Oh man do we love this band. Curved Air was never really well known in the Unites States, but they were, and still are widely celebrated in Europe. It’s a shame how many great European Progressive Rock Bands never made it big in the United States. If you unfamiliar with the bands and wind up hearing a song or two, you may judge them as more of a psychedelic band than a progressive group. However the deeper you go into their albums, the mores transparent the band’s progressiveness appears. Just listen to a track like “Piece of Mind,” and try to argue Curved Air was not progressive.
The origins of the band Curved Air developed out of a band called Sisyphus. Members of the group Sisyphus had seen an actress and folk singer by the name of Sonja Kristina starring in the Theatrical play Hair which was appearing on a London stage. Sonja Kristina joined the group and they changed the name of the band to Curved Air.
Curved Air released their first album in 1970 entitled Air Conditioning. A year later they released their second album entitled simply Second Album. The record contained the band’s biggest hit in the song “Back Street Luv.” In 1972, they released the album Phantasmagoria. The band continued to release albums on a steady basis with the record, Air Cut in 1973, Midnight Wire in 1975 and their final album of the decade Airborne in 1976. The band reunited in the 2000’s and released a new studio album in 2014 entitled North Star.
Rock critics in the United States have always mentioned the influences that Led Zeppelin had on the band Heart. However, when you take a listen to Curved Air, you can’t help but notice how it seems Curved Air was the band that Heart may have been listening to just as much as they listened to Led Zeppelin.
Our 11 Essential Curved Air songs takes a look at some of the most exciting songs this great band released throughout their career. The videos define the star power of lead singer Sonja Kristina and her mesmerizing performances with Curved Air.
# 11 – The Purple Speed Queen
Opening up our 11 Essential Curved Air Songs list is the great track “The Purple Speed Queen,” The song was released on the band’s Air Cut album. The record was released in 1973. The album also featured the soon to be legendary Eddie Jobson on violin.
# 10 – Stay Human
We just love the opening guitar riff on the great track “Stay Human.” It sounds like 1974 all over again when in actuality the song was released on their comeback album in 2014. Not many bands have a 40 year lapse in between records and still sound so great. It was good to have them back.
# 9 – Woman On A One Night Stand
The Curved Air song “Woman On A One Night Stand,” was the opening track on the band’s 1975 album Midnight Wire. A young drummer by the name of Stewart Copeland would join the group on the album.
# 8 – Young Mother
One of our favorite Curved Air songs appeared on the band’s second album entitled Second Album. The record Second Album was released in 1971. The song “Young Mother,” opened the record. The song was written before the band Curved Air was even formed. The song “Young Mother,” was originally composed during the days of Sisyphus which was the name of the band before lead singer Sonja Kristina joined the group.
# 7 – Kids To Blame
“Kids To Blame,” was released on the Airborne album in 1976. It was the band’s final album until the reunion album in 1984. The song “Kids To Blame,” was covered by The Police during the bands early days. The song was written by Stewart Copeland of The Police who also played drums in Curved Air in 1975 and 1976.
# 6 – Melinda, More Or Less
The great Curved Air song “Melinda, More Or Less,” was released on the band’s Phantasmagoria album. The ground breaking record was released in 1972. The band could display such tenderness at times and then suddenly explode into a raging rock and roll storm of progressiveness. The Phantasmagoria album was a record in which many fans and critics defined as their best.
# 5 – It Happened Today
As we continue our look at some of the great Curved Air songs we take a glance at this great video from the early 1970’s. The song “It Happened Today,” was the opening track to the band’s debut album. This would be the first song fans would hear from the band. Listen to that great piano break and rhythm change at the end of the song. Totally unexpected. That’s progressive rock.
# 4 – Phantasmagoria
The title track from Phantasmagoria is simply to die for. This song is simple proof that this band was the real deal. “Phantasmagoria,” was another Curved Air song in which the bands displayed their tendency to break down the walls between the genres of progressive and psychedelic music.
# 3 – Backstreet Luv
The song “Backstreet Luv,” was the band’s biggest hit. The song hit number 4 on the United Kingdom music charts in 1971. It was not a hit in the United States which was a shame because it would have tuned people on in the States to this great band. The song was released on the record Second Album in 1971.
# 2 – Marie Antoinette
The great grooving opening to the song “Marie Antoinette,” set the tone for Sonja Kristina’s captivating vocals. It was on songs like “Marie Antoinette,” where the band rode the fine line between progressive rock and psychedelic rock.
# 1 – Piece of Mind
The Curved Air song “Piece of Mind,” was the closing track on the band’s sophomore album entitled Second Album. The song defined the band’s progressive sound. The song was composed by the band’s guitarist Francis Monkman. In fact, the entire second side of the record was composed by Francis Monkman. The album’s A side was composed by violinist and pianist Darryl Way and lead singer Sonja Kristina. “Piece of Mind,” is the perfect way to close our top 10 Curved Air Songs list as each musician in the band is wonderfully represented in this amazing piece of music.