Music: Gentle Giant
"It is our goal to expand the frontiers of contemporary popular music at the risk of being very unpopular. We have recorded each composition with the one thought - that it should be unique, adventurous and fascinating."Gentle Giant was an English Progressive Rock band active in the 1970s.The line-ups:
—Sleeve text from the second album, Acquiring the Taste.
—Sleeve text from the second album, Acquiring the Taste.
1970–72 Early line-up
- Phil Shulman: Lead vocals, clarinet, saxophones, trumpetDerek Shulman: Lead vocals, saxophone, recorderRay Shulman: Bass, violin, trumpet, recorder, vocalsKerry Minnear: Keyboards, vibraphone, cello, recorder, vocalsGary Green: Guitars, recorder, vocalsMartin Smith: Drums (1970–71)Malcolm Mortimore: Drums (1971–72)
1972–80: Classic lineup:
- Derek Shulman: Lead vocals, saxophone, recorderRay Shulman: Bass, violin, trumpet, recorder, vocalsKerry Minnear: Keyboards, vibraphone, cello, recorder, vocalsGary Green: Guitars, recorder, vocalsJohn Weathers: Drums, percussion, vibraphone, vocals
- Gentle Giant (1970)
- Acquiring the Taste (1971)
- Three Friends(1972)
- Octopus (1972)
- In a Glass House (1973)
- The Power and the Glory (1974)
- Free Hand (1975)
- Interview (1976)
- The Missing Piece (1977)
- Giant for a Day (1978)
- Civilian (1980)
This band contains examples of the following tropes
- Album Filler: The last three albums were made wholly of these.
- Album Title Drop
- All Drummers Are Animals: Sexy animals, as this video and the top comment prove.
- Alucard: They have a song with this title that has lyrics which presumably refer to Dracula.
- Bait and Switch: Acquiring the Taste has a cover that appear from the front to be a tongue between two flesh-coloured cheeks, but the back reveals that it's just a flesh-coloured peach.
- The Band Minus the Face: The departure of Phil Shulman was this. Derek says that he still doesn't know how the album following this departure got made, but they managed to carry on.
- Band of Relatives: Three Shulman brothers formed the heart of the band in the early days. One of them dropped out.
- Book Ends: In A Glass House begins and ends with the sound of breaking glass. The Power And The Glory begins with the song "Proclamation" and ends with "Valedictory", a song based off of the same tune but on distorted guitars instead of keyboards, as well as an overall darker mood.
- Break Up Song: Free Hand
- Christian Rock: After the group disbanded, Kerry Minnear, a Methodist convert, tried to make a career in this genre.
- Common Time: Mostly Averted. Sometimes played straight and sometimes played with: Often the time signature is 4/4, but the rhythms are still incredibly complex such as in the song So Sincere.
- Concept Album: FOUR of them! (Specifically, Three Friends, In a Glass House, The Power and the Glory, and Interview).
- Design Student's Orgasm: The cover of their second album◊ is a tongue licking a peach. It looks like something else, if one only views the front however. This is intentional.
- Early Installment Weirdness: Before forming Gentle Giant, the Shulman brothers played in a blue-eyed soul group called Simon Dupree & The Big Sound. When their attempts in soul proved commercially fruitless, they tried their hand at psychedelia (while still going under the Simon Dupree moniker) and got a Top Ten hit with "Kites". When they couldn't follow that up, they made the Beatle-esque single "We Are The Moles", this time going by The Moles. Due to the hype surrounding the anonymity of the Moles (at one point, it was speculated that The Beatles themselves had made it), sales of the single started to pick up, but quickly petered out when Syd Barrett (yes, that Syd Barrett) spilled the beans on the project. Eventually, the Shulman brothers gave up on Simon Dupree & The Big Sound and, out of its ashes, formed Gentle Giant.
- Epic Rocking: Surprisingly averted. Their compositions manage to encompass much more in less time, it seems. They tended to mix things up live and play extended medleys however.
- Well, mostly averted. There are exceptions; "Nothing at All" from the first album is over nine minutes long and they have other fairly long songs. Atypically for a Progressive Rock band, however, their average song length is about five minutes long.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The album Interview is a concept album of an interview.
- Full-Circle Revolution: The Concept Album The Power And The Glory seems to speak of this; the first song describes an autocratic ruler asserting his authority over the people; the following songs talk of an ambitious person attempting to gain power and set things right, but the final song on the original album is a reprise of the first, with the new chorus
"Things must stay, there must be no change; anyway, time to rearrange"
- Genre Roulette: Up to Eleven
- Gentle Giant: Yes, the band also has a literal example of this trope - Their mascot◊.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: The album cover for Acquiring The Taste, which shows a tongue drooling over what appears to be someone's buttocks. It's actually a peach.
- Gratuitous Panning: Required so that the listener may keep up with different simultaneous lines in the music.
- Happily Married: Most of the band these days. Phil Shulman left the band to keep it so.
- Large Ham: Derek Shulmans stage performance may come off as this.
- Love Nostalgia Song: Think Of Me With Kindness from Octopus
- Minimalistic Cover Art: The Missing Piece
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: 1-5.
- Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: Early on, they were very blues-influenced, but later had medieval and classical influences as well. Later albums included reggae-, new wave- and punk-tinged songs.
- New Sound Album: Though every album has a certain continuity, they vary things up quite a bit.
- Non-Appearing Title: "Alucard", "Pantagruel's Nativity", "Prologue", "The Advent of Panurge", "Knots", "An Inmate's Lullaby", "A Reunion", "Proclamation", "Valedictory", "Mobile", "Interview", "Design", "Empty City" and all the instrumentals.
- Progressive Rock
- Pun-Based Title: The fourth album Octopus is a work consisting of eight tracks: an octa - opus.
- Rock Opera: The Power And The Glory is an unusual one at that. It speaks of government corruption.
- Rockstar Song: Most of the songs from the concept album Interview deal with rockstardom.
- Sanity Slippage Song: An Inmates Lullaby is about a man in a mental hospital.
- Self-Titled Album: Their debut.
- Something Something Leonard Bernstein: The band has polyphonic songs in which multiple lyrical lines are sung simultaneously. Makes following the lyrics almost impossible without looking them up.
- Studio Chatter: Intentional on Interview.
- A somewhat humorous example also occurs on the song "The Face" from The Power And The Glory, when one can quite audibly hear an enthusiastic "Oh, WOW!" after a very fast electric violin solo.
- Uncommon Time: Gentle Giant's music, as humorously illustrated by this picture◊
- Vocal Tag Team: All of the members sung. In the early stages the band had three lead vocalists: Derek for the rock'y songs, Phil for the folky, dreamy songs and Kerry for the classically-inspired ones.
- Word Salad Lyrics: "Knots" is described as a "musical jigsaw", inspired by RD Laing. It's further complicated by the complexity of the music.