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Nirvana The Story Of Simon Simopath album cover
3.47 | 43 ratings | 6 reviews | 21% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1967

Songs / Tracks Listing

Side A - Act I
1. Wings Of Love (3:18)
2. Lonely Boy (2:30)
3. We Can Help You (1:55)
4. Satellite Jockey (2:33)
5. In The Courtyard Of The Stars (2:33)

Side B - Act II
6. You Are Just The One (2:04)
7. Pentecost Hotel (3:04)
8. I Never Had A Love Like This Before (2:48)
9. Take This Hand (2:15)
10. 1999 (2:09)

Total time 25:09

Additional tracks on 2003-2021 CDs:
11-20. Stereo mix of the album

Bonus tracks:
21. I Believe In Magic (B-Side Of The Single) (3:25)
22. Life Ain't Easy (Previously Unreleased Version) (3:17)
23. Feelin' Shattered (B-Side Of The Single) (2:22)
24. Requiem To John Coltrane (B-Side Of The Single) (4:54)

Line-up / Musicians

- Patrick Campbell-Lyons / guitar, vocals
- Alex Spyropoulos / keyboards
- Sylvia Schuster / cello
- Michael Coe / French horn
- Brian Henderson / bass
- David Preston / drums

- Syd Dale / arranger & conductor

Releases information

Artwork: David Browning

LP Island Records ‎- ILP 9059 (1967, UK) Mono audio
LP Island Records ‎- ILPS 9059 (1967, UK) Stereo

CD Edsel Records ‎- EDCD 465 (1996, UK)

CD Island Remasters - IMCD 301, 980 001-0 (2003, UK, contains mono and stereo mixes of the album and 4 bonus tracks)
CD Island Records - UICY-76767 (2014, Japan, Limited Edition, contains mono and stereo mixes of the album and 4 bonus tracks)
CD Island Records - UICY-79507 (2021, Japan, Limited Edition, remastered, contains mono and stereo mixes of the album and 4 bonus tracks)

Thanks to Eetu Pellonpää for the addition
and to Prog Network & NotAProghead for the last updates
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NIRVANA The Story Of Simon Simopath ratings distribution

(43 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(21%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(35%)
Good, but non-essential (35%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

NIRVANA The Story Of Simon Simopath reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I had quite different musical expectations from this group than what I eventually discovered from their albums. Instead of fuzzy psychedelia this first album of this group consists carefully constructed orchestrated pop gems similar in style of The Beatles. Though I'm not a big fan of this style, I enjoyed listening this record quite much. Psychedelic elements are present only in quite subtle amounts, mostly in surrealistic lyrics and small artistic arrangements and audio effects. Also Campbell-Lyons Irish accent brings a sincere personal flavor to the music.

"Wings of Love" opens the album with dynamic and effective manner, and listeners are introduced to the story of an Earth visiting alien Simon Simopath, his friends and lady companion, "shot down by a kind of bow and arrow" from the orbit. A melancholic minor waltz "Lonely Boy" which is followed by more uplifting "We Can Help You", describing Simon's situations among men further in detail. In "Satellite Jockey" Simon head's back to the stars with his woman, arriving "In The Courtyard of The Stars", a please described as more tender jazzy ballad with nice rhythmic pauses, beautiful dreamy singing melodies and flutes. "You're Just The One" is a more faster piano driven bluesy song in vein of 60's rhythm blues. Sweet pop ballad "Pentecost Hotel" was also released as a single cut, and it's really carefully tinkered tune, maybe just too sweet for my taste. "I Never Found A Love Like This" continues in mellow and romantic spheres, leading to the wedding sequence "Take This Hand", which has strong chorus verses. The finale "1999" is a jokey Dixieland tune, being quite funny but leaving a bit silly aftertaste for the whole story of this record. Well, this album isn't very serious in any aspect anyway.

Featuring the both stereo / mono mixes on the remastered CD I got appeared a bit futile to me, but there were some nice single B-sides included also, like "I Believe In Magic" from their fabulous first "Tiny Goddess" and "Feelin' Shattered" from their second single. "Life ain't Easy" is really pretty and melancholic song, and "Requiem to John Coltrane" starts promisingly with an abstract sound wall and distant unclear noises, but the stupid fooling done through the horn ruined the track in my opinion. I would recommend this album highly for those people who like orchestrated late 1960's pop music, and also fanatic sci-fi fans who want to check out all genre related stuff might be interested of listening this warmhearted album.

Review by ClemofNazareth
3 stars ‘The Story of Simon Simopath’ released the same year as ‘Sgt. Pepper’, ‘Days of Future Passed’, and ‘The Who Sell Out’. Like all of them this was one of the earliest incarnations of a rock concept album (using that term fairly liberally in the case of the Who). But unlike them this wasn’t a collaborative effort by an established band; rather, the UK version of Nirvana was really just a duo of songwriters (Patrick Campbell-Lyons Alex Spyropoulos) who brought in session musicians to complete this recording. They would also employ some of those artists in a couple of brief attempts at touring and cameo live appearances, but in the end most of what Nirvana would put out in their sixties heyday would come from the work of Campbell-Lyons Spyropoulos.

The story line is rather trite today, but creative and clever enough for 1967 I suppose. Simon, the main and almost only human character, is a young daydreamer who wants to learn to fly and find someone spectacular to live rather than be confined to Earth and to his dreary job behind a computer terminal. This in itself is rather reaching considering the first personal computer wouldn’t be introduced for nearly fifteen years after the album released and very few non-scientific jobs of that day involved using a mainframe terminal.

Then again perhaps Simon had connections in the science world, since he manages to land a gig shooting around the cosmos in a shuttle ship (also something not invented at the time but which has been since) and sending reports back to Earth. In the course of his travels he encounters a space-bound centaur (okay, not everything in this story ends up coming true in real life). The centaur transports him to a faraway world of bliss and peace and beauty and – well, basically Nirvana. There he meets and marries his dream girl and presumably lives happily ever after.

So that’s the whole story, and the album isn’t much longer than that, clocking in at less than 26 minutes spread over ten very brief songs, each representing pretty much one scene in the tale. The album closes with the very premature “1999”, an inaccurate prediction of when such a story might come to fruition.

The music here isn’t really progressive, although in 1967 it was probably considered to be. The similarities to ‘Sgt. Pepper’ are stronger than to ‘Days of Future Passed’, with simple guitar riffs, jaunty piano and peppy rhythms abounding. Think a less pensive version of Klaatu’s ‘Hope’ and you’ll get the idea.

While the duo enjoyed brief success and critical acclaim for the record, they were never able to make the band work as a live act and would disband just a few years later after managing to release four additional albums, all of which are slightly more progressive musically than this one. This is a mildly interesting and entertaining record, but nothing to get too excited about. I’m going to say it merits three stars for being innovative in its day, but not enough so to rate the label ‘essential’. Check out ‘Local Anaesthetic’ first, which is my personal favorite and features one of the greatest progressive music album covers of all time. If you’re still interested then this one will likely appeal to you as well. Otherwise just spin ‘Sgt. Pepper’ again and call it good.


Review by historian9
4 stars This very charming album is one of the first concept/story albums around, predating the greats like THE WHO's "Tommy" by two years. The album is pretty tight regarding the story and not some loosely concept flowing about. In 10 short songs we hear the story of Simon who is bored of his work behind the computer, wishes to fly and find love. While it starts of just a bit dreamy but realistic, the story does get well, psychedelic for the lack of terms. It is very easy to follow and no one should have trouble grasping the lyrics, I think vocals Patrick Campbell are very enjoyable. The songs themselves are nice psychedelic pop and I think the comparison to BEATLES of Sgt.Pepper era isn't far behind. Not really progressive but nice little record (around 25 minutes), recommended to fans of 60's pop.
Review by siLLy puPPy
3 stars Long before it started to smell like teen spirit, another blissful band coalesced in the fertile London underground in 1966 just in time to join the nascent psychedelic scene that was quickly sweeping away the old and ushering in a new era of rock and roll world domination. Formed by the songwriting team of Irish guitarist and vocalist Patrick Campbell-Lyons and the Greek born keyboardist / guitarist Alex Spyropoulos, the duo was fairly forward thinking in its musical approach that mixed aspects of 60s rock, Baroque chamber pop, folk, jazz, Latin music, classical and is now considered one of those proto-prog albums for releasing what is considered by some to be the first narrative concept album in the form of its 1967 debut THE STORY OF SIMON SIMOPATH beating The Pretty Things, The Who as well as The Moody Blues (Days of Future Passed came out a month after this one).

This album was indeed ahead of its time conceptually although very much steeped in the sounds of its era. Described as "A Science Fiction Pantomine" it narrates the fantasies of a boy named Simon Simopath who dreams of having wings abut ultimately grows up to work in one of those sterile office cubicles which leads to a nervous breakdown. But luckily after ending up in a mental institution he fantasizes about entering a rocket and befriends a centaur and a miniature goddess named Magdalena whom Simon falls for and marries! Now if this isn't the subject matter of a really good LSD trip then i really don't know what is! Far from the Seattle grunge band that adopted the NIRVANA moniker (and was sued by this band and settled out of court), THE STORY OF SIMON SIMOPATH is one of the earliest examples of childish twee pop and almost comes off as a musical fairytale meant to be played for children at bedtime.

Although NIRVANA was a mere duo, guest musicians included Sylvia Schuster (cello), Michael Coe (French horn), Brian Henderson (bass) and David Preston (drums). The music falls somewhere between simple 60s sunshine pop and a fully orchestrated classical crossover behemoth but the emphasis is on the cute and cuddly endearing storyline and the overall pop hooks leaving the orchestrations are a mere backing that only accent the overall performances. Nevertheless the Baroque chamber rock arrangements were quite unique when they emerged and have although the band itself attained only marginal success and the music they created evokes only a lukewarm response, it is fairly agreed upon that this NIRVANA was very influential for many bands to come including the earliest examples of progressive rock by The Moody Blues, Deep Purple and The Pretty Things.

While broken down into two acts with 10 tracks, the entire album only slightly exceeds 25 minutes of playing time making it one of the shortest concept albums for sure. This NIRVANA is probably more famous for having the same name as the successful 90s grunge band fronted by Kurt Cobain than for its own music mostly because it's a bit too hokey for its own good. While the spirit is heading in the right direction, the gleeful innocence of it all really does make it feel like a kid's album of some sort that could easily be played next to classics from Sesame Street or Peter The Wolf. Overall NIRVANA's debut is a fun little curiosity that warrants a listen just to place a sound to a name most are familiar with as the FIRST Nirvana but as an album that stands on its own it falls short of a totally captivating experience in any way. It sort of reminds me of "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band" at times except not even close to as ingeniously constructed. One that serves as a footnote in history and worthy of a spin or two but not something i would return to often.

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