Cosmic Slop:  The Forgotten Pop of the Seventies!
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Annie Haslam
Annie Haslam got her start in music on a dare. Taking the stage at a Canadian club to sing Mary Hopkin's "Those Were the Days" at some friends' urging, she made such an impression--surprising even herself--that she dropped her fashion design studies and started classical vocal training. Soon afterward, in 1971, she answered an ad and became Renaissance's vocalist.

Her clear, controlled voice was the missing ingredient in Renaissance's hitherto-unrealized prog-folk stew, and the group became an AOR phenomenon--even more so in the United States than in their native England. She remained with the group through sixteen years and ten albums, until, after myriad lineup changes and a stint as "Annie Haslam's Renaissance", the group finally folded, in 1987. Haslam then resumed a solo career which she had toyed with in 1977 with her release Annie in Wonderland, a collaboration with Roy Wood of The Move/ELO/Wizzard/Wizzo/etc. fame.

After two rather unsuccessful late-'80s solo releases, Haslam lost her recording contract. In desperate financial straits, she took to the road on a successful barnstorming tour which brought her back into the limelight once more. After a fearful bout with breast cancer, in 1993 she released her fourth solo LP, Blessing In Disguise, with the help of super-producer Tony Visconti.

In addition to her solo work, she has appeared on tribute albums to Genesis and Yes, and most recently she collaborated with Steve Howe on the Lilys in the Field benefit for Bosnian orphans.

Our Prog Rock Corner selection for 9/1/96 was "Rockalise" from the 1977 release Annie in Wonderland.

-Joel


Prog Rock Corner Index
Our impression of "Rockalise":

It's got Roy Wood written all over it: that loping rhythm, that cockeyed instrumentation (the large subset of the orchestra that Roy can play himself), that fifties feel. Annie's soaring vocals give this a sort of "Rosemary's Baby" quality. Weird, and maybe a minute too long, but fascinating and hypnotic!


Find out more about Annie Haslam:

Annie's own official web site!

Northern Lights, a Renaissance website with loads of discographical info, plus album and group photos, including Annie's solo work.

A Song For All Seasons, the official Renaissance home page



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