Renaissance, John Trout, Terrance Sullivan Interviewed by Jeff Wootton 07-13-79

Former Yardbirds members Paul Samwell-Smith, Keith Relf, and Jim McCarty organised a new group devoted to experimentation between rock, folk, and classical forms. This quintet (Relf on guitar & vocals, McCarty on drums, plus bassist Louis Cennamo, pianist John Hawken, and Relf's sister Jane Relf as an additional vocalist) released a pair of albums on Elektra (US) and Island (UK), the first one being produced by Samwell-Smith, but dissolved quickly, leaving McCarty to reform the band into a very different lineup, though McCarty also soon departed.
The reconstituted lineup that was eventually settled on was the best-known of the band's history, and consisted of Annie Haslam (vocals), Michael Dunford (acoustic guitar), John Tout (piano), Jon Camp (bass/vocals) and Terence Sullivan (drums). This new Renaissance -- with Dunford in a composer-only role for the time being, and Rob Hendry (electric guitar) filling the guitarist's chair -- released Prologue in 1972 on Sovereign Records (UK). The music was written by Dunford and McCarty, with lyrics by poet Betty Thatcher. Hendry departed (to be ultimately replaced by Dunford) as the group turned away from the electric guitar in their music.
In the 1970s, Renaissance had a commercially successful career, their sound similar in many ways to folk rock with classical overtones. Renaissance included in their songs quotations and allusions from such composers as Bach, Chopin, Albinoni, Debussy, Rachmaninoff, Rimsky-Korsakov, Prokofiev and others. Renaissance's records, especially Ashes Are Burning, were frequently played on American progressive rock radio stations, such as WNEW-FM, WHFS-FM,KSHE 95 and WVBR.
Renaissance scored a hit single in England 1978 with Northern Lights,which reached #10 there during the summer of 1978. The single was taken from the album A Song for All Seasons, but the band floundered following 1979's Azure D'or, as fans were unhappy with the band's turn towards synthesizers, a path followed by most progressive rock bands at one time or another. Camp had assumed more of the band's songwriting, and Tout and Sullivan left. Haslam, Dunford and Camp released a pair of albums in the 1980s and then broke up. Their albums were not available on CD for some time, though a pair of compilations were issued in 1990. During the 1990s and the current decade, though, much of their catalog has been re-released by reissue record labels such as Repertoire Records (Germany), Wounded Bird Records (US) and the now-defunct HTD Records (UK).
In the late 1990s, both Haslam and Dunford formed their own bands using the name Renaissance, and have released albums with different line-ups.
The band reformed in 2000 to record the Tuscany album and played one concert at the Astoria in London before embarking on a short Japanese tour. Haslam subsequently announced that the reunion would not be continuing, and Terry Sullivan later recorded an album in the Renaissance style with lyrics by Betty Thatcher Newsinger and keyboard contributions by John Tout.
In 2005, Annie Haslam announced that Renaissance had broken up for good.

The original 1969 line-up comprised Keith Relf (vocals, guitar, harmonica), Jim McCarty (drums, vocals), John Hawken (keyboards), Louis Cennamo (bass) and Jane Relf (vocals). This lineup released Renaissance (1969) and appeared on most of Illusion (1971). (Note: The following list includes temporary replacements & sidemen.)
1970 - Added Terry Crowe (vocals), Terry Slade (drums) replaced McCarty, Neil Korner (bass) replaced Cennamo, Mick Dunford (guitar) replaced Keith Relf. This lineup recorded one track for Illusion (1971).
1970 - Binky Cullom (vocals) replaced Jane Relf
1970 - John Tout (keyboards) replaced Hawken
1971 - Annie Haslam (vocals) replaced Cullom
1971 - Danny McCullough (bass) replaced Korner
1971 - Frank Farrell (bass) replaced McCullough
1971 - John Wetton (bass) replaced Farrell
1972 - Crowe left, Terence Sullivan (drums) replaced Slade, Jon Camp (bass, guitar, vocals) replaced Wetton, Mick Parsons (guitar) replaced Dunford
1972 - Rob Hendry (guitar) replaced Parsons (who had died in a car accident). This lineup released Prologue (1972).
1973 - Peter Finer (guitar) replaced Hendry
1973 - Mick Dunford (guitar) replaced Finer. This lineup released Ashes are Burning (1973) through Azure D'or (1979).
1981 - Peter Barron (drums) replaced Sullivan, Peter Gosling (keyboards) replaced Tout. This lineup released Camera Camera (1981).
1983 - Gavin Harrison (drums) replaced Barron, Mike Taylor (keyboards) replaced Gosling
1984 - Greg Carter (drums) replaced Harrison, Raphael Rudd (keyboards, harp) replaced Taylor
1985 - Charles Descarfino (drums) replaced Harrison, Mark Lampariello (aka Mark Lambert) (bass, guitar) replaced Camp
1998 - Terence Sullivan (drums) replaced Descarfino, Roy Wood (bass, keyboards, percussion) replaced Lampariello, John Tout (keyboards) replaced Rudd
1998 - Alex Caird (bass) replaced Wood, Mickey Simmonds (keyboards) replaced Tout
2001 - David Keyes (bass) replaced Caird, added Rave Tesar (keyboards)

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