06 September 2011: Celebrate the 70s: Beggars Opera & Bo Hansson

Bo Hansson - Music Inspired by Lord of the Rings
Bo HANSSON (born 10 April 1943 in Gothenburg, Sweden, died 24 April 2010) is famous for his 1972 concept album "Lord of the Rings" which came out decades before Hollywood ever made any noise about Tolkien's trilogy. The music was taped on a remote island off Stockholm, on an 8-track recorder, in a summer house studio with the help of a few friends and musicians. It received Gold Record awards in England and Australia. Licenced by Tony Stratton-Smith's Charisma label in England and America, it was also the subject of an extensive TV ad campaign that turned it into a hit in progressive rock circles at the time.

"Lord of the Rings" is a beautiful, timeless album of instrumental psychedelia worth hearing, even if it does sound rather 70ish production-wise. It doesn't feature any "fantasy/medieval" themes à la AYREON but captures the otherworldly, pastoral feel of Tolkien's work, like a Nordic album should.
 Beggars Opera - Pathfinder
This band was from Scotland, their name is derived from a novel by the poet John Gray in 1728. The musicians of BEGGARS OPERA were Martin Griffiths (vocals), Rick Gardiner (guitar and vocals), Alan Park (keyboards), Gordon Sellar (bass, acoustic guitar and vocals), Virginia Scott (Mellotron and vocals) and Raymond Wilson (drums and percussion). BEGGARS OPERA made a lot of records but remained acting in the shade of most progressive rock bands.
 On their third LP "Pathfinder" BEGGARS OPERA seems to have reached its pinnacle: strong and alternating compositions with lush keyboards (Mellotron, organ, piano and harpsichord), powerful electric guitarplay and many shifting moods (even Scottish folk with bagpipes).