|Years active||1966–1968, 1969–1984, 2015–present
1999-2002 (as Soft Ware)
2002–2004 (as Soft Works)
2004–2015 (as Soft Machine Legacy)
|Labels||ABC Probe, Columbia, Harvest, EMI, Major League Productions (MLP)|
|Associated acts||Caravan, Pink Floyd, Matching Mole, Nucleus, Gong, Isotope, Adiemus, Soft Heap, Soft Head, Soft Bounds, The Police|
|Past members||See: Members|
Soft Machine are an English rock and jazz fusion band from Canterbury, named after the book The Soft Machine by William S. Burroughs. They were one of the central bands in the Canterbury scene. Though they achieved little commercial success, they are widely considered by critics to have been very influential in rock music, with AllMusic describing them as "one of the more influential bands of their era, and certainly one of the most influential underground ones."
- 1 History
- 1.1 Beginnings, psychedelic, jazz fusion (1966-68, 1969-71)
- 1.2 Post-Wyatt era (1971-72)
- 1.3 Jenkins era part #1 (1972-78)
- 1.4 Jenkins era part #2 (1980-81; 1984)
- 1.5 Alternative bands: Soft Ware, Soft Works and Soft Machine Legacy (1999-2015)
- 1.6 A return to the name "Soft Machine" (2015-present)
- 2 Style
- 3 Personnel
- 4 Discography
- 5 Filmography
- 6 Notes
- 7 References
- 8 Further reading
- 9 External links
Beginnings, psychedelic, jazz fusion (1966-68, 1969-71)
Soft Machine (billed as The Soft Machine up to 1969 or 1970) were formed in mid-1966 by Robert Wyatt (drums, vocals), Kevin Ayers (bass, guitar, vocals), Daevid Allen (guitar) and Mike Ratledge (organ) plus, for the first few gigs only, American guitarist Larry Nowlin. Allen, Wyatt and future bassist Hugh Hopper had first played together in the Daevid Allen Trio in 1963, occasionally accompanied by Ratledge. Wyatt, Ayers and Hopper had been founding members of The Wilde Flowers, later incarnations of which would include future members of another Canterbury band, Caravan.
This first Soft Machine line-up became involved in the early UK underground, featuring prominently at the UFO Club, and subsequently other London clubs like the Speakeasy Club and Middle Earth. Their first single, 'Love Makes Sweet Music' (recorded 5 February 1967, produced by Chas Chandler), was released on Polydor Records in February, backed with 'Feelin' Reelin' Squeelin' (January 1967, produced by Kim Fowley—rumored to have Jimi Hendrix, who was recording "Hey Joe" in the same studio, playing rhythm guitar). In April 1967 they recorded seven demo songs with producer Giorgio Gomelsky in De Lane Lea Studios that remained unreleased until 1971 in a dispute over studio costs. They also played in the Netherlands, Germany and on the French Riviera. During July and August 1967, Gomelsky booked shows all along the Côte d'Azur with the band's most famous early gig taking place in the village square of Saint-Tropez. This led to an invitation to perform at producer Eddie Barclay's trendy "Nuit Psychédélique[fr]", performing a forty-minute rendering of "We Did It Again", singing the refrain over and over, achieving a trance-like quality. This made them instant darlings of the Parisian "in" crowd, resulting in invitations to appear on leading television shows and at the Paris Biennale in October 1967. Upon their return from their sojourn in France, Allen (an Australian) was denied re-entry to the United Kingdom, so the group continued as a trio, while he returned to Paris to form Gong.
Sharing the same management team as Jimi Hendrix, the band were rewarded with a support slot on the Jimi Hendrix Experience's North America tour throughout 1968. Soft Machine's first album – a psychedelic rock/proto-prog classic – was recorded in New York in April at the end of the first leg. Back in London, guitarist Andy Summers, later of The Police, joined the group following the breakup of Dantalian's Chariot (previously Zoot Money's Big Roll Band). After a few weeks of rehearsals, the new quartet began a tour of the USA with some solo shows before reuniting with Hendrix for a final string of dates in August–September 1968. Summers, however, had in the meantime been fired at the insistence of Ayers, who himself also departed amicably after the final tour date at the Hollywood Bowl in mid-September, and for the remainder of 1968, Soft Machine were no more. Wyatt stayed in the US to record solo demos, while Ratledge returned to London and began composing in earnest. One of Wyatt's demos, Slow Walkin' Talk, allowed Wyatt to make use of his multi-instrumentalist skills (Hammond organ, piano, drums and vocals) and featured Hendrix on bass guitar.
In December 1968, in order to fulfil contractual obligations, Soft Machine re-formed with former road manager and composer Hugh Hopper on bass added to Wyatt and Ratledge, and set about recording their second album, Volume Two, which launched a transition towards a purely instrumental sound resembling what would be later called jazz fusion. In May 1969 this line-up acted as the uncredited backing band on two tracks of Syd Barrett's solo debut album, The Madcap Laughs. The base trio was, later in 1969, expanded to a septet with the addition of four horn players, though only saxophonist Elton Dean remained beyond a few months, the resulting Soft Machine quartet (Wyatt, Hopper, Ratledge and Dean) running through Third (1970) and Fourth (1971), with various guests, mostly jazz players (Lyn Dobson, Nick Evans, Mark Charig, Jimmy Hastings, Roy Babbington, Rab Spall). Fourth was the first of their fully instrumental albums, and the last one featuring Wyatt.
Their propensity for building extended suites from regular sized compositions, both live and in the studio (already in the Ayers suite in their first album), reached its apogee in the 1970 album Third, unusual for its time with each of the four sides featuring one suite. Third was also unusual for remaining in print for more than ten years in the US, and is the best-selling Soft Machine recording.
This period saw them gaining unprecedented acclaim across Europe, and they made history by becoming the first 'rock band' invited to play at London's Proms in August 1970, a show which was broadcast live on national TV and later appeared as a live album.
Post-Wyatt era (1971-72)
After differences over the group's musical direction, Wyatt left (or was fired from) the band in August 1971 and formed Matching Mole (a pun on machine molle, French for soft machine; also said at the time to have been taken from some stage lighting equipment "Matching Mole"). He was briefly replaced by Australian drummer Phil Howard. This line-up toured extensively in Europe during the end of 1971 (attested by the "Drop" 2008 release) and attended the recording of their next album, but further musical disagreements led to Howard's dismissal after the recording of the first LP side of Fifth before the end of 1971 and, some months later, in 1972, to Dean's departure. They were replaced respectively in 1971 by John Marshall (drums) and in 1972 by Karl Jenkins (reeds, keyboards), both former members of Ian Carr's Nucleus, for the recording of Six (1973), and the band's sound developed even more towards jazz fusion.
Jenkins era part #1 (1972-78)
In 1973, after the release of Six, Hopper left and was replaced by Roy Babbington, another former Nucleus member, who had already contributed with double bass on Fourth and Fifth and took up (6-string) electric bass successfully, while Karl Jenkins progressively took over the role of band-leader and main composer. After they released Seven (1973) without additional musicians, the band switched record labels from Columbia to Harvest. On their 1975 album, Bundles, a significant musical change occurred with fusion guitarist Allan Holdsworth adding guitar as a very prominent melody instrument to the band's sound, sometimes reminiscent of John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra, setting the album apart from previous Soft Machine releases, which had rarely featured guitars. On the last official studio album Softs (1976), Holdsworth was replaced by John Etheridge. Ratledge, the last remaining original member of the band, had left during the early stages of recording. Other musicians in the band during the later period were bassists Percy Jones (of Brand X) and Steve Cook, saxophonists Alan Wakeman and Ray Warleigh, and violinist Ric Sanders. Their 1977 performances and record (titled Alive and Well, ironically) were among the last for Soft Machine as a working band, their very last performance (until the 1984 reformation) being the only Soft Machine concert of 1978.[nb 1]
Jenkins era part #2 (1980-81; 1984)
The Soft Machine name was used for the 1981 record Land of Cockayne (with Jack Bruce and, again, Allan Holdsworth, plus Ray Warleigh and Dick Morrissey on saxes and John Taylor on electric piano), and for a final series of dates at London's Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club in the summer of 1984[nb 2], featuring Jenkins and Marshall leading an ad hoc lineup of Etheridge, Warleigh, pianist Dave MacRae and bassist Paul Carmichael.
Alternative bands: Soft Ware, Soft Works and Soft Machine Legacy (1999-2015)
Soft Machine having been a much loved band since their inception in the late 1960s and having always been at the cutting edge of many music genres (including the early progressive and psychedelic rock scene and then the burgeoning jazz rock and fusion scene), it was inevitable that former Soft Machine members would reconvene over the years, to continue on their legacy.
Soft Ware (1999-2002) and Soft Works (2002-04)
The first such conception in September 1999 was Soft Ware which featured Elton Dean, Hugh Hopper, John Marshall and long-time friend Keith Tippett. This line-up would only remain together briefly. Then in 2002, another former Soft Machine member, Allan Holdsworth, joins the remaining three members of Soft Ware who would rename themselves Soft Works in June 2002. They had changed their name to avoid confusion with Peter Mergener's band Software. As Soft Works, they made their world live debut on 17 August 2002 at the Progman Cometh Festival (at the Moore Theater in Seattle, Washington), released (on 29 July 2003) their only (studio) album, Abracadabra, consisting of all new material recorded at the Eastcote Studios in London on 5–7 June 2002, and toured Japan in August 2003, Italy in January–February 2004 and Mexico in March 2004.
Soft Machine Legacy (2004-15)
In October 2004, a new variant of Soft Works, with John Etheridge permanently replacing Holdsworth, took the name of Soft Machine Legacy and performed their first two gigs (two Festival shows on 9 October in Turkey & 15 October in Czech Republic), Liam Genockey temporarily replacing John Marshall who had ligament problems (the first Soft Machine Legacy line-up being consequently: Elton Dean, John Etheridge, Hugh Hopper and Liam Genockey). Later on, Soft Machine Legacy released three albums: Live in Zaandam (2005), the studio album Soft Machine Legacy (2006) recorded in September 2005 and featuring fresh material and the double CD Live at the New Morning (2006). After Elton Dean died in February 2006, the band continued with British saxophonist and flautist Theo Travis, formerly of Gong and The Tangent.
In December 2006, the new Legacy line-up recorded the album Steam in Jon Hiseman's studio. Steam was eventually released by Moonjune Records in August 2007, before a European tour in autumn. In 2008, Hopper was sidelined by leukemia and the band continued live performances with Fred Baker.
Following Hopper's death in 2009, the band announced that they would continue with Babbington once again stepping into the role formerly held by Hopper.
On 4 October 2010, Soft Machine Legacy released their fifth album, a 58-minute new live album entitled Live Adventures recorded live on 22 October 2009 in Austria and Germany during a European tour.
In February 2013, founding Soft Machine bassist Kevin Ayers died, aged 68. On 13 March 2015, following a short battle with cancer, Ayers' fellow Soft Machine co-founder Daevid Allen died, aged 77.
On 18 March 2013, the Legacy band released a new studio album, titled Burden of Proof. In an early 2013 interview, Travis stated that, "legally we could actually be called Soft Machine but for various reasons it was decided to be one step removed."
On 11 February 2015, Soft Machine Legacy gave one show at The Y Theatre, Leicester, UK.
Later on, Soft Machine Legacy performed a few shows in Spring and Summer 2015.[nb 4]
A return to the name "Soft Machine" (2015-present)
In September and October 2015, it was announced that the band Soft Machine Legacy (made of guitarist John Etheridge, drummer John Marshall, bass player Roy Babbington and sax, flute and keyboard player Theo Travis) would be performing under the name "Soft Machine" in late 2015 and early 2016: two shows in the Netherlands and Belgium in early December 2015[nb 5] and a series of seven UK shows in March–April 2016.[nb 6]
In December 2015, it was confirmed that the band had dropped the "Legacy" tag from their name, Soft Machine featuring three of the group's 1970s era members – John Etheridge, John Marshall and Roy Babbington – joined by Theo Travis on sax, flute and keyboard.
At least at one 2016 show (on 26 March in Sheffield Green, East Sussex, UK), Nic France (from Theo Travis's band Double Talk) deputised for John Marshall on drums and percussion.
In early 2016, a series of six other UK shows were scheduled for November 2016.[nb 7]
Soft Machine's music has been described by critics and journalists as progressive rock,experimental rock,jazz rock, jazz and psychedelic rock, as well as being a part of the Canterbury scene of progressive rock. According to Hugh Hopper, "We weren't consciously playing jazz rock, it was more a case of not wanting to sound like other bands; we certainly didn't want a guitarist."
- Former members
- Hugh Hopper – bass, saxophone, guitar (1999–2002; died 2009)
- Elton Dean – saxophone, keyboards (1999–2002; died 2006)
- John Marshall – drums, percussion (1999–2002)
- Keith Tippett – keyboards (1999–2002)
- Hugh Hopper – bass, saxophone, guitar (2002–2004; died 2009)
- Elton Dean – saxophone, keyboards (2002–2004; died 2006)
- John Marshall – drums, percussion (2002–2004)
- Allan Holdsworth – guitar (2002–2004)
Soft Machine Legacy
Soft Machine Line-ups
As additional personnel:
Live albums and compilations
Since 1988, many new live recordings of Soft Machine have been issued on CD and LP.
- Rock Generation Vol. 7 – one side only, 1967 De Lane Lea Studios demo recordings with Giorgio Gomelsky.
- Rock Generation Vol. 8 – one side only, more 1967 demo recordings; This and the preceding entry were combined on many subsequent releases, under such titles as Faces & Places Vol.7 (BYG Records, 1972), At the Beginning (Charly Records, 1976), Jet Propelled Photographs (Piccadilly Records, 1980 [LP], Charly Records 2003 [CD]), and several others.
- Triple Echo – 3-LP compilation, includes their first single and tracks from all albums up to this date (except Third) plus the previously unreleased septet version of "Esther's Nose Job" and "Moon in June" (with completely reworked "here at the BBC" lyrics) – both re-released in 1990 on The Peel Sessions.
- Alive & Well: Recorded in Paris – recorded 6~9 July 1977 at the Theatre Le Palace, Montmartre, Paris; re-issued in 2010 in a 2-CD edition; CD 1 matches the original 1978 release; CD 2 with tracks from 7-8–9 July 1977, plus the A-side & B-side of the April 1978 single "Soft Space Part One" (Edited version) / "Soft Space Part Two" (Disco version).
- Live at the Proms 1970 – recorded 13 August 1970; in this version, "Esther's Nose Job" is a single continuous track, and "Out-Bloody-Rageous" appears in its 11:54 minutes full-length.
- Turns On: Paradiso – recorded 29 March 1969 (re-released in 1994/95 by Voiceprint/Blueprint as Live at the Paradiso).
- The Untouchable – compilation from Bundles, Softs, and Alive and Well.
- The Peel Sessions – BBC recordings, recorded 10 June 1969, 10 November 1969, 4 May 1970, 15 December 1970, 15 November 1971 (all these tracks are included in the 2003 HUX editions BBC Radio '67–'71 and BBC Radio '71–'74).
- As If... – Curious (probably unauthorized) compilation with six Ratledge/Hopper compositions ranging from 1970 (Third) to 1973 (Six) in sparse order.
- BBC Radio 1 Live in Concert 1971 – recorded 11 March 1971; also issued as Soft Machine & Heavy Friends (HUX 2005).
- BBC Radio 1 Live In Concert 1972 – recorded 20 July 1972; also issued as Softstage (HUX 2005).
- Rubber Riff – library music originally recorded for De Wolfe Music in 1976 under Karl Jenkins' name; re-issued on CD as a Soft Machine title by Blueprint. Track "Crunch" used as title music to 1984 BBC Radio 4 comedy series Delve Special.
- Live at the Paradiso – recorded 29 March 1969 (same as the 1988 edition, published by Voiceprint in 1994 and Blueprint in 1995).
- Live in France – recorded 2 May 1972, later re-issued as Live in Paris (Cuneiform 2004); it's one of Elton Dean's last concerts with Soft Machine.
- The Best of Soft Machine – The Harvest Years – Anthology 1975–1978; includes tracks from Bundles (1975) to Alive & Well (1978).
- Spaced – recorded May/July 1969 for a Broadway Art Programme; tracks of this edition were edited and shortened for publication; for the sake of precision, the Art Programme was finally broadcast by BBC as a short television excerpt, with Pink Floyd backing tracks
- Voiceprint Records releases four CDs, titled Canterburied Sounds, Vol.s 1-4, containing several tracks by various musicians from the Canterbury scene (mainly from the Soft Machine and the Caravan bands), compiled and with notes by Brian Hopper. The four single CDs are re-released in 2013 in a boxed set
- Live 1970 (Also known as Live in Europe 1970) – Live; tracks 1 & 2 recorded on 13 February 1970 at Swansea (or 14 at the London School of Economics); tracks 3–11 also in Live at the Proms; here, with the edited version of "Out-Bloody-Rageous" from 11:54 to 8:46 minutes, and "Esther's Nose Job" split in 7 contiguous tracks
- Virtually – Live, recorded 23 March 1971 at the Gondel Filmkunsttheater for the Radio Bremen, Bremen.
- 2000: Noisette – Live, recorded 4 January 1970 at the Fairfield Halls, Croydon (it does not include "Facelift", for copyright issues, because it is the first part of the official version published in Third, 1970).
- Turns On vol. 1 – Includes tracks from the Middle Earth and Speakeasy clubs in London, recorded in 1967, including a low-quality remaster of "She's Gone" (2:37) previously available only on Triple Echo (1977).
- Turns On vol. 2 – Includes low-quality tracks from the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, 10 December 1967, the Middle Earth Club, 10 November 1967 and from the Col Ballroom, Davenport, Iowa, 11 August 1968.
- Man in a Deaf Corner – Anthology 1963–1970; CD1 mainly with live pieces from 1963 to circa 1967, with tracks 7-8-9 also in Turns On vol. 1, resp. tr. 2-1-16; CD2 with tracks 1–10 recorded at the Paradiso, 29 March 1969 also in Live at the Paradiso (circa 32 min. out of 40); tracks 11–12 ("Facelift" and "Moon in June" – short versions) also in Live 1970, resp. tr. 1–2; tracks 13–16 recorded at the Fairfield Halls in Croydon on 26 April 1970 also in Facelift, resp. tr. 4–7; track 17 is a Jakko Jakszyk rendition of "As Long as He Lies Perfectly Still" in conjunction with the two short tracks "That Still and Perfect Summer" and "Astral Projection in Pinner " to appear in his future album The Bruised Romantic Glee Club (Iceni 2006).
- Backwards – Live, tracks 1–3 recorded on May 1970 in London, tracks 4–5 recorded on Nov. 1969 in Paris; track 6 is a 20 min. demo of "Moon in June", at a late stage of development, recorded partly in Nov. 1968 in U.S., and partly in mid 1969 in England.
- Facelift – Live, recorded 26 April 1970 at the Fairfield Halls, Croydon, UK (audience recording).
- BBC Radio 1967–1971 – recorded 5 December 1967, 10 June 1969, 10 November 1969, 4 May 1970, 15 December 1970, 1 June 1971.
- BBC Radio 1971–1974 – recorded 15 November 1971, 11 July 1972, 30 October 1973.
- Live in Paris – Live, recorded 2 May 1972 (previously published as Live in France, One Way 1995).
- Somewhere in Soho – Live, recorded 20–25 April 1970 at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club (re-released in 2011 on LP as At the Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club).
- Breda Reactor – Live, recorded 31 January 1970 in Het Turfschip, Breda, Netherlands (audience recording, re-released in 2012 on LP).
- Soft Machine & Heavy Friends – recorded 11 March 1971; same as BBC Radio 1 Live in Concert 1971.
- Softstage – recorded 20 July 1972; same as BBC Radio 1 Live in Concert 1972.
- Out-Bloody-Rageous – Official anthology 1967–1973, including their first 1967 single "Loves Makes Sweet Music/Feelin' Reelin' Squeelin'".
- Orange Skin Food – A 2-CD Live compilation of previously released live recordings; tracks from Somewhere In Soho, recorded 20–25 April 1971, Facelift, recorded 26 April 1970 and the entire Live in Europe 1970, recorded 13 or 14 February 1970 and 13 August 1970 at the Proms.
- British Tour '75 – Live, recorded on 11 October 1975 at the Nottingham University.
- Floating World Live – Live, recorded on 29 January 1975 at the Radio Bremen's Studio in Bremen.
- Grides – Live; the CD was recorded on 25 October 1970 at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam; the DVD was filmed on 23 March 1971 at the Radio Bremen's TV Studio in Bremen (and broadcast on 27 March 1971), and is a different concert than the one included in "Virtually", even if recorded on the same day.
- Middle Earth Masters – Live, recorded on 16 September 1967 and May 1968.
- Drop – with Phil Howard; Live, recorded during the German tour of Autumn 1971; tracks 1–7 from the concert in Berlin, 7 November 1971, tracks 8–10 from the concert in Donaueschingen, 17 October 1971.
- Live at Henie Onstad Art Centre – recorded on 28 February 1971.
- NDR Jazz Workshop, Hamburg, Germany, May 17, 1973 (CD + DVD) – Live, recorded 17 May 1973 in Hamburg, Germany; the DVD is the footage of the CD concert, though track-lists differ slightly.
- Original Album Classics (includes the whole Third, Fourth, Fifth, Six and Seven in the 2007 edition).
- At the Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club – recorded 20–25 April 1970, vinyl re-release of Somewhere in Soho; 2-LP.
- Live at Het Turfschip, Netherlands, 31 January 1970, vinyl re-release of Breda Reactor; 2 LP.
- '68 – credited to Robert Wyatt, it nonetheless contains an 18 minutes early version of "Rivmic Melodies" (to appear in the 1969 album Volume 2) and a 20 minutes early version of "Moon in June" (to appear in the 1970 album Third), both recorded in U.S. in 1968, after Soft Machine dissolution, and just before the new formation with Hopper in place of Ayers.
- Canterburied Sounds, re-issue in a single 4 CDs edition of the four titles previously released in 1998 by Brian Hopper on Voiceprint Records.
- Live at Royal Albert Hall in London on 13 August 1970, vinyl re-release of Live at the Proms; LP (Limited edition in green color vinyl).
- Tanglewood Tails (2 CDs), Anthology; Disc 1 with tracks 1–4 from 1963 (also in "Canterburied Sounds"), tracks 5–12 from 1967 studio recordings (also in Turns On vol. 1); Disc 2 with tracks 1–4 live from the Col Ballroom, Davenport, Iowa, 11 August 1968 (also in Turns On vol. 2), tracks 5–6 live from the Paradiso, Amsterdam, 29 March 1969 (also in Live at the Paradiso), tracks 7–11 live from the Fairfield Halls, Croydon, 26 April 1970 (also in "Facelift"). The quality of tracks are far better than in both volumes of Turns On (especially "She's Gone", that now has a quality comparable to the Triple Echo version, up to now the only acceptable CD version of this track).
- Soft Machine Turns On (An early collection) (2 CDs) is a reprint (from Floating World Records) of the two Turns On volumes of 2001, with the same track list. The low quality of the former editions was here maintained.
- Live in 1970 (4 CDs) is a reprint of two live concerts, CD1 and CD2 recorded at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club on 20–25 April 1970 (already in Somewhere in Soho, Voiceprint 2004), CD3 and CD4 recorded at Het Turfschip, Breda, Netherlands on 31 January 1970 (already in Breda Reactor, Voiceprint 2005).
- Live in the 70s (4 CDs) is a reprint of various live concerts, CD1 and the first four tracks on CD2 also issued as Live in Paris (Cuneiform 2004), tracks 5-7 of CD2 also appear on Backwards (Cuneiform 2002); Mark Charig is here wrongly mentioned as the trumpet player; CD3 was previously released as Noisette (Cuneiform 2000) and CD4 was previously issued as Drop (Moonjune 2008).
- Switzerland 1974 (CD + DVD) - recorded 4 July 1974 at the Congress Hall in Montreux, Switzerland. The DVD is a footage of the concert contained in the CD. This is a long awaited official edition of this concert, appeared previously on many bootlegs only.
- 1967: "Love Makes Sweet Music/Feelin' Reelin' Squeelin'" (Polydor UK)
- 1968: "Joy of a Toy/Why Are We Sleeping?" (ABC Probe USA)
- 1977: "Soft Space (Part 1)/Soft Space (Part 2)" (Harvest UK)
Live concerts not yet published
The following is an incomplete list of Soft Machine concerts appeared only unofficially in bootlegs, rarely with good quality sound, to serve as a guide for those wanting to officially expand the Soft Machine discography with restored live gigs that made history.
- 1968, 08-11, Live at Davenport, Iowa (supporting The Jimi Hendrix Experience)
- 1968, 08-16, Live at the Merryweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland (supporting The Jimi Hendrix Experience)
- 1968, 09-13, Live at the Hollywood Bowl, California (supporting The Jimi Hendrix Experience)
- 1969, 04-13, Live at the Country Club in London
- 1969, 06-25, Live at the Ba.Ta.Clan in Paris
- 1969, 08-09, Live at Plumpton Race Course - only "Moon in June" was performed.
- 1969, 10-05, Live at the Lyceum in London
- 1969, 10-28, Live at Actuel Festival in Amougies, Belgium - excerpt
- 1969, 10-6÷27, Live at the Liverpool University - excerpt
- 1970, 01-04, Live at the Fairfield Halls, in Croydon - This concert was published as Noisette (Cuneiform 2000), but this official release lacks "Facelift", that was in part used for the Third album (1970), where it is joined by another version recorded January 11 and overdubbed; This concert is inserted here only because the version of "Facelift" herein contained (over 25 minutes long) is a very special version and the full song would deserve an official treatment.
- 1970, 01-17, Live at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam
- 1970, 04-04, Live at the Kolner Festival, Germany
- 1970, 09-01, BBC Radiophonic Workshop - Eamonn Andrews explained
- 1970, 09-17, Alan Black "Sound of the Seventies" (broadcast Sept. 25), recorded at the Camden Theatre in London
- 1970, 10-24, Live at DeDoelen, Rotterdam - excerpt
- 1971, 02-07, Live at the Roundhouse, London, UK
- 1971, 03-21, Live in Het Turfschip, Breda, Netherlands
- 1971, 06-07, Live at the Cafe au Go Go (the Gaslight) in New York City
- 1971, 10-17, Donaueschinger Musiktage - this concert has appeared partially on Drop (Moonjune 2008)
- 1971, 11-07, Live at the Berlin Jazz Festival - there exist two versions of this concert: the live recording and the radio broadcast (with German DJ inserts) - this concert has appeared partially on Drop (Moonjune 2008).
- 1972, 04-22, Live at Palazzo dello Sport in Bergamo, Italy
- 1972, 04-24, Live at the Piper Club in Rome - one of the last concerts with Elton Dean
- 1972, 06-07, Live at King's Cross Cinema - this concert is arguably the first with Karl Jenkins
- 1972, 12-03, Live at Fairfield Halls, Croydon, UK
- 1974, 03-11, Radio Interview with Mike Ratledge and Alan Holdsworth for an American Radio broadcast
- 1974, 03-13, Live at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York
- 1974, 03-17, Live at "My Father's Place" in Roslyn, New York
- 1974, 03-23÷24, Live at the Howard Stein's Academy of Music in New York
- 1974, 08-10, Live at Le Naiadi, Pescara, Italy
- 1974, 09-20÷24, Villa Pamphili Festival in Rome
- 1975, 01-16, Live in Stuttgart, Germany
- 1975, 08-17, Live at the Théâtre antique d'Orange, Orange Festival in France
- 1975, 08-24, Live at the Reading Festival, UK
- 1975, 08-29, Live in Vienna
- 1975, 11-26, Live at the Cinéma Variétés in Marseille, France
- 1976, 02-18, Live at the Palasport in Reggio Emilia, Italy
- 1976, 08-08, Live in Trieste, Italy
- 1976, 10-09, Live in Roskilde, Copenhagen
- 1976, 12-03, Live at the Palais des Sports in Paris
- Romantic Warriors III: Canterbury Tales, available in DVD format (2015)
- On 8 December 1978 at the Sound & Musik Festival in Dortmund, Germany; the then probable line-up being: Karl Jenkins, John Marshall, Ric Sanders, Steve Cook and Allan Holdsworth.
- A week of gigs from 30 July to 4 August 1984.
- The Soft Machine Legacy March 2015 Japan tour included three shows: on 24 and 26 March 2015 in Osaka and on 27 March 2015 in Tokyo.
- On 10 May 2015 (with Keith Tippett) in Vicenza Italy, on 9 June at The Stables, Wavendon, Milton Keynes, on 16 June at the Robin2, Bilston, Wolverhampton, UK, on 9 August 2015 (with Keith Tippett) at Ronnie Scott's Club, London and on 12, 13 & 14 August 2015 as part of Jazz na Fábrica 2015 at SESC Pompéia in São Paulo, Brazil.
- On 2 December 2015 at Cultuurpodium Boerderij in Zoetermeer, Netherlands  and on 4 December 2015 at N9 Villa in Eeklo, Belgium.
- On 18 March 2016 as part of the HRH Prog 4 Festival (scheduled from 17 to 20 March) at Camp HRH (Hafan y Môr Holiday Park), Pwllheli, North Wales, UK, on 19 March at the Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal, UK, on 20 March at the Bristol Jazz Festival, Bristol, UK (once scheduled then cancelled and rescheduled for 16 November 2016 at The Robin 2, Wolverhampton, UK), on 24 March 2016 at the Talking Heads in Southampton, UK, on 26 March 2016 at Trading Boundaries, Sheffield Green, East Sussex, UK, on 30 March at the Assembly Rooms, Leamington Spa, UK, on 31 March 2016 at the Band on the Wall in Manchester, UK, on 1 April 2016 at Nell's Jazz & Blues Club in London, UK.
- On 15 November 2016 at The Stables, Milton Keynes, on 16 November 2016 at The Robin 2, Wolverhampton, UK (as a rescheduling of the cancelled show on 20 March 2016 at The Robin in Bilston, UK., on 20 November 2016 at Holmfirth Picturedrome, Holmfirth, on 24 November 2016 at The Borderline, London, on 25 November 2016 at The Flowerpot, Derby, on 27 November 2016 at The Talking Heads, Southampton.
- Greene, Doyle (2016). Rock, Counterculture and the Avant-Garde, 1966–1970: How the Beatles, Frank Zappa and the Velvet Underground Defined an Era. McFarland. p. 182. ISBN 978-1-4766-2403-7.
- "A Beginner’s Guide to Gong and Soft Machine’s Daevid Allen" by Mikey IQ Jones, Fact magazine, 24 March 2015
- "Daevid Allen, Guitarist and Singer in Progressive Rock, Dies at 77" by Peter Keepnews, The New York Times, 16 March 2015
- "Soft Machine & Gong Co-Founder Daevid Allen Dead at 77" by Joe Lynch, Billboard, 13 March 2015
- "Soft Machine : artist biography" by Richie Unterberger, AllMusic
- "Prom 26, Thursday 13 August at 10". BBC Proms Prospectus. 1970.
- "Soft Machine-Chronology". Canterbury Music website. Retrieved 2013-08-12.
- "The Canterbury Scene" by Raymond Benson, Rock Legacy website, 29 April 2011
- "Jet Propelled Photographs" liner notes
- Summers, Andy. One Train Later; Thomas Dunne Books; 2006; ISBN 0-312-35914-4
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