Barclay James Harvest was an English symphonic-rock band from Oldham, Greater Manchester, that initiated EMI’s Harvest imprint, releasing four albums on the label between 1970 and 1972, followed by a lengthy run of albums on Polydor between 1974 and 1997.
Members: Les Holroyd (bass, vocals), John Lees (guitar, vocals), Mel Pritchard (drums), Woolly Wolstenholme (keyboards, vocals, 1967-79)
Barclay James Harvest evolved from a musical partnership established at Oldham School of Art in 1964 between guitarist/singer John Lees and keyboardist Woolly Wolstenholme. They played in a sequence of beat combos (The Sorcerers, The Blues Keepers) and formed a permanent band in September 1966 with bassist/singer Les Holroyd and drummer Mel Pritchard.
They constructed their band name from a selection of words pulled at random from a hat. “James” was the name of a vocalist who was present at the band’s formative stage. “Harvest” signified their farmhouse rehearsal space; “Barclay,” the namesake of Barclays Bank (founded in 1736 by James Barclay), represented the band’s wish to make money. They arranged the words in an order that would most easily roll off the tongue.
In April 1968, Barclay James Harvest debuted with the Parlophone single “Early Morning” (b/w “Mr. Sunshine”). The Moodies-like a-side makes prominent Mellotron usage with introductory flute-tones and thick, frosty keys under the harmony-laden verses. The folk-ballad flipside features plucked acoustic guitars, bongos, flute interludes, and harmonized refrains. Both sides were written and produced by the band.
In June 1969, Barclay James Harvest inaugurated EMI’s Harvest imprint with the single “Brother Thrush” (b/w “Poor Wages”), produced by Norman Smith (Pink Floyd, Pretty Things). The label would house the band for their first four albums.
Barclay James Harvest
Barclay James Harvest released their self-titled debut album in June 1970 on Harvest.
Barclay James Harvest released their second album, Once Again, on February 5, 1971, on Harvest and Sire.
Barclay James Harvest and Other Short Stories
Barclay James Harvest released their third album, Barclay James Harvest and Other Short Stories, in November 1971 on Harvest.
Baby James Harvest
Barclay James Harvest released their fourth album, Baby James Harvest, on November 10, 1972, on Harvest.
Everyone Is Everybody Else
Barclay James Harvest released their fifth album, Everyone Is Everybody Else, on November 10, 1974, on Polydor.
Barclay James Harvest Live
In November 1974, Barclay James Harvest released their first live album.
Time Honoured Ghosts
Barclay James Harvest released their sixth studio album, Time Honoured Ghosts, in October 1975 on Polydor.
Barclay James Harvest released their seventh studio album, Octoberon, in October 1976 on Polydor. The title is a play on the month of release and the fact that it’s their eighth overall album (counting BJH Live).
Gone to Earth
Barclay James Harvest released their eighth studio album, Gone to Earth, in September 1977 on Polydor.
In April 1978, Barclay James Harvest released Live Tapes, their second live double-album.
Barclay James Harvest released their ninth studio album, XII, in September 1978 on Polydor.
Eyes of the Universe
Barclay James Harvest released their tenth studio album, Eyes of the Universe, in November 1979 on Polydor.
Turn of the Tide
Barclay James Harvest released their eleventh studio album, Turn of the Tide, in May 1981 on Polydor.
A Concert for the People (Berlin)
In July 1982, Barclay James Harvest released A Concert for the People (Berlin), their third live album.
Ring of Changes
Barclay James Harvest released their twelfth studio album, Ring of Changes, in May 1983 on Polydor.
Victims of Circumstance
Barclay James Harvest released their thirteenth studio album, Victims of Circumstance, in 1984 on Polydor.
Face to Face
Barclay James Harvest released their fourteenth studio album, Face to Face, in February 1987 on Polydor.
- Barclay James Harvest (1970)
- Once Again (1971)
- Barclay James Harvest and Other Short Stories (1971)
- Baby James Harvest (1972)
- Barclay James Harvest Live (1974)
- Everyone Is Everybody Else (1974)
- Time Honoured Ghosts (1975)
- Octoberon (1976)
- Gone to Earth (1977)
- XII (1978)
- Live Tapes (1978)
- Eyes of the Universe (1979)
- Turn of the Tide (1981)
- A Concert for the People (Berlin) (OST, 1982)
- Ring of Changes (1983)
- Victims of Circumstance (1984)
- Face to Face (1987)
- Glasnost (live, 1988)
- Welcome to the Show (1990)
- Caught in the Light (1993)
- River of Dreams (1997)
- Discogs: Barclay James Harvest
- English B Albums Directory (pages 1 and 2)
- 45worlds: Barclay James Harvest
- 45cat: Barclay James Harvest
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