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Gong

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France (1967 – present)

Gong are a band formed by Australian musician Daevid Allen. Their music has also been described as . The various incarnations of Gong, its spin-offs and related bands are collectively dubbed the “Gong Global Family”.

They were formed in 1967, after Allen - then a member of Soft Machine - was denied entry to the United Kingdom due to a visa complication. Allen remained in France where he and a London-born Sorbonne professor, Gilli Smyth, established the first incarnation of Gong. This band fragmented during the 1968 student revolution, with Allen and Smyth forced to flee France for Deya in Majorca.

They found a saxophonist, Didier Malherbe living in a cave in Deya, before film director Jerome La Perrousaz invited the band back to France to record the soundtracks to his movies. They were subsequently approached by the newly formed independent label BYG and signed up for two albums (Magick Brother/Mystic Sister, Camembert Electrique and Allen’s solo album Bananamoon.

Gong played at the first Glastonbury Festival and were subsequently one of the first acts to sign to Virgin Records, getting first pick of the studio-time ahead of Mike Oldfield. By 1971, a regular line-up had established itself, and Gong released their Camembert Electrique album. The UK release, put out by Virgin Records subsidiary Caroline Records in 1974, was priced at 49p (i.e. the price of a typical single rather than an album), ensuring that sufficient numbers were sold for the album to chart (had it not been barred from the charts for being so cheap).

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