Egg were an English Canterbury scene progressive rock band formed in January 1969. The founding members of the group were Dave Stewart (organ), Mont Campbell (bass/vocals) and  Clive Brooks (drums). They evolved out of the band Uriel (also known as Arzachel) after Steve Hillage, their guitar player, left the band in August 1968. For a while, the name Uriel was still used, but by early 1969 their management got them to change for Egg. They released three organ-prominent albums.


Both Stewart and Campbell had classical influences, and were inspired by Keith Emerson's pioneering classical/rock fusion with his band The Nice, also an organ/bass/drums trio. Eventually, Egg's music became very complex and tight, using riffs played in unison by organ and bass and constantly changing time signatures. No wonder their first (and only) single was named "Seven Is A Jolly Good Time", referring to the unusual structure (in 7/4) of its chorus. The band explored a variety of time signatures and key relationships, sometimes explored classical ideals, and even composed their own symphony. Their repertoire was a balanced mix of vocal and instrumental material and Campbell's lyrics displayed a sense of humour. Egg can be considered an integral part of the Canterbury School, a loose movement of progressive and psychedelic musicians, even though direct links only happened later, when Stewart joined Hatfield & the North (and Steve Hillage, at the same time, joined Kevin Ayers, then Gong) and although the band had no geographical connection to Canterbury. Their music is very structured and composed, with Bach's classical pieces arrangements and some light jazzy influences. These are undeniably pioneering works. Mont Campbell, the band's main composer, acknowledged the strong influence of Igor Stravinsky, resulting in multi-part suites such as the imaginatively-titled "Symphony n°2" and "Long Piece n°3".

Symphony No.2-1st Movement

Mont Campbell

During its four-year existence, Egg released two albums on the Decca's progressive sublabel Deram, "Egg" (1970) and "The Polite Force" (1971). Both included one very long instrumental piece that filled the entire second side of the vinyl.  "The Polite Force" was better developed musically from their debut album, a style that was carried on to the subsequent "The Civil Surface". Egg finished the year 1971 with an increased touring schedule, but they eventually broke up in July 1972, leaving almost an album's worth of unrecorded compositions, some of which had become stage favourites. Stewart joined Hatfield & The North at that time. In 1974, Stewart, now signed with Virgin as a member of Hatfield & the North, got a deal for Egg to record their unreleased material. The trio was re-united for the farewell album "The Civil Surface". In addition to the old pieces, a couple of wind quartets on which Campbell was working on at the time were used to fill up the album. Guest participants included Steve Hillage, The Northettes and Henry Cow's Tim Hodgkinson and Lindsay Cooper.

Long Piece No.3-Part 3

Following the break-up of Egg, Clive Brooks had joined the Groundhogs, a blues-rock band with whom the trio had toured several times, and worked intermittently with them (or leader Tony McPhee in a solo context) until the early 80's. As for Mont Campbell, after a one-year stint in the original line-up of Stewart's National Health (1975-76), he stayed out of the public eye for two decades, and only returned in 1996 with his first solo album, "Music From A Round Tower". Stewart co-produced and made incidental musical contributions to the album. In January 2009, Campbell appeared on British television as a prominent commentator throughout the BBC documentary 'Prog Rock Britannia: An Observation in Three Movements', reminiscing on Egg and the progressive rock movement in general.

Fugue In D Minor

(original albums)

Egg (1970):
1. Bulb
2. While Growing My Hair
3. I Will Be Absorbed
4. Fugue in D Minor (J.S.Bach)
5. They Laughed When I Sat Down at the Piano…
6. The Song of McGillicudie the Pusillanimous
7. Boilk
8. Symphony No. 2
a) Movement 1
b) Movement 2
c) Blane
d) Movement 4

The Polite Force (1971):
1. A Visit to Newport Hospital
2. Contrasong
3. Boilk (incl. Durch Adams Fall Ist Ganz Verdebt [J.S.Bach])
4. Long Piece No.3-Part 1
5. Long Piece No.3-Part 2
6. Long Piece No.3-Part 3
7. Long Piece No.3-Part 4

The Civil Surface (1974):
1. Germ Patrol
2. Wind Quartet I
3. Enneagram
4. Prelude
5. Wring Out The Ground (Loosely Now)
6. Nearch
7. Wind Quartet II