Illusion (Renaissance album)

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Ren ill2.jpg
Studio album by Renaissance
Released 1971
Recorded Spring/Summer 1970
Studio Olympic Studios and Island Studios, London
Genre Progressive rock, symphonic rock
Length 42:31
Label Island
Producer Keith Relf
Renaissance chronology
Original UK release cover
Original UK release cover
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars[1]

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


The original Renaissance line-up fell apart during the recording of this, their second album. Jim McCarty was the first to leave 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 line-up, which recorded "Mr. Pine", was one of several short-lived transitional line-ups that existed between the original one and the classic one featuring Annie Haslam.

"Mr. Pine" is the only track on a Renaissance album where members of the original line-up (Hawken, Jane Relf) are heard together with a member of the classic line-up (Dunford). It includes a theme that was later used in the far better-known Renaissance song "Running Hard" (from Turn of the Cards, 1974).

To complete the album, the (already disbanded) original line-up 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.[5] The original album was re-issued on CD in 1995 by Repertoire Records.

Illusion is also 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]

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Love Goes On" Keith Relf 2:51
2. "Golden Thread" Jim McCarty 8:15
3. "Love Is All" McCarty, Betty Thatcher 3:40
4. "Mr. Pine" Michael Dunford 7:00
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
5. "Face of Yesterday" McCarty 6:06
6. "Past Orbits of Dust" McCarty, K. Relf, Thatcher 14:39



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

Additional musicians[edit]


  • Keith Relf – producer
  • Andy Johns, Phil Ault – engineers


  1. ^ Eder, Bruce. "Renaissance – Illusion review". AllMusic. Retrieved 6 July 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d The History Of Renaissance
  3. ^ Renaissance Discography
  4. ^ Huey, Steve. "New Vaudeville Band Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 22 September 2015. 
  5. ^ Liner notes from Live + Direct.

External links[edit]