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written by: Nigel Camilleri
A Brief History
Once when interviewed on radio, Robert John Godfrey (RJG) was asked as to why he formed The Enid. His answer:
"because I was lonely"!
The Enid is one of those eclectic groups that is categorised within the progressive rock genre simply by
default. In actual fact apart from the fact that the musical style found within the band is definitely mainly
derived from a classical influence, and that the compositions are well beyond the complexity your average rock
band could compose, one can safely say that The Enid stand in between the definition for classical and rock music.
They are simply too rock to be called classical, yet too classical to be called rock!
Described as the biggest cult band in Europe, banned by Glastonbury, investigated by MI5, dabbed as fascists,
leftists and anarchists (all of which within a certain degree of the truth!), such is the mystery that The Enid
possesses. The band's history could well be the subject of an unbelievable book as they have faced all the likes
of Dickenson problems involving unscrupulous managers, unfortunate timing and record company impropriety. Despite
all of this the group have survived to this very day.
Through the years The Enid
has undergone several upheavals and been through a variety of reshuffles yet one man
has been consistent throughout the entire history, Robert John Godfrey. Born on 30th July 1947, from an early age
it was apparent the musical qualities in him were to be developed (At age 15 he had already performed the Brahms
concerto). Classical piano was the first musical direction to be pursued, not before he had to pass through a
number of public schools amongst which there was Finchden Manor situated on the edge of the Romney marshes in
England which he attended in 1959. This school was to play a significant role in the formation of The Enid, much
like The Charterhouse would play a role in the formation of Genesis.
The mid-sixties saw Godfrey attending both the Royal College Of Music and the Royal Academy Of Music where he
established a close relationship with German composer Hans Werner Henze, Michael Tippett and Benjamin Britten whilst
studying underneath concert pianist Malcolm Binns. However, the flower power revolution also affected those within
the classical field and not long after (1969) RJG dropped out from classical studies and hooked up with Barclay
James Harvest after hearing them play at the Roundhouse in London. During that concert they were supporting the
band Gun, who would later score a hit with the single Race With The Devil.
By August 1969, RJG was living with Barclay James Harvest at Preston House where he was entrusted with
orchestral arrangements for some of the band's music. His title was Resident Musical Director and got together an
orchestra titled Barclay James Harvest Orchestra, composed mainly of members of the now defunct New Symphonia. The
New Symphonia was an orchestra known for its relation with rock music and was even recorded on an album with
Caravan called Caravan And The New Symphonia. Little did RJG know that these years were to create so much
hardship as well as heartache in the years to come. During his time with the group, he conducted the orchestra
both in the studio and on stage as well as helped write works, such as Dark Now My Sky and
Mockingbird, which would appear on the first two albums Barclay James Harvest and Once Again.
Deep down, RJG always hoped to become accepted as a fully fledged member of the band, yet he fell out with band
manager John Crowther and by early 1971 he was paid £100,000 and his relationship with the group was terminated.
Problems between RJG and the band would surface in later years, all of which is discussed later on (In Part of the
Band's history). However, he remained friendly with band members and even went to see them play live as well as
thanked Wool Wolstenholme on the liner notes of his debut solo album!
Following his time in Barclay James
Harvest, RJG played for a short while with Siddartha, and whilst playing a concert with this group he was
spotted by Tony Stratton Smith and signed as a solo artist to the Charisma label. Thus in 1972, Robert John Godfrey
together with various other guest musicians started working on his first solo album which was to feature a style
similar to what he would perfect with The Enid with lyrics based on poems by Keats. An album which unfortunately is
still deleted, The Fall Of Hyperion (Charisma CAS 1084; Value BS35.00) showed the basic musical print that would
later be utilised for The Enid. The album was released in 1974 and was dedicated to to George Lyward, the founder of
Finchden Manor, who had passed away a year prior.
away of Lyward also spelt the end of The Manor due to lack of funding and RJG learnt of a concert that students
present there were putting up as final concert called The Quest For The Holy Grail. Finchden Manor seems to have
been quite a hub of musical activity with musicians such as Alexis Korner and Tom Robinson having
passed through the ranks. The two students mainly involved in this project were Steve Stewart and Francis Lickerish.
RJG got down to helping out these two students to be able to put up the performance, an experience which RJG calls
the most important and emotional experience of his life. More importantly it also marked the birth of The Enid, the
name of which referred to an in-house joke about Godfrey's fictitious girlfriend. The date was June, 1973.
The group started writing music in earnest and Tony Stratton Smith who already had RJG on his books, tried to
sign the band but was unsuccessful mainly due to lack of funds. What is interest is that the original title for
The Enid's first album was to be The Voyage Of The Acolyte with a concept based on tarot cards. Thus even though
The Enid did not sign to Charisma, the idea seems to have remained at the label as Steve Hackett's album would in
turn be based on the same concept, and the title The Voyage Of The Acolyte! To further add to the controversy, the
group's initial keyboardist Nick Magnus also worked with Steve Hackett. For a while the group also had a vocalist,
Peter Roberts, who committed suicide on New Year's Day 1975 and in RJG's own words "We were instrumental ever
after, he was impossible to replace".
The band expanded their lineup to that of a quartet and moved into a house to commence writing for their first
album. Recordings took place between 1974 and 1975 with the group utilising some of the ideas they had conceived
for The Quest For The Holy Grail as well as additional new material. The group signed to BUK Records, a label
which was distributed by EMI Records and the album was released, for some reason, a full year after completion in
1976 under the title In The Region Of Summer Stars.
One has to realise that musically, the mid-seventies were the height of the punk revolution and there was total
disdain of anything closely related to the progressive rock movement. Basically one could say that in the eye of a
neutral, it was suicide to expect that a group which drew heavily on the classical, with long overdrawn musical
overtures would be able to succeed. However the group oozed an aura of myth and fantasy which coupled with their
powerful live performances won over fans from all walks of life.
The line-up for the album included RJG (keyboards, percussion), Francis Lickerish (guitars), Stephen Stewart
(guitars), Glenn Tollet (keyboards, bass, tuba), Dave Storey (percussion) and Neil Kavanagh (bass). By the release
of the album both Neil Kavanagh and Dave Storey would have left with only one replacement brought in for Storey,
Robbie Dobson who is credited on the album without having played the sessions. Also present for the recordings was
Dave Hancock who played trumpet on Judgement and In The Region of Summer Stars. The original concept, which was
based on the tarot sequence and the writings of Charles Williams, was also retained.
The album was released in three versions over a 2 year period. 1976 saw the album released distributed by BUK
Records (BUK BULP 2014) with a white label and insert clearly stating that it was a first issue. There is no
mention of The Enid on the front cover and currently has a value of BS20.00. In 1977 the album was released in two
different versions. The second issue (BUK BULP 2014, BS 15.00) had the album with a black label and Enid and CDS
added to the front cover. The third issue had a brown label (Honeybee INS 3005; BS 15.00/10.00) with some of the
albums carrying a poster, and distribution was through EMI International.
A strange thing associated with this band is the fact that they were obliged to release singles. Here we had a
band that was practically instrumental, would dedicate almost a side to one track, yet was obliged to release a
single! The result was the release of a number of generally humorous singles some of which even entered the charts!
However their first single involved tracks from the album and was The Lovers/In The Region Of Summer Stars
(Buk BUK 3002, BS 15.00)
The record was given a large amount of promotion by BUK and the group began to build an impressive underground
following which had them selling out the Marquee Club in London as well as appearing at the Reading Festival where
they were called back onstage six times! Proof that live, The Enid were indeed up there with the very best.
However the problems that would dog the band for practically their entire history started to surface. One of the
earliest problems they had to face were managers who tried to seize all their equipment resulting in turbulence
and litigation. This destroyed the very foundations on which the group were trying to build their career resulting
in a postponement of any further material till 1977.
By the time of the second album the group had undergone a series of reshuffles. Glen Tollet had left (nowadays
he works as a dentist in London) and was replaced by Charlie Elston. Elston would not remain too long within the
band's fold due to his difficulty in learning the keyboard parts and in turn his position would be taken by Willie
Gilmour. Neil Kananagh was also replaced in 1976 with his place taken by Jerry Tranter, later replaced by Terry
Recordings took place between August and September 1977 and the lineup that went in to record the second album
was as follows; RJG (keyboards, arrangements), Francis Lickerish (guitars, bass, lute), Stephen Stewart (guitar,
percussion), David Storey (drums. Percussion), Charlie Elston (keyboards) and Terry Pack (bass). Production was by
Martin Moss and The Enid. The album also includes a footnote that states that Martin Moss had become a fully
fledged member of the band at time of printing. The group also had a new manager, Terry King, who managed to
re-establish relations with BUK Records thus paving the way for the release of Aerie Faerie Nonsense, considered
by many to be the best Enid release. The album was released in 1977 (Honeybee INS 3012, BS 12.00) and once again
was a concept album detailing the chronicles of Roland, the young knight as he quests his way around the world.
(A cassette version limited to 1000 copies was released as Honeybee TC-INS 3012, BS12.00). Featured on the album
is one of the band's epic tracks, Fand based on Bax's symphonic tone-poem The Garden Of Fand (1916).
Such was the hype that The Enid managed to create that they managed to win over fans from all over the musical
spectrum including punk music fans! Sounds Readers voted the group as being "The Band Most Likely To Succeed" and
in truth it seemed that the group were heading for stardom.
Once again the group were enticed to release singles as a means of promotion and two were released to promote
the album Both shared a similar B-side Omega, yet different A-sides. The first to be released was
Jubilee/Omega (EMI International INT 534, picture sleeve, BS 5.00) while the second Golden
Earring/Omega (EMI International 540, picture sleeve, BS 12.00) saw the group performing a cover version of a
popular thirties song and was also the first vocal performance from RJG.
The increase in popularity for the group allowed their manager Terry King to get a major label deal. The group
signed with PYE Records and they were the most expensive signing that the label had ever made. The group were even
given their own studio in which to record, but trouble was on the horizon. Within weeks of signing the new deal,
the executives who were responsible for signing The Enid to PYE left the label. The group were unaware when
signing that label boss Lew Grade had lost most of his money of the film Raise The Titanic. The end effect was
that the company was left in the hands of incompetent management landing the label in financial difficulties which
of course had repercussions on the group. The group was hard pressed to come up with new material (In fact both
albums that would be released on PYE were to be very rushed affairs) as well as release a series of singles to try
and gain chart success. Eventually the label was to lose interest in the band.
However between December 1978 and January 1979, the band reconvened to their 16 track studio at their home in
Hertfordshire to record their third album. This decision would have an overall effect on the sound quality of the
album but nevertheless the group managed to record their most ambitious compositions to date with the following
line-up; RJG (keyboards), William Gilmour (keyboards), Francis Lickerish (guitars), Stephen Stewart (guitars),
David Storey (drums, percussion) and Terry Pack (bass). Guest musicians Tony Freer played oboe and cor anglais,
and he managed to integrate well with the group though he only lasted for the album because as RJG stated "Tony
Freer only stuck around for one album - that was a shame, but there was a situation with a woman and she decided
she wanted to take over everything."
The group's third album was called Touch Me and was released in 1979 (PYE NSPH 18593, including insert, BS
12.00). As remarked, the group were under pressure to deliver and thus were prevented from developing a concept
to their album. However, what was lacking in conceptuality was gained in musical direction with the album
possessing some of the best material the group had produced. The group still were an immense attraction when
playing live and would regularly sell out thousand seater venues including a series of concerts at Hammersmith
Odeon recorded by the BBC, and which would alter appear as live albums.
Panic was setting
in at PYE Records as they did not know how to deal with their latest and most expensive signing. The company decided
to release singles by The Enid in a bid to raise some cash. These included the single Dambusters March - Land Of
Hope And Glory/ The Skye Boat Song (PYE 7P 106, picture sleeve, blue vinyl BS 10.00) which was the track that
The Enid would always close their shows with.
Release for this single also brought it's own problems as permission had to be sought from Elgar's publishers
regarding copyright. However lack of funds also meant that the single was not promoted with the end result being
that the single did not even chart. Also released as a single was Fool/Tito(Pye Zp 187) while EMI
re-released Golden Earring this time backed by 665 The Great Bean which was a re-working of the
track from their debut album The Devil (EMI EMI 5109).
Less than one year after recording Touch Me, the group were already at work on their new album, Six Pieces.
Recordings at their studio took place between August and September 1979 with an almost unchanged line-up. In fact
missing was Terry Pack, whose place was taken by Martin Russell. Pack would remain close to the group and play
with them occasionally as a session/guest musician. Interest from Pye's part vis-à-vis the group was practically
non existent and this is clear from even the cover of the album.
Six Pieces was released in 1980 (PYE NH 116, with insert, 2000 only, BS 15.00) with next to no promotion at
all. The cover of the album, which up till then was always an elaborate affair, this time round had six portraits
of the band members as chess pieces. Possibly the group were just proving the point that in all this politics they
were pawns without any say whatsoever in all that was occurring around them and RJG admits that they knew while
recording the album that their tenure with the label was over. In fact the group parted company with the label at
the end of the year but this tension between band and label also had its negative effect on the group's core trio.
(A cassette version of 500 copies of Six Pieces was also released, Pye ZCNH 116, BS 10.00)
At the end of a lengthy tour, Francis Lickerish and Willie Gilmour left the band which had by now had severed
all ties with PYE Records. In an article RJG gives his version of events as to the departure of the two members:
"Francis (Lickerish) by this time was married with a child. His brother moved into the vicinity with his wife and
then decided to conduct an affair with Willie Gilmour's wife. We also had this woman turn up, called Caroline
Ashton, saying she wanted to help the band. She got herself ensconced and caused all sorts of trouble. She made
Francis believe he was a god and could do anything; there was a failed coup against me, but Francis was the one
that ended up being shoehorned out. To keep afloat we had to record completely ridiculous, anonymous singles and
we got asked to play these all the time. It was meant to a subtle two-fingers to the industry but it didn't quite
Thank God we at least went on getting gigs after Punk. We had different music, but we had an attitude also,
which was "fuck you", basically, as far as the Establishment was concerned. We had quite a following after Punk.
We'd go up to Middlesbrough or wherever, and play Fand. And you'd get these twenty yobbos at the back
screaming "Fucking Get Off!" which would turn the other 200-odd people our way because they felt that we were
courageous to do something we so believed in"
Admittedly all this seemed to spell the end of The Enid as a recording entity, and few people would have
fathomed a possible return of RJG and his musical vehicle. Time however, would prove that The Enid possessed an
extremely popular and resilient fan base which would not allow the band to just fade away! However that is another