Nirvana were a United Kingdom-based progressive rock band active in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Though the band only achieved limited commercial success, they were acclaimed both by music industry professionals and critics. In 1985 the band reformed.
Early years, 1967-1971
Nirvana was created as the performing arm of the London-based songwriting partnership of Irish musician Patrick Campbell-Lyons and Greek composer Alex Spyropoulos. On their recordings Campbell-Lyons and Spyropoulos supplied all the vocals. The instrumental work was primarily undertaken by top session musicians and orchestral musicians - with Campbell-Lyons providing a little guitar and Spyropoulos contributing some keyboards.
Musically, Campbell-Lyons and Spyropoulos blended myriad musical styles including rock, pop, folk, jazz, Latin rhythms and classical music, primarily augmented by baroque chamber-style arrangements to create a unique entity.
In October 1967, they released their first album: a concept album produced by Blackwell titled The Story of Simon Simopath. The album was arguably the first narrative concept album ever released, predating story-driven concept albums such as The Pretty Things' S.F. Sorrow (December 1968), The Who's Tommy (April 1969) and The Kinks' Arthur (September 1969).
Island Records launched Nirvana's first album "with a live show at the Saville Theatre, sharing a bill with fellow label acts Traffic, Spooky Tooth, and Jackie Edwards."
Unable to perform their songs live as a duo and with the impending release of their first album, Campbell-Lyons and Spyropoulos decided to create a live performing ensemble and they recruited four musicians to enable them to undertake concerts and TV appearances. Though hired to be part of the live performance group rather than as band members, these four musicians were also included in the photograph alongside the core duo on the album cover of their first album to assist in projecting an image of a group rather than a duo. However they were not core founding members of the group and within a few months Nirvana had reverted to its original two-person lineup. The four musicians who augmented Campbell-Lyons and Spyropoulos on their live appearances and TV shows for those few months were Ray Singer (guitar), Brian Henderson (bass), Sylvia A. Schuster (cello) and Michael Cole (French horn, viola).
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