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Nektar

The four Englishmen who formed the initial incarnation of Nektar met in Germany and formed the band there in 1969. For a little while in the early to mid-'70s, it seemed like they might take American rock by storm, but that was mostly hype, and by 1975 their big moment had already passed, although they lingered on until the end of the decade and have re-formed in the new millennium, recording several new CDs and appearing at various progressive music festivals.

Allan Freeman (keyboards, vocals), Roye Albrighton (guitar, vocals), Derek Moore (bass, Mellotron, vocals), and Ron Howden (drums) all came to Hamburg from England in 1965 as members of different bands. They met in 1968 at the Star Club, where they discovered some common ground in the Beatles as well as early rock & roll, but were drawn to the more experimental sounds just beginning to emerge on the rock scene. A year later they formed Nektar and began working at combining these influences into an effective whole. By 1970, with a light show (designed and operated by unofficial fifth member Mick Brockett) added to their stage act, they began attracting a growing following in Germany.

They were signed to the Bellaphon label in 1971 and released their debut album, Journey to the Center of the Eye, a year later. Their second album, A Tab in the Ocean, followed later the same year, and achieved a cult following as a direct import. Their extended songs, usually involving extensive variations on the same theme, found a growing audience in an era dominated by the sounds of Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Yes. Nektar's sound, built around guitar, electronic keyboards, and bass, was far more gothic, with dense textures that didn't always reproduce well on-stage -- but the fans didn't seem to notice. On radio, however, their music filled in large patches of time and attracted listeners ready to graduate from Iron Butterfly and Vanilla Fudge, and seeking a re-creation of the drug experience in progressive rock.

Their third album, Remember the Future, released in Germany in 1973, was the group's breakthrough record. The title track, broken into two side-length halves, took up the entire record, and became a favorite of FM radio in 1974. The album was followed later in 1973 by Sounds Like This, which was made up of shorter, simpler songs, but it was eclipsed in the United States by the American release of Remember the Future on the Passport label, their first U.S. release. When the group made its New York debut at the Academy of Music on September 28, 1974, Remember the Future was still the only Nektar album officially available in the United States. An indication of their stage presence and the nature of their act can be gleaned from the fact that between the wattage of their instruments and their light show, they blew the power at the Academy of Music upon taking the stage.

Their next album, Down to Earth (1974), featured ten support musicians and singers, among them P.P. (Pat) Arnold, but it didn't attract nearly the radio play of Remember the Future. Their next album, Live at the Roundhouse (1974), was cut live at the London venue, and didn't include "Remember the Future" among its tracks. They maintained a devoted and significant cult following in America as well as Germany, and their German label later released two double live albums from concerts in New York (which, between them, included two versions of "Remember the Future, Pt. 1" and two versions of "Pt. 2"). Ironically, Passport Records never released either album in the United States.

Albrighton was gone by Magic Is a Child (which featured one of the worst punning titles ever, "Eerie Lackawanna"), replaced on guitar by Dave Nelson, and synthesizer virtuoso Larry Fast joined the lineup for this album. The release of a double-LP best-of anthology in 1978 heralded the end of the group's run of success during the decade, although Man in the Moon, with David Prater on drums, was issued in 1980. However, the band re-formed in 2002 and began releasing new albums and appearing at progressive rock festivals such as that year’s NEARfest in Trenton, NJ. Original members Albrighton and Howden were featured in the group’s lineup, along with bassist Randy Dembo and organist Tom Hughes, although both Dembo and Hughes departed Nektar in 2006, and have since been replaced by Peter Pichl on bass and Klaus Henatsch on keyboards. During the 2000s, Nektar’s albums have included The Prodigal Son (2001), Evolution (2004), and Book of Days (2007). The live album Fortyfied was issued in 2009. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

bbfshon: Albums and CDs are still things...Try buying one
I was lucky to see Nektar in 1976. Still one of my most memorable concerts. Thanks for playing the long format stuff on Pandora.
LOVE these guys from the way back, or am I wayback ?
man those early nektar albums bridged psyche to prog so well. very krautrock despite being all british.
michaelfloyd 4 8 0 3
the article missed a great album called Recycled!
how can i hear the the f**king whole song not a sample?
2013 bbkings june 23 nyny
nektar june 23 3013 new York cant wait love these guys
Thank the Cosmos for KOFM in Oklahoma City. Their signal reached podunk and we got to hear Nektar, Strawbs, Gentle Giant and Steeleye Span. If not for KOFM nad the great people at Wilcox Records on 23rd, we may not have ever smoked up to these great progs gods!
milosdad
Hey Zietgeist, Nektar has been around just as long, if not longer than Rush. If you don't like it don't listen. Get out of your mom's basement and get some air.
This sucks ... F**kin white Europe ... Rush already mastered this ... Don't try to fix s**t that's not broken ... F**kin Europeans ... Get a real country and your own music ... I'm pissed ... If you're gonna do a remake ... Make it better than the original ... No wonder you keep getting conquered ... Dicks!
The Erie Lackawanna was a train line in New Jersey.....d o p e
saw necter at music hall in cleveland. they played second followed by lake. anyone femember time bomb. who makes these decisions. nektar was awesome. crowd booed lake off the stage calling for more nektar.
This album truly kicks a**. Prog in prime form.
Woohoo! Got the right art back up for Journey to the Center of the Eye
bakersteven3 2
Where is Nature is a Child great album
my second (or third?) cousin was Mick Brockett, who was their liquid light show guy. i remember meeting him when i was a kid. he lived in a run down trailer, poor as dirt.
m206va
How can they forget Recycled in this write-up! An all-time favorite of mine that led me to Nektar back in the mid-70's. Saw them at the Capital Theater in Passaic NJ in 1976 with Larry Fast/Synergy in an incredible show. Prior to the beginning of that show they had RENTAK on the stage screen, just to get our heads ready for the experience - can't forget that! They were fantastic live, so don't agree with Pandora's comment, as others have mentioned. Also saw them at the Palladium in 1977.
I was lucky enough to see them live for their Remember the Future tour in Buffalo, NY. They were backing up Gentle Giant. Damn I'm lucky. :)
I have heard quite a few of Nectar songs on Sirius Deep Tracks. Roye Allbrighton formed Snowball in the late 70's. Another great forgotton band.
plavigna10
Lots of misinfo here... Larry Fast joined them for their best LP, Recycled (1975) which doesn't even get mentioned! And their reunion in 2002 featured the entire original band, including Fast. And 'hype' in the 70s? Nektar could have used a big whopping dose of hype in the US... one of the most criminally underrated bands no one ever heard, even back then!
live at the roundhouse smokin
cowflipper5
These guys are awsome. Burn out my Eye!!!
Satellite radio doesn't even play them ! Disgraceful! Recycled a prog claasic!
I don't remember ever hearing Nektar on the radio, but my local record store owner must have turned me on to them in the '70s, knowing my preference for the progressive rock genre (I seem to recall calling it "art rock" back then). Anyway, I've got several of their LPs, and always liked them. Never have seen them live.
milosdad
Never heard "Child of Mine" before. great song. Really nice guitar playing.
milosdad
Wow, if you go to Allmusic.com you'll find the same exact bio for Nektar that is presented here. Too bad Pandora doesn't recognize all of the records Nektar released like "A Tab in the Ocean."
scott352
I was able to see Nektar somewhere around 1975 in Ft. Worth, Texas. Their "Remember the Future" light show was simply fantastic. I would love to be able to see them again.
Saw Nektar last year at the Keswick Theater near Philadelphia as part of RoSfest, the annual Rites of Spring Progressive rock festival. They still rock. Got to spend some time with them at the local pub the night before their show. great guys too.
Little Boy covered in makeup and Show me the way are my favs by this lost group.
milosdad
I had a choice in 75 or 76 between Eric Clapton/Char l i e Daniels bill and Nektar's "A tab in the Ocean" tour and picked Clapton. Only regret it b/c I've seen Clapton many more times since but have never had another chance to see Nektar. I love the first two records especially "A Tab in the Ocean". My wife's younger co-worker saw the disc in her car and laughed. Guess it's funnier than "Fall Out Boy".
Recycled was the album for me and my friends in the 70s ! A prog classic.
I have loved Nektar since "Remember the Future" came out and went back and bought everything they recorded plus all of their new stuff since. By far, my favorite prog band.
milosdad
Pandora, you cannot have Nektar and not include "A Tab in the Ocean." Is it a matter of rights to the record? I hope you guys add it.
Nektar is one of my favorite progressive bands from "the day" - too bad they never made it big.
remember the future was a party favorite down the basement.
NEKTAR IS PURE GREATNESS!
When I gave the track "Remember The Future" a listen I imagined I was listening to Roger Hodgson singing lead vocals on an unknown 1974 Yes album... and I liked it.

Wow!
cmkmann
I have never heard this band before. EXCELLENT!
johns430
Unfortunatel y , this is one Progressive Rock band that never got their due. It's great they're back together making new music.
I wholehearted l y agree that the statement, "didn't always reproduce well on stage" must have been made by someone who wasn't ever able to see them live! When we saw them at NEARfest several years ago, I was astounded at how seamlessly I had traveled through time when hearing Remember the Future and any other songs they pulled up from the past...a truly outrageous show!!
I love this band and they are still together with the original Roy A. on guitar they have a few new cds and have toured america with plans for a small tour in 2009 so check it out
bevbevan
A good 2nd place to "Tab In The Ocean".

"that didn't always reproduce well on stage"

Not a soul I have ever met who has actually seen Nektar would agree with that statement. The live shows were nothing short of astounding musically and technically. This live sound never translated well to LP and the band seemed aware of it: Live in New York is not recorded in stereo but in binaural, a technique where microphones are placed on an artificial head. This album is best listed to on headphones.
wrinauto
They Are scheduled to headline Rosfest near Philly in 2009. The groups leader is "Roye" Albrighton, not Ray. Lets check our facts before putting pen to paper.

A groundbreaki n g band that has never gotten the respect it deserves.

Gary
Why does this review skip Recycled? Probably their best album. Their latest are also good -- Evolution and Book of Days.
markimiller3 0
My favorite has always been A Tab in the Ocean. Some truly fine and original guitar work.
patpaul3191
I'm kind of suprised nobody mentions "A Tab In The Ocean". Does any one have any recent news on this band? I was planning to see them last January or February, my luck, they canceled the US tour
Wonderful band.I consider Remember the Future perhaps their best -- but Down to Earth really strikes a chord as well...
saw them in Dallas, TX when i was a kid, approx 1974. Incredible show, small venue, they did the entire Remember the Future with no breaks. Great show
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