|Studio album by Gentle Giant|
|Released||April 14, 1972|
|Studio||Advision Studios; Command Studios, London|
Malibu Record Productions, Inc.
|Gentle Giant chronology|
|Sea of Tranquility|||
|The Daily Vault||(A)|
Three Friends (1972) is a concept album by the British progressive rock band Gentle Giant. The group's third album was also their first American release to chart, peaking at #197 on the Billboard 200. It was the only album by Gentle Giant to feature drummer Malcolm Mortimore following the departure of Martin Smith.
It is Gentle Giant's first concept album, dealing with three childhood friends whose lives take them very different places. However, each of the three friends are not satisfied with their new lives and eventually reunite into a team to achieve their goals more easily.
The song "Schooldays" starts off with the sounds of a schoolyard playground in England. Ray Shulman told Songfacts about the song: "We started off using the sound effects of the schoolyard so it would be very nostalgic, and that's a whole song about being at school together, and how these friends went their own different ways. One goes into manual labour, one goes into white-collar work, and one is an artist." 
U.S. and Canadian LP release
For the U.S. and Canadian edition, on Columbia Records, the album cover was changed to a modified version of the design from the self-titled UK debut Gentle Giant. The album title and band name were added over the forehead of the giant image and the colour tinting of the cover was changed.
U.S. CD release
The US CD edition on Columbia also has the marker for track 6 in the wrong place. On this version track number 5 ends early at 3:23 instead of 5:51 while incorrectly extending the length of track six from 3:04 to 5:32. This mistake has also carried over to online digital music distributors such as iTunes and Spotify.
|3.||"Working All Day"||5:12|
|1.||"Peel the Paint"||7:31|
|2.||"Mister Class and Quality?"||5:51|
- Kerry Minnear – Hammond organ (tracks 1, 3–6), piano (tracks 1, 2, 5), electric piano (tracks 2, 3, 5), Mellotron (tracks 2, 6), Minimoog (tracks 1, 4, 6), Clavinet (track 2, 3), Baldwin spinet electric harpsishord (track 2), vibraphone (track 2), bongos (track 2), triangle (track 2), lead vocals (2, 6)
- Derek Shulman – lead vocals (3–6)
- Phil Shulman – tenor saxophone (tracks 1, 3, 4), baritone saxophone (track 1, 3), lead vocals (1, 2, 4, 6)
- Ray Shulman – bass, fuzz bass (track 1), violins (track 4), electric violin (track 5), twelve-string guitar (track 1), vocals (track 6)
- Gary Green – electric guitar (tracks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6), mandolin (track 2), tambourine (tracks 2, 5)
- Malcolm Mortimore – drums, concert snare (track 2), hi-hat (track 2), bass drum (track 2)
- Boy's voice on "Schooldays" – Calvin Shulman
- Engineer – Martin Rushent
- Sleeve Design – Rick Breach
- Publisher – Excellency Music
- Phonographic Copyright (p) – Malibu Record Productions, Inc.
|1972||US Billboard 200||197|
- Eder, Bruce (2011). "Three Friends – Gentle Giant | AllMusic". allmusic.com. Retrieved 25 June 2011.
- Leimer, Kerry (2011). "Review: 'Gentle Giant: Three Friends' – Sea of Tranquility – The Web Destination for Progressive Music!". seaoftranquility.org. Retrieved 25 June 2011.
- Rusk, Bruce (2011). "The Daily Vault Music Reviews : Three Friends". dailyvault.com. Retrieved 25 June 2011.
- "School Days". Songfacts.com. Retrieved 2010-03-20.
- Gentle Giant's website (www.blazemonger.com/GG/)