Top 10 Soft Machine Songs

Soft Machine Songs

Photo: By Tim Duncan (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

There are many bands in classic rock history that have merged the elements of jazz and rock and roll into a sound that many fans found most inviting. Artists like Steely Dan, Blood Sweat & Tears and Chicago found great commercial success in the blending of rock, pop and jazz genres. There were other bands in classic rock history that merged elements of classical music and rock and roll that for the most part we have described as progressive rock. Bands like Yes, Emerson Lake & Palmer and Genesis also found great commercial success in their mixture of musical elements. The band Soft Machine took the genres of psychedelic rock, progressive rock, classical music and mostly jazz to formulate a sound unlike any other band in history.

Most people have labeled the band Soft Machine as progressive rock, but the jazz element and their improvisational skills blended with all those other rock formats elevated the band into their own unique category. The only other artist that we could compare a band like Soft Machine too would probably be Frank Zappa who also belongs in his own unique category.

Our Top 10 Soft Machine Songs list is simply an attempt to cover various time periods of the band’s career. We will not get into the history too much because the band went through so many lineup changes. We will dedicate an entire article to covering the personal of the band and some of the legendary musicians like Allan Holdsworth and Andy Summers of The Police, who played with the band at times. This article will just serve as an intro to some of the band’s music

We have picked some of the highlights here, but was also have chosen some of the lesser known songs. If you don’t know the band, we hope this list turns you on to one of the most unique bands of the twentieth century.

# 10 – One Over The Eight

We start out our Top 10 Soft Machine Songs list with a track from their ninth studio album entitled Softs. The album was released in 1976. The album was recorded at the famous Abbey Road Studios in London which had been made famous because of The Beatles Abby Road album cover.

# 9 – All White

Soft Machine’s “All White,” track was released on their fifth album appropriately entitled 5. This has always been one of our favorite Soft Machine tracks. The album was released in 1968. The album 5 featured Mike Ratledge on keys, Kevin Ayers on bass, and lead vocals, and Robert Wyatt on drums and lead vocals.

# 8 – Love Makes Sweet Music

Like many progressive rock bands that got their start in the late 1960’s, some of the band’s early material was bathed in psychedelia. Soft Machine first single release was a very cool hippie inspired tune called “Love Makes Sweet Music.” The single was released in 1967

# 7 – Out Bloody Rageous

It’s hard to believe that this is the same band playing on “Out-Bloody-Rageous,” who released the single “Love Makes Sweet Music.” That’s why we love Soft Machine. No one ever knew what to expect from this great Canterbury based band.

# 6 – We Did It Again (Live Versions)

No other song in the band’s catalog may have displayed Soft Machine’s love for improvising than the song “We Did It Again.” The studio version of We Did It Again is short , but the live versions of “We Did It Again,” were always concert highlight.

# 5 – Teeth

“Teeth,” may be one of the lesser known tracks in the band’s catalog, but it’s one of our favorite Soft Machine songs. The track “Teeth,” was released on the band’s album entitled Fourth. The record was released in 1971. The band’s fourth album was a legendary release. The record album featured the musicians Elton Dean on alto saxophone Mike Ratledge on acoustic piano, electric piano and Lowrey organ, Hugh Hopper on bass guitar and Robert Wyatt on drums.

# 4 – Hope For Happiness

The Soft Machine song “Hope For Happiness,” was the opening track on the band’s debut album. The record was released in 1968. The song was written by Soft Machine founding members Kevin Ayers, Mike Ratledge and Robert Wyatt.

# 3 – Slightly All The Time

The track “Slightly All The Time,” was released on the band’s third album. The album was a two record set entitled Third. It is one of the most significant albums of the band’s career. The record is very much an important representation of the Canterbury music scene. It was a scene that also included bands like Camel and Caravan. If you are going to purchase only one Soft Machine album, Third is the one to get.

# 2 – Why Are We Sleeping

The great track “Why Are We Sleeping,” was released on the band’s debut album. The song appeared as the next to last track on the album. The songs powerful opening grabs you right away. The spoken word intro sets up the great chorus and your hooked onto a ride in 1960’s psychedelia. The two chord organ comping juxtaposed against the poetry submerges you into tranquility.

# 1 – Moon In June

Our choice for the number one song on our Top 10 Soft Machine songs list is the legendary track “Moon In June.” The song was released on the band’s two record set Thirds. The band’s lineup on the album consisted of Elton Dean on alto saxophone Mike Ratledge on acoustic piano, electric piano and Lowrey organ, Hugh Hopper on bass guitar and Robert Wyatt on drums.

Updated March 2021

Top 10 Soft Machine Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021

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