Henry Cow

English avant-rock group / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Henry Cow were an English experimental rock group, founded at the University of Cambridge in 1968 by multi-instrumentalists Fred Frith and Tim Hodgkinson. Henry Cow's personnel fluctuated over their decade together, but drummer Chris Cutler, bassist John Greaves, and bassoonist/oboist Lindsay Cooper were important long-term members alongside Frith and Hodgkinson.

Quick facts: Henry Cow, Background information, Origin, Ge...
Henry Cow
Henry Cow, 1975
Henry Cow, 1975
Background information
OriginCambridge, England
Years active1968–1978
Past members

An inherent anti-commercial attitude kept them at arm's length from the mainstream music business, enabling them to experiment at will. Critic Myles Boisen writes, "[their sound] was so mercurial and daring that they had few imitators, even though they inspired many on both sides of the Atlantic with a blend of spontaneity, intricate structures, philosophy, and humor that has endured and transcended the 'progressive' tag."[3]

While it was generally thought that Henry Cow took their name from 20th-century American composer Henry Cowell,[6][7] this has been repeatedly denied by band members.[8][9] According to Hodgkinson, the name "Henry Cow" was "in the air" in 1968, and it seemed like a good name for the band. It had no connection to anything.[10][11] In a 1974 interview, Cutler said the name was chosen because "[i]t's silly. What could be sillier than Henry Cow?"[12]

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