Brand X - with the brief inclusion of Phil Collins.
Brand X – with the brief inclusion of Phil Collins.

Brand X – In Session for Alan Freeman/John Peel – Feb. 26 and July 15, 1976 – Broadcast on John Peel – August 2, 1976 – BBC Radio 1

Initially put together as a “jam band”, Brand X managed to grab a considerable amount of attention when they formed in 1975. Early in 1976 they were joined (briefly) by Genesis drummer Phil Collins, while that band went through all the changes the departure of Peter Gabriel brought about.

More closely associated with Jazz Fusion than with Progressive Rock, the band went through several personnel changes during their first incarnation, which only lasted five years.

Admittedly, they came along during a time when Music was undergoing huge changes. The Prog audience was fading. Pop was in the doldrums. Glam was slowly burning out, and Punk was about to descend on the Music world in a big, loud, spit-covered way. But the simplicity of Punk just didn’t appeal to accomplished musicians who needed something challenging. And so many musicians around this time either went in the direction of Jazz Fusion, or settled in for session work, or continued on with shrinking audiences and reluctant record labels.

And even though Brand X had a degree of “star appeal”, it wasn’t enough to break them out of a well-carved niche. And so Brand X in its first incarnation called it quits in 1980. Phil Collins, who never left Genesis in the first place, concentrated on this new turn in direction the band were taking, and the commercial rewards started flooding in. Brand X, with founders John Goodsall and Percy Jones the only remaining original members, reformed in 1992 and kept the newer incarnation going until 1999.

This session comes right at the time Collins joined the band and features them in two sessions for Alan Freeman and his BBC Radio 1 program in February and July of 1976. It was later rebroadcast in August as one complete session for John Peel.

Alhough they didn’t achieve the commercial success that was hoped, they nonetheless were an integral part in the changing and evolving music scene of the 70s and early 80s. Further evidence the umbrella a Rock has always been much larger than imagined; one which continues to embrace a lot of different genres and styles – it has always been a listeners market.

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