Trivia

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Here are miscellaneous tidbits of information about Gentle Giant that didn't seem to fit elsewhere on the site. Enjoy!

See also:

Musical Notes

  • When Gentle Giant played The Queen live in other countries, Ray would change his bass line to the national anthem of whatever country they were in. He supposedly did it in Spain and Germany. (Thanks to Diana Green.)

Interesting Uses of GG's Music

  • On Cartoon Network, heard from a showed called The Boondocks, during episode #12, at roughly the four minutes in, Funny Ways can be heard re-recorded and rapped over in the background. (Thanks to Patrick Doyle!)
  • Acquiring The Taste was used as background music for a Christmas television cartoon: "A Cosmic Christmas," produced by Nelvana of Canada. It's about about a poor little boy and three wise men who gave his family every Christmas wish. (Big thanks to Mat Sandford and William E. Hack for providing enough clues to identify the cartoon definitively!)
    • A fan writes: "Wikipedia says A Cosmic Christmas was 26 minutes long. I just watched it on Google Videos a version that was 22:28 long. I heard no GG. But wait, are there 3:32 minutes missing?"
  • Weekend Cowboy was used as the outtro (final music) of a radio program, "Off the Hook." Nick Polak reports: "it's the radio show of the folks who publish 2600, The Hacker Quarterly (the guys who published the DeCSS code for decrypting DVD's and are currently in appeals court on this). Fascinating and informative show, and full of (unintentionally) funny material, due to the time which has passed and the incredibly rapid growth of the Internet since 1990. Anyway -- the archived program of 20 November 1992 ends with an outro of Weekend Cowboy! The song appears about 55 minutes into the program."
  • Spooky Boogie was used by the National Football League (NFL) during the 1993 football season as the music for the "bloopers" portion of its in-studio televised half-time programs. It was also played during the warmups for the 1979 or 1980 World Series. (Thanks to Tal Cohen and Christopher Leo King.)
  • A Cry For Everyone has reportedly been used as Muzak! Mark Bosma writes: "Recently, at work, on our lovely, easy listening pop Muzak (with lyrics) there has been a song playing by an artist that nobody in the building seems to recognize. The reason I bring this up that during one of the songs (acoustic interludes) the music is exactly the same as GG's A CRY FOR EVERYONE, from Octopus. I kid you not. On the Columbia CD release the portion that is replayed begins at approx. :35 until :60. First time I've ever heard GG in another format. This artist robbed it from GG. I'm telling ya."
  • Giant Tracks was played as preconcert music for a Daevid Allen and Roy Harper concert at The Bottom of the Hill, San Francisco, California. (Thanks to Biffy the Elephant Shrew.)
  • The introductory 45 seconds of In a Glass House was played for a news feature about Kristalnacht, Nazi Germany's infamous "night of broken glass." The feature appeared on network TV in Minneapolis, MN around 1985. (Thanks to Paul Ostby.)
  • The Philadelphia Flyers, a National Hockey League team in the USA, used to play Spooky Boogie as a lead-in to television commercials, especially in the month of October. (Thanks to Brian Becker.)

Chance Relationships

  • Yes guitarist Peter Banks, in his autobiography, Beyond and Before: the Formative Years of Yes, said this on page 82:
    "I guess you could say, Yes was the epitome of what was later coined as 'progressive rock', although there really was no description of our music at the time. What followed was a slew of 'prog-rock' bands like King Crimson, Genesis, ELP, and we mustn't forget Gentle Giant; a very good band that was ahead of most of those groups at the time - they were quite exceptional. But let it be known - Yes were the first 'prog-rock' band ever! It does still surprise me when people include Pink Floyd and the Moody Blues into the progressive rock category. I always go, 'What?'"
  • Billy Sherwood of Yes is reportedly a big fan of Gentle Giant. In fact, Derek Shulman was the guy who introduced Billy to Chris Squire. (Thanks to Paul Secord of Yesworld.)
  • In the novel Whatever Love Is by UK TV comedian David Baddiel, one of the main characters is a guitarist from a once-nearly-successful band. In a fit of passion he uses a Gretsch guitar to smash open a wooden crate:
    "...he was holding the neck of the beautiful guitar; the body had come off and was stuck in the top of the crate, its upper curves still visible above the fractured panel. It looked like the cover of a 1970s album, designed by Hipgnosis for Yes or Gentle Giant or someone, an image of a guitar rising up from burial alive."

Might this be the only mention of Gentle Giant in English literature? (Thanks to Paul Moore.)

  • "I can recall one of Madonna's co-writers listing GG as a major influence in a Sounds [Magazine] interview." (Thanks to Bill Lavery.) This was probably Patrick Leonard, who also worked with Kevin Gilbert in Toy Matinee. (Thanks to Joe Baca.)
  • Martin Rushant, responsible for the coinspin and laugh at the beginning of The Boys In The Band, went on to produce the 1980s synth-pop band, The Human League. (Peter Corney)
  • Terry Shulman, another brother of Derek, Ray, and Phil, is an accomplished musician and artist. Born between Ray and Derek, Terry has written several books of poetry. According to a former neighbor, Terry is "a bit of a wildman," and well-known in the Portsmouth art scene.
  • On "Boheme," the debut album from German prog band Iskander, there is a track called "eltneg tnaig." (Read the title backwards.) The music tries to emulate Gentle Giant, at least in spots.
  • Ian Crichton, guitarist for Saga, is a major Gentle Giant fan. In fact, on Saga's eighth album, Beginners guide to Throwing Shapes, they did a tune called "Giant" that is about the band.
  • Elton John and Dudley Moore have played with Simon Dupree and the Big Sound.
  • Ozzie Ozbourne reportedly told this anecdote:
    "We have no option but to listen to Tool morning, noon and f**kin' night, it's Tool this, Tool that! You know, it's really funny. The other night my son said to me, "I went to see Tool last night, Dad, and saw this great band who opened for them, a band called King Crimson." I said, "Oh yeah, I've heard of them." I was like, if you like King Crimson, you probably want to listen to Yes, then you might want to listen to a band called Gentle Giant. He says, "Really?" And he comes back to me the next day and he says, "I got a chance to listen to the Gentle Giant album. It's fucking great music. How did you know about them?" Oh, I've only been around for fucking 35 years. "
  • At the end of his novel Le pere de nos peres, French author Bernard Werber lists the music he listened to during his writing: Erik Satie, Roger Waters, Dvorak, and Gentle Giant's "Edge of Twilight." (Thanks to Stephane Sladek.)
  • Rock musician Joe Jackson spent his youth in Portmouth, England. In his book A Cure For Gravity, he mentions Gentle Giant. The page number is 67 (US edition of the book), 79 (UK edition), and 81 (German edition). He also wrote a Symphony No. 1 in which the second movement sounds quite like Gentle Giant. (Thanks to Rolf Thalmann.)
  • Gary Green reports that he "once changed a tyre" for a stranded Leslie Crowther down by the sausage sandwich stand at Portmouth Harbour, at 3 in the morning, where Ray and I were wont to go in need of greasy refreshment."
  • Gary Green's brother Jeff once installed a television for Michael Palin of Monty Python.

Found Objects

  • "I recently visited Baltimore, Maryland, USA. There I had dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe. Afterwards I checked out all the memorabilia on the walls: one of Louis Armstrong's trumpets, George Harrison's "I am the walrus" guitar, etc. - and a bass drum with the words "Gentle Giant" painted on it, and a little sign on the wall indicating that it actually belonged to the band. I couldn't believe my eyes! This was the nearest I have ever been to GG: when they split up I was only 10 years old..." (Claus Krebs)
    • Followup: "Several years ago a GG bass drum was auctioned off by one of the big London auction houses. In one of my "Record Collector" magazines I should still have a photo of it. I remember that it didn't sell for the highest amount imagineable. It might well be this bass drum which ended up at the Hard Rock." (Carsten the Krautmeister)
  • There's a children's book called Gentle Giant Octopus by Karen Wallace and Mike Bostock (ISBN 076360318X). From the cover, I suspect there's a Gentle Giant connection. I tried contacting the authors through their publisher but received no response.
  • Here are some more books with "Gentle Giant" titles, by Michael Morpurgo and Wendy Robinson
  • Would you believe... a Pantagruel chocolate bar? Apparently it's a popular sweet in Portugual. (Thanks to Rainer Boettchers.)

Artwork

See also Artwork.

  • George Underwood, creator of the "giant's head" logo for Gentle Giant, also designed several other album covers that were never used. For Acquiring the Taste, his design was the Giant's tongue licking a pearl in an oyster shell. It was rejected by the band as being too similar to "In the Court of the Crimson King." For Octopus, his design was an octopus sitting in the giant's hands with the tentacles coming through between the fingers. The giant's face is not visible, only the beard. Unfortunately, George had to leave the UK to travel to the USA on short notice, and left the art to be delivered with a trusted friend... who screwed up. (Thanks to Dave Lederman, confirmed by John Weathers.)
  • An alternative cover was used for the USA release of Three Friends. It was a copy of the debut album's cover, even including the band members' pictures. One problem: the two albums had different drummers. Yes, Martin Smith's picture is on the back cover instead of Malcolm Mortimore's.

Miscellaneous

  • The Korg Karma synthesizer has a preset sound patch called "Gentle Giant Jam." It was created by freelance sound designer and GG fan Paul Osborn. He describes it thusly:
"The Korg Karma uses brand new technology - Kay Algorithmic Realtime Music Archetecture - invented by Stephen Kay & licenced to Korg - this technology produces exciting randomised 'live-band'- like improvisations by user input via the standard piano keyboard. 'GG Jam' is a 'Combi' sound which I produced to be made available to other Karma owners, and aims to reproduce the classic 'style' of the band in a 'live jam' setting, with instrumentation consisting of drums, guitar, bass, organ and clavinet (with wah effect). It's a fun Combi to use, (and quite authentic for reproducing their sound & style) and may also be the first synth patch ever to pay homage to GG!! The down side is that you need to own a Korg Karma to be able to use/play this Combi - so I'm hoping some of your subscribers own this keyboard. The Combi is available from Stephen Kay's website: http://www.karma-lab.com. And it can be found under the heading of 'Free Samples' (there is also some PDF documentation concerning this Combi) with the link as follows: http://www.karma-lab.com/KARMA/KARMA_ChemVol1.html."
  • On the vinyl album In a Glass House, the word "Ray's" is inscribed on side one. (Peter Corney)
  • On the vinyl Civilian album, Kerry's last name is misspelled "Minear." (Peter Corney)
  • "The Power and the Glory" is a quote from The Bible: Matthew 6:13. (Rev. K. B. Seager.)
  • Spooky Boogie seems to be the only Gentle Giant's tune ever to appear on the Soviet TV. It was played during one late-Soviet, Perestroika-time TV program. (Contributed by Woon Deadn.)