Gentle Giant have released a new video montage to celebrate the release of their fourth studio album Octopus, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this month. You can watch the video, created by singer Derek Shulman’s son Noah, in full below.
Octopus was originally released in December 1972. It was the band’s final album released with founding member Phil Shulman and the first with new drummer John Weathers – formerly of the Graham Bond Organization and Pete Brown and Piblokto – who had replaced Malcolm Mortimore, and who would remain with the band until their dissolution in 1980.
It was also the band’s second release of 1972, having released Three Friends in April of that year and represents the progressive rock pioneers at the height of their powers. The record displayed a newly discovered brevity in the group’s compositional focus, but also highlighting their development as a unit. Its shorter, sub-five minute songs contain just as many ideas than their lengthier brethren, but, in just two years, the group had advanced enough as musicians so as to confidently cram all their ideas into shorter songs without sacrificing any of their imagination.
The album came housed in a sleeve designed by Roger Dean, although in North America, were the album wasn’t released until February 1973, the band’s label, Columbia, chose to use an illustration by artist Charles White, of an octopus in. ajar, the original versions of which were die cut. However, despite the delay in release and being issued in this alternate sleeve, Octopus still also got a grip on the US charts, climbing to No.170 on the Billboard 200, a 27-place improvement on Three Friends’ performance.
Phil Shulman told Classic Rock, “The eight pieces (on the album) were originally intended as musical portraits of the band and roadies but found their own identity in the making. The title came from Bobbi, my wife, who recognized eight pieces with very different arms as a fair reflection of the band then.”