AT THE peak of their fame in the 1970s, crowds overflowed into the square when Gentle Giant played at Portsmouth Guildhall.
The audience that came to see the Portsmouth prog-rock legends inducted into the Guildhall’s Wall of Fame was rather more modest.
But it was still the largest turnout to watch an induction, which has previously included the likes of Mick Jones of Foreigner, Mark King of Level 42 and Queen’s ‘fifth man’ keyboard player Spike Edney.
The three Shulman brothers, Phil, Derek and Ray, founded the group Simon Dupree and the Big Sound in Portsmouth, in 1966, scoring several hits including the top 10, Kites.
The band evolved into Gentle Giant in 1970 and the brothers recruited keyboardist Kerry Minnear, guitarist Gary Green and had two drummers before settling on John Weathers in 1972.
Over the next decade the band recorded 10 albums, touring worldwide and selling millions in the process, before splitting in 1980.
Geoff Dorsett and Adrian Collis of Express FM inducted the band, and Adrian said: ‘Sometimes when you’re interviewing someone, you say that you’re a fan of their music, and you aren’t really, but in this case I definitely was.
‘From Simon Dupree with their soul roots, to Gentle Giant, there’s not many bands who metamorphose like that, but I think it’s testament to their musical skills. We are talking about quality musicians here – just calling them prog doesn’t do them justice.’
Phil Shulman said after the induction: ‘We are more than honoured, it’s been lovely to see so many people here.
‘We didn’t set out to do anything like this when we began.
‘The music was the thing – people say it’s about money and fame and all that, but playing to an audience who likes your music is as much fun as you can get.’
Gentle Giant’s influence is still felt today – September 29 sees the release of Three Piece Suite, a remixed collection of tracks from their first three albums.