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Bo Hansson

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Bo Hansson Sagan Om Ringen [Aka: Music Inspired By Lord Of The Rings] album cover
3.73 | 153 ratings | 23 reviews | 28% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1970

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Första Vandringen (Leaving Shire) (3:30)
2. Den Gamla Skogen - Tom Bombadill (The Old Forest & Tom Bombadil) (3:43)
3. I Skuggornas Rike (Fog On The Barrow-Downs ) (2:31)
4. De Svarta Ryttarna - Flykten Till Vadstället (The Black Riders & Flight To The Ford) (4:07)
5. I Elronds Hus - Ringen Vandrar Söderut (At The House Of Elrond & The Ring Goes South) (4:42)
6. En Vandring I Mörker (A Journey In The Dark) (1:12)
7. Lothlórien (Lothlorien) (4:00)
8. Skuggfaxe (Shaddowfax) (0:50)
9. Rohans Horn-Slaget Vid Pelennors Slätter (Horns Of Rohan & The Battle Of Pelennor Fields) (4:00)
10. Drömmar I Läkandets Hus (Dreams In The House Of Healing) (1:58)
11. Hemfärden - Fylke Rensas (Homeward Bound & The Scouring Of The Shire) (2:56)
12. De Grå Hamnarna (The Grey Havens) (5:07)

Total time 38:36

Bonus tracks on 1988 remixed CD release:
13. Findhorns Sång (1:49) *
14. Före Regnet (1:31) *
15. Fylke (1:50) *
16. Sluttningar (Lek I Nerförsbacke) (1:40) *
17. Vandringslåt (3:15) *
18. Utflykt Med Förvecklingar (Del Ett) (1:55) *
19. Kaninmusik - Intro (0:38) $
20. Funderingar På Vinden - Uppehåll (2:18) $
21. Funderingar På Vinden - Vandring (2:23) $
22. Kaninmusik - Femman (2:43) $
23. Lyckat Upptåg (3:11) $

* Taken from "The Magician's Hat" 1972 LP
$ Taken from "Attic Thoughts" 1975 LP

Total time 61:26

Bonus track on 2002 remaster:
13. Tidiga skisser från Midgård (Early Sketches From Middle Earth) (8:49)

Line-up / Musicians

- Bo Hansson / organ, Moog, bass, guitar, synth (13-23), slide bass (13-18), arranger & producer

- Kenny Håkansson / guitar
- Gunnar Bergsten / saxophone, flute (13-18)
- Sten Bergman / flute
- Rune Carlsson / drums, congas, percussion (13-18)
- Finn Sjöberg / guitar (19-23)
- Rolf Scherrer / acoustic guitar (19-23)
- Göran Lagerberg / acoustic guitar & bass (19-23)
- Thomas Netzler / bass (19-23)
- Mats Glenngård / violin (19-23)

Releases information

Artwork: Peter Lindblom (1st pressing)

LP Silence - SRS 4600 (1970, Sweden)
LP Charisma - CAS 1059 (1972, UK) New cover art by Jane Furst
LP Charisma CAS 1059 (1977, UK) New cover art by Rodney Matthews

CD Silence - RING 4600 (1988, Sweden) Remixed by Anders Lind with 11 bonus tracks; new cover art
CD Silence ‎- SRSCD 3600 (2002, Sweden) Remastered (2001) & remixed (1988) by Anders Lind with a bonus track previously unreleased

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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BO HANSSON Sagan Om Ringen [Aka: Music Inspired By Lord Of The Rings] ratings distribution

(153 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(28%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(45%)
Good, but non-essential (24%)
Collectors/fans only (2%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

BO HANSSON Sagan Om Ringen [Aka: Music Inspired By Lord Of The Rings] reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Proghead
3 stars Long before you had ÄNGLAGARD, the FLOWER KINGS, ANEKDOTEN, etc., you had BO HANSSON, one of the earliest and most successful figures in Sweden's prog rock scene. Having already released four albums in the late '60s with drummer Janne Karlsson (as the duo Hansson & Karlsson), and jamming with Jimi HENDRIX during a European tour, HANSSON embarked on a solo career. For his first solo project, he decided to record an album based on JRR Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings". Originally he intended the album to have vocals, and perhaps a choir, but since the Tolkien estate decline, he was forced to record an all-instrumental album that was inspired by "Lord of the Rings". The album was originally released in Sweden on the Silence label as "Sagan Om Ringen" and also became the first album ever released on that label (what a great way to kick off the label, by the way). In 1972, Charisma Records got a hold of it and released it under the much more familiar English title and artwork (it's also interesting to know the original Swedish album had all the song titles in Swedish, while the more familar version off Charisma was all in English, but, of course it doesn't really matter, since this is all instrumental).

Often this album gets maligned. It's not a big-budget production, it hardly resembles the music you hear on Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings movies that recently surfaced. What you get is psych/early prog, dominated by Hammond organ, with some Moog. People often complain that the album sounds too much like psychedelic noodling, that it doesn't do the Lord of the Rings trilogy justice, and so on. The album is a product of its time, and understanding the early '70s would help you understand why BO HANSSON created the album the way he did. To me, what I really like is the mystical atmosphere he created. There's a Nordic feel throughout the album, but I guess that should be no surprise, given where BO HANSSON is from, not to mention that Tolkien, though from Great Britain, had his stories heavily influenced by Norse mythology. Yeah, the album has a bit of repetition, but the atmosphere more than makes for it. To me, the music fits the Lord of the Rings trilogy just fine, and I much prefer this than the typical over- orchestrated Hollywood fluff that was to be found on Peter Jackson's films.

Regardless how one might feel of BO HANSSON's "Lord of the Rings", especially when it compares to the more typical Hollywood-type of score for the Peter Jackson films, I still always think HANSSON's "Lord of the Rings" is a nice album to have, although the second half does run a bit out of steam.

My rating: 3 1/2 stars

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars No amount of Lord Of The Rings soundtracks or versions will depict the very nature of Middle earth more accurately than Bo Hansson's version. This album oozes themes around Elves, Hobbits, Black Riders, The Grey Havens, Lothlorien and so on. The simplistic organ and guitar sounds together with basic percussion make this concept album an aural delight. Looking back I can see why the Charisma label snapped this Swedish artist up. He is no doubt the most underrated artist of the progressive rock genre.If one had never read the book, Hansson would have reached some place inside you with the feel of this album. As a whole the complete work is essential listening but to highlight certain tracks listen to ' Flight To The Ford', ' The Ring Goes South' and ' The Old Forest' How could Hansson depict a world so completely and so accurately? Listen and you will begin to understand the genius at work.
Review by Trotsky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Bo Hansson is a talented chap, indeed a one-man show. He creates evocative psychedelic instrumentals, with a strong organ presence and Santana-influenced guitar work. I'll admit though that I had hoped for something closer to English progressive folk to evoke the images of J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth than this recording (originally cut as Sagan Om Ringen in 1971, but released for the English-speaking market in 1972). In fact, for all his musical worthiness, this record proved to be a rather substantial let-down when I finally got around to hearing it.

The problem is certainly not the flow of the record. For that works well enough, even if doesn't always sound appropriate to the themes that he's chosen (The Santana 101 latin rhythms that accompany The Black Riders & The Flight To The Ford just seem wrong). I like the sparse Leaving Shire, the rushed, chaotic feel of The Old Forest & Tom Bombadil, the haunting vibe of both At The House Of Elrond & The Ring Goes South and The Grey Havens and particularly enjoy the fast-paced Shadowfax which is excellent, but way too short. I also like The Horns Of Rohan & The Battle Of The Pelennor Fields, although even here the Santana-influenced bass and rhythms impose themselves. And the bonues track Sketches From Middle Earth reprises some of the themes in a more convincing manner, with lovely warm colors.

What's wrong is that while I enjoy this album as a psychedelic instrumental work (I recommend listening to this one in the dark in fact), it fails on two counts. Firstly in terms of matching my own perceptions of what Middle Earth would sound like, and secondly, and more importantly, on being creative enough. On the pastoral sections Hansson frequently sounds like a stoner version of Mike Oldfield, and like Oldfield, he can sometimes fall into the trap of being too repetitive. In fact, for all the progressive trappings of the concept, I'd recommend this album only for psychedelic rock fans.

I've heard that his follow-up albums Magician's Hat and Attic Thoughts are superior, but it will take me a while to recover from the fact that this album wasn't a classic. I was so ready to fall in love with it. ... 54% on the MPV scale

Review by micky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Wow! only 9 reviews of this album at this time. That's a shame...

Bo Hansson's Lord of the Rings * Middle Earth.... the soundtrack*

J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings... oh how many albums and songs have been inspired by it. Practically required reading by every long hair in the 60's and 70's. References to it abound in the music of the era. However this my friends... is the one album to have to have when discussing it's effect on musicians and music of the era. The musical visionairy at work here is Sweden's multi-instrumentalist Bo Hansson. Hansson with the veritable warhorses of 70's prog, the Hammond Organ and the Moog synthesizer creates a lush though dark musical landscapes that of course fits the various stages of the epic tale. Want to hear what it sounds like to be chased by the Black Riders, want to hear the sound of riding Shadowfax, the sounds of the Riders of Rohan charging forth to do battle. You must hear this album. This, along with ELO 2 that I previously reviewed, is one of the fabulous 5 albums that turned me onto prog back in the early to mid 70's. Like ELO 2 I have never tired of the musical journey that it inspires.

Some highlites for me..

The Black Riders & the Flight to the Ford. An 'air' congos blast. Rune Carlson beats the heck out the congos while Hansson plays the martial main theme on the Hammond and adds tasty Moog parts. A good fuzzed out guitar solo heralds the final part of the chase to the ford... Great song.

Dreams In the House of Healing. Short by rather effective dreamy guitar and synth part that evokes visions of peace and rest. Always have found this track highly relaxing and further proof of Hansson matching the mood of the various tales of the story with appropiate musical landscapes.

Rating this album. Easiest of the 3 I've done so far. To me, and essential and nearly flawless in my eyes. For the forum at large... an excellent record and a great addition to any prog collection Micheal (aka micky)

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
4 stars Bo Hansson recorded this album on a 4-tracks tape on a little island in the Baltic Sea. I suppose it was winter. The nordic athmosphere is present in all the tracks and it's its strength. There are rumors about an uncredited presence of Jimi Hendrix (it's written in a comment on the back of the vinyl cover) and it could be true. Of course, it's not the best album I ever listened to, but it's quite good. The only problem is that it's "contaminated" by many influences from the 60s, like the excessive use of percussions and the psychedelic sound of guitar and keyboards. Anyway, if you like the northern mysts, this is not to be missed. It's 20 years before the Anglagard and it should have its place in every prog collection.

4 stars

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars One of the first ''progressive'' musicians from Sweden,BO HANSSON was born in 1943 in Gothernburg.During his early career,he was a member of a couple of rock'n'roll/blues bands,before expanding his musical horizons and focusing on Hammond organ.By late 60's he begun writing an instrumental concept based on J.R.R. Tolkien's ''Lord of the rings'',which was released in 1970 under the Swedish title ''Sagan om ringen''.The album gained great success and it was re-realeased in 1972 through Charisma Label with its English title and this is exactly the version presented here.''Lord of the rings'' is a great example of personal-sounding early 70's organ-dominated prog rock.The music ranges from slight psychedelic smooth guitars to leading organ-driven symphonic-like prog,creating that way superb dreamy landscapes,like you're in a fairytale!The overall atmosphere is quite pastoral and mellow,the tempos are mainly slow,but that's the way this concept could actually work.A fantastic inventive concept effort by one of Sweden's masterminds!A fine purchase for all progressive rock followers!...actual rating...3.5 stars
Review by ClemofNazareth
4 stars Bo Hansson is a bit of a mysterious character, and someone I never heard of until just about a year ago. This isn’t the album that drew me to his music; rather, I had come across a copy of “Magician's Hat”. But the sounds intrigued me so it wasn’t long before this one found its way into my collection as well. This is the English-label version of his 1970 solo debut ‘Sagan om Ringen’, and a very curious treatment on the famous J.R.R. Tolkien epic.

The music here is all instrumental, and nowhere near the kind of grand, almost gothic sound that some of the later soundtracks and Tolkien tribute albums would tend to have. In fact, Hansson’s keyboard arrangements and eclectic style remind me of quite a few Swedish acts like In the Labyrinth, Autumn Breeze, Gjallarhorn (Swedish-speaking in their case), and even Isildur’s Bane at times. His music is ambient at times, experimental at others, and almost always vaguely familiar, although I’m guessing I never heard this record on the radio or at a friend’s house so the familiarity aspect is suspect.

This is not the type of sound most people would expect of a Lord of the Rings-inspired piece of music. Later recordings ranging from Led Zeppelin to Mostly Autumn are more grandiose, pompous, and expansive. Hansson instead focuses on the fantasy side of Tolkien’s tale, weaving a musical (mostly keyboard) tapestry through the Old Forest to the House of Elfrond and eventually back toward home, skipping huge parts of the story in the process but establishing an almost mystic mood that must have been awesome to use as a backdrop when reading the three volumes way back then.

The congas and Santana-like guitar licks on “The Black Riders/Flight to the Ford” capture the anxiety and high drama of that passage without being overbearing or cheesy, much like “Homeward Bound / the Scouring of the Shire” evokes a mood of finality to the adventure.

Like I said, not the sound I would have envisioned for a Tolkien soundtrack for sure, but Hansson was a creative genius who gave us a fascinating alter-interpretation on this hugely popular literary classic. I can’t say this is a masterpiece because there are a few spots where the repetitious organ and hand drums seems to drag on a bit much, and because the level of attention paid to certain parts of the tale don’t seem to make a whole lot of sense (“Lothlórien” and “Shadowfax” – why)? But in all this is a great musical work that is bound to be appreciated by nearly all progressive music fans, regardless of their genre of choice. Highly recommended and four stars.


Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The first time I heard about BO HANSSON'S "Lord of the Rings" and read the reviews, I had the misconception that this was the "Non Plus Ultra" example of early Swedish Symphonic, so when I heard it was really surprised, this album has almost no connection with Symphonic, as a fact is much closer to early PINK FLOYD than to YES, GENESIS or ANGLAGARD.

So if any listener wants to try this album, I recommend to search for a copy of "Live at Pompeii" and try it, because that's the closer you will get to the overall sound of "The Lord of the Rings".

Of course this is not a negative commentary, I love the album, but if you want to listen something, you need to have a clear idea about what you are going to have before you instead of being disappointed because lack of information.

Now, despite it's quality, the album has a serious problem, BO HANSSON was too ambitious, you can't make a conceptual album about a trilogy of epic proportions as The Lord of the Rings, with 12 songs of 3 or 4 minutes length as average, as HANSSON you would be only able to scratch the cover of the book. There's no time for a coherent development and for a real musical narration as you should expect from a conceptual album.

But, even when Psyche Prog is not the best style to suit the famous trilogy would be unfair to say that the sound is something less than excellent and more than adequate, "HANSSON" with his skills managed to adapt two styles that IMO were almost incompatible.

One of the reasons I didn't review this excellent album before is because it's based mostly in atmospheres, keyboards and guitar jamming, and being the songs so similar, it's very hard to make a track by track review as I usually do.

The music as I said before has a strong Psyche PINK FLOYD influence, the guitar jamming is much less aggressive than Gilmour's but honestly more delicate and elaborate.

The organ is another issue, sounds incredibly close to the sound of "Piper at the Gates of Dawn" but in other moments with a strong resemblance to 666 by "APHRODITE'S CHILD", something very positive, because the pompous Greek Orthodox Canonic influenced music suits perfectly with an album based in a book about the fight of good against evil with obvious religious background.

Before rating "The Lord of the Rings" I must mention the superb drumming work by "Rune Carlsson" whose perfect timing and dexterity with the cymbals is the spine over which the music is supported.

Not a masterpiece of Progressive Rock, but for sure an album that must be included in any Progressive Rock collection, so I will go with 4 solid stars.

Review by friso
3 stars Bo Hansson's Lord of the Rings (1972)

This record is recorded with little modern studio posibilities, it's just some guys playing atmospheric themes. The recording quality isn't very good, but somehow it amazes me. It's like they are playing gently in the corner of your room. No haste, no potential of making bombastic progressive music. No, this is prog reduces to it atmospheric sound combined with some medieaval sounds. The atmospheres are dark most of the time, but sometimes other emotions are played. Bo Hansson is a good keyboardplayer, but his sounds are a bit dated. The strange thing is I still tend to like the silly organ sounds combined with the ambient drums and bass.

The tracks all have a name, but you wouldn't pick em out. This whole record is like one big song, one piece of art. As mentioned before this is no ordinary progrock, but jamsession-like flow music with medieaval sounds. The artwork is nice, but dated because of the recent movies. I like to play this record, but it's not a masterpiece of any kind. I will give it three stars. If you are searching for prog with a different approach, atmospheric music or soundtrack-like music this is something you wouldn't want to skip on! If you like songwriting, epics and a lot of viriatiy of sounds you might want to look somewhere else for you prog. I bought it myself for one euro on vinyl and it's worth it! Good, but non-essential.

Three stars. Not for everyone.

Review by aapatsos
3 stars A psych approach to an epic

Everything that deals with J.R.R.Tolkien, call it a book, a film, a music album, a review, gets my attention. The world he created within his works has been hailed as a modern mythology; a real piece of art that involved the ''invention'' of two languages and a detailed narration of events, journeys, clans and civilisations. This is Bo Hansson's version of what Lord of the Rings could have sounded like if it was a musical piece - or the way he personally perceived the magic of the script...

In terms of structure, the album is based on separate compositional pieces that do not directly link with each other musically or thematically - not exactly what you would have expected from a concept album. According to the conceptual theme of each track, the music sometimes flows in a relaxed psychedelic atmosphere (i.e. Leaving Shire, The Grey Havens) or turns into adventurous, agonising passages (i.e. The Black Riders, The Horns of Rohan).

With a large dose of late 60's psychedelia, improvisation is the main source of inspiration for this album. The extensive use of organ and moog synthesizer give this album an unexpected touch that makes it very attractive, especially if one reads about the recording conditions under which it was created. It seems that vocals were not in Bo Hansson's mind while composing (or rather improvising...) thus the result is a 100% instrumental record. To my ears, guitars play a secondary role here, while the presence of drums and inspired tribal rhythms really add to the overall sound. To some listeners the sound of the percussion (often resembles to Santana) might seem dated, but I personally feel it gives a charming touch.

The production is not clear and polished (see description of recording equipment used in biography section) but this does not affect the intention of the band; on the contrary, it generates a nostalgic feeling that blends with the actual music.

What the album suffers from is the coherence that would constitute a concept musical piece and the repetitiveness that - while evident throughout the whole record - starts to appear more in the latter tracks. However, it is interesting to observe that the happy, dreamy moments in the story are represented by tracks with similar atmosphere in the record and the same happens with the darker, more anxious, agonising sections. The length of the album is short but this does not affect the quality. This does not entirely mean that Hansson's interpretation of the story is successful. No matter how subjective this is, I could not actually imagine Tolkien's world while listening to this version but I can't deny it is still an interesting one.

If I were to pick highlights, the more adventurous The Old Forest..., The Black Riders... and the dreamy Lothlorien caught my attention for sure. Friends of early Caravan and bands alike of the late 60's/early 70's might appreciate Hansson's efforts. A definitely interesting result despite its limitations...

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars At the time of this writing, I'm revisiting some old friends in Middle Earth, and I figured it would be an appropriate time to review an album inspired by Frodo, Sam, Gandalf and company. To be honest, I don't- in my mind at least- hear this music as very related to Tolkien's masterpiece trilogy, but the end result isn't spoiled from that disappointment. At times I'm even reminded of some Krautrock acts like Amon Düül II. Imagine The Snow Goose as a weaker, darker psychedelic album, and that is an adequate summary of the late Bo Hansson's best-known work.

"Leaving Shire" Brooding and forlorn, psychedelic music would see the Hobbits off. I hear a lot of early Pink Floyd in this.

"The Old Forest / Tom Bombadil" Tranquil tones appear and vanish again before turning into something upbeat and yet still quite spacey. Light symphonic elements gel the music as it fades out.

"Fog on the Barrow-Downs" Wispy synthesizer and an easygoing pace tend to drag even more than what came before.

"The Black Riders / Flight to the Ford" Things slow down even more as a lonely bass watches a flutter synthesizer lead. Then the music finally picks up- with amazing percussion, Hansson reinvents the first bit of this piece, yet the thin electric guitar is just not good.

"At the House of Elrond / The Ring Goes South" Quiet guitar and other dim tones produce another work that sleepily treads along.

"A Journey in the Dark" Low, warbling synthesizer and an ominous drum create more ominously minimalistic music.

"Lothlórien" This is one of the most memorable pieces, partly because of shimmering main theme as well as the intertwining of guitar and keyboards.

"Shadowfax" This brief and urgent piece, led by a clean guitar melody, has an Eastern vibe.

"The Horns of Rohan / The Battle of the Pelenmor Fields" Suddenly another guitar melody (this one distorted) takes command, ushering in a dark quiet passage, before the piece becomes regal and stately.

"Dreams in the Houses of Healing" Layered electric guitars over a simple bass and percussion weave a lovely but haunting texture before a ghostly organ enters and retreats multiple times.

"Homeward Bound / The Scouring of the Shire" Hand percussion brings in a harmonic theme. Much of this is slightly Oriental in flavor, reminding me a bit of Steve Hackett's early works.

"The Grey Havens" A delicate organ alternates between single long notes and whimsical runs over soft percussion and weepy electric guitar bends. The final piece drags on even more so than many of the other pieces by virtue of the fact that it's essentially an organ solo over a repetitive two-chord background.

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars After hearing this, I'm quite disappointed. This certainly isn't kind of music I normally listen to (or what I was expecting), but it's not even something new I can learn to like.Un/Fortunately (depends on you). First of all, while it's for some gentle, atmospheric and impressive in a quiet way of this word, it is dull and void for me. I can't find anything here to like. The best I can find there is to tolerate it, listen to it, but I'm not able to relate it, no chemical reaction between me and this music that I'm trying to understand here. I'm one of these fortunate young people (89) who read books before films were made. How glad I am for that, I still remember my feelings for the books, without seeing anything by Tolkien done in media (except one radio adaptation of Hobbit), old animated movie was quite unknown here. However, not just that this music doesn't fit to entire scheme of Middle-Earth, but I find it quite boring (most of the times) and don't like it at all. Lethal combination of few elements that forms final rating. Yet I'll give

3(-), because there are some pieces that justifies it. ...Elrond..., or ...Black Riders... and ...Rohan... to name some. They're far from being perfect, but they're good at least.

Review by Warthur
3 stars (Note: having satisfied myself that there is little to no appreciable difference between the Swedish and English releases of this album, I'll be posting my review under both versions).

Bo Hansson's debut album - first released in his native Sweden in 1970 before being given a wider release in 1972 - could well be one of the first great symphonic prog albums to come out of Scandinavia. Not only that, it's one of the earliest examples of an all-instrumental symphonic concept album - Krautrock bands had been releasing all-instrumental albums prior to this, mind, but those tended not to be concept albums and of course ploughed a very different furrow.

A series of keyboard-heavy instrumentals inspired by Lord of the Rings sees Bo backed up by a very capable band that he is more than happy to share the limelight with, knowing when to back off on his keys or guitar to let the sax or flute melodies breathe. The album is also surprisingly diverse - the concept might make you expect a disc heavy on medieval-influenced fare, but I also detect a certain Santana influence at points. Technically it's quite capable, and surely helped drive the growth of prog in Scandinavia, though with the passage of time I find it less enchanting. Ultimately, musically speaking it's a bit generic; I don't know whether the Tolkien theme was settled on before the fact or afterwards, but it certainly doesn't come through very much through the music for me.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
3 stars I heard this album recently. I must say I was a bit fed up with this Lord Of The Rings fascination among musicians (even if I did like german metallers Blind Guardian version of the same fascination). So I was not really willing to listen to it for a while. But since Bo Hansson was the very first (or among the first) to do such work, I feel like giving him a shot. Tthe results sounded to me like a soundrtack album from the late 60´s: lots of psychedelic keys and guitars, a few wind instruments and good drums.

A very good soundtrack, I should say, since soundtracks are not really my cup of tea. And still I like it. Although it was planned to be an album with vocals on it, it seems that Tolkien´s State did not granted permission to do so. I wonder how it would have sound if lyrics were allowed. However, I must admit taht, most of the time, it works. It does ring better than most of the works I heard based on the famous book. I don´t think this is a masterpiece in any way, noe anything esential in any prog music collectio. But it is still very good, specially if you like late 60´s instrumentals (I do). The music in general is well composed, well played and the production is ok for the time. I really love the organ sound and the more melodic themes, like The Grey Heavens. The presence of a good electric guitar in several songs is a nice surprise for a keyboardsman solo efford.My CD copy is the extended version with a few additional tracks that are worth having them.

All in all a very good CD of the time. It spurred my curiosity to get to know his other works.

Final rating: 3,5 stars.

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Gollum approved dream-prog

Bo Hansson is an acclaimed Swedish progressive rock multi-instrumentalist deserving of more attention than he received. Here in the States he couldn't get arrested which is our loss but this album did quite well in other parts of the world. Hansson plays all of the keyboards and guitars on his debut homage to Tolkien, getting help only on the drums, saxophone and flute. "Lord of the Rings" is a largely quiet and contemplative album with a sound that is dreamy, spacey, often melodic. Some sections do wake up with energetic if not outwardly rocking playing. I guess I would describe the album as a mixture of Floyd for emotions, Popul Vuh for the meditative aspects, and Oldfield for the spirited moments like "The Black Riders and Flight to the Ford." This track runs the gamut from bright keyboards to rhythmic conga playing to acid-drenched guitar solos. In fact Oldfield work like Hergest Ridge and Ommadawn sound as if they could have been influenced by LotR which precedes both Oldfield classics. Overall the album is draped in organ textures, with accompanying saturated lead guitar, bass, flute and sax. Closer "The Grey Havens" sounds very much like a Popul Vuh track with organ layered over the top. It sounds the same beginning to end with slow, subtle variations happening below the surface. If that sounds appealing don't pass up this album!

In his excellent Guide to Progressive Music, Bradley Smith notes the album "exudes a hypnotic and mysterious atmosphere...not really jazz, rock, or classical, nor is it soundtrack music. At the time of its appearance there really were no precedents for an album like this...resembles the 68-70 era of Pink Floyd a la "Set the Controls" only without vocals...takes the most moody and spacey elements of that style and expands it to album length, quite an innovative move for intoxicatingly Gothic and psychedelic atmosphere that is drifting, pulsing, organic, spiritual, melodic, and friendly."

The one area where I don't find the album particularly successful is in the conjuring of images of Tolkien from the music. Others state that the music directly brings the book to one's mind and perfectly matches music to story. Honestly, if I didn't know the album was based on the Tolkien book I would never have made the connection. It's great and adventurous progressive rock but it doesn't remind me of Tolkien-esque images nearly as much as some other works. That minor quibble aside "Lord of the Rings" is highly recommended to fans of instrumental fantasy prog; Oldfield fans, Nektar fans, and Floyd fans would all I suspect enjoy this very much.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars Bo Hansson gained some success with his previous band HANSSON & KARLSSON who are listed on the site here under Proto- Prog. In fact you could count Jimi Hendrix as a fan as he covered their 1967 track "Tax Free" plus he jammed with them and apparently there is over 4 hours of recorded material from those sessions. This is Bo's 1970 debut which of course is a tribute to The Lord Of The Rings novel. Organ and moog dominate the sound much of the time along with flute, sax and the usual instruments. The music is laid back and atmospheric bringing POPOL VUH to mind at times.

"Leaving The Shire" is a gorgeous opener with slowly played floating organ as moog, drums, percussion, guitar and more help out. There is a purpose in that rhythm. "The Old Forest & Tom Bombadil" reminds me of 60's FLOYD then it picks up. An amazing section. A calm before 3 minutes then it ends like it began. "Fog On The Barrow-Downs" has a haunting atmosphere as sounds play slowly over top. Impressive. "The Black Riders & Flight To The Ford" is again mellow but it does kick into a higher gear after 30 seconds to an uptempo rhythm. Lots of moog, bass, drums and floating organ.

"At The House Of Elrond & The Ring Goes South" slows it down again with organ and a beat. I like when the guitar joins in and plays slowly after 2 1/2 minutes then it picks back up again. "A Journey In The Dark" is dark surprisingly as sounds slowly come and go. "Lothlorien" is another track that I can't get enough of. That floating organ, moog and percussion in particular. "Shadowfax" is a short uptempo piece. "The Horns Of Roham & The Battle Of The Pelennor Fields" features sax and some tempo shifts. "Dreamy In The House Of Healing" is dreamy surprisingly with guitar over top. "Homeward Bound & The Scouring Of The Shire" opens with drums as other sounds join in. Percussion, organ and moog lead the way on the final track "The Grey Havens" and the sound of waves rolling in ends it.

I read somewhere that this music was dated but I have to disagree and would argue that the music here is as timeless as the book that inspired it.

Latest members reviews

5 stars I bought this as a teenager when it first appeared in the UK on the Charisma label. Compared with the other music I was listening to at the time (Yes, Genesis, King Crimson etc) it didn't impress me as much as I'd hoped. It was much more pastoral than these other groups and well, I guess I had the ... (read more)

Report this review (#2205456) | Posted by fenman | Saturday, May 25, 2019 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Gotta say I'm surprised there aren't any five star this album is off the charts awesome reviews for this one. Personally, I read this novel as a young man and heard this album after I'd doubled in experience. Truly, this album defines the reading experience for me. I think this is an all time ... (read more)

Report this review (#2051627) | Posted by WFV | Friday, November 2, 2018 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Imagine that instead of writing music for "La Vallee / Obscured by Clouds", Pink Floyd has been been comissioned to write music for Lord of The Rings instead. If you like the more pastoral momments of early Floyd, then you'll like this album. It is very much 'background music' as opposed to full ... (read more)

Report this review (#84122) | Posted by | Wednesday, July 19, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars My introduction to Bo Hansson music occured in late 1972 thanks to my friend who brought an Hansson record from England; I remember that listeninig to it made us both very enthusiastic about that album.As the time passed, the name of the album has faded out of my memory, what left was captivat ... (read more)

Report this review (#76590) | Posted by bsurmano | Friday, April 28, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A magical Album! This is one of thos albums i been wanting to hear for a long time and now i finally got it, and it dident dissapoint, this is an amazing piece of music, a must have for every prog lover, its even beter if you have read the book like i have the music fit the book thems perfect ... (read more)

Report this review (#69692) | Posted by Zargus | Friday, February 17, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars One of the most quintessential people in the formation of the prog scene in Sweden is definitely Bo Hansson, a very talented swedish keyboardist and multi-instrumentalist, which released, in 1972, a strong concept album, based on J.R.R Tolkien's classic trilogy "Lord Of The Rings" (Sagan om Ri ... (read more)

Report this review (#51366) | Posted by Mnemosyne | Wednesday, October 12, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I saw that this album only had 2 reviews & thought I would add an additional one as I simply love this album. I came across it completely by accident in a record shop & was instantly taken by the LP cover - it is not as shown above (although my CD version is as above) instead it featured a win ... (read more)

Report this review (#40782) | Posted by yaksongs | Friday, July 29, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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