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Gong (band)

Gong are a progressive rock band formed by Australian musician Daevid Allen. Their music has also been described as space rock.

They were formed in 1967, after Allen - then a member of Soft Machine - was denied entry to the United Kingdom due to a visa complication. Allen remained in France where he and a London-born Sorbonne professor, Gilli Smyth, established the first incarnation of Gong. This band fragmented during the 1968 student revolution, with Allen and Smyth forced to flee France for Deya in Majorca.

They found a saxophonist, Didier Malherbe living in a cave in Deya, before film director Jerome La Perrousaz invited the band back to France to record the soundtracks to his movies.

They were subsequently approached by the newly formed independent label BYG and signed up for two albums (Magick Brother, Mystic Sister and Bananamoon).

By 1971, a regular line-up had established itself, and Gong released their Camembert Electrique album. The UK release, put out by Virgin Records subsidiary Caroline Records in 1974, was priced at 49p, ensuring that sufficient numbers were sold for the album to chart (had it not been barred from the charts for being so cheap).

Gong played at the first Glastonbury Festival and were subsequently one of the first acts to sign to Virgin Records, getting first pick of the studio-time ahead of Mike Oldfield.

Between 1973 and 1974, Gong, now augmented by guitarist Steve Hillage, released their Radio Gnome Trilogy - three records that expounded upon the (previously only hinted at) Gong mythology.

At a gig in Cheltenham, in 1975, Allen refused to go on stage, claiming that a "wall of force" was preventing him. He left the band, as did Smyth, who wanted to spend more time with her two children.

Gong continued, under the control of drummer Pierre Moerlen and without their two principle members, because of contractual obligations. They morphed into the jazz-rock outifit - Pierre Moerlen's Gong.

The Gong mythology however, continued from the late seventies up until the nineties, in Allen's solo work, and with bands such as Euterpe and Planet Gong (also known as Here And Now), while Smyth formed a separate band: Mother Gong.

The various bands and incarnations are collectively dubbed the "Gong Global Family".

In 1992, Allen and Malherbe reformed Gong to release an album called Shapeshifter, subsequently dubbed Radio Gnone pt4. In 2000, a 5th installment: Zero to Infinity was released, featuring Smyth, and classic line-up bassist Mike Howlett.

Brief Discography: