Intergalactic Touring Band

The Intergalactic Touring Band was a fictitious group of British and American singers and musicians that recorded a sci-fi concept album, produced by Marty Scott and Stephan Galfas and released on Passport Records (US) and Charisma (UK) in 1977. The songs were written and arranged by Danny Beckerman and Wil Malone.

Intergalactic Touring Band features many of the era’s leading performers in symphonic/art-rock and soul, including singers Annie Haslam (Renaissance), Dave Cousins (Strawbs), Arthur Brown, Meat Loaf, Rick Parfitt (Status Quo), Peppi “Pepe” Marchello (Good Rats), Marge Raymond (Flame), and Ben E. King.

The musicians include guitarists John Tropea and Anthony Phillips, saxophonist Clarence Clemons, bassist Percy Jones (Brand X), and keyboardist Larry Fast (Synergy). Argent keyboardist Rod Argent plays electric and acoustic guitar on “Silver Lady.” Two-fifths of Fireballet, multi-instrumentalists Jim Cuomo and Ryche Chlanda, sing and play guitar on select tracks. Fireballet associate Brian Cuomo plays keyboards on eight numbers.

The album’s storyline involves a future where overpopulation forces humans to build space colonies. In the then-distant 21st century, multi-purpose robots have freed humans of menial tasks, allowing men and women to focus on advanced creations. In 2021, the Vibra Corporation sends the first Vibra Globe, a planet-like spaceship that runs on light energy, into space. Further ships launch in 2035 with the mission to explore the multiverse for a New Earth. A millennium later, in 3025, surviving ships arrive on the New Earth, where they establish the Intergalactic Touring Band and the “Love Station.” The IGTB then embarks on another round of space exploration.

The original album is housed in a single sleeve with a typed document of the synopsis and timeline, plus a lyrical insert with sci-fi illustrations by Larry Ortiz. In 1978, he illustrated the US cover of Nature’s Clear Well, the singular album by German electro-symphonic rockers Galaxy.


Annie Haslam sings lead on “Reaching Out,” the soaring ballad that closes side one. The same year as IGTB, she debuted as a solo artist with the Sire/Warner release Annie in Wonderland, produced and largely played by her then-partner, ex-Move/ELO/Wizzard mastermind Roy Wood (then fronting the Wizzo Band).

Overall, it was a prolific time in the Renaissance camp, as 1977 saw the release of their orchestral magnum opus Novella and the first airing of “Back Home Once Again,” their theme for the ITV children’s series The Paper Lads (it would also appear on their 1978 album A Song for All Seasons.) Renaissance were also approached to write music for a film adaptation of the 1968 Peter S. Beagle novel The Last Unicorn, but the project stalled. (It would ultimately appear in 1982 with music by Jimmy Webb and America.) Meanwhile, the original Renaissance regrouped as Illusion and issued Out of the Mist on Island.

Dave Cousins sings “Heartbreaker,” the emotionally wrenching penultimate track on side one. This was his first activity outside Strawbs since his 1972 solo album Two Days Last Summer. Ironically, Strawbs concurrently recorded a different song titled “Heartbreaker,” written by their other prolific writer Dave Lambert, for their 1977 album Burning for You.

Arthur Brown sings lead on “Universal Zoo,” a characteristic number for the former Crazy World/Kingdom Come frontman. Also in 1977, Brown released his second solo album, Chisholm In My Bosom. That album, produced by South African expat Robert John Lange — just then establishing himself in the UK market with Graham Parker, City Boy, Supercharge, and the Boomtown Rats — features Brand X personnel not found here (Morris Pert) and an 18-minute title-track. In 1976, Brown sang one track (“The Tell-Tale Heart”) on another concept album, Tales of Mystery and Imagination by the Alan Parsons Project.

Meat Loaf

Rick Parfitt (Status Quo)

Peppi “Pepe” Marchello (Good Rats)

Marge Raymond (Flame)

Ben E. King sings the side-two disco jubilation “Love Station,” sung in the character of New Earth DJ Romeo Jones. King was 39 at the time of this album’s release, making him one of the oldest participants. His iconic stature in soul music stems from his time in the ’50s-era Drifters (“There Goes My Baby,” “This Magic Moment”) and the early ’60s classics “Stand By Me” and “Spanish Harlem.” Recently, he kickstarted his solo career with a string of albums on Atlantic. Concurrent to IGTB, he teamed with the Average White Band for their 1977 release Benny and Us.

John Tropea

Anthony Phillips

Clarence Clemons

Percy Jones (Brand X)

Larry Fast (Synergy)

Argent keyboardist Rod Argent

Fireballet, multi-instrumentalists Jim Cuomo and Ryche Chlanda

Wil Malone

War of the Worlds, Eye of Wendor, Tarot Suite, I Robot, Out of the Blue, Ra,

Star Wars, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Space: 1999


Discography:


Sources:

Artist/Album Pages:

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