Tangerine Dream made it seven UK chart albums, six of them in the top 40, on 1 April 1978, and broke some new ground in the process. Their latest Virgin album Cyclone was their first to feature formal vocals and lyrics — but even their late, lamented leader Edgar Froese wasn’t sold on the results.
Cyclone featured Froese and fellow longtime band member Christopher Franke, but this time with two new names. When Edgar spoke about the results to Neumusik in 1980, he revealed: “We booked the studio for January two years ago…and met up with an English guy, Steve Jolliffe, and a German drummer, Klaus Krüger.
“But then we ran into tremendous trouble, because everybody in the band wanted to do different melodies and things. And when we got a good track down, everybody wanted to do different things over the top of it. At last we decided Steve could sing — the last way out. So he sang, and it was so terrible!...a few parts I like, but since the end of March '78 I haven't listened to that record anymore, and I never will.”
Tangerine Dream had released two albums in 1977, the Sorceror film soundtrack and the live set Encore, but Cyclone was the studio follow-up to 1976’s Stratosfear. It entered the UK chart on the first day of April 1978, at No. 37, spending three further weeks on the countdown.
For all the vocals and song structure, it was still in the band’s avant garde style, if with a more progressive feel to it. The 13-minute ‘Bent Cold Sidewalk’ was followed by the “mere” five-minute ‘Rising Runner Missed By Endless Sender,’ before the concluding 20-minute piece ‘Madrigal Meridian.'
Joliffe’s interpretation of the making of Cyclone was not dissimilar to Froese’s. “It was conceived totally from scratch in a 48-track recording studio that was booked 24 hours a day for a month,” he said. “We all went in together at first, trying lots of ideas and improvising, but we had some difficulty focusing our musical vision collectively.”