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National Health were an English progressive rock band associated with the Canterbury scene. Founded in 1975, the band featured members of keyboardist Dave Stewart's band Hatfield and the North and Alan Gowen's band Gilgamesh, including guitarists Phil Miller and Phil Lee and bassist Mont Campbell as original members. The band was named after Stewart's National Health spectacles. Bill Bruford (previously of Yes and King Crimson) was the initial drummer but was soon replaced by Pip Pyle. Campbell was replaced by Neil Murray and then John Greaves. Alan Gowen stopped performing with the group after their first album, but returned for their final tours replacing Dave Stewart who resigned after their second album. Guitarist Phil Miller was National Health's only constant member.
|Genres||Progressive rock, Canterbury scene, jazz fusion, psychedelic rock, experimental rock|
|Associated acts||Hatfield and the North, Caravan, The Wilde Flowers, Soft Machine, Bill Bruford|
|Past members||Dave Stewart|
A frequently changing line-up, they toured extensively and released their first album, National Health in 1978. Although it was created during the rise of punk rock, the album is characterized by lengthy, mostly instrumental compositions. Their second record Of Queues and Cures, which included Henry Cow associates Peter Blegvad (recitation on "Squarer For Maud") and Georgie Born (cello), is held as one of the "best records ever" on the Gnosis website. After the May 1981 death of Gowen, Stewart rejoined the remaining members to record the album D.S. Al Coda, a set of compositions by Gowen, most previously unrecorded. The original albums and additional archival material have subsequently been released on CD.
The intro of National Health's "Binoculars" was used as a sample on American rock band Deftones' "Black Moon".
- Complete (1990; all three studio albums plus bonus tracks)
- Missing Pieces (1996; archival material)
- Playtime (2001; live recordings from 1979)
- Dreams Wide Awake (2005; selected tracks from the first two studio albums)
- 2015: Romantic Warriors III: Canterbury Tales (DVD)
- ranked #10 as of 2012/09/13, the Gnosis search facility