Renaissance (Progressive Rock band from England)

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Annotation last modified on 2007-08-23 18:51 UTC.


Renaissance are an English progressive rock band, best known for their 1978 UK top 10 hit "Northern Lights" and progressive rock classics like "Carpet of the Sun", "Mother Russia", and "Ashes Are Burning". They developed a unique sound, combining a female lead vocal with a fusion of classical, folk, rock, and jazz influences. Characteristic elements of the Renaissance sound are Annie Haslam's wide vocal range, prominent piano accompaniment, orchestral arrangements, vocal harmonies, acoustic guitar, bass guitar, synthesiser, and versatile drum work. The band created a significant following in the northeast United States in the 70s, and that region remains their strongest fan base.

The nucleus of the first line-up was composed of former members of The Yardbirds, Keith Relf and Jim McCarty, who intended to put "something together with more of a classical influence". Renaissance was born, and the band released a studio album in 1969, and another in 1971. Subsequently, there was a period of high turnover of musicians until the "classic line-up" of Haslam, John Tout, Michael Dunford, Jon Camp, and Terry Sullivan was established, although none of them was in the original band. They were assisted with lyrics on many songs from Cornish poet Betty Thatcher-Newsinger. From 1972 to 1979 Renaissance released seven successful studio albums, toured extensively, and sold out three nights in a row at Carnegie Hall with Tony Cox conducting the New York Philharmonic.

The 80s were a lean time for them, with personnel changes, and two relatively unsuccessful studio albums, leading to disbandment in 1987. Two different offshoots of Renaissance existed at the same time at one stage in the mid-90s. The band re-formed in 1998 to record Tuscany, which was eventually released in 2001; however they disbanded again the next year.

2009 heralded a new line-up for Renaissance, led by Haslam and Dunford, and since then the band has continued to record and tour. They were shocked and saddened by the sudden death of Dunford in November 2012. Later, Haslam stated that the band would continue touring. The current line-up is not as English as the band's early period with five U.S. born members, and one English born member who lives in the U.S. In April 2014 Renaissance released the studio album Symphony of Light.

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Year Title RatingReleases
1969 Renaissance 5
1971 Illusion 5
1972 Prologue 4
1973 Ashes Are Burning 4 4
1974 Turn of the Cards 5
1975 Scheherazade and Other Stories 4.5 6
1977 Novella 3
1978 A Song for All Seasons 5 4
1979 Azure d'Or 6
1981 Camera Camera 4
1983 Time-Line 3
1988 In the Beginning 1
1995 The Other Woman 1
1997 Songs From Renaissance Days 2
1998 Innocence 1
2000 Tuscany 2
2004 Innocents & Illusions 1
2009 Renaissance Live at Carnegie Hall 1
2009 Renaissance Live at Carnegie Hall 1
Symphony of Light 1

Album + Compilation

Year Title RatingReleases
1990 Tales of 1001 Nights, Volume 1 1
1990 Tales of 1001 Nights, Volume 2 1
1997 Da Capo 1
Renaissance / Turn of the Cards 1
Songs for All Seasons 1

Album + Compilation + Live

Year Title RatingReleases
1997 At the Royal Albert Hall With the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Part 2 3 4

Album + Live

Year Title RatingReleases
1976 Live at Carnegie Hall 3
1992 Waterfalls of Sounds 1
1997 At the Royal Albert Hall With the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Part 1 4 2
1999 BBC Sessions 1
2000 Day of the Dreamer 1
2000 Unplugged: Live at the Academy of Music, Philadelphia USA 1
2001 Can You Hear Me (live) 1
2002 In the Land of the Rising Sun: Live in Japan 2001 3
2002 Mother Russia 1
2003 Heritage 1
2008 Dreams & Omens: Live at the Tower Theater, Philadelphia PA 1978 1
2011 Tour 2011: Turn of the Cards / Scheherazade and Other Stories Live in Concert 1
British Tour '76 1


Year Title RatingReleases
1970 Island 1
1972 Prologue 2
1973 Carpet of the Sun 1
1974 Mother Russia 1
1977 Back Home Once Again 1
1977 Midas Man 1
1978 Northern Lights 2

Unspecified type

Year Title RatingReleases
The Mystic and the Muse 1

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