keith (pedal steel).

The Great American Eagle Tragedy managed to reach the lower end of the national charts, the cover featuring a parody of the U.S. presidential seal with a superimposed death skull and what looks like blood stains. However, the band’s relative lack of success caused Earth Opera to break up in 1969. Rowan, Grisman, Nagy[4] and Stevenson[5] all continued their careers in the music business.[6]

In 2002, both of Earth Opera's LPs were reissued on CD.


  • Peter Rowan – vocals, guitar
  • David Grisman – mandolin, mandocello, keyboards, saxophone, vocals
  • Bill Stevenson (1967–68) – piano, harpsichord, organ, vibraphone
  • Paul Dillon – guitar, drums, vocals
  • Bill Mundi – percussion, drums
  • John Nagy – bass, violoncello
  • Richard Grando – saxophones




  • "American Eagle Tragedy" (1968)
  • "Close Your Eyes and Shut the Door" (1968)
  • "Home to You" (1969)


  1. ^ Info on
  2. ^ Bio on
  3. ^ See Peter Rowan.
  4. ^ Nagy became a producer and engineer, including producing the late Mimi Farina (Solo, 1986).
  5. ^ Stevenson returned to Canada and, over the following forty years, developed a successful career as a solo artist, group member and accompanyist, including songwriting and vocals in addition to his keyboard work. See Bill Stevenson.
  6. ^ "Earth Opera - Bosstown Sound". Retrieved 2016-10-20.