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Nektar Biography

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Nektar In-depth Biography

Formed in Germany in 1969, Nektar} was a quartet of Englishmen who met in Germany and, for a little while in the early to mid-'70s, seemed like they might take American rock by storm. It was mostly hype, and by 1975 their big moment had already passed, although they lingered on until the end of the decade.

Allan Freeman} (keyboards, vocals), Ray 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 -- 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 recreation 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 their New York debut at the Academy of Music on September 28, 1974, Remember the Future} was still the only one of their albums available officially 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 Part I" and two versions of "Part 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 line-up for this album. The release of a double-LP best-of anthology in 1978 heralded the end of the group's run of success, although they did get one subsequent release, Man in the Moon}, with David Prater} on drums, issued in 1980. ~ Bruce Eder, All Music Guide

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