On June 1st 1974, the Rainbow Theatre in London hosted the first ever performance by what was (at least by those folk who’d heard of the artists) described as the greatest supergroup of the era.
In the frontline: Kevin Ayers, the Soft Machine co-founder who had been winding an ever more idiosyncratic solo career through the first half of the 1970s (and would continue to do so thereafter). John Cale, likewise, via the Velvet Underground. Brian Eno, one of the focal points of the original Roxy Music, now stepping out alone with his first solo record. Nico — another former Velvet, ex-model, actress and Warhol superstar. In the backing band: Mike Oldfield, a recent Ayers sideman, barely out of his teens and already renowned as creator of the premier rock leviathan of the past twelve months, Tubular Bells Robert Wyatt, another Ayers bandmate (via Soft Machine and solo), no mean drummer and now a distinctive singer making his first live appearance since the accident that rendered him wheelchair-bound. PLUS John “Rabbit” Bundrick Ollie Halsall Archie Legget Eddie Sparrow Liza Strike Doreen Chanter Irene Chanter And on the fringes, at the show or elsewhere, but looking on regardless, an extended circle of friends and family, acquaintances and strangers that encompasses some of the most vital musical and artistic talents of that (or any other) age... David Allen, Gavin Bryars, Tom Newman, Soft Machine, Bridget St John, Annea Lockwood, Fred Frith, Bill MacCormick, Henry Cow, the Velvet Underground, Gong, Lady June, Phil Manzanera, Hugh Hopper, Lindsay Cooper, Francis Monkman, Robert Fripp, Steve York, Tim Blake, Steve Hillage, Lol Coxhill, David Bedford, Gary Windo, Dave MacRae, Quiet Sun, Matching Mole, Roxy Music, Eno's Obscure Records and the International Carnival of Experimental Sound... and a cast of thousands.
A day-by-day guide to a generation's worth of classic albums, legendary concerts, mythic festivals and astonishing events, from Phun City to Hyde Park, from the Roundhouse to Reading, from the Belgian Woodstock to the Exploding Plastic Inevitable; and packed with exclusive interviews and material, June 1st 1974 is the story of one magical evening, and — for the decade on either side of it — the careers that made it possible.