Sky: Vinyl Reissues album review

Sky's vinyl back catalogue: now in stunning technocolur!

Cover art for Sky's Vinyl Reissues

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Quite whether your average, dyed in the wool Sky fan would want the band’s back catalogue on coloured vinyl is open to debate, but here it is – the band’s full back catalogue (only recently reissued on CD by Esoteric) resplendent in differing shades of coloured vinyl – Sky in blue, Cadmium in yellow – you get the drift! Aside from the novelty factor, what this set does highlight is that there is clearly still a market for the proggy classicists and their ouevre. And why not? Dismissed as a kind of dad rock act when they first appeared in 1979, mainly due to the presence of John “Cavatina” Williams, while the prog pedigree of the other bandmembers Francis Monkman, Herbie Flowers and Tristan Fry was overlooked (possibly given the fact that the UK was in the grip of new wave at the time). That, however, was largely rectified with the Esoteric series last year, with people sitting up and taking note of what great music the band actually made. The fusing of rock and classical was nothing new in the late 70s – indeed it had been the bedrock of many progressive sounds for almost a decade – but Sky popularised it – possibly aggravating the purists.

They had a huge hit with Bach’s Toccata in 1980, and the resultant Sky 2 album was, at the time, the fastest selling double album to reach Platinum sales figures. Although the line-up fluctuated down the line (Monkman quit in 1980, Williams in 1984 and Rick Wakeman toured with the band in the same year), the quality of the music rarely dipped. 1982’s Sky 4: Forthcoming was, amazingly, their first all classical affair, followed by the Mozart tribute of 1987. Recently Williams has spoken of his thoughts on reuniting, although the death of other original guitarist Kevin Peek in 2013 casts a cloud over the possibility, and the last Sky live performance was in May 1995. Still, reunion or not, nothing can take away from the quality of the music Sky made, all celebrated here in varying shades of vinyl. Although in truth it doesn’t matter what colour it comes in, Sky remain a world class act and worthy addition to the prog rock canon.

Jerry Ewing

Writer and broadcaster Jerry Ewing is the Editor of Prog Magazine which he founded for Future Publishing in 2009. He grew up in Sydney and began his writing career in London for Metal Forces magazine in 1989. He has since written for Metal Hammer, Maxim, Vox, Stuff and Bizarre magazines, among others. He created and edited Classic Rock Magazine for Dennis Publishing in 1998 and is the author of a variety of books on both music and sport, including Wonderous Stories; A Journey Through The Landscape Of Progressive Rock.