Henry Cow

Formed May 1968. Disbanded August 1978.
Henry Cow

Biography

Henry Cow were an English avant-rock group, founded at Cambridge University in 1968 by multi-instrumentalists Fred Frith and Tim Hodgkinson. Henry Cow's personnel fluctuated over their decade together, but drummer Chris Cutler and bassoonist/oboist Lindsay Cooper were important long-term members alongside Frith and Hodgkinson.

An inherent anti-commercial attitude kept them at arm's length from the mainstream music business, enabling them to experiment at will. Critic Myles Boisen writes, "their sound was so mercurial and daring that they had few imitators, even though they inspired many on both sides of the Atlantic with a blend of spontaneity, intricate structures, philosophy, and humor that has endured and transcended the 'progressive' tag."

While it was generally thought that Henry Cow took their name from 20th-century American composer Henry Cowell, this has been repeatedly denied by band members. According to Hodgkinson, the name "Henry Cow" was "in the air" in 1968, and it seemed like a good name for the band. It had no connection to anything.

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Links & Information

Members

BBC Reviews

  1. Review of Concerts

    Concerts 2006

    Reviewed by Peter Marsh
    ...a band completely unafraid of putting themselves on the line...
  2. Review of Western Culture

    Western Culture

    Reviewed by Peter Marsh
    ...exhausting, sometimes jaw droppingly gorgeous and occasionally very scary...
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