Colosseum was an English rock ensemble that was released three studio albums and a live double-LP between 1969 to 1971. As one of the instigators of rock’s shift into high maximalism, they incorporated lavish big band arrangements into the framework of blues-based rock. After the project folded, multi-saxist Dick Heckstall-Smith ‎recorded a solo album, A Story Ended (1972), with assorted Colosseum personnel. Drummer Jon Hiseman teamed with guitarist Allan Holdsworth in the rockier Tempest and later formed the (mostly) instrumental Colosseum II with Gary Moore.

Members: Jon Hiseman (drums), Dave Greenslade (organ, vocals), Dick Heckstall-Smith (saxophone, 1968-2004), Tony Reeves (bass, 1968-70), Jim Roche (guitar, 1968), James Litherland (guitar, vocals, 1968-69), Clem Clempson (guitar, vocals, 1969-71), Louis Cennamo (bass, 1970), Mark Clarke (bass, vocals, 1970-71), Chris Farlowe (vocals, 1970-71)

Colosseum was formed in mid-1968 by drummer Jon Hiseman and saxophonist Dick Heckstall-Smith. The two had interacted earlier in the New Jazz Orchestra (NJO) and a late-period lineup of the Graham Bond Organization, where Hiseman replaced Ginger Baker after the latter departed for Cream (with fellow GBO alumni Jack Bruce). That spring, they were reunited on the Bare Wires album by John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, where Hiseman replaced Keef Hartley.

Bare Wires also featured bassist Tony Reeves, who stepped in for departing Bluesbreaker and eventual Free bassist Andy Fraser. The first Colosseum lineup was rounded out by keyboardist Dave Greenslade, a longtime friend of Hiseman’s, and teenage guitarist James Litherland.


  • Those Who Are About to Die Salute You (1969)
  • Valentyne Suite (1969)
  • The Grass Is Greener (1970 — U.S. only)
  • Daughter of Time (1970)
  • Colosseum Live (1971)


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