Pendragon are one of England's best progressive bands, unfortunately "living" in the shadow of better known bands such as Marillion and IQ, which is a great pity, because they could give any similar bands a serious run for their money any day of the week. They were formed in the late seventies by guitarist/vocalist Nick Barrett, a man blessed with an exceptionally good voice, songwriting ability and guitar playing technique. Joining Barrett were drummmer Nigel Harris (replaced by Fudge Smith), bassist Peter Gee and keyboard player Rik Carter (later replaced by Clive Nolan, future Arena co-founder) Originally known as Zeus Pendragon, later shortened to Pendragon, they were asked to play at 1983's Reading Rock festival, and were also featured on the BBC Friday Rock session. Their debut "album" was the four track EP "Fly High, Fall Far", which was released in 1984 on Elusive Records, a label started up by Marillion's manager. The four tracks demonstrated a band with a lot of potential, and this emerged with the release of this, our featured album, and the band's first official full-length album. It would appear that Pendragon unfortunately never really received the acclaim they deserved, which is a mystery when you hear the class of albums such as "The Masqerade Ball", "The Word" and "The Window of Life", all released on the band's own Toff Record label. The band continued to tour and record during the eighties and nineties, building up a fairly good fan base. If you'd like to be formally introduced to the music of this exceptional band, t here are a number of compilations such as "Overture 1984 -1996","Once Upon a Time in England Volumes one and Two" and a few others you can check out. 

  
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Biography by John Bush
Neo-prog band Pendragon formed in London during the heady days of punk, but didn't coalesce until 1983, when the band began playing around London and earned a small spot at that year's Reading Festival. The lineup stabilized, after the 1985 album Jewel, around vocalist/guitarist Nick Barrett, bassist Peter Gee, drummer Fudge Smith and keyboard player Clive Nolan. Pendragon recorded the live album 9:15 in 1986 and began to establish a continental fan base the following year. European audiences proved enthusiastic, spawning a contract with the French M.S.I. label; nevertheless, the group was forced to form its own Toff label just to release material in England.

Pendragon lay dormant through the rest of the '80s, but returned in 1991 with The Rest of Pendragon — a reissue of the early Fly High, Fall Far with added B-sides — and their first new album in five years, The World. The album earned a U.S. release in 1993, followed by The Window of Life. A deal with the Japanese Pony Canyon label in 1994 resulted in the reissue of the entire back catalog, in addition to the new Fallen Dreams and Angels. The band made its U.S. debut a year later at L.A.'s Progfest, and released The Masquerade Overture early the following year. 

 

Nick Barrett
Richard Carter
Peter Gee
Nigel Harris
Clive Nolan
Fudge Smith

Johnny Cunningham
Spock's Beard
IQ
Camel
Fish
Mike Oldfield
Marillion

If you have any contribution to make to this band or something to add, email me - Japie Marais.

 

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Pendragon - 1984 - Fly High Fall Far - 3.5/5

Pendragon - 1985 - The Jewel - 2.5/5

Pendragon - 1986 - 9,15 Live - 3.5/5

Pendragon - 1988 - Kowtow - 3/5

Pendragon - 1991 - Rest of Pendragon - 4/5

Pendragon - 1993 - The Window of Life - 4/5

Pendragon - 1994 - The World - 3.5/5

Pendragon - 1996 - As Good as Gold - 4/5

Pendragon - 1996 - The Masquerade Overture - 3.5/5

Pendragon - 1998 - Fallen Dreams & Angels - 4/5

Pendragon - 1999 - Once Upon a Time in England - 3/5

Pendragon - 1999 - Once Upon a Time in England Vol. 1 - 2.5/5

Pendragon - 2000 - The Very Very Bootleg Live in Lille France - 4/5

Pendragon - 2000 - Utrecht-The Final Frontier - 3.5/5

Pendragon - 2001 - Not of This World - 4/5

Pendragon - 2003 - Live in Krakow 1996 - 3.5/5

Pendragon - 2004 - Believe - 3.5/5

Pendragon - 2006 - Acoustically Challenged - 3.5/5

Rating

 

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