After the Radio Gnome trilogy, Daevid Allen left Gong in 1975 and Steve Hillage took over as the band’s leader. Shamal was recorded later that year, it was produced by Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason and came out in early 1976, but Hillage uncomfortable with his new position left before the album was released. With Allen gone, Gong were embarking on a new direction and Hillage decided to leave the band and concentrate on solo work after his first solo album, Fish Rising released earlier in the year had been so well received. He packed up his guitar and went to America and recorded L with Todd Rundgren producing using the musicians from Utopia – Roger Powell, Kasim Sulton and John Wilcox. (Don Cherry also makes an appearance on trumpet). The album went to No.10 in the UK charts.
The album featured two covers, George Harrison’s It’s All Too Much and Donovan’s Hurdy Gurdy Man – Hurdy Gurdy Glissando followed the latter as second track on the album. The line-up here MIGHT be Steve Hillage, Miquette Giraudy, Christian Boule, Colin Bass, Basil Brooks, Clive Bunker and Phil Hodge but I’m not sure (the picture accompanying the post is from a concert supporting Queen around the same time as the OGWT broadcast).
Steve Hillage has made cosmic records galore over the years and if you follow his progress from here on, you will see him continue with more cosmic and ambient solo albums. He produced Simple Minds in the eighties and The Charlatans in the nineties before forming Ambient Dance act System 7 with his girlfriend and musical companion Miquette Giraudy. In 2004 Hillage collaborated with Ozric Tentacles and in 2008 there was a surprise reunion with the classic line up of Gong. Always involved in something moody and forward thinking Steve Hillage won the Visionary Award at the 2013 Progressive Music Awards.