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Music / Gong

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"Gong is One and One is You."
—Quote from the back cover of You.

Gong is a psychedelic / progressive / jazz rock band founded in Paris in 1968. They are considered part of the "Canterbury Scene" known for its whimsical lyrics over jazz-drenched melodies. In fact, group founder Daevid Allen was a former member of Canterbury scene exemplars Soft Machine and their predecessors The Wilde Flowers.

Under Allen, Gong were early purveyors of Space Rock through a series of concept albums about the planet Gong, a world of "Pot Headed Pixies" and "Flying Teapots." Similarly to The Soft Machine, after 1976, they experienced Genre Shift into a jazz-rock fusion band after the departure of Allen and wife/singer/co-founder Gilli Smyth (and, after one post-Allen album much of the band's classic lineup as well). This iteration became known as Pierre Moerlen's Gong, which would go on to produce several albums of vibraphone-heavy instrumentals with more prominent guitar solos.


Meanwhile, the Gong universe continued through later incarnations such as Mother Gong until Allen and Smyth came back to re-form what jazz magazine Down Beat called his "gypsy carnival." Allen died in March 2015, but for the re-formed Gong, the show appears to go on.

Studio album discography:

  • Magick Brother/Mystic Sister - 1970
  • Camembert Electrique - 1971
  • (with Dashiell Hedayat) Obsolete - 1971
  • Continental Circus (film soundtrack) - 1972
  • Flying Teapot - 1973
  • Angel's Egg - 1973
  • You - 1974
  • Shamal - 1975
  • Gazeuse! - 1976
  • Expresso II - 1978
  • Shapeshifter - 1992
  • Zero to Infinity - 2000
  • Acid Motherhood - 2003
  • 2032 - 2009
  • I See You - 2014
  • Rejoice! I'm Dead! - 2016



  • Cluster F-Bomb: In "Dynamite: I Am Your Animal", which might have been somewhat shocking in 1971 (especially for a female singer).
  • Concept Album:
    • Actually a concept trilogy, as Radio Gnome Invisible consisted of Flying Teapots, Angel's Egg, and You.
    • Mother Gong did this too with Robot Woman, Robot Woman 2, and Robot Woman 3.
  • Epic Rocking: Lots.
  • Expanded Universe: Given the large number of spinoffs and the Radio Gnome Invisible trilogy (Flying Teapots, Angel's Egg, and You), this makes Gong have a musical equivalent of this trope. It is given credence by reedist Didier Malherbe's solo album Fetish, which carries the label "Gongland" on the front cover.
  • Genre Shift: Daevid Allen-fronted Gong's Psychedelic Rock / Progressive Rock mix morphed into Pierre Moerlen's Gong of jazz fusion (still rooted in Progressive Rock, though).
  • Advertisement:
  • Gratuitous French: Keep in mind the band was founded in France.
  • Hair Colors: One of their songs is titled "'Cos You Got Green Hair".
  • Land Downunder: Daevid Allen was born there, and this occasionally pops up in the Gong mythology:
    • His nom de scène is Dingo Virgin.
    • The last track on Mother Gong's "Robot Woman" is "Australia."
  • Lead Drummer: Pierre Moerlen after Shamal, besides the fact that it was afterwards called Pierre Moerlen's Gong.
  • Long Title: "Ooby-Scooby Doomsday or The D-day DJ's Got the D.D.T. Blues", "Allez Ali Baba Black Sheep Have You Any Bullshit: Mama Maya Mantram"
  • Mister Seahorse: The cover for Acid Motherhood.
  • My Hero, Zero: Zero the Hero
  • Mythology Gag: lots
  • New Sound Album: Shamal, which was actually the transition album for The Band Minus the Face Gong and its inversion, Pierre Moerlen's Gong.
  • Signature Sound Effect: Daevid Allen's glissando guitar.
  • Space Rock: An early example, as Radio Gnome Invisible was a concept trilogy taking place on the planet Gong.
  • Spin-Off: "Pierre Moerlen's Gong", "Planet Gong", "Gongmaison", "Gongzilla", "Mother Gong", "New York Gong"
  • Stage Names: "Bloomdido Bad de Grass" (a Bilingual Bonus Punny Name for reedist Didier Malbherbe), "Dingo Virgin" (Daevid Allen), "Submarine Captain" (Christian Tritsch), Shakti Yoni (singer Gilli Smyth), Hi T Moonweed (keyboardist Tim Blake), etc.


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