The Incredible String Band
were a folk
band formed around musicians Robin Williamson
and Mike Heron
. Their sound was based on use of traditional instruments and scales, but involved song structures and time signatures that were more akin to Frank Zappa
era Brian Wilson
. Their songs were also close to those of Syd Barret
, albeit again in a folk rather than rock form.
Songs such as A Very Cellular Song were an acknowledged influence on the Beatles, particularly John Lennon, whose Happiness Is A Warm Gun resembles it greatly structurally, although Lennon's song is based on rock rather than folk forms.
Robert Plant has also cited the band as an influence, saying he would rather have been in the Incredible String Band than Led Zeppelin, and saying that much of Led Zeppelin III was inspired by them.
Originally featuring banjo player Clive Palmer, the band only really started to develop their unique personality after he left. After two intriguing albums, The 5000 Spirits (Or Layers Of The Onion) and The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter the band's fortunes began to decline, particularly after a stupid management decision not to allow their set at Woodstock to be filmed, and the band also had personnel problems - the free-spirited times meant that hangers-on and girlfriends (including the wonderfully named Licorice McKechnie) joined and caused infighting. Various versions of the band struggled on through the 70s, but the original spark had died out.
Heron and Williamson reunited for tours and a live album in 1997, but have not announced any more plans.
Originally this was a nodeshell rescue in the Incredible String Band node. As I said in that w/u, it's a shame someone with better knowledge doesn't give this intriguing band a w/u they deserve and make this, and the w/u above, obsolete...