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GENTLE GIANT

Eclectic Prog • United Kingdom


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Gentle Giant biography
Formed in 1970 in London, UK- Disbanded in 1980

GENTLE GIANT is known as the paradigmatic progressive rock band. With an uncomparable musicianship, they went as far as no one ever did into unexplored grounds in the progressive music, navigating over dissonant 20th-century classical chamber music, medieval vocal music, jazz and rock. The multi-instrumentation capabilities of the musicians gave such dynamic to their music, which set parameters to a whole coming generation up to these very days. They explored Moogs, Mellotrons and Fender Rhodes usage with such majesty! Not to mention other instruments like oboes, violins, cellos and horns among others.

The band was able to come across the 70's maintaining an outstanding level on their music, altering their style over the years and keeping the quality as only a few bands were able to do. Among their magnificent discography, all the albums from "Acquiring the Taste" through "Playing the Fool" are essential progressive rock releases (with the possible exception of "Interview"). This portion of the band's career would see a fittingly grand conclusion on the live "Playing the Fool" album. What more is there to say about these masters of progressive music?

See also: Three Friends

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GENTLE GIANT Videos (YouTube and more)


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Buy GENTLE GIANT Music


Octopus (Remixed by Steven Wilson)Octopus (Remixed by Steven Wilson)
Alucard 2015
$10.00
$7.99 (used)
Three Piece Suite (steven Wilson Mix)Three Piece Suite (steven Wilson Mix)
Alucard Records 2017
$9.59
$8.59 (used)
The Power And The Glory (Mixed By Steven Wilson) [CD/Blu-ray Combo][Deluxe Edition]The Power And The Glory (Mixed By Steven Wilson) [CD/Blu-ray Combo][Deluxe Edition]
Alucard 2014
$15.99
$15.98 (used)
In A Glass HouseIn A Glass House
Remastered
Alucard 2010
$7.49
$7.95 (used)
I Lost My Head: The Albums 1975-1980I Lost My Head: The Albums 1975-1980
Chrysalis Records 2018
$20.50
$22.17 (used)
Free HandFree Hand
Alucard 2010
$27.80
$16.00 (used)
Acquiring The TasteAcquiring The Taste
Mercury 1990
$4.51
$3.18 (used)
OctopusOctopus
Remastered
Alucard 2011
$6.77
$7.94 (used)
Gentle Giant -  Three Friends/OctopusGentle Giant - Three Friends/Octopus
BGO 2015
$13.40
$39.23 (used)
Memories of Old DaysMemories of Old Days
Box set
EMI Import 2013
$26.77
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Gentle Giant - Giant Steps... The First Five Years on Vertigo 6641 334 Stereo UK USD $24.99 Buy It Now 2h 24m
In a Palesport House, Gentle Giant, Good Import USD $8.98 Buy It Now 3h 36m
Gentle Giant - Interview GER LP /3* USD $14.11 Buy It Now 4h 46m
Gentle Giant - The Original Studio Gentle Giant - Vol. 1 ITA LP 1974 /3* USD $14.11 Buy It Now 5h 12m
Gentle Giant - Acquiring The Taste 4988005639295 (CD Used Like New) USD $18.45 Buy It Now 5h 21m
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GENTLE GIANT - CIVILIAN (1980) - 1997 ONE WAY/SONY SPECIAL PROD USA EXPANDED CD USD $32.90 Buy It Now 13h 23m
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The Gentle Giant USD $17.63 Buy It Now 17h 35m
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Giant For A Life Double Prog Rock Cd A Tribute To Gentle Giant (Mellow Records) USD $18.42 [0 bids]
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GENTLE GIANT - Live In Rome 1974 - CD - Live - **BRAND NEW/STILL SEALED** USD $14.76 Buy It Now 21h 34m
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GENTLE GIANT - Prologue - CD - Import - **BRAND NEW/STILL SEALED** USD $19.95 Buy It Now 21h 55m
Gentle Giant Original Capitol Prog LP 1977 USD $12.00 Buy It Now 22h 5m
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THE POWER AND THE GLORY Gentle Giant CAPITOL LP 1974 Prog Rock Shaped Cover USD $8.99 Buy It Now 1 day
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King Biscuit Flower Hour by Gentle Giant (CD, Jan-1998, King Biscuit Entertainm. USD $12.00 Buy It Now 1 day
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GENTLE GIANT - Live Playing The Fool - '77 UK Chrysalis label prog 2-LP set - NM USD $15.00 Buy It Now 1 day
GENTLE GIANT - Civilian - '80 Columbia White Label Promo PROG LP - VG+ vinyl USD $10.00 Buy It Now 1 day
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SIMON DUPREE & BIG SOUND:(Early Gentle Giant)Broken Hearted Pirates-U.K. 7" Demo USD $98.98 Buy It Now 1 day
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The Power and the Glory by Gentle Giant (CD, 2009, Alucard) remaster USD $2.27 [0 bids]
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GENTLE GIANT Octopus VERTIGO LP RARE SPACESHIP LABEL 1975 UK PRESSING 6360080 USD $46.05 Buy It Now 1 day
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Octopus by Gentle Giant (CD, Aug-1990, Sony Music Distribution (USA)) USD $3.79 Buy It Now 2 days
Giant For A Day: 35th Anniversary Edition [Remaster] by Gentle Giant (CD, Feb-20 USD $23.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Free Hand by Gentle Giant (CD, Feb-1993, One Way Records) USD $7.99 Buy It Now 2 days
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Interview [35th Anniversary Edition] [Remaster] by Gentle Giant (CD, Jun-2005, D USD $12.99 Buy It Now 2 days
GENTLE GIANT CIVILIAN ORIGINAL 1980 JC 36341 PROG PSYCH PROMO 1A/1E LP USD $19.00 Buy It Now 2 days
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More places to buy GENTLE GIANT music online Buy GENTLE GIANT & Prog Rock Digital Music online:

GENTLE GIANT discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

GENTLE GIANT top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.92 | 1105 ratings
Gentle Giant
1970
4.26 | 1369 ratings
Acquiring The Taste
1971
4.10 | 1127 ratings
Three Friends
1972
4.30 | 1753 ratings
Octopus
1972
4.36 | 1523 ratings
In A Glass House
1973
4.30 | 1431 ratings
The Power And The Glory
1974
4.28 | 1365 ratings
Free Hand
1975
3.75 | 682 ratings
Interview
1976
2.93 | 508 ratings
The Missing Piece
1977
2.29 | 433 ratings
Giant For A Day
1978
2.75 | 393 ratings
Civilian
1980

GENTLE GIANT Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.50 | 405 ratings
Playing The Fool - The Official Live
1977
3.57 | 23 ratings
In Concert (BBC Radio 1)
1994
4.11 | 57 ratings
Out Of The Woods
1996
2.40 | 33 ratings
The Last Steps
1996
4.13 | 57 ratings
King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents
1998
4.05 | 26 ratings
Out Of The Fire
1998
1.86 | 16 ratings
In A Palesport House
1999
4.12 | 43 ratings
Totally Out Of The Woods
2000
1.96 | 19 ratings
Live Rome 1974
2000
2.22 | 14 ratings
Interview In Concert
2000
1.77 | 11 ratings
Artistically Cryme
2002
3.74 | 22 ratings
Experience
2002
1.41 | 8 ratings
Endless Life
2003
3.92 | 10 ratings
Missing Face
2003
1.94 | 14 ratings
Way of life
2003
2.19 | 9 ratings
Prologue
2003
3.00 | 1 ratings
Playing the Cleveland
2003
4.00 | 2 ratings
Live In New York 1975
2005
2.50 | 7 ratings
Santa Monica Freeway
2005
3.39 | 20 ratings
King Alfred's College Winchester
2009
3.90 | 25 ratings
Live In Stockholm '75
2009
3.92 | 23 ratings
Live at the Bicentennial
2014

GENTLE GIANT Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.63 | 187 ratings
Giant On The Box
2004
4.27 | 93 ratings
GG At The GG
2006

GENTLE GIANT Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
The Original Studio Gentle Giant - Vol. 1
1974
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Original Studio Gentle Giant - Vol. 2
1974
3.46 | 18 ratings
Giant Steps...The First Five Years 1970-1975
1975
3.13 | 4 ratings
Pretentious For The Sake Of It
1977
0.00 | 0 ratings
Circling Round The Gentle Giant
1981
4.00 | 1 ratings
Gentle Giant
1982
0.00 | 0 ratings
Il Grande Rock
1991
4.39 | 55 ratings
Edge of Twilight
1996
3.12 | 61 ratings
Under Construction
1997
4.28 | 34 ratings
Free Hand/Interview
1998
3.21 | 31 ratings
Scraping The Barrel
2004
4.23 | 21 ratings
I Lost My Head - The Chrysalis years (1975-1980)
2012
2.09 | 13 ratings
Memories Of Old Days
2013
4.67 | 24 ratings
Three Piece Suite
2017

GENTLE GIANT Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.00 | 1 ratings
Rock Power
1971
4.58 | 13 ratings
Prologue
1972
4.47 | 16 ratings
In A Glass House
1973
4.34 | 22 ratings
The Advent Of Panurge
1973
4.50 | 12 ratings
The Power and the Glory
1974
3.60 | 6 ratings
Give It Back
1976
2.80 | 6 ratings
I'm Turning Around
1977
3.86 | 8 ratings
Two Weeks in Spain
1977
4.40 | 10 ratings
Just the Same (live)
1977
2.75 | 5 ratings
Mountain Time
1978
1.50 | 7 ratings
Thank You (edit)
1978
3.33 | 4 ratings
Dando Vueltas
1978
3.20 | 6 ratings
Words from the Wise
1978
2.00 | 3 ratings
Underground
1980
2.00 | 5 ratings
All Through The Night
1980
0.00 | 0 ratings
In A Power Free In'terview
2009
1.62 | 4 ratings
The Power And The Glory
2010

GENTLE GIANT Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Giant For A Day by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1978
2.29 | 433 ratings

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Giant For A Day
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Review Nš 187

Gentle Giant was never a band with great mass popularity and great record sales. With the arrival of the punk and the new wave by the late of 1976, Gentle Giant saw their popularity and the support of their fan base decrease. Pressed by their record label they decided to change their type of music. A first attempt was made on their previous ninth studio album "The Missing Piece", where they simplified their music and introduced a few songs clearly influenced by pop, punk and new wave. Still, "The Missing Piece" remains an album with many characteristics of the usual band's sound.

However, and especially because the sales of that album, which were very poor, they decided abandon definitely their counterpoint on vocals and their type of music strongly influenced by the classical and medieval sounds. Somehow, certainly they were eluded by the commercial success hoping to increase their fan base. So, it was in that very peculiar context that appears "Giant For A Day" which is generally acknowledged as the lowest point inside the band's career.

Even not the most pop oriented moments of "The Missing Piece" could have prepared anyone for the utterly horrible heap of worthless crap on this album. "Giant For A Day" is just so bad that I still can't believe it. They should just have continued with their own sound, as they would have had their faithful fans anyway and not much would have changed at all. I'm sure that also always was the band's attitude, but pressured from Chrysalis probably caught up with them in the end. But what's even far worse is the shockingly poor material. For a cult band like them, it was a real fatal disaster.

"Giant For A Day" is the tenth studio album of Gentle Giant and was released in 1978. All songs were written by Kerry Minnear, Derek Shulman and Ray Shulman, except "Take Me" written by Derek Shulman and John Weathers and "Friends" written by John Weathers. The album has ten tracks. The first track "Words From The Wise", the song choosen to open the album, is a pop song with nice vocal harmonies, but apart from that it's monotonous and repetitive which has the effect of making the song appears to seem much bigger than it is. I seriously wondered if the record was skipping. The second track "Thank You" is a slow sentimental love song almost acoustic, very simple and is close to a Gentle Giant's folk/pop/rock song. But it's so lame and uninspired as a song possibly can be, and Derek Shulman delivers his weakest vocal performance on the album. The third track "Giant For A Day" is a very strange song that in certain parts reminds me Sparks. It's an upbeat rock song with an interesting guitar line, clearly influenced by the new wave. The final effect isn't too unpleasant at all, really. The fourth track "Spooky Boogie" has a mysterious and experimental beginning that reminds us vaguely the typical Gentle Giant's sound. This is the only reminiscent song that reminds us the goog old times of the band with some good musical instrumental workings. The fifth track "Take Me" is, in my humble opinion, an interesting song. It's a nice pop song with a catchy melody. Sincerely, I don't dislike this song at all. It's a simple and emotional power ballad. The sixth track "Little Brown Bag" is a pop rocker song with good rhythm, some good guitar work and energetic vocals, but, in reality, it's a very vulgar song with nothing special on it. The seventh track "Friends" is the shortest song on the album and is the John Weathers' song. It's strictly a very direct commercial song. It's also a very vulgar song with nothing special on it, like the previous track. The eighth track "No Stranger" is another uninspired commercial pop song very monotonous and repetitive. It's one of the weakest songs on the album without making any positive impression, and consequently, nothing is really satisfactory on this song. It continues the uninspired spiral which makes part of the all album. The ninth track "It's Only Goodbye" is apparently a very nice and interesting love ballad, but unfortunately is incipient and repetitive without any kind of imagination. It isn't a very interesting song too. The tenth and last track on the album is "Rocker Climber", and as the name says, is another rocker song. I don't get excited with this song because is a vulgar and uninspired song, more typical of a pop rock vulgar band than a great band like Gentle Giant are. It's with "Little Brown Bag" the two cheesy rockers on the album.

Conclusion: "Giant For A Day" is a complete fiasco. It's without any kind of doubt a mediocre album and the worst Gentle Giant's studio album. It isn't a really progressive album and hasn't enough quality to be a Gentle Giant's album. It's a bunch of disconnected songs, most of them mediocre, without a guideline, where we have a clear perception that the group doesn't know what to do. It's probably an album that shames the band itself. With this album, Gentle Giant made the big mistake of leaving their unmistakable style of music, which made of them a so special and beloved band. Few progressive bands knew how to change their type of music with some quality and commercial success. In my opinion, only Genesis knew to create good pop songs, especially because Phil Collins is, in my humble opinion, a great pop composer. To finish, we may say that Gentle Giant weren't giants just for one day. They were giants for eight years. So, let us forget and absolve them of "Giant For A Day" and "Civilian", and remember them as the great band they were.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Santa Monica Freeway by GENTLE GIANT album cover Live, 2005
2.50 | 7 ratings

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Santa Monica Freeway
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by Kingsnake

2 stars This bootleg (?) contains very good tracks and the songs are played with lots of enthousiasm and as expected the guys are very skilled. Especially the vocals are really great.

But.....

The soundquality is poor. It starts like it's from a cassette; you can hear the strain of bad cassette (as only old people can understand). But it's fun to listen to this live-album, but only once. It's not worth spending lots of money on, just to own it.

On the other hand the mix is very good (was this recorded for radio?). Too bad the overall sound is poor. I guess the original recordings are lost, and they found a poor cassette as a source. Anyway, I had fun listening to it, but I cannot recommend it.

 Interview by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.75 | 682 ratings

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Interview
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by steamhammeralltheway

4 stars Make that 4.5 stars. Interview is a concept album based around the theme of the band interacting with the media. Some tracks are prefaced by a journalist asking the band a question and the band's muffled answer, which fades into songs. The theme and its aim to be satirical are both a bit subtle if the lyrics aren't read. The lyrics are quite revealing of the band's rocky relationship with a media that wasn't ready for a rock band this accomplished and musically elaborate. Interview, released in 1977 is the band's last inspired album before they went stale on Missing Piece.

The mellifluous title track commences the album. Fitting with the theme, there is artistic spoken word interwoven with the music like another instrument. There is also some German oompah band passages. Giant is just joyously zany here. Sometimes in the past their attempts a playfulness have come off geeky. Here these efforts are far more successful.

'Give it Back' is one of the best reggae-inspired songs I've ever heard. I tire easily of straight reggae and really appreciate how Giant incorporates it into art rock. They color it with disparate elements including their famous glockenspiel, here supportive of the song, rather than silly and interruptive, as it has been on past tracks.

There are couple ballads on this albums, a good thing, because these type of pieces show Giant's best songwriting. 'Empty City,' a semi-ballad, is one of the band's most soulful songs ever. Derek's voice has rarely been this moving, even though he's a first rate singer.

'Another Show' and 'Timing' have superb melodies, "I lost my Head," too, but there the focus is more on a very complex rhythm. This song, the album closer, really makes their last good effort memorable. The whole song just oozes rhythm and Kerry delivers a chillingly beautiful vocal. If the entire Giant experience could be summed up in one song, this might be it.

 Free Hand by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.28 | 1365 ratings

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Free Hand
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by steamhammeralltheway

4 stars Make it 4 and a half out of five. Free Hand is a lot more inviting to me than the two albums preceding it. "Just the same" kinds of makes me glow all over like the debut & Octopus did -- it has a couple neat hooks. I understand from my counting friends, a highly unusual tempo: 7's against the drummers' 3's.

"On Reflection" starts out like it's going to be geeky, but instead unfolds into this remarkable one complete with almost perfect harmony and very touching charm. Now I'm starting to see why people are so enthralled with this group.

The title track begins pretty mystical, and then dives into a sort of deep but playful groove, for lack of any other way to describe. Melody is catchy.

Things are still looking good on the flip to the other side of the LP. "Time to Kill" does somewhat follow a Giant formula, but has enough fresh ideas, including very rich harmonies galore, one in a low register. Very fluid & rhythmic.

Wow. "His Last Voyage" is a ballad. Giant ballads and slower numbers are to die for; this no exception. I liked the piano/guitar interplay on the solo but think it was a bit misplaced on this celestial ballad. I was glad when the echoey vocal returned.

Usually when people claim that Giant is doing a Renaissance song, they are mistaken. The twelve tone scales found in much Giant were not used in the Renaissance. (Try John Cage. Ugh!) "Talybont" is indeed a genuine Ren. song though, and a ravishing one at that. It is entirely instrumental too. Giant needs to do more of those, being so accomplished on so many instruments. There is an endearing modern section to the song with some unusual tone colors.

"Mobile," the album closer, is pretty indescribable, simple and very complex at the same time. It didn't really strike my fancy, but I get the feeling that there's a lot more there than an initial listen can grasp. On this song the Renaissance acts a backdrop for rock and funk ideas. Well the reason this album doesn't get a five is that my favorite Giant album is the Power and the Glory. That one I think is the absolute apex of Giant's career.

 The Power And The Glory by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.30 | 1431 ratings

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The Power And The Glory
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by steamhammeralltheway

5 stars I'm so glad I have known about this amazing album for over a year. It is so strong, and to me speaks the beautiful essence of Giant. I think one thing that makes this click and others fall is that there is very little disorienting atonal/ 12 tone work here. Most 12 tone work by any artist is jarring because the scale has little emotional appeal. Music majors forced to endure it report torture. I am in almost total agreement, unless the band is going to take special effort to shape it as on "Edge of Twilight" (Acquiring the Taste).

Power's opener, "Proclamation" is a multi-faceted, high developed epic with a number of memorable passages featuring different instruments and rhythms. It kind of unravels like a twisting, winding road with many surprises. A more perfect song by any band would be hard to find.

"So Sincere" rolls out moodier than anything Giant has ever done. This is a needed change of pace. This is probably one of their most psychedelic songs and one with a high amount of counterpoint. Really it's too intricate to properly describe in words..

"Aspirations" is my favorite Giant song, a ballad of course. They are the masters of those. I don't usually pay lyrics any mind, but this one is too angelic to ignore. The delicate vocal (Kerry) coupled with the electric piano accompaniment and the heavy, heavy bass and drums make this one of prog's true gems.

Just when you thought things were too good to be true already, arrives "Playing the Game." Again it's hard to describe, being such a unique one. There's a nifty riff working it's way throughout, I'm not even sure on what instruments: guitar? synthesizer? And there's also a subtle secondary "answer" on a different type of synthesizer. Thus closes side one, a sterling piece of work.

I'm not sure if I ever heard side two prior to this review. The complexity of "Cogs into Cogs" is pretty mind-blowing, on top of which emerges an excellent and quite nuanced melody. The band is so mature and committed at this point.

"No God's a Man" starts with an interplay of Renaissance and jazz elements. Again it's understated in contrast to all the in- your-face annoyance this band has served up over the years.

"The Face" is particularly creative and melodic. It is a little more uptempo and rich than what Giant has ever before offered. The Renaissance flavor is very strong. But then it moves in a rocky, totally unprecented direction, very smoothly of course.

"Valedictory" is a boogie rocker but with that Giant whimsy fans know only too well. The song is actually a spacy reprise of "Proclamations." After all Power and Glory is a concept album. And then, rather than ending, the song self-destructs. There you have it: one of the greatest all-time art rock achievements.

 In A Glass House by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.36 | 1523 ratings

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In A Glass House
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by steamhammeralltheway

4 stars Make it 3.75 stars, truthfully; I'm a pretty critical listener. This album is growing on me. Presently it trails their others in my appreciation. The band has the tendency here to recycle their wackier motifs. Giant from time to time descended into complete absurdity and geekiness. In a Glass House has plenty such moments. They already occur in the 2nd and 3rd tracks, "Inmate's Lullaby" and "Way of Life," though a Renaissance section and a more mature development ultimately redeem that particular track.

The album, built around breaking glass noises, opens with a bang for sure, the breaking glass noises morphing into similarly toned synthesizer lines of a sort the band hasn't employed before. The vocal melody is very fresh and sensitive. The layered instrumentation in Giant fashion consists of voices and textures the band hasn't used much before either. There is some tedium in the middle as the band gets a little overindulgent and geeky. Then a very odd vocal redeems, and the ensuing instrumentation is quite rich. The frenetic xylophone is a pretty tired Giant trick, but it doesn't get much chance to detract. Synthesizer keeps the song moving forwards, and a haunting vocal re-enters.

"Experience" fires off a bunch of completely mind-blowing contrapuntal lines. The band's sense of timing is incredible for most members to able to lay down very short but significant musical ideas in rapid succession. This song is far from perfect, though, I feel I need to say. The soulful passages would be more so if they didn't contain melody recycled from prior Giant work.

"Reunion" is a touching number featuring Kerry's beautiful voice. Things are picking up in tune-writing and instrumentation and stay in a decent vein all the way through the closer, the title track. Renaissance stylings, always a band strength, help. An excellent touch is the ancient strains being paired with a bebop type saxophone. In typical Giant fashion of great contrasts and development within single songs, there are a few more sections, largely rockier and soulful and opening new territory for this always forward thinking ensemble, right up to a final, rather contrived glass break.

 Octopus by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.30 | 1753 ratings

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Octopus
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by steamhammeralltheway

5 stars Octopus is a little mysterious. It largely holds the same song types as previous releases, but there is something more finished and scintillating on this album. From start to finish, it is pure bliss to listen to.

I have this LP and have long admired the opener, 'The Advent of Panurge.' Soft accapella vocal punctuated by funky piano. This is so spirited that any melodic recycling can be forgiven. Then a heartier vocal section ensues, accentuated by a brass instrument like a trombone. It's for endearing moments like this that I embrace Gentle Giant.

'Raconteur, Troubadour' is pure whimsy, a violin rendering it ravishing and a piano soaking it with pizzazz. The instrumental section brings to mind the Renaissance and is like a wall of sound. Gone is the contrived instrumentation of past efforts. This only steps up yet another notch into a conversation between a very soothing and seamless brass piece of some sort and a piano and violin. Very high on the warm fuzzy scale.

'A cry for Everyone' represents Giant's raucous side. This is just a completely seductive rock massage. Giant has attempted this before, but it all comes together here. I have never heard a bass guitar add such an undercurrent of movement. The virtuosity on this song is enthralling.

'Knots' is recycled melody for sure. I think Giant had this on both Acquiring and Taste and 3 Friends. They usually include one of these semi-atonal contrapuntal accapella numbers replete with the silly vibes. Why it works here and not there is anyone's guess. I truly think Octopus is a work of much greater finesse. When the piano steps in in equally atonal fashion, it does continue on more melodically. Before the band was taking baby steps; they're now speaking in complete sentences. There is a certain completeness and fullness not seen prior on the more challenging, ambitious work.

'The Boys in the Band' is different. It starts with a laugh and a tossed coin tossed rolling, all its spinning carefully captured. I have been listening to this one a long time too and it is brilliant for sure. It is complex, almost indescribable: a rapid cascade of piano, krumhorn drums, bass, synthesizer, an avant garde excursion with all the fanfare of the Renaissance and little touches that glue it in one's brain far more than any of the band's other atonal offerings.

'Dog's Life' is a spine-tingling ballad, as traditional as some of the others are off the wall. It's my favorite off here and one of the songs that planted me in camp Giant to begin with. Skillfully situated piano, violin, krumhorn and 12 string make this a classic for all time. The echoey harmonies and vibes section is nothing that the band hasn't offered before, but here it's so vibrant.

'Think of me with Kindness' is also more conservative and one of my favorite Giant songs for a long time now. Piano and trombone, the two featured instruments here rank among those I like to see least in rock. Gentle Giant can work absolutely anything into the mix.

'River,' the album closer has long been a fave of mine too. Coming up with words to describe this very unusual music is quite difficult. Suffice to say that it is beautiful, absolutely so. Just see for yourself.

 Three Friends by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.10 | 1127 ratings

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Three Friends
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by steamhammeralltheway

4 stars Make that 4.5 stars. This is one of Giant's more subtle and complex albums and thus hard for me to get into. I think I finally cracked the code and it was well worth it. Let's start from the start. "Prologue" is superbly crafted. It starts splendidly with melody delivered on piano and sung, the vocals becoming both more sensitive and psychedelic (love that echo!) as the song progresses. Synthesizer accents are passionate. Phil's lower register, slightly conversational vocal delivery later in the song is a great contrast to the band's generally sweeter vocals. Late in the song, the theme music repeats sparingly, keeping the listener riveted. Then a solo clearly takes off from the theme, creating great coherence.

The title track i salso great. It is more of a mediational piece where melody isn't immediately obvious, but it's there. The song is as lush as a garden in full bloom.

"Peal the Paint" is completely brilliant. One special quality is the tinkling high piano notes in the background, providing the subtlest of texture. The violin part had a classical concerto feel and moved me deeply in places. The musical lines feel like brush strokes. Then the piece launches into an antithetically raucous rock section.

'Schooldays" opening xylophone has a pentatonic Far Eastern flair. Then the echoey canonical vocals begins very psychedelically . I'm not sure what instrumentation comprises the rest of song, but it has incredible depth and beauty. The same can be said of the contrapuntal strings and voices on "Schooldays" I believe the guitar and bass lines there are unison. This adds a measure of intensity.

 Gentle Giant by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.92 | 1105 ratings

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Gentle Giant
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by steamhammeralltheway

5 stars I personally think most rock albums are products of recycling. This even happens in prog., and Giant are offenders. This is a by-product of them being pinnacle of the peak. Often in this world, if one soars incredibly high, there will be shattering, plummeting lows, as well. The predictable chromatic shifts of "Pantagruel's Nativity" along with the alienating jazz riffs, are mined many times in Giant's career. "Pantagruel," only from Giant's second album, is ultimately brilliantly constructed with some ethereal vocal overdubs, but the group's self-titled debut album is a creative and emotional statement supreme. If this album doesn't give you chills and move you to tears every step of the way, then the morgue might need to be called.

From the minute this album opens with "Giant", it is very clear that this is something truly special. "Giant," the group's namesake composition, indeed is a towering masterpiece. A better written, more deeply developed and expertly performed track would be hard to find. Atmospheric organ sets a mind-expanding tone, soon underscored by the arriving bass guitar. Then the vocal line bursts in. And what a melody it is, in a tension-building seventh chord and a configuration of notes that is completely fresh and startling, but at the same time soothing and entrancing. Then the woodwinds enter in perfectly premeditated fashion as to frame and accentuate the vocal melody just rendered. The particular woodwind style used gives the song both a slightly Renaissance and jazz feel, the jazz a direction only touched on and not consumptive of the song; that is a good thing for us rock people. The woodwind line and for that matter, the song as a whole, is so beautiful and original as to transcend any style or category. Something truly brilliant usually stands on its own rather than being genre-serving.

"Giant's" middle section is sparse and pensive, an understatement making by contrast a perfect grand entrance for the band's glorious coming out. That is marked with a stimulating new vocal line: "He is coming . Are you ready ?" Drums deftly herald this unveiling. Then back to the verse, which is now far more spirited. The instrumental section is a celebratory jam out between organ, mellotron and the occasional woodwind, waxing symphonic but grounded by punchy rock drums.

The next track, "Funny Ways," couldn't be better to follow the "Giant's" romp. It is as introspectingly melancholy as "Giant" was haltingly festive, and contains some of rock's most original opening lines. A sultry, pensive violin or cello serenades the lovely intricacies of a twelve-string guitar. Then the most haunting of vocal melodies unfolds. The violin continues to flavor the vocals. In the next iteration of the verse, skillful banjo strumming heightens the exquisiteness of the melody. Then a more forceful statement is laid down with the vocal "My ways are strange.," all the while the strings dramatizing. The instrumental solo is virtusosic if not dazzling, more important in rock annals for organ giving way to a hot blues guitar interpolated by snarly sax, and not in the slightest jazz-indulgent. The song closes with the melody revisited accapella, save for bodhran or toms in an echoey production.

The next track "Alucard," if not as original melody-wise as the first two tracks, is a head-banging riot of raucous organ spiked with memorable sax and synthesizer lines. It's a bit reminiscent of King Crimson's rocking sax patchworks. The vocal is textural in this song, rather than dominant. The lyric melody wafts in dreamily and quickly becomes joyfully weird. Instrumentation also becomes wacky and experimental, alternating between rowdy and wistful moods. This is a motif that Giant will revisit many times in their career. It is rarely as fresh, delicate and well-rounded as on "Allucard." "Nothing at All" is a stirring orgy of 12 string and vocal beauty, probably one's of art rock's finest and most memorable creations. The rarified atmosphere is heightened by the band's delightful harmonizing and well placed bass guitar accents. Gary Green's heavy, heavy distorted guitar lines, if not particularly creative, are extremely moving and memorable and fittingly lead into the louder vocal section. The structured part of the song so ends for the time being and is built on by an excellent drum solo and then the most bizarre but endearing of piano, the soloing on that instrument running the gamut from honky- tonk to avant garde, the whole transition completely fluid and engaging. The spaceship makes a smooth landing and the song closes with the delectable vocal theme.

The Gentle Giant debut's last full track, "Why Not," would be a welcome addition to a Deep Purple album. It's hard rock hijacked by organ .. or is it? On closer examination, an unrelenting funky vibe engulfs the listener. Then there's the recession of the organ into the most sensitive and recorder-festooned of secondary melodies. And lest one think the song's new mood lies in this space, another funky guitar-oriented section erupts, leading back to the heavy, main melody and guitar soloing galore. Art rock is generally unfairly labelled devoid of guitars. "Why not" is the clear negation of that stereotype and a statement continued into the closing track, a hard rocking, undoubtedly satirical cover of "God Save the Queen," as if to announce that the Shulman family and friends have joined Robert Fripp, Keith Emerson, Pink Floyd and the Moody Blues in an even merrier remaking of Old England. At future times, Giant will on occasion go off the proverbial deep end. Yet, this band more than their art rock associates embody an incredible, inexplicable joy.

 The Missing Piece by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1977
2.93 | 508 ratings

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The Missing Piece
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Review Nš 167

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

After the release of their previous eighth studio album "Interview", in 1976, which was more experimental, less commercial and less balanced than their seventh studio album "Free Hand" was, and also after the realize of the "Interview" live tour, Gentle Giant returned to the recording studio sessions and they made the decision of change de musical direction of the music of the group. They decided to explore different musical directions, including pop, new wave and punk rock on their future studio album. So, they included those new musical experiences on the first side of the album keeping the second side more in the traditional Gentle Giant's progressive musical vein.

"The Missing Piece" is the ninth studio album of Gentle Giant and was released in 1977. All songs were written by Kerry Minnear, Derek Shulman and Ray Shulman. The first track "Two Weeks In Spain" is a great song, very fun and enjoyable. It's a vibrant and quirky opener with insistent guitar licks from Gary Green and a charming vocal from Derek Shulman, as well as airy keyboards from Kerry Minnear. While lyrically and musically it's pretty light pop fare, and a big change from what you would normally expect from Gentle Giant, the song really works. It's a charming and energetic song with nice changes. Probably, it gave a great joy to Gentle Giant. The second track "I'm Turning Around" is a calm and beautiful song. This is a poignant song about forging a new life after a break-up, with strong vocals from Shulman and effective riffs from Green's guitar and Minnear's organ. It's a soft romantic ballad that reminds me the old Gentle Giant. The third track "Betcha Thought We Couldn't Do It" is my first problem with the album. This is a song influenced by new wave and punk. It's a rock song but it doesn't sound too Gentle Giant. Although an admirable attempt to keep up with the genre that was essentially responsible for putting an end to prog rock, hearing the mighty Gentle Giant pounding away here sounds a bit forced. The fourth track "Who Do You Think You Are?" is my second problem with the album. This is an uninspired pop song. I can't understand how a group so creative write a song like this. The fifth track "Mountain Time" is my third problem with the album. This isn't a bad song, but it should never have been written by the band. It has nothing to do with Gentle Giant. The sixth track "As Old As You're Young" is the return of Gentle Giant's sound. This is a good Gentle Giant's song with some complexity and with a good melody. It sounds like it could have come of "Three Friends", a warm little ditty with layers of vocals, Minnear's clever use of a myriad of keyboards, slippery bass work from Ray Shulman, and John Weathers' nimble jazzy drum work. The seventh track "Memories Of Old Days" is the the epic song of the album. It's probably the best song on the album, one their lengthiest songs and their last great song. Here, Derek Shulman pulls out all the stops for one of his most heartfelt vocal performances, and the dual acoustic guitar textures from Ray and Gary are just magical. Complemented by Minnear's sumptuous keyboards, this is just a stunning piece, easily the best song from the band from this era. This is a song in the memory of the good old days of the band. The eighth track "Winning" is a typical Gentle Giant's song. It has almost the complexity of the old material which transforms it as memorable as their best tracks. It sees John Weathers laying down all sorts of percussion and tricky drum signatures, while the rest of the band rocks out with searing guitars and Hammond for a quirky and rocking good time. The ninth track "For Nobody" is a powerful close for the album. This is another song in the vein of Gentle Giant. It's a driving rocker led by Minnear's raging Hammond riffs and Green intricate guitar lines. This is one the best songs on the album, plenty of energy and a reall delightful for the ears of all their fans.

Conclusion: I always liked this album very much. "The Missing Piece" is probably the most accessible studio album, with very good quality, released by Gentle Giant. If we could forget the really nightmare of the three songs, "Betcha Thought We Couldn't Do It", "Who Do You Think You Are?" and "Mountain Time", "The Missing Piece" would probably be, a much better rated album by most of us. Personally, I wouldn't have no problem and any doubt in to rate this album with 4 stars, if those songs weren't present on it. "The Missing Piece" is really the last studio piece of their music that deserves be finding and knowing, because, for my taste, "Giant For A Day" and "Civilian" are two albums that only deserve be purchased by collectors, fans and completionists. So, I rated this album only with 3 stars, because by the criteria of this site, it means that it's only good and not an essential album. However, I strongly recommend this album, without those three tracks. All in all, we are in presence of the last great album of one of the greatest prog bands ever.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

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