Gentle Giant were an English progressive rock band active between 1970 and 1980. The band were known for the complexity and sophistication of its music and for the varied musical skills of its members. All of the band members, except Malcolm Mortimore, were multi-instrumentalists. Although not commercially successful, they did achieve a cult following.
The band’s onetime stated aim was to “expand the frontiers of contemporary popular music at the risk of becoming very unpopular”, although this stance was to alter significantly with time.
Gentle Giant’s music was considered complex even by progressive rock standards, drawing on a broad swath of music including folk, soul, jazz, and classical music. Unlike many of their progressive rock contemporaries, their “classical” influences ranged beyond the Romantic and incorporated medieval, baroque, and modernist chamber music elements. The band also had a taste for broad themes for their lyrics, drawing inspiration not only from personal experiences but from philosophy and the works of both François Rabelais and R. D. Laing. In 2015 they were recognised with the lifetime achievement award at the Progressive Music Awards.