National Health

Formed 1975. Disbanded 1983.

Biography

National Health were an English progressive rock band associated with the Canterbury scene. Founded in 1975, the band included members of keyboardist Dave Stewart's band Hatfield and the North and Alan Gowen's band Gilgamesh, the band also included guitarists Phil Miller and Phil Lee and bassist Mont Campbell as original members. The band was named after Stewart's National Health glasses. Bill Bruford (previously of Yes and King Crimson) was the initial drummer but was soon replaced by Pip Pyle. Campbell was replaced by Neil Murray and then John Greaves.

A frequently changing line-up, they toured extensively and released their first album, National Health in 1977. Although it was created during the rise of Punk, the album is characterised by lengthy, mostly instrumental compositions. Their second record Of Queues and Cures, which included Peter Blegvad (recitation on "Squarer For Maud") and Georgie Born (cello), is held as one of the best records ever on the Gnosis website. After the May 1981 death of Gowen, remaining members reconvened to record the album D.S. Al Coda, a set of compositions by Gowen, most previously unrecorded. The original albums and additional archival material have subsequently been released on CD.

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