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- See also The Egg (band) for the electronic dance music band formed in the 1990s.
|Genres||Progressive rock, Canterbury scene, art rock, jazz fusion|
|Years active||1968–1972, 1974|
The founding members of the group were Dave Stewart who played organ (not to be confused with guitarist David A. Stewart of Eurythmics), Mont Campbell on bass and vocals and drummer Clive Brooks. The band emerged from an earlier quartet formed by boys attending the City of London School, called Uriel, the other member of which was guitarist Steve Hillage. After Hillage left the band in August 1968, the other three continued as a trio. Having signed a deal with the Middle Earth club's management branch, they were advised to change their name to Egg, allegedly because Uriel "sounded too much like 'urinal'". In mid-1969 the band signed a deal with Decca's 'progressive' music subsidiary Deram and released their debut album in March 1970 in the label's short-lived Nova series.
While not a commercial success, it was received well enough for the label to finance the recording of a follow-up, but when the time came to release it, it changed its mind. The album was all but shelved until producer Neil Slaven's lobbying finally resulted in The Polite Force coming out in February 1971. Now signed to The Groundhogs' management company, Egg finished the year with an increased touring schedule, but in spite of accumulating enough material for a third album, they were unable to secure another record deal, and split up in July 1972.
In December 2007 a selection of live recordings from between 1969 and 1972, entitled The Metronomical Society, was released.
Egg are often regarded as part of the Canterbury scene, a loose movement of progressive and psychedelic musicians, based on Stewart's later membership of Hatfield and the North and National Health, although the band have no geographical connection to Canterbury. Their music can be described as progressive rock with elements of psychedelia and chamber rock (later exemplified by the Rock In Opposition movement). They employed unusual time signatures, as reflected in songs like "Seven Is A Jolly Good Time". They also brought a humorous element to their music. Mont Campbell, the band's main composer, acknowledged the strong influence of Igor Stravinsky, which resulted in multi-part suites such as the imaginatively-titled "Symphony n°2" and "Long Piece n°3".
Campbell was also initially involved with Stewart in National Health. In 1981 Stewart teamed up with Colin Blunstone to record a UK No. 13 hit by covering "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted", originally made famous by Jimmy Ruffin. Later that year he had a UK No. 1 hit with former Hatfield and the North backing singer Barbara Gaskin when they covered Lesley Gore's "It's My Party (And I'll Cry If I Want To)". The latter partnership continues.
Two members of the band worked together again on Campbell's solo release Music From a Round Tower of 1996. All tracks were composed and performed by Campbell (who by this time had become an expert on many ethnic instruments) and Stewart co-produced and made incidental musical contributions (as did Barbara Gaskin).
In January 2009 Campbell appeared on British television as a prominent commentator throughout the BBC documentary Prog Rock Britannia: An Observation in Three Movements, reminiscing about Egg and the progressive rock movement in general.
In mid-1969, to capitalise on the psychedelic rock market, Stewart, Campbell and Brooks contributed to the one-off studio project Arzachel, named after a moon crater. Also featured in that project was Steve Hillage (on summer holiday from university), who had like the others been a member of the pre-Egg band Uriel. Egg were by that time under contract to Decca, therefore all were credited under pseudonyms.
Also available is a 26,000-word, 60-page companion booklet Copious Notes. Written by Dave Stewart, Mont Campbell and their close friend Antony Vinall, it tells the inside story of Uriel, Egg, Arzachel and the Ottawa Company, from the formation of Uriel in early 1968 to the making of Egg's final album The Civil Surface in 1974. The text includes personal memoirs, anecdotes, short stories, random recollections, social observation, period details, musical analysis and song lyrics, as well as a priceless collection of archive photos taken by Terry Yetton and the musicians.
|1969||Arzachel (Egg + Steve Hillage)||Arzachel|
|1971||Egg||The Polite Force|
|1974||Egg||The Civil Surface|
|1985||Egg||Seven Is a Jolly Good Time (compilation)|
|2007||Egg||The Metronomical Society (archival live material)|
|2007||Arzachel||Arzachel Collector's Edition by Uriel (w. bonus tracks)|
|2015||Egg||BBC Sessions And More 1968-1972 (archival live material)|
- Seven is a Jolly Good Time / You Are All Princes (UK 1969)
- 2015: Romantic Warriors III: Canterbury Tales (DVD)
- Egg. "BBC Sessions And More 1968-1972". Amazon.com. On The Air recordings. Retrieved 7 January 2015.