Australian band Ariel was the brainchild of Mike Rudd and Bill Putt, following on from the break-up of their previous band Spectrum in April 1973. Ariel played blues-tinged rock with some country overtones.
They signed to EMI’s progressive label Harvest, producing their debut A Strange Fantastic Dream in November 1973, probably their most consistent Prog Rock album featuring complicated arrangements and spirited performances. Despite the controversial drug-tinged cover, the album reached #12 on the Aussie LP charts in 1974.
Their second LP, Jellabad Mutant, was intended to be a science fiction-inspired prog opera but the final tapes were ultimately rejected by EMI with its overflowing vault of turgid and twiddly prog.
The original Ariel line-up broke up in 1974 leaving only Rudd and Putt. John Lee (ex-Dingoes) joined on drums with Harvey James on guitar. Two months later the band left for their first trip to the UK.
Glyn Mason (ex-Chain) joined in January 1975 and the three-guitar line-up recorded I’ll Take You High which appeared on the live various artists’ album A-Reefer-Derci on the Mushroom label.
In 1976 Harvey James left to join popmeisters Sherbet and a keyboard player, Tony Slavich, joined. The new line-up recorded I Can Do Anything and Goodnight Fiona.
The album was a showcase for Ariel’s pub-rock blues and country sound. It peaked at #19 in Melbourne during 1976.
Ariel called it a day with a lavish concert at Melbourne Dallas Brooks Hall on 21 August 1977. The concert resulted in the live albums Aloha Ariel and Ariel Alive! – More From Before.
Guitar, vocals, harmonica