Octopus — “I Say”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — March 11, 2023


759) Octopus — “I Say”

A fleeting McCartneyesque gem that I would wager Paul would be proud to call his own. Garwood Pickjon calls it “Macca-by-way-of-Emitt-Rhodes sounding”. (https://popdiggers.com/octopus-restless-night/)

Loser boy ponders the band and the album:

Fantastic UK psychedelic pop progressive act who really took the “Sgt. Pepper”‘s aura to another dimension. “Restless Night” . . . is a wonderful album full of 70’s era – BEATLE’esque themes and musical feelings. [The band] blend[s] superb fuzz guitar and organ work all wrapped up with some great lead vocals. Someone once described this album as being “So dangerously post-Sgt. Pepper’s that it approaches solo McCartneyism”. . . . IMHO this is an essential album . . . a masterpiece…


Forced Exposure says that:

[T]he album bridges the gap between ’60s psychedelia and a harder-edged ’70s sound, drawing on the obvious touchstones of the time including Lennon/McCartney, Argent/Blunsone and the brothers Davies and Gibb. But Octopus had the songwriting and playing chops to make this album much more than an also-ran; with hooks galore, swirling organ, and fuzz-tone guitars, Restless Nights is a prime piece of early-’70s UK psychedelia that’s rare as hen’s teeth in its original form.


And Bruce Eder says “Restless Night . . . is on the smooth, commercial pop side, with the psychedelic elements mostly in the fuzztone guitar and organ flourishes, mixed with the music’s general melodic nature.” (https://www.allmusic.com/artist/octopus-mn0001886653)

Bruce then brings us back to the Octopus’ garden:

Octopus’ origins lay in Hatfield, 30 miles from London, and a mid-’60s quartet called the Cortinas . . . . made up of Paul Griggs (guitar), Nigel Griggs (bass), Brian Glassock (drums), and Rick Williams (guitar). By 1967, the Cortinas had moved from Brit beat into pop-psychedelia and cut one single (“Phoebe’s Flower Shop”) for Polydor without success. The following year, the quartet renamed and redirected itself and Octopus was born. The band earned a support spot to Yes which was, itself, an up-and-coming group at the time. They also appeared on stage with acts like Status Quo and Humble Pie, and were discovered by Troggs bassist Tony Murray, who helped get them a record deal with independent producer Larry Page, who was the Troggs’ manager. Octopus . . . released a single, “Laugh at the Poor Man” . . . in 1969. Midway through the recording of their debut album, Restless Night, Glassock and Williams quit the band, and it was a re-formed Octopus, with John Cook on keyboards and Malcolm Green on the drums, that finished the record . . . . The resulting LP was popular in Hatfield but never found an audience anywhere else. . . . [The band] disbanded in 1972. . . . Malcolm Green and Nigel Griggs later became members of Split Enz.


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