Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography

THE HISTORY 1984-2000



From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Pendragon The History 1984-2000 album cover
3.45 | 31 ratings | 7 reviews | 13% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

Write a review

from partners
Boxset/Compilation, released in 2000

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Walls of Babylon (10:44)
2. The Shadow (9:55)
3. Total Recall (7:05)
4. The Voyager (12:15)
5. The Black Knight (9:58)
6. And We'll Go Hunting Deer(7:14)
7. Am I Really Losing You? (4:47)
8. The King of the Castle (4:43)
9. Paintbox (4:23)
10. VIDEO: The Last Waltz (5:18)

Total Time: 76:00

Line-up / Musicians

- Nick Barrett / guitars, vocals
- Clive Nolan / keyboards
- Fudge Smith / drums
- Peter Gee / bass guitar, acoustic guitar
- Tracy Hitchings / additional vocals

Releases information


Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Joolz for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy PENDRAGON The History 1984-2000 Music

More places to buy PENDRAGON music online

PENDRAGON The History 1984-2000 ratings distribution

(31 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(13%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(55%)
Good, but non-essential (23%)
Collectors/fans only (10%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

PENDRAGON The History 1984-2000 reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Marcelo
3 stars I'm not a neo prog lover, but this band is one of the old monsters of the genre and this album is a very good chance to know the Pendragon's works through the years. Some very good tracks, but there's a commercial or FM feeling in that kind of music. Two highlights: "The Walls Of Babylon" (with a very Floydian introduction) and "Am I Really Losing You?" (a beautiful song), both included in "The Window Of Life", perhaps the band's best album. Overall, an interesting compilation, and a big deal if you don't expect complex or elaborated music.
Review by Greger
4 stars Ever since I discovered PENDRAGON with their "The World" album in 1991 I have been a true admirer of their music. It was actually the cover artwork that first captured my interest, but after a short listening I found out that the music was as fantastic as the artwork. 10 years have past and PENDRAGON has developed and they're even more interesting now than before. This Limited Edition Digipack CD compilation was released exclusively for the Polish market and it sums up PENDRAGON's first 16 years, and although I think that one CD (76 minutes) is not enough to capture it properly, they have selected some of PENDRAGON's finest and most popular songs ever. There are also two acoustic versions of "The King Of The Castle" and "Paintbox", specially recorded for this compilation, and an mpeg-video of "The Last Waltz". As usual the artwork is magnificent and the CD-booklet is very nice and informative with pictures of all PENDRAGON's releases. It doesn't matter whether you own the entire PENDRAGON back-catalogue or not, this is worth buying anyway because of the two acoustic versions and the enhanced CD video. Highly recommended!
Review by semismart
3 stars In the beginning there was Genesis! Then along came the wonderful Marillion. They were followed by the inscrutable Pendragon!

Through the years I have been surprised, no shocked, actually amazed at how few people have heard of, let alone heard Pendragon. Among those never hearing of Pendragon are many Prog Heads. This is especially surprising because Prog Heads are known for ferreting out obscure or relatively unknown progressive rock, neo prog and canterbury prog acts. Acts such as Camel, Caravan, Ozric Tenticles, Hawkwind.

Oh sure, you may know them. I didn't mean they're unknown. Let's say they are underknown. But how can a band with such a royal name as Pendragon, with a royal lineage rich in the traditions of Prog Rock icons Genesis and Marillion be underknown and under appreciated? Well, let's do something about that, Ok?

About Pendragon

British Neo-Progressive Rock band Pendragon formed in London in the summer of 1986. Band members were songwriter Nick Barrett (vocals, guitar), Peter Gee (Bass), Fudge Smith (drummer) and Clive Nolan (Keyboards). All members except the latter have pretty much worked within the confines of Pendragon while Clive Nolan has been all over the place, forming another very good Neo-Prog band, Arena, guesting on three Ayreon projects, Performing in yet another Neo-Prog band, Shadowland, and guesting on at least another half dozen albums. Additionally he has produced a few albums and was the engineer on a few.

Pendragon has recorded ten studio albums. Two live and two compilations have also been released.

Discography: 1984 Fly High, Fall Far Awareness 1985 The Jewel Awareness 1986 9.15 Awareness 1986 9:15 Live Toff 1988 Kowtow Toff 1991 Rest of Pendragon Toff 1994 World Griffin 1996 Masquerade Overture Griffin Music 1996 Window of Life Griffin Music 1998 Fallen Dreams & Angels Import 2001 Not of This World Pony Canyon 2003 Live in Krakow 1996

1999 Overture, 1984-1996 Outer Music 2001 The History: 1984-2000 Cleopatra

History 1984 - 2000

History is, obvious from the title, a best of album, sorta. While there is definitely some good stuff on here, I do not consider the music within this compendium to be representative of their best but then again, I'm not being fair since Pendragon is a band in ascent. Their star has yet to hit their apex and some of their best music was released subsequent to this compilation. Also I should point out that this particular release was originally put out by Metal Mind Records, a notable Polish record label who geared their song choices to Polish tastes, not that Polish tastes are much different than mine, especially since some of my favorite bands like Artrosis and Delight are Polish bands, which co-incidentally are also stabled on Metal Mind Records.

Song/Track List 1. Walls of Babylon (Barrett) - 10:44 ***** 2. The Shadow (Barrett) - 9:55 ****1/2 3. Total Recall (Barrett/Gee) - 7:05 *** 4. The Voyager (Barrett) - 12:15 ***1/2 5. The Black Knight (Barrett) - 9:58 **** 6. And We'll Go Hunting Deer (Barrett) - 7:14 ****1/2 7. Am I Really Losing You? (Barrett) - 4:47 ****1/2 8. The King of the Castle (Barrett) - 4:43 ****1/2 9. Paintbox (Barrett) - 4:23 **** 10. The Last Waltz [multimedia track] (Barrett/Gee) - 5:18

Killer songs

"Walls of Babylon" Man, they start off with a simply fabulous tune. "Wish You Were Here" anyone? The four minute extraordinary guitar and organ intro is pure Pink Floyd whereupon the organ takes over and Pendragon smoothly and effortlessly eases into the sound of Genesis. Strangely enough singer/guitarist Nick Barrett manages to sound like a combination of Genesis's Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins and even Marillion's Fish. This ten plus minute gem is indeed worthy of a best of compilation.

Sorry, that's all the killer song. You want more? Ok!

Semi-Killer songs

After "Walls of Babylon" the songs all become very melodious and mellow and yes, unfortunately boring. Individually they are very good but as a whole and being seventy minutes long, as a unit they become boring. The most interesting of the remaining songs is "The Shadow" which starts out slow but gradually builds up both speed and intensity to absorb my interest. I should mention that all these songs seem to have an ethereal quality and a mildly psychedelic undercurrent with Clive Nolan's fabulous organ/synth work. Another strength of their music is the always pleasant melodies.

Three other very good and similar songs are "And We'll Go Hunting Deer", "Am I Really Losing You?" and "The King of the Castle". They are all blessed with intriguing melodies delivered in a slow to slow medium pace with Barrett's very pleasant and emotional vocals ably assisted by acoustic or electric guitar, organ or synth and the equally able rhythm section. In Hunting Deer, a contributing hook is a placid wood flute and a choir beginning, in Losing You it's a remarkable ending whining guitar solo and on King of the Castle we have Barrett vocally mimicking an instrument at the end.

Sample Lyrics

"Am I Really Losing You ?" "Am I really losing you? Is that Mr. Nobody there? Is it still all for one, and one for all? Standing in an empty castle Or fading into thin air

When I was a boy I dreamt that God lived in ten sun Memories like dusty toys Never needing anyone Am I really losing you, or has life just begun?

Standing on Earth's Court station You can see the ones that have gone The ones that gave up hope long ago The ones that don't belong Sad looking faces shuffling through their lives Just waiting to find out what lies behind the big white door But like a shooting star will you just pass us by? And fade away into the night And race across the sky one freezing night"


To be fair, this album is probably a tad too mellow for my taste but it is very good and I would tend to play it as DO NOT DISTURB background music while I'm doing something immensely important, like writing PROG ARCHIVES reviews or playing chess with Boris Spasky or hosting one of my many Bridge tournaments, plus it's definitely more impressive for my mother in law than say, Megadeth or Cradle of Filth. I guess I can think of all kinds of places where this heavenly non invasive music can be used.

Pendragon doesn't really break any new ground. They may not be innovative enough for that or maybe they're at their comfort level. Whichever, what Pendragon offers is a very well executed extension and elaboration of the great ones that preceded them and there's nothing wrong with that.

Author's Note

If my review seems a little ambivalent to you, that's because I was ambivalent. I even vacillated on my rating. I originally started out thinking I was going to rate it five stars but I wanted to point out to my readers that though I basically consider this album great background music, there are many of you out there that wouldn't and this would fit in very nicely to your everyday musical repertoire.

In hindsight, I probably wasn't the best person to review this album but I didn't see anyone else stepping up to the plate.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
3 stars Interesting, but really not one of Pendragon's best compilations. All the songs are good, but actually A História has a much broader overview of this excellent band from England, including some EP tunes that were never available in any official full length CD. The addition of acoustic versions of The King Of the Castle and Paintbox are nice, but they are also available on the Not Of This World album. the vídeo for The Last Waltz is ok, but hardly a must have. The highlight here is the inclusion of Teh Walls Of Babylon, a much overlooked song from the much overlooked Windows Of Life, an amazing album that has the misfortune to be released between two classic, The World and the Masquerade Overture. But the real flaw of this CD is the fact it not includes the classic Sister Bluebird. I think this is Unforgivable for any best of CD concerning Pendragon.

Conclusion: All in all, good, but if you want a real best of compilation, stick with A Historia.

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars The least I can say, is that Pendragon is not very productive these years. Their superb "Masquerade" is already four years old, and after some live album, the resurgence of very old pre-Pendragon songs with "Once Upon, volume I and II", the Pendragon fan gets a "Best Of" with nine songs.

Their first album is covered with "The Black Knight" which is one of the two choices available (although "Alaska" should have deserved to be here as well) and the choice of "Total Recall" from "Kowtow" is probably not a good idea (but the only very good number was the title song clocking at over ten minutes). I think that they should have discarded this album.

"Voyager" is the best alternative to the suite piece "Queen of Hearts" (over twenty minutes) from "The World". Instead of choosing one piece of it (which they already did in a live album) we'll get the beautiful twelve minutes long "Voyager" which is really good. I am more reserved for the choice of "And We'll Go Hunting Deer". It was the closing number from this album and sounded a bit as a leftover (maybe because it came after the great "Queen of Hearts". It is too mellowish a song (although this is of course "Pendragon" 's trademark; but too much is too much).

This compilation is not really bad : you'll get tracks out of each of their albums, but some songs could have been ignored and I am not sure that the two acoustic numbers were really necessary; they were there to boost sales I guess, since fans are always keen on alternate versions of existing songs (but I am not; especially when it comes to acoustic versions).

From "Window...", we'll get the opener and the closing numbers. Again a great choice with "The Walls...", one of the most Floydian songs from the Pendragon repertoire. I liked "Am I..." for its marvelous guitar break at the end of the song but I did not really expected it on a "Best Of" effort. Of course all the other numbers were quite extended "Breaking The Spell" or the great "The Last Man on Heart" (almost fifteen minutes).

The more astonishing from this album, is that their most beautiful record (as well as commercial success) "The Masquerade" is only featured by two acoustic versions. One being from a track only available as a bonus track ("The King of the Castle") while "Paintbox" is almost cut by half ! To bad a treatment, really. Even if the Spanish sound of the acoustic guitar is quite nice. But if you are into acoustic, Pendragon will release a full acoustic set a little later...

The video for "The Last Waltz" is the one available on the video "Live At Last" or the DVD ""Live At Last And More".

Pendragon could have easily produced a five star compilation, but they won't. Only a matter of track list selection.

If you are new to Pendragon, my recommendation is that you get one album out their great trilogy ("The World", "Window..." or preferably "The Masquerade"). You will get the true Pendragon and avoid some useless songs. The presentation of the songs is almost random. This is not the best choice I guess for a compilation work which should be intended to people with less Pendragon knowledge and therefore a chronological listening would have been better.

The best Pendragon compilation is the one I have compiled out of their whole discography. It sits on three CD's, but that's because I like Pendragon a lot.

This one is not really great. Three stars.

Review by kev rowland
4 stars Although Pendragon may have been relatively quiet of late, it is worth noting that Nick Barrett, Clive Nolan, Peter Gee and Fudge Smith have been responsible for some of the most classy prog music to come out of the UK in the Eighties and Nineties. This compilation is an attempt to lovingly put together a representative selection of their best songs, in a superb digipak with two 12- page booklets detailing the history of the band along with a discography. Why two booklets? Well, amazingly enough this has only been released in Poland so one booklet is in Polish (words by my good friend Artur Chachlowski) with the other being a translation.

. If you are a Pendragon fan then this is essential as not only is the packaging some of the best I have seen, but it also contains a video clip and two acoustic numbers ("The King Of The Castle" and "Paintbox") which have been recorded solely for this compilation. This is a great introduction to the band a CD that anyone who enjoys Floyd style prog can purchase with extreme confidence.

Originally appeared in Feedback #58

Latest members reviews

4 stars My first Pendragon Album - I think this is an excellent compilation album for those who are new to the music. (even though it was supposedly made for Polish tastes!) I thought "Semismart" wrote an excellent review, but was a bit harsh to give it only 3 stars. I found the vocals not exactly to ... (read more)

Report this review (#76834) | Posted by freebird | Monday, May 1, 2006 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of PENDRAGON "The History 1984-2000"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.