Back to Home page

OK, it's audience participation time! Here's a few top ten favourite Mellotron tracks (in order or not) sent in by visitors to the site (and some of my mates). If you'd like to add your own, please don't feel obliged to list either things that everyone's heard of, or indeed, total obscurities. Just ten Mellotron-fuelled songs that give you that 'Tron rush' we all know so well. Er, don't we? Oh, and if you'd like to add comments, feel free.

Incidentally, things go awry occasionally, so if you don't hear back from me, your mail got lost, so please try again!

Submit your own top ten here

A quick running total of the top entries:

  1. The current (and seemingly perpetual (change)) winners, on an outrageous 22, are Yes, with And You And I
  2. On 19 are Genesis, with Watcher Of The Skies (studio and live takes, plus an honourable mention for Steve Hackett's sampletastic version)
  3. On 17 are King Crimson, with Epitaph and Genesis again, with The Fountain Of Salmacis
  4. On 14, it's Yes again, with Heart Of The Sunrise and King Crimson, with the immortal The Court Of The Crimson King
  5. On 13, more King Crimson, with In The Wake Of Poseidon and Starless and Genesis, with Dancing With The Moonlit Knight (one entry adding Aisle Of Plenty)
  6. On 11 we have the inevitable Beatles - Strawberry Fields Forever (well, it wouldn't be Revolution 9, would it?)
  7. On 9, David Bowie's Space Oddity, Genesis with The Cinema Show (live and studio) and Silent Sorrow In Empty Boats and The Moody Blues with the inevitable Nights In White Satin
  8. On 8, The Moody Blues again with the less inevitable Out And In
  9. On 7, more Genesis with Entangled and Supper's Ready (or parts thereof), Limelight with Man Of Colours, The Moody Blues with Legend Of A Mind (live and studio), The Strawbs with New World and Yes, with Gates Of Delirium (or parts thereof)
  10. On 6, it's Genesis with Firth Of Fifth, Gentle Giant with Three Friends, Radiohead's Exit Music (For A Film) (one entry cheekily doubled with Lucky), The Strawbs with Hero And Heroine and Yes, with Close To The Edge
  11. On 5 it's Genesis again, with Blood On The Rooftops and Fly On A Windshield and/or Broadway Melody Of 1974, King Crimson's Cirkus, Sailor's Tale and The Devil's Triangle, England's superb Three Piece Suite, The Rolling Stones' 2000 Light Years From Home and Pink Floyd's Sysyphus
  12. Alphabetically on 4 there's Black Sabbath's Changes, Focus with the gorgeous Le Clochard, Genesis yet again, with Mad Man Moon and Can-Utility & The Coastliners, Steve Hackett, with Shadow Of The Hierophant and Spectral Mornings, King Crimson with Trio, The Moody Blues with Forever Afternoon (Tuesday?), Beyond and Have You Heard (including entries adding The Voyage), PFM with River Of Life/Appena Un Po, Simon Dupree's beautiful Kites, Tangerine Dream's Phaedra and Yes, with The Revealing Science Of God
  13. Also alphabetically on 3, there's Änglagård:'s Kung Bore (plus one 'no specific track'), The Beatles' Flying, Arthur Brown's Kingdom Come's Superficial Roadblocks, Family with The Voyage, Genesis, with Seven Stones and Eleventh Earl Of Mar, Gracious!, with Heaven and Super Nova, Joy Division, Decades, Manfred Mann's Semi-Detached Suburban Mr James, The Moody Blues with Dawn: Dawn Is A Feeling, My Song and The Voyage on its own, Museo Rosenbach, Zarathustra, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, Joan Of Arc (Maid Of Orleans), The Pretty Things' SF Sorrow Is Born, The Rolling Stones, We Love You, Spring's The Golden Fleece, Tangerine Dream, Rubycon (Part 2/complete), Traffic, Hole In My Shoe, Rick Wakeman, Catherine Howard and Yes, with Awaken
  14. Also also alphabetically on 2... (deep breath): Aerosmith's Dream On, Anekdoten, with Ricochet and Sad Rain, Änglagård:'s Jördrok, Barclay James Harvest (at last!) with Early Morning, She Said, Mocking Bird and After The Day, The Bee Gees, Every Christian Lion Hearted Man Will Show You, Caravan's Golf Girl, Cardiacs' The Whole World Window, Cathedral [US]'s The Search, Celeste's Principe Di Un Giorno and Favole Antiche, Deadwood Forest, Dry, Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger & the Trinity, This Wheel's On Fire, Earth & Fire, Storm & Thunder, Family with Mellowing Grey, Focus' side-long Eruption, Edgar Froese's Epsilon In Malaysian Pale, a low-ranking Genesis classic, One For The Vine, Greenslade, Bedside Manners Are Extra, Hawkwind's Assault and Battery/The Golden Void twofer, Jethro Tull's Cross-Eyed Mary, Elton John's This Song Has No Title, King Crimson, with Islands and Lizard, Led Zeppelin's The Rain Song (at last!), Manfred Mann's Ha! Ha! Said The Clown, The Moody Blues with Candle Of Life, Watching And Waiting, Question and Gypsy (live and studio), Pallas, The Ripper, Pink Floyd with Julia Dream, PFM, Il Banchetto, The Pretty Things' Baron Saturday, Pulsar's Strands Of The Future, The Rolling Stones, On With The Show, Roxy Music's Ladytron (various versions), Rush, Tears, Sebastian Hardie with Four Moments (or parts thereof), Spring, The Prisoner, The Strawbs, The Life Auction, Queen of Dreams and Autumn, Tangerine Dream, Mysterious Semblance At The Strand Of Nightmares, Tintern Abbey, Beeside, Van der Graaf Generator, A Plague Of Lighthouse Keepers, Wobbler's Hinterland album (first whole album listed here...), XTC's wonderful Frivolous Tonight and finally, The Zombies with Hung Up On A Dream and Care Of Cell 44. Phew

Some surprises here, with Steve Hackett's 'Shadow of the Hierophant' still only rating four after several years and the Moody Blues' votes being split across well over a dozen different tracks, nine attracting more than two entries. So far... Same with BJH, with only three repeats. Too much of a good thing, maybe?

So, the artists with the highest number of songs (over three, anyway) are:

  1. Genesis: 22
  2. The Moody Blues: 18 or 19, depending
  3. King Crimson: 15
  4. Yes: 13
  5. The Strawbs: 12
  6. Barclay James Harvest: 10
  7. Steve Hackett: 7
  8. Greenslade: 6
  9. Änglagård: 5
  10. Beatles: 5 (more than half of these don't contain Mellotron...)
  11. Gentle Giant: 5
  12. Tangerine Dream: 5 (though one shouldn't count)
  13. Pavlov's Dog: 4
  14. Pink Floyd: 4
  15. Spring: 4

And those with the highest number of actual entries (five or above):

  1. Runaway winners Genesis: 120
  2. Runaway, er, runners-up King Crimson: 85
  3. Yes: 64
  4. The Moody Blues: 55
  5. The Strawbs: 26
  6. The Beatles: 16
  7. Barclay James Harvest: 14
  8. Steve Hackett: 13
  9. David Bowie: 11
  10. Tangerine Dream: 11
  11. Gentle Giant: 10
  12. Änglagård: 9
  13. PFM: 9
  14. Gracious!: 8
  15. Pink Floyd: 8
  16. Radiohead: 8
  17. Rolling Stones: 8
  18. Focus: 7
  19. Greenslade: 7
  20. Limelight: 6
  21. Spring: 6
  22. England: 5 (all for one song)
  23. Family: 5
  24. Pretty Things: 5
  25. Traffic: 5

This page was starting to look a little chaotic and is well oversize, so I've split the entries geographically, i.e. UK/rest of world.

Best comments? Has to be Marco Rossi.


UK

I'll start with my own, because... I can!

Well, that's this week's choice, anyway...


My old mate Brian Stanbrook listed 21, so here's the first ten...


One from my not quite so old (but older, if you get my drift) mate Gary Knight. I've left Gary's ego massage of my good self in because, again, I can

Gary: When Andy first asked me to put together my Top Ten list, I thought it was going to be simple enough. But the list has changed so much that to be honest I don't think I could ever do a true top ten list because there are so many excellent Mellotron tracks about. So the ones I have picked are the bands that first set me on the road all those years back to becoming a true Mellotron fan


My good friend Mark Rae. Mark quite likes Peter Hammill

  1. Van der Graaf Generator: Wondering (World Record; 1976)
  2. Genesis: Dancing with the Moonlit Knight (Selling England By the Pound; 1973)
  3. Van der Graaf Generator: A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers (Pawn Hearts; 1971)
  4. Genesis: Cinema Show (Selling England By the Pound; 1973)
  5. Van der Graaf Generator: Pilgrims (Still Life; 1976)
  6. Peter Hammill: Easy to Slip Away (Chameleon in the Shadow of the Night; 1973)
  7. Pink Floyd: Atom Heart Mother (Atom Heart Mother; 1970)
  8. Yes: Heart of the Sunrise (Fragile; 1971)
  9. Beatles: Strawberry Fields Forever (single, 1967)
  10. Elton John: Daniel (Don't Shoot Me, I'm Only the Piano Player; 1973)


My also good friend Doug Melbourne (ex ReGenesis, now of Melbourne with wife Carrie).

  1. Genesis: Supper's Ready (Foxtrot; 1972) The '666' bit - soaring strings, very dramatic
  2. Radiohead: The Tourist (OK Computer; 1997) Gorgeous and yet subtle! Jonny Greenwood seems to understand the Mellotron, unlike Oasis for instance who plonk it on their songs like an ill-fitting wig
  3. Yes: And You and I (Close to the Edge; 1972) My favourite contribution By Rick Wakeman to music
  4. Genesis: Entangled (A Trick of the Tail; 1976) Tony Banks seems able to blend sounds better than anyone, and this is a fine sound of which the Mellotron is but a beautiful component
  5. King Crimson: Dinosaur (THRAK; 1995) Is that a Mellotron? When did the sunshine band join them? It's certainly the spirit of a Mellotron, so I insist it's included [Ed. really not sure about this one, although there is some Mark II on the album]
  6. Genesis: Dancing with the Moonlit Knight (Selling England By the Pound; 1973) Brilliant aggressive use of the choir. Not so much white surplices as flak jackets
  7. Elton John: This Song Has No Title (Goodbye Yellow Brick Road; 1973) There's some great Mellotron on 'Yellow Brick Road', always serving the needs of the song rather than vice versa like so much prog IMO which seems intent on getting some great licks, some cool sounds, and then trying to wedge them into an ungainly piece of music. Anyway, enough anorak muggings for one morning
  8. Steve Hackett: Spectral Mornings (Spectral Mornings; 1979) Brilliant piece of music, the strings Mellotron sound in the middle is so evocative
  9. David Bowie: Space Oddity (Space Oddity; 1969) Actually, this was Wakeman as well, wasn't it? So that's 2 good things he's done. Oh, and that organ bit on 'Awaken'...
  10. Elkstabbå: Concerto for 2 Mellotrons and Timpani (private tape, 197?) What it lacks in quality it makes up for in quantity. As far as I know, Elkstabbå have the only set of Hurdy Gurdy tapes in existence


Roger O.Thornhill. Current residence: Nowhere. Roger's list is in alphabetical order.


One of the few people who saw me play live back whenever; Mike Rennie. And Mike... that's twelve

  1. Genesis: Entangled (A Trick of the Tail; 1976)
  2. Radiohead: Lucky (OK Computer; 1997)
  3. Rush: Tears (2112; 1976)
  4. Be-Bop Deluxe: Crying to the Sky (Sunburst Finish; 1976)
  5. The Moody Blues: Have You Heard (On The Threshold of a Dream; 1969)
  6. Aimee Mann: 4th of July (Whatever; 1993)
  7. Barclay James Harvest: The Iron Maiden (Barclay James Harvest; 1970)
  8. Genesis: Silent Sorrow in Empty Boats (The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway; 1974)
  9. Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark: Joan of Arc (Maid of Orleans) (Architecture and Morality; 1981)
  10. Hawkwind: The Demented Man (Warrior on the Edge of Time; 1975)
  11. Radiohead: Exit Music (for a Film) (OK Computer; 1997)
  12. Cardiacs: In a City Lining (A Little Man and a House and the Whole World Window; 1988)


Aaaaand... Jo Rennie!

Jo sez: "Well this is a first- a list from a genuine, medically confirmed lady of the female persuasion. Now boys, don't get all flustered, ladies like Mellotrons too and have fantastic taste in music".


Kevin McLoughlin (Chessington, Surrey)


Ross Milden

  1. King Crimson: In the Wake of Poseidon (In the Wake of Poseidon; 1970)
  2. Strawbs: New World (Grave New World; 1972) The Mellotron could have been created for this song. An incredibly doleful mournful sound throughout conjuring up the sadness of the violence in Northern Ireland. Listen on head-phones during the last verse and you can actually hear the tapes running; the strings creating a rushing sound and Blue Weaver blending each chord into the next, a real master
  3. Genesis: Dancing With the Moonlit Knight (Selling England By the Pound; 1973)
  4. Pete Brown & Piblokto: Station Song (The Art School Dance Goes on Forever; 1970) Beautiful mix of Hammond and Mellotron throughout
  5. Barclay James Harvest: Dark Now My Sky [live] (BBC In Concert, 2002, recorded 1972?) The track "Dark Now My Sky" on the first album is overlong with spurious dialogue and other bits. All this was edited out live to leave one of the most epic tracks I've ever heard. This required absolutely full on Mellotron By Mr Wolstenholme and was their show's big finish for several years. Then they released their Live Double Album and left this track off. Crazy
  6. King Crimson: Starless (Red; 1974)
  7. Hawkwind: Psychedelic Warlords (In the Hall Of the Mountain Grill; 1974) Simon House brought a M400 to the band and used it quite tastefully. Got a real attacking sound on the track "Psychedelic Warlords"
  8. Genesis: Watcher of the Skies [live] (Genesis Live; 1973)
  9. Paul Weller: Stanley Road (Stanley Road; 1995) Gorgeous use of Novatron on the track Stanley Road. When he did it on the box [TV] without it, it sounded terrible
  10. Treble Charger: Christ is on the Lawn (Maybe it's Me; 1997)

And honourable mentions to...


Neil

  1. Gentle Giant: Three Friends (Three Friends; 1972)
  2. Genesis: Dancing with the Moonlit Knight (Selling England By the Pound; 1973)
  3. Gracious!: The Dream (Gracious!; 1970)
  4. England: Three Piece Suite (Garden Shed; 1977)
  5. Greenslade: Drum Folk (Bedside Manners Are Extra; 1973)
  6. Yes: Heart of the Sunrise (Fragile; 1971)
  7. PFM: The World Became the World (The World Became the World; 1974)
  8. King Crimson: The Court of the Crimson King (In the Court of the Crimson King; 1969)
  9. Amon Düül II: Sleepwalker's Timeless Bridge (Wolf City, 1972)
  10. Änglagård: (no specific track)


David Hall (Bolton)

Other unsung heroes must include Woolly Wolstenhome (BJH), Kerry Minnear (Gentle Giant) and Victor Peraino (Kingdom Come) plus Earth Shanty By Groundhogs


Peter Kendell (Wokingham)


Andy Kinch

This was first published on the Mellotronists list, with the intention of listing Andy's favourite piece for each major 'Tron sound, rather than the usual, which should explain the repeat entry!


Ken Willis (Harefield, Middx)

  1. King Crimson: Epitaph (In the Court of the Crimson King; 1969)
  2. King Crimson: The Court of the Crimson King (In the Court of the Crimson King; 1969)
  3. Rick Wakeman: Catherine Howard (The Six Wives of Henry VIII; 1972)
  4. Genesis: Firth of Fifth (Selling England By the Pound; 1973)
  5. Moody Blues: Forever Afternoon (Tuesday?) (Days of Future Passed, 1967)
  6. David Bowie: Space Oddity (Space Oddity; 1969)
  7. Pink Floyd: Julia Dream (b-side; 1968/Relics; 1971)
  8. Moody Blues: Dawn: Dawn is a Feeling (Days of Future Passed, 1967)
  9. Genesis: Watcher of the Skies (Foxtrot; 1972)
  10. Pink Floyd: Sysyphus (Ummagumma; 1969)


Nick Hewitt (Edinburgh).

As far as I'm concerned, there's no such thing as a 'Tron Top Ten. I love the 'Tron just as much as Mr. Thompson does, so ALL 'Tron music is at the top of the top ten. As someone else has done, I will attempt to document my love for the 'Tron in terms of what I heard in the order I heard it.

  1. Simon Dupree & the Big Sound: Kites (single, 1967) I was still at secondary school when I heard this. I attributed this to the Hippy movement (!), but history and learning put me straight about that one. I loved it at the time, but I didn't know why. I do now!
  2. King Crimson: Sailor's Tale (Islands; 1971) Still at the same secondary school (West Cumberland), but had progressed to the 6th Form. A friend, by name of Richard Stokes, brought in King Crimson's Islands and played it on the Common Room record player. 'Sailor's Tale' blew me away. Robert Fripp became my God and the rest of KC were his disciples. Thank you, Stoko!
  3. Strawbs: New World (Grave New World; 1972) I'd heard bits of From the Witchwood on the radio. The same Mr. Stokes loaned me the LP, which I loved. (Didn't remember the 'Tron on it though, but it was 1972!) To plug their next LP, Grave New World, The Strawbs did a concert on Radio 1. 'New World' blew my brains out.
  4. Groundhogs: Earth Shanty (Hogwash; 1972) I was already into the Groundhogs at the same time, courtesy of Thank Christ for the Bomb and Split. I bought Hogwash cos it was the 'Hogs. 'Earth Shanty' is brilliant, because it works in 2 ways. Firstly as an intro, then as part of the rhythm section.
  5. King Crimson: Starless (Red; 1974) I bought Red because it was King Crimson. 'Nuff said. The entire LP is a masterpiece. The only bad thing to say about it is that 'Starless' has the most monotonous guitar solo I have ever heard. Put that to one side, and it is still superb.
  6. Pavlov's Dog: Of Once and Future Kings (Pampered Menial; 1975) Max Bell, who later became editor of 'Q' magazine, repeatedly enthused over Pavlov's Dog's debut LP, Pampered Menial, when he was a mere staff writer working for the NME in the early '70s. On a whim, coupled with sheer curiosity, I bought it. Thank you Mr. Bell! When I first heard this, I had to take my shirt off, as the hairs on my arms were sticking up so much, it was painful!
  7. OMD: Joan of Arc (Maid of Orleans) (Architecture & Morality; 1981) For about 10 years after Pavlov, nothing, not a sausage - bugger all. Then this came along. With the technological advances made in electronic keyboards, I was convinced that the Mellotron was no more. It had ceased to be. It was a stiff, bereft of life, it.......oh, sorry. I heard this after I borrowed Architecture & Morality from my brother-out-law (I was merely living with his sister, so he was my out-law, not yet my in-law) and I remember thinking 'That's sounds like a Mellotron'. Then I saw them do it on the telly. They mimed using a poly-synth. Bastards!

  8. From this point on, I bought several LPs & CDs that were not contemporary for the time, like.....
  9. Family: Voyage (Music in a Dolls House; 1968) 'Voyage' was terrifying. No it wasn't - IT STILL IS!
  10. Joy Division: Decades (Closer; 1980) This is a cheat on my part. There was a programme on Channel 4 about the 100 greatest albums of all time. Neil Hannon, of Divine Comedy, spoke about Joy Division's debut LP Unknown Pleasures. While he was banging on about JD's UP, there was this nice (what I thought was) synth music in the background. I had no idea what it was, but I made the not-unreasonable assumption that it was from UP. WRONG! Channel 4 screwed up. It was from their 2nd LP Closer, but I had to buy Still to work that out. Still had a live version of 'this synth music', which turned out to be 'Decades'. The version of 'Decades' on Still is pure synthesiser, and is crap - Bernie Albrecht/Sumner left the vibrato on and screwed it up. So, to avoid further unnecessary expense, I got my brother-in-law (the former out-law - see above) to lift the required version of 'Decades' off the Internet and put it on a CD, along with 'Kites' and 'Joan of Arc' (with AND without 'Maid of Orleans'!) Ed's note: I cannot POSSIBLY condone this vile practice!
  11. Anyone else: Anything else At number 10 is virtually all other music with a Mellotron - even KC's 'Epitaph'. Ed: whadd'ya mean, 'even'?! I am, however, relegating the Moody Blues and Yes to the lower end of number 10, as, even though their entire existence is owed to the 'Tron, the MBs have always been too twee for my tastes, coupled with the band's alleged self-importance. Yes were just plain pretentious. They became so popular, they thought they could get away with bloody murder. They were right - it WAS bloody murder!


Lee Pomeroy (Kent)

Don't really have a top ten but here are my favourite artists who use Mellotrons to death defying effect

Ed: Lee plays bass on several recent Rick Wakeman albums


Nigel (Dumfries, Scotland)

This has been UNBELIEVABLY difficult and some classics have had to be left out to introduce everyone to some STORMERS that (for whatever reason) have been overlooked thus far......

  1. Genesis: Seven Stones (Nursery Cryme; 1971) All you Fountain of Salmacis fans, this is on the same album, if you hadn't realised! Spend a perfect musical minute listening to the closing section - Andy, is the highest note on a Mk II being played here? [Ed: Not quite - top E] Banks at his best (and it was the first Genesis album where he really used the 'Tron!), combining emotional, atmospheric playing, followed by a sublime, mellow finish - when I first heard this, I thought "This sounds like KC" - and then I learned that this WAS an ex-KC 'Tron - who says each 'Tron sounded the same?!?
  2. Genesis: Watcher of the Skies (Foxtrot; 1972) Yes, I know this will put the track into first place, Andy, so you owe me - something! An Änglagård album, perhaps?!? [Ed: No chance. :-)] I JUST prefer this to the live version, which is ever so slightly spoiled (imho) by Tony inexplicably playing the left hand chord at the start of the downward progression (where the left and right hands "talk" to each other) an octave too low! This has to be the most amazing Mellotron sound EVER (mixed Mk II strings and brass with bass accordion!) - never even IMITATED on anything else by anyone else I've heard!
  3. Genesis: Supper's Ready (Foxtrot; 1972) THAT closing section (from "brand new tune" to the end), especially the volume swell brass after Phil's tubular bells - was this inspired by Lily the Pink?!?
  4. King Crimson: Epitaph (In the Court of the Crimson King; 1969) The best pitch bend in Mellotron history! Play it at full volume and get that 'Tron rush!
  5. Genesis: Eleventh Earl of Mar (Wind and Wuthering; 1976) The greatest chord changes in Mellotron history - intro and outro
  6. Genesis: Fountain of Salmacis (Nursery Cryme; 1971) The best volume swell in Mellotron history - several places throughout, but ESPECIALLY the end!
  7. Yes: And You and I (Close to the Edge; 1972) This entry will bring Watcher's brief reign at No. 1 to an end - sorry, Andy! Eclipse is Wakeman at his best - the implosion after the sustained "ca-all!" is one of THE greatest musical moments of all time
  8. Barclay James Harvest: Early Morning (single; 1968) Their very first offering and a sublime use of MkII flutes and strings - simple but effective
  9. Strawbs: Lay Down (Bursting at the Seams; 1972) Blue Weaver's choir 'Tron (possibly the first ever use?) works brilliantly, ESPECIALLY that surprise ending! The singles world was introduced to the choir sound through this track - but few singles bands (if any!) caught on, until Squeeze in 1978!
  10. Zombies: Hung Up on a Dream (Odessey and Oracle; 1968) Good to see someone else voting for a track from this CLASSIC 'Tron album. Care of Cell 44 is excellent, but this has got the weirdest and most effective interplay of MkII strings and flutes I've ever heard! And a great volume swell in the middle!

Honourable mentions also have to go to Let's Go To San Francisco by the Flowerpot Men (flutes, strings AND brass - the only example of all three on a single?), anything by the Moody Blues and In My Life by Barclay James Harvest (from Time Honoured Ghosts, 1975) - this track has some great 'Tron choir in the middle and JUST misses my Top 10 (like so many others!)


Jon Spencer (Bristol)

  1. Strawbs: Shine on Silver Sun (Hero & Heroine, 1974) Orgasmic 'Tron on the final choruses!
  2. Yes: Wondrous Stories (Going for the One; 1977) "As he spoke, my spirit climbed into the sky..."
  3. Moody Blues: Land of Make Believe (Seventh Sojourn; 1972) Wonderful strings!!
  4. King Crimson: In the Wake of Poseidon (In the Wake of Poseidon; 1970) Enough already said...
  5. Barclay James Harvest: Poor Man's Moody Blues (Gone to Earth; 1977) Fantastic texture the 'Tron adds to the sound
  6. Strawbs: Flying (Bursting at the Seams; 1972) Listen to the shimmering 'Tron in the middle instrumental passage!!
  7. Yes: And You and I (Close to the Edge; 1972) Case already been made...
  8. Arena: Solomon (Songs from the Lions Cage; 1995) Nolan's use of the 'Tron in this track is inspired
  9. Genesis: Cinema Show (Selling England By the Pound; 1973) Loverly stuff!!
  10. Jadis: Sleepwalk (More Than Meets the Eye; 1992) Use of Mellotron choir behind the final guitar passage is truly a magic moment


Derek Law (Bolton, Lancs)


Steve Garratt (Coulsdon, Surrey)

  1. Klaus Schulze: Heinrich Von Kleist (X, 1978)
  2. Tangerine Dream: Rubycon Part 2 (Rubycon; 1975)
  3. Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger & the Trinity: This Wheel's on Fire (single; 1968)
  4. Roxy Music: Ladytron (BBC session version; 1972)
  5. Pretty Things: SF Sorrow is Born (SF Sorrow; 1968)
  6. Simon Dupree & The Big Sound: Kites (single; 1967)
  7. XTC: Frivolous Tonight (Apple Venus Vol.1; 1999)
  8. Gentle Giant: The Moon is Down (Acquiring the Taste; 1971)
  9. Peter Baumann: Meadow of Infinity Part 2 (Romance 76; 1976)
  10. Genesis: Can-Utility & The Coastliners (Foxtrot; 1972)


Ritchie Swann (UK)


Dale Baker (London)

  1. Genesis: Entangled (A Trick of the Tail, 1976) best augmented 8 choir ever, just a great track, puts the ARP in its place during the last bit. Only trouble is the last note sounds a bit off, but thats why we love the Mellotron, warts and all, still miles better then any synthesizer
  2. The Beatles: Here Comes the Sun (Abbey Road; 1969) nice strings on this with Moog. There is a book out that list all the recording of the Beatles, and the instruments used, and yes yes yes this track and quite a few on Abbey Road have Mellotron
  3. Genesis: All in a Mouse's Night (Wind & Wuthering; 1976) lovely song, only too much Hammond organ and not enough Mellotron. However, the few moments of choir near the end of the track are very well recorded and used
  4. Elton John: Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds (single; 1974) good bit of Mellotron flute, and very subtle in use, sad that he didn't use it a bit more often on some songs
  5. Greenslade: Tide (Time & Tide; 1975) firstly, it's very sad that these guys did not make the big time, as they had a lot of talent and could really play. Also, I loved their Mellotron bits, that just seemed to me to blend in with the rest of the music so well; this has strings and a bit of flute
  6. Manfred Mann: Ha! Ha! Said the Clown (single; 1967) a number of songs this year had Mellotron on, and I do like the 'Tron flute on this track. (oh yes it is oh no it isn't)
  7. Genesis: The Fountain of Salmacis (Nursery Cryme; 1971) wow and wow again! Absolutely love this, best build-up of Mellotron strings ever, Tony Banks played the Mellotron better then anyone else, so why did he stop using it in 1978/9? To replace it with boring, dreary, overly-processed synthesizer sounds
  8. The Beatles: Something (Abbey Road; 1969) more Mellotron strings from Abbey Road, very nice too, interestingly this was the Beatles' last album, and within just 3 months of recording this they were not even talking to one another, but this is an amazing album that mostly has not dated, much better then any other album that year
  9. Yes: And You and I (Close to the Edge; 1972) great track, always liked Yes, was only 10 when this came out, lovely 'Tron, and Jon Anderson's wonderful singing voice
  10. Genesis: Watcher of the Skies (Foxtrot; 1972) a great mix of different sounds, some rarely if ever used, this track shows just how versatile the Mellotron really is. It's a pity that it's not used more on the track, this would have saved us from some iffy filler of Hammond organ


Pete Sanders (London)


Matt McKenzie (Glasgow)


Richard Vaizey (North London)

  1. King Crimson: Epitaph (In the Court of the Crimson King; 1969) Ian McDonald was (is) a great multi instrumentalist and the 'crescendo' (org@sm?) is just stupendous
  2. King Crimson: The Court of the Crimson King (In the Court of the Crimson King; 1969) as above. How cool would it have been to have a set of Greg Lake tapes going "Aaaaah"? Say what you like about the post-1969 Lake but he had a great set of pipes
  3. King Crimson: Sailor's Tale (Islands; 1971) much ignored album but this one is worth listening to for the Mellotron 'storm at sea' (I have a fertile imagination) and Mr Fripp's astonishing chorded solo (with the Mellotron gradually getting louder in the background)
  4. Genesis: The Cinema Show (Selling England By the Pound; 1973) one of their greatest and the extended soloing at the end over the 7/8 rhythm is fab... but when the Mellotron comes in with the choir, it's goose bump stuff
  5. King Crimson: Starless (Red; 1974) brilliant and worth listening through to the syncopated end with Ian McDonald and Mel Collins. I saw the Schizoid Band do this live a couple of years ago ...Bliss
  6. King Crimson: Trio (Starless & Bible Black; 1973) a most unusual use of the Mellotron - Fripp and David Cross' beautiful duetting over John Wetton's lilting bass figure - this would be astonishing if they had spent time writing it but as it's improvised... In Wetton's words, the interplay between the two soloists is "X-Files stuff"
  7. Genesis: Watcher of the Skies (Foxtrot, 1972) just a great whooshing Mellotron sound, full of sound and fury, signifying...
  8. David Bowie: Space Oddity (Space Oddity; 1969) had to put this one in as - I particularly like the countdown. 10...9...8... Simple things...
  9. Greenslade: Pilgrim's Progress (Bedside Manners Are Extra, 1973) great Mellotron sounds all through this. I saw them at the Marquee many moons ago (1972-ish)
  10. King Crimson: In the Wake of Poseidon (In the Wake of Poseidon; 1970) had to have a last KC track. This one has beautiful Mellotron chords opening into the main part of the composition


Mark Pover (Fallowfield, Manchester)

  1. Genesis: Silent Sorrow in Empty Boats (The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway; 1974)
  2. Brian Auger & the Trinity: This Wheel's on Fire (single; 1968) Strings supporting the Hammond beautifully, giving a dark edge to a great pop song
  3. Tangerine Dream: Phaedra (Phaedra; 1974) There is 'Tron all over the title track, but it really comes to the fore at the climax of the piece. Strings and choirs from Herr Froese. Sublime
  4. Yes: Heart of the Sunrise (Fragile; 1971) Gorgeous string chord progression on the intro, adding a darker feel to Chris Squire's monster bass
  5. Yes: The Gates of Delerium (Relayer; 1974) Pat Moraz' strings following the slide guitar and vocal line during the 'Soon' section. Goosebumps
  6. Genesis: Can-Utility and the Coastliners (Foxtrot; 1972) So many magic Tony Banks moments, but at the moment, the strings in this song's mid section get the vote. (We should start a petition to persuade Tony to start using a 'Tron again!)
  7. Klaus Schulze: Moondawn (Moondawn, 1976) Male choirs on the intro
  8. Gong: Master Builder (You; 1974) Does exactly what the title suggests. Subtle, string notes surrounded by clouds of bubbling Moog. A heady brew
  9. David Bowie: Warszawa (Low, 1977) Eno providing some gorgeous Chamberlain string and flutes
  10. Tangerine Dream: Rubycon (Rubycon; 1975) Part one intro sees the subtle use of choir and strings, but part two contains dischordant male choirs similar to the 'Requiem For Soprano, Mezzo Soprano, Two Mixed Choirs And Orchestra', used in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey'

Runners up: (you cheeky bugger, Mark - that's one way of bumping your list up to 15!)

  1. Roxy Music: Ladytron (Roxy Music; 1972)
  2. Yes: And You and I (Close to the Edge; 1972)
  3. Tangerine Dream: Ricochet (Ricochet; 1976)
  4. King Crimson: Starless (Red; 1974)
  5. Genesis: Entangled (A Trick of the Tail; 1976)


Marco Rossi (Dorset)

  1. The Beatles: Strawberry Fields Forever (single; 1967) Well, OBVIOUSLY... But it would be sinful to miss this one out, would it not? That Mellotron flute intro is limitlessly sad, dusty and ancient: tailor-made for linking arms and running on the spot, blank-faced, in slow motion
  2. The Beatles: Flying (Magical Mystery Tour; 1967) In the '70s, as I recall, this oft-overlooked wonder from the Magical Mystery Tour film was used as the incidental music to a Public Information Film which sought to recruit people for the RAF. Was anyone fooled? If I'd thought for a moment that joining the RAF would have entailed interludes of abstract, weightless introspection such as this, I'd have joined up in a second. Just listen to that pinwheeling coda: here is Magical, here is Mystery
  3. Caravan: Golf Girl (In the Land of Grey and Pink; 1971) Funky Mellotron?! This machine wasn't designed for such inconsequential ephemera. Knowing what I now know about the glacial response time of Mellotrons, this must have been about as difficult to play as Roger Ruskin Spear's 'Trouser Press' solo. "Oof... grunt... gasp..."
  4. Giles, Giles & Fripp: One in a Million (The Cheerful Insanity of Giles, Giles & Fripp; 1968) Robert Fripp warmed up his Mellotron with the whimsical, apologetic flutes on this forgotten little gem. One year later, King Crimson would of course use the Mellotron to exert their revenge on humanity...
  5. King Crimson: The Court of the Crimson King (In the Court of the Crimson King; 1969) ...Like so. Another no-brainer, but what's not to love? Imperious, baleful, this truly is the sound of awful majesty. I'm averting my eyes, o Lord. The Mellotron over the song's reprise sounds as though it is venting infernal gas
  6. Pretty Things: Baron Saturday (S.F. Sorrow; 1968) Dig that pitch wheel action in the choruses! Presumably they figured that the track didn't sound anywhere near murky and weird enough without it. Inexplicable magic
  7. Yes: Heart of the Sunrise (Fragile; 1971) How can I stay mad at you? One would forgive Rick Wakeman anything and everything on ice for those searching, cloudy, unknowable Mellotron chords...
  8. Yes: And You and I (Close to the Edge; 1972) ...Then of course there's this; arguably the courtliest, prettiest melody line for which a Mellotron was ever pressed into service. When it swoons in, before you even know it you're throwing your arms around the nearest person, puckering up and declaring "aww, I lovvvve you" - even if it's that bloke who smells that you were trying to avoid at the Yes T-shirt stand earlier on
  9. Egg: Boilk (The Polite Force, 1971) It was all getting too comfortable for a moment there, so here's this, which sounds like a melting face
  10. Rolling Stones: We Love You (single; 1967) Surely none of us ever bought into that perverters-of-the-nation's-morals schtick for any longer than the few blessed minutes it takes for this acidulous beauty to muscle past. The Mellotron is fantastic; tough, blaring and unruly. When Andy Morten and I [Ed: of Shindig Magazine] spoke to Dave Gregory and Andy Partridge of XTC for Shindig's Dukes Of Stratosphear piece, we touched on this when the subject of Mellotron samples came up. I refer you to Mr Partridge:
    "When you play a Mellotron, if you play it softly the tape head goes on to the tape quite gently, but if you hit it hard, you can get the spitty brass on 'We Love You'... but you can't get that now. They made the mistake of copying the tapes with the soft attack. They didn't copy it with 'ptooo'... you get 'phhooo'."


Rob Cannon (Maidstone, Kent)

  1. King Crimson: Epitaph (In the Court of the Crimson King; 1969)
  2. Strawbs: New World (Grave New World; 1972) Brilliant angry track swamped by 'Tron
  3. Moody Blues: Have You Heard/The Voyage (On the Threshold of a Dream; 1969) Mike Pinder's tour de force
  4. Genesis: Fly on a Windshield/Broadway Melody of 1974 (The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway; 1974) Superb eerie 'Tron chorus intro and the rest of the track/segue is dominated by some great 'Tron strings
  5. Simon Dupree & the Big Sound: Kites (single; 1967) The Mellotron strings are superb in this classic single
  6. Uriah Heep: Lady in Black (Salisbury; 1970) Simple 'Tron part but nicely enhances the middle section of one of this band's best songs.
  7. Strawbs: Tears and Pavan (Bursting at the Seams, 1973)
  8. Pretty Things: S.F. Sorrow is Born (S.F. Sorrow; 1968) Some great early psychedelia
  9. Barclay James Harvest: In My Life (Time Honoured Ghosts, 1975) No 'Tron strings on this one, just some great 'Tron choral sounds on one of their best tracks
  10. Black Sabbath: Changes (Vol.4; 1972) Forget the mawkish version with Ozzy and Kelly - this is an atmospheric Mellotron-driven piece wedged nicely within one of Sabb's hardest rocking albums


My pal Ged Blakeborough (Harrogate, Yorkshire)

  1. Genesis: Watcher of the Skies (live) (Genesis Live; 1973) This has to take number one position on the grounds that it captures the moment I first saw the band live (Newcastle City Hall, February 1973). No gig since has had a storming start like that. I just had to find out more about what made that noise.....
  2. Genesis: Silent Sorrow in Empty Boats (The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway; 1974) I just love the choir sound. This is music I want to have played at my funeral. It does what it says on the tin - it's full of sorrow (and yet I suspect most people will be dancing at my funeral......)
  3. Limelight: Man of Colours (Limelight; 1980) For years I thought I was the only person who knew this gem and then I found Andy's excellent website. I'd love to see someone play this live.
  4. Tangerine Dream: Mysterious Semblances at the Strand of Nightmares (Phaedra; 1974) Possibly the best 'song' title ever. Ambient before people decided to call this a music 'genre' (and I HATE that word). Listen to this in a dark room in front of a real fire with your favourite drink. And possibly your favourite lady....naked. Then follow it with Ricochet Part 2
  5. Genesis: Fountain of Salmacis (Nursery Cryme; 1971) They're back again! As someone else has observed on this website, Banks used the 'Tron to great effect and in many different ways, so why did he 'bin' it? Whatever he tried to use later in live performances to replace it wasn't worth the bother. I suspect he wanted to get the band to sound like Sooty & Sweep's backing band and to some extent he succeeded. In the early days though, on tracks like this he showed the power the mighty beast could turn out
  6. Roxy Music: If There is Something (live) (Viva; 1976) No great lover of Ferry these days (someone should hunt him and his son Otis to see how they like it) but this live version improves on what was already a great studio track (where the 'Tron was more evident but the live track has more to it all round). Watch the great film 'Flashbacks of a Fool' to hear the album track then progress to the live version. It grows on you, just like.....
  7. King Crimson: Starless (Red; 1974) Can't remember how I came across this but glad I did. John Wetton has done lots of live versions which are also very good (provided the version uses a 'Tron sample as a minimum - heresy I know, but some Wetton versions don't even use a sample which is why I've opted for the original KC album version)
  8. Strawbs: Hero & Heroine (Hero & Heroine; 1974) The title track again shows how a 'Tron gives a piece of music consumate power. There's lots of other great bits of 'Tron on the album as well
  9. Peter Hammill: Faint Heart & the Sermon (In Camera; 1974) Hammill apparently didn't like Van der Graaf Generator being categorised as prog, but even two of his early solo albums (The Silent Corner & the Empty Stage and this album) had a fair usage of the instrument often cited by anti-prog folk as epitomising all that was wrong with it. What do they know. Listen to this track and when he starts to sing '...On the verge of belief I crash on to the reef....', fill your boots
  10. Genesis: Supper's Ready (end section) (Foxtrot; 1972, or Archive; 1998) Let's finish where we started with a great piece of 'Tron and where it again sounds more prominent on the live mix. I've already said using the 'Tron was a great way to start a track and here's proof that it is also a great way to end one (with Peter Gabriel's singing and Steve Hackett's wailing guitar). Thank you and good night


Simon Mason (UK)

  1. Kayak: Lovely Luna (See See the Sun; 1973) Not one of their most well known numbers, but a rare outing for the late Pim Koopman on vocals, while Kayak front man Max Werner handles the 'Tron parts. Nice guitar work from Johan Slager and a fuzz drenched bassline to die for by Cees van Leeuwen. It builds up to a massive crescendo before dying away with Pim's vocals
  2. Earth & Fire: Song of the Marching Children (Song of the Marching Children; 1974) When I first heard this in 1974, I was immediately taken with the composition of this piece and thought what a talented pair the Koerts twins were. The piece is rather gloomy and depressing, but I loved the way they wove the synth and 'Tron parts together
  3. Barclay James Harvest: The Sun Will Never Shine (Barclay James Harvest; 1970) One of the late great Woolly Wolstenholme's compositions which was one of his somewhat pessimistic songs and which may explain his mindset when he sadly took his own life
  4. Edgar Froese: Maroubra Bay (Epsilon in Malaysian Pale; 1975) Well, this is more or less wall to wall Mellotron from start to finish from one of the best proponents of the instrument. The fact that he was a superb guitarist as well goes to show what a dearth of talent there is in today's musicians
  5. Tangerine Dream: Phaedra (Phaedra; 1974) A very striking track that stood out to my workmates when I played it at work. The 'Tron parts complement the very early sequencer work perfectly to create a unique sound stage
  6. Klaus Schulze: Friedrich Nietzsche (X; 1978) A very powerful and driving piece of music from the astoundingly prolific Berlin school musician who was in at the very start of electronic music. His debut album, Irrlicht, although it contained no electronics was a taste of things to come. Still going strong into his 60's
  7. Lucifer's Friend: Song for Louie (I'm Just a Rock & Roll Singer; 1973) Who would have thought that one of the singers in The Les Humphries Singers (check out Mama Loo) when paired with some of the lads out of the James Last Orchestra would come out with this epic piece? Pity they did not stick to one genre and experimented with many different styles culminating with the epic and brilliant Banquet
  8. Bo Hansson: Divided Reality (Magician's Hat; 1972) The late great Bosse Hansson was a criminally underrated organist who in a handful of albums, created some of the most evocative music to come out of Scandinavia. His first three albums were true masterpieces and such music will never be made again
  9. Focus: Can't Believe My Eyes (Ship of Memories; 1976) Thijs van Leer very rarely used his 'Tron of course as he preferred his organ. Still, we must be thankful for small mercies and be glad that they left such a wonderful legacy
  10. Kraftwerk: Trans Europe Express (Trans Europe Express; 1977) Again, another group that could have made much more of the instrument

Dave Vaughan (UK)

Finally, number 11, as I don't know whether it qualifies

Steve Gladwell (UK)

  1. Radiohead: Exit Music (for a Film)/Lucky (OK Computer; 1997) My first discovery of and subsequent favourite use of the Mellotron's eerie choirs
  2. Joy Division: Decades (Closer; 1980) Haunting sound of the Mellotron works so well on this track, bleak but beautiful
  3. Earth & Fire: Storm & Thunder (Song of the Marching Children; 1971) Perfectly mixed Mellotron and Hammond organ
  4. Genesis: Silent Sorrow in Empty Boats (The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway; 1974) Musical bliss, enough said
  5. Michael Penn: The Big Top (Theme From Boogie Nights) (Boogie Nights OST; 1997) Ghostly, otherwordly sounding track
  6. OMD: (The Angels Keep Turning) the Wheels of the Universe (single; 1984) Serious 'Tron overload, love it
  7. Limelight: Man of Colours (Limelight; 1980) Fantastic song with some beautiful Mellotron parts
  8. Arthur Brown's Kingdom Come: Superficial Roadblocks (Journey; 1973) As bonkers as you would expect from the man, very upfront choirs
  9. Pink Floyd: Julia Dream (b-side; 1967) Aptly dreamlike, had to include a Floyd track with their criminally underused Mellotron!
  10. Steve Hackett: Spectral Mornings (Spectral Mornings; 1979) Great instrumental perfectly accompanied by Mellotron that adds so much but never overpowers