- (This page is about the English prog rock band. For the Canadian tech house act of the same name, see Egg(2)).
Egg were an English progressive rock band between 1969 and 1972. The founding members of the group were Dave Stewart who played organ (not to be confused with guitarist David A. Stewart of Eurythmics), Mont Campbell on bass and vocals and drummer Clive Brooks. The band emerged from an earlier quartet formed by boys attending the City of London School, called Uriel, the other member of which was guitarist Steve Hillage. After Hillage left the band in August 1968, the other three continued as a trio. Having signed a deal with the Middle Earth club's management branch, they were advised to change their name to Egg, allegedly because Uriel "sounded too much like 'urinal'". In mid-1969 the band signed a deal with Decca's 'progressive' music subsidiary Deram and released their debut album in March 1970 in the label's short-lived Nova series.
While not a commercial success, it was received well enough for the label to finance the recording of a follow-up, but when the time came to release it, it changed its mind. The album was all but shelved until producer Neil Slaven's lobbying finally resulted in The Polite Force coming out in February 1971, with the band now signed to The Groundhogs' management company. The band are often regarded as part of the Canterbury scene, a loose movement of progressive and psychedelic musicians, based on Stewart's later membership of Hatfield and the North and National Health, although the band have no geographical connection to Canterbury. Their music can be described as progressive rock with elements of psychedelia and chamber rock (later exemplified by the Rock In Opposition movement). They employed unusual time signatures, as reflected in songs like "Seven Is A Jolly Good Time". They also brought a humorous element to their music. Mont Campbell, the band's main composer, acknowledged the strong influence of Igor Stravinsky, which resulted in multi-part suites such as the imaginatively-titled "Symphony n°2" and "Long Piece n°3".
Links To Peel
The band did two sessions for Peel's show between 1969 and 1972. A live performance at Paris Cinema in London was presented by Peel in 1971, and he revisited their records at least twice in the 1990s. Their first album was recorded for Decca's Nova series, which became much sought after by collectors. Peel too valued the series, if only because most of the albums on Nova were, in his opinion, of dreadful quality (and because he also wrote the sleevenotes for some of them).
After the end of Egg, Dave Stewart, Steve Hillage, and Mont Campbell reunited in 1976 to play on the first National Health Peel session (along with drummer Bill Bruford, formerly Yes, Roy Harper, King Crimson). Stewart had previously appeared on four Hatfield and the North sessions in 1973 and 1974, while Hillage also did Peel sessions with Gong and Orb, as well as recording successful albums in his own right. In the early 1990s, the guitarist returned to the DJ's playlists with ambient dance outfit System 7.
In 1981, keyboardist Stewart had UK hits with cover versions of "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" (with Colin Blunstone of the Zombies) and "It's My Party (And I'll Cry If I Want To)" (with former Hatfield and the North backing singer Barbara Gaskin). Peel was among the presenters when Stewart and Blunstone appeared on the Christmas edition of Top Of The Pops.
1. Recorded: 1969-07-24. Broadcast: 13 August 1969
- Seven Is A Jolly Good Time / While Growing My Hair / The Song Of Mcgillicudie The Pusillanimous Or Don't Worry James You Socks Are Hanging In The Coal Cellar
- Germ Patrol / Wring Out The Ground Loosely Now / Ennagram
Recorded at Paris Cinema: 1971-02-04. Broadcast: 14 February 1971
- A Visit To Newport Hospital
- Long Piece Three Parts (Parts 2 3 & 4)
- Unknown Title
Other Shows Played
- 23 March 1991: Seven Have A Jolly Good Time () Deram
- 16 December 1999: While Growing My Hair (LP: Egg) Deram
- Longest Gaps Between Peel Session Appearances: Steve Hillage (14 years 6 months)