Our top 10 Edgar Broughton Band songs list presents the music of an English rock outfit that started its musical pursuits as a blues rock-oriented act. Founded in 1968, the band rose into the late ‘60s underground blues scene under the moniker The Edgar Broughton Blues Band. Led by the Broughton brothers, drummer Steve and guitarist/vocalist Edgar Broughton, the band flourished in its hometown Warwick, before relocating to London, UK.
The move was necessitated by the need to sign a recording contract to reach a wider audience within and beyond the UK. While the band has been cited as a blues rock outfit, its members were not afraid of venturing into psychedelic rock, acid rock, and protopunk sounds. The move to blend several sub-genres into its blues rock sound saw the band change its name, adopting its well-known moniker, The Edgar Broughton Band.
Unfortunately, the move to blend several musical sub-genres into its signature blues rock sound was at the expense of its guitarist Victor Unitt, who would leave the band before returning to the lineup a while later. Guitarist Victor Unitt was a brief member of The Pretty Things, an English ensemble whose name was inspired by the 1955 Willie Dixon-penned hit “Pretty Things.”
Edgar Broughton Band’s Career Beginnings
After relocating to London, The Edgar Broughton Band was signed to Blackhill Enterprises, a rock music management establishment founded by Andrew King, Peter Jenner, and members of Pink Floyd. Blackhill Enterprises helped the band secure a recording contract with Harvest Records. Other acts/artists who were signed by Harvest Records in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s include Deep Purple, Babe Ruth, David Gilmour, Kevin Ayers, Kate Bush, Roy Harper, and Be-Bop Deluxe. Under Harvest Records, the Edgar Broughton Band issued five studio albums, two of which made it to the UK Albums Chart.
Edgar Broughton Band’s Album Releases over the Years
In 1969, the Edgar Broughton Band issued its debut studio album, Wasa Wasa. At the time Wasa Wasa was being recorded, the Edgar Broughton Band was a trio composed of the Broughton brothers and bassist Arthur Grant. The album saw the band blend its signature blues rock sound with psychedelic rock and acid rock inflections. Handling the production of the album was Peter Jenner who has produced for The Clash, Denzil, Ian Dury, T. Rex, and Pink Floyd. “Evil,” “Death of An Electric Citizen,” “American Boy Soldier,” and “Love in the Rain” are the best Edgar Broughton Band songs from the album.
Sing Brother Sing, issued in 1970, marked the band’s sophomore studio album. The album finds the band giving us a taste of its psychedelic rock and experimental rock explorations. Notable personnel featured in the technical part of the album was producer Peter Jenner and engineer Peter Mew, who is best known for his work with former Soft Machine founding member Kevin Ayers. The album features musical gems including “Aphrodite,” “Psychopath,” “Officer Dan,” and “There’s No Vibrations, But Wait!” Sing Brother Sing made it to number eighteen on the UK Albums Chart.
The Edgar Broughton Band returned in 1971 with its momentous eponymous third studio album. Often regarded as “The Meat Album” by the band’s fans, Edgar Broughton Band is by far the most successful album by the band, featuring multiple classics. The album finds the Edgar Broughton Band reuniting with guitarist Victor Unitt who had just left The Pretty Things after recording album tracks for the band’s fifth LP, Parachute.
Edgar Broughton Band also featured several other additional musicians making it the band’s most musically invested album. Among the featured additional personnel were Roy Harper, Mike Oldfield, David Bedford, violinist Johnny van Derek, P. Harold Fatt, and The Ladybirds. “Evening Over Rooftops,” “House of Turnabout,” “Thinking of You,” and “The Birth” are the best Edgar Broughton Band songs from the album. Edgar Broughton Band peaked at number twenty-eight on the UK Albums Chart.
In 1972, the Edgar Broughton Band returned with its fourth studio album, In Side Out. The album saw the band take on a blend of psychedelic rock and hard rock. Members of the Edgar Broughton Band handled the production of this album. “It’s Not You,” “Gone Blues,” and “Chilly Morning Mama” are the standout tracks off In Side Out.
The band went ahead to issue its fifth studio album Oora in 1973. Songs on this album continued to showcase the Edgar Broughton Band’s psychedelic rock influences tinged with hard rock sounds. Working with the Edgar Broughton Band in Oora as part of the additional personnel are David Bedford and Madeline Bell, a former member of the impressive British pop group Blue Mink. Some of the best Edgar Broughton Band songs from Oora include “Eviction,” “Things on My Mind,” and “Oh You Crazy Boy!”
Three years after parting with Harvest Records, the Edgar Broughton Band issued its sixth studio album, Bandages. Bandages was issued through NEMS Records with songs on the album branding it a primarily psychedelic rock record. “Love Gang” and “Speak Down the Wires” are some of the notable musical gems from Bandages. The band was without the Victor Unitt, with his position filled by guitarist/vocalist John Thomas.
In 1979, the band issued its seventh studio album Parlez-Vous English, as The Broughtons. This punk-oriented album release came after the band’s short hiatus. Parlez-Vous English was issued through Infinity Records, a label that was home to Hot Chocolate, New England, Solomon Burke, TKO, and the British pop group Racey. Among the additional personnel on this album is instrumentalist Peter Hope-Evans, a former member of the blues rock act Medicine Head. “Anthem,” “Little One,” “Meglamaster,” and “April in England” are some of the best Edgar Broughton Band songs from the album. The Edgar Broughton Band’s eighth album Superchip is a 1982 record issued through Sheet Records. The album is the final record by the band with some of its musical gems including “Innocent Bystanders,” “Subway Information,” and “The Last Electioneer.”
Edgar Broughton Band’s Legacy
The Edgar Broughton Band was among the most alluring underground blues acts of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. While blues rock influences mark the band’s groundbreaking work, the band has made significant psychedelic rock-tinged records throughout its career. The Edgar Broughton Band was cited by some critics as contemporaries of Hawkwind, Groundhogs, and The Pink Fairies
However, the Edgar Broughton Band cut its own path with its politically conscious approach in some of its songs. The Edgar Broughton Band’s career in the early ‘70s saw the band compared to the American acts/artists MC5 and Captain Beefheart owing to Edgar’s similar gritty vocal style. Free concerts made the band quite popular in the UK. Here we present the ten best Edgar Broughton Band songs of all time.
#10- Death of An Electric Citizen
Ushering us to the ten best Edgar Broughton Band songs list is the grand hit “Death of An Electric Citizen.” The song was among the first songs the band recorded after signing a recording deal with Harvest Records in June 1969. “Death of An Electric Citizen” went on to be featured as the lead track off the band’s debut studio album Wasa Wasa. The song is delivered with Captain Beefheart-inspired vocals.
“Death of An Electric Citizen” feels more like an acid rock hit but the heavy blues tinges echo the Edgar Broughton Band’s blues origins. The song features unrelenting basslines and stunningly intense guitar riffs. Members of Electric Citizen, a hard rock/stoner rock band formed in Cincinnati cited the song “Death of An Electric Citizen” to have been the inspiration for the band’s name.
#9- Love Gang
Without a doubt, the best place to hunt for the best Edgar Broughton Band songs is the band’s albums issued through Harvest Records. The perfect place to find a classic from the Edgar Broughton Band beyond the band’s tenure with Harvest Records is the 1976 album Bandages. “Love Gang” proves to be the one breathtaking song from the album worth listing on our ten best Edgar Broughton Band songs list.
The song is the band’s fairly successful attempt at issuing a proper boogie rock ballad. However, the band barely managed to avoid its psychedelic rock influences on this track. Nevertheless, it is the lyrical distinction of this hit that makes it quite a solid pick from the album, robbing the hits “Signal Injector,” “John Wayne,” and “Speak Down the Wires” a chance to feature on our list.
#8- Love in the Rain
Coming in at number eight on our top ten Edgar Broughton Band songs list is the tremendous hit “Love in the Rain.” While “Love in The Rain” brings the inner Captain Beefheart self of Edgar’s vocals, something more portentous is happening in this song. Like the hit “Evil,” which misses out on the list, “Love in the Rain” is an outstanding track that brings out the band’s slight drift to some heavy guitar work.
“Love in the Rain” and “Evil”’ are among the songs that bring out the pure hard rock influences in the band’s acid rock/psychedelic rock sounds of Wasa Wasa. The song’s heavy guitar riffs might not sound alluring to blues-rock purists. However, this “heavy rock-oriented” guitar riffs in the two songs open a discussion as to why the Edgar Broughton Band was featured in the Nigel Planer-narrated BBC Four Heavy Metal Britannia documentary as one of the bands that “unknowingly” gave life to heavy metal.
#7- Thinking of You
“Thinking of You” is one of the most sought-after hits by the Edgar Broughton Band from the band’s eponymous third studio album. This swinging hit has its arrangement evoking memories of the exquisite 1970 hit “Working Class Hero” by John Lennon, the former co-lead vocalist of The Beatles. Edgar Broughton’s vocals in this song are far from his usual Captain Beefheart-Esque grunts.
In this song, Edgar unleashes a vocal delivery that falls somewhere between Pink Floyd’s Syd Barrett and Uriah Heep’s Ken Hensley. “Thinking of You” features singer Mike Oldfield on the mandolin. The band’s drummer Steve Broughton repaid the favor by playing drums in Mike’s debut studio album Tubular Bells, issued in May 1973.
#6- Apache Dropout
Number six on our ten best Edgar Broughton Band songs list is the superb hit “Apache Dropout.” The song was issued as a single on November 20, 1970, with “Freedom” serving as its B-Side track. “Apache Dropout,” a psychedelic rock-infused track, sampled two songs including the 1960 hit “Apache” by The Shadows and “Dropout Boogie” by Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band.
Issued under the production of Peter Jenner, “Apache Dropout” rose to become one of the most popular songs by the Edgar Broughton Band. The song was a mainstream success, rising to a peak position of number thirty-three on the UK Singles Chart. “Apache Dropout” is the Edgar Broughton Band’s final song to ever make it to the UK Singles Chart.
Introducing us to the musical finesse of the Edgar Broughton Band’s sophomore studio album is the impressive hit “Aphrodite.” “Aphrodite” is highly revered by the band’s fans thanks to its beautiful laid-back groove. The vocal delivery on this track feels original with some alluring backing vocals from bassist Arthur Grant. “Aphrodite” is the most popular hit off Sing Brother Sing, forming part of the reason the album made it to the UK mainstream charts.
#4- House of Turnabouts
“House of Turnabouts” is yet another impressive cut off the Edgar Broughton Band’s eponymous third studio album. The clear vocals from Edgar Broughton are supplemented by background vocals from the band’s bassist Arthur Brown. Away from the nervous-sounding yet anthemic vocals, the first thing we notice with the song’s instrumentation is the impressive psychedelic rock influences. Additional hard rock influences in this song echo loud especially after the first verse, thanks to the heavy funky guitar riffs.
#3- Out Demons Out
The third song on our ten best Edgar Broughton Band songs list is the raucous hit “Out Demons Out.” As we mentioned earlier, the Edgar Broughton Band had its music a tad bit politically charged. “Out Demons Out” is the one big hit that backs this claim up. The song seemed to have drawn inspiration from The Fugs. Earlier on October 21, 1967, The Fugs arrived at the Pentagon with magician and filmmaker Kenneth Anger as part of the anti-war demonstration.
The massively attended protest found The Fugs chanting repeatedly “Out Demon Out!” Later in 1970, the Edgar Broughton Band dropped their own “rendition” of the ritual chant, the hit “Out Demons Out.” The song was a success on the UK Singles Chart, rising to the thirty-ninth spot. “Out Demons Out” stayed on the UK Singles Chart for five weeks. During live concerts back in the ‘70s, this song used to get the masses wild! The song reminds us of yet another hit “Up Yours,” which can easily be described as a goofy political satire.
#2- Hotel Room
“Hotel Room” is one of the most sought-after singles of 1970 by the band. This mellow track feels quite anthemic, giving us a taste of the band’s solid musicianship. “Hotel Room” feels quite harmonious with its guitar riffs evoking the pure rock ecstasy of the ‘70s. This haunting tune strikes a balance between blues rock and folk-rock influences.
The dreamy quality is a result of a beautiful arrangement and impressive lyrical content. While “Hotel Room” never made it to the charts, the song grew to become one of the fan-favorite tracks by the band. “Hotel Room” was covered by The Blue Aeroplanes, featuring on the band’s 2007 album Harvester.
#1- Evening Over Rooftops
Number one on our ten best Edgar Broughton Band songs list is the alluring hit “Evening Over Rooftops.” The song is the most sought-after hit by the band off its eponymous third studio album. “Evening Over Rooftops” is a bold psychedelic rock ballad tinged with folk and country rock influences. The poetic lyrical content and masterpiece delivery guided “Evening Over Rooftops” to become the band’s signature hit.
Victor Unitt had just returned to the band’s lineup after a short stint with The Pretty Things when he joined Edgar Broughton in writing the incredible lyrics to this song. Joining the band in this track on the backing vocals is The Ladybirds, a British female trio whose origins are traced to the vocal group The Vernon Girls.
Top 10 Edgar Broughton Band Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2022
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