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Gentle Giant
Formed: 1969
Disbanded: 1980
Active: '70s-2000s Major
Styles: Art Rock, Prog-Rock Major
Members: Derek Shulman, Ray Shulman, Gary Green, Kerry Minnear, John Weathers Representative
Albums: "Acquiring the Taste", "Three Friends", "Pretentious" Representative
Songs: "Proclamation", "Free Hand", "Funny Ways"

UPC Type Title
042284291729 CD Acquiring the Taste
803341369443 (i) CD Acquiring the Taste
604388508822 (i) CD Artistically Cryme
604388601325 (i) CD Endless Life
804471000329 CD Free Hand
4988006892224 (i) CD Free Hand
804471000213 Vinyl Free Hand
5099995296029 (i) CD Free Hand: Cd/DVD Edition
5017261210951 (i) CD Gentle Giant/Acquiring the Taste
042284262422 (i) CD Gentle Giant
803341369429 (i) CD Gentle Giant
804471000725 CD Giant for a Day
828730035990 DVD Giant on the Box
5028479020928 (i) CD Giant Steps
804471000015 Vinyl In a Glass House
804471000312 (i) Vinyl In a Glass House
604388478224 (i) CD In a Palesport House
804471000428 CD Interview
4988006892231 (i) CD In'Terview
604388478323 (i) CD In'Terview in Concert
5099995404820 (i) CD In'Terview: Cd/DVD Edition
804471000145 (i) CD King Alfreds College 1971
604388655229 (i) CD Live in New York
604388472024 (i) CD Live in Rome 1974
5050693213923 (i) CD Live in Stockholm 1975
5099901980424 (i) CD Memories of Old Days-a Collection of Curios Bootle
604388508921 (i) CD Missing Face
804471000626 CD Missing Piece
804471000077 CD Octopus
4988005502254 (i) CD Octopus
803341369436 (i) CD Octopus
4988005639639 (i) CD Octopus
666629130520 CD Out of the Fire
804471000527 CD Playing the Fool
604388509027 (i) CD Playing the Cleveland
804471000824 CD Power & the Glory
804471000114 Vinyl Power & the Glory
804471000411 (i) Vinyl Power & the Glory
604388509126 (i) CD Prologue
604388651924 (i) CD Santa Monica Freeway
804471000008 CD Three Friends
5017261210906 (i) CD Three Friends/Octopus
804471000121 (i) CD Under Construction
636551445528 (i) CD Way of Life

Biography: Formed at the dawn of the progressive rock era in 1969, Gentle Giant seemed poised for a time in the mid-'70s to break out of its cult-band status, but somehow never made the jump. Somewhat closer in spirit to Yes and King Crimson than to Emerson, Lake & Palmer or the Nice, their unique sound melded hard rock and classical music, with an almost medieval approach to singing.

Gentle Giant was born out of the ruins of Simon Dupree & the Big Sound, an R&B-based outfit led by brothers Derek, Ray, and Phil Shulman. After switching to psychedelia in 1967 and scoring their only major hit that year with "Kites," as Gentle Giant the group abandoned both the R&B and psychedelic orientations of the previous band; Derek sang and played guitar and bass, Ray sang and played bass and violin, and Phil handled the saxophone, augmented by Kerry Minnear on keyboards, and Gary Green on guitar. Their original lineup also featured Martin Smith on drums, but they went through several percussionists in the first three years of their existence.

In 1970, Gentle Giant signed to the Vertigo label, and their self-titled first album -- a shockingly daring work mixing hard rock and full electric playing with classical elements -- came out later that year. Their second effort, 1971's Acquiring the Taste, was slightly more accessible and their third, Three Friends, featuring Malcolm Mortimore on drums, was their first record to get released in the U.S. (on Columbia). Their fourth album, 1973's Octopus, looked poised for a breakthrough; it seemed as though they had found the mix of hard rock and classical sounds that the critics and the public could accept, and they finally had a permanent drummer in the person of John Weathers, an ex-member of the Graham Bond Organisation.

In 1974, however, Gentle Giant began coming apart. Phil Shulman decided to give up music after the Octopus tour, and became a teacher. Then the group recorded the album In a Glass House, their hardest-rocking record yet, which Columbia's U.S. arm rejected as too uncommercial. The two-year gap in their American release schedule hurt their momentum, and they weren't heard from again until the Capitol release of The Power and the Glory in 1975.

Gentle Giant released Free Hand, their most commercial album, in 1976, but then followed it up with the jarringly experimental Interview. After the 1978 double-album Playing the Fool, the group went through a seeming change of heart and issued a series of albums aimed at mainstream audiences, even approaching disco, but by the end of the 1970s their popularity was in free-fall. Gentle Giant called it quits in 1980. Ray Shulman later became a producer and had considerable success in England working with bands like the Sundays and the Sugarcubes, while Derek Shulman became a New York-based record company executive. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi