Gentle Giant were one of the quirkiest prog-rock bands ever. They never quite broke through commercially like their fellow Brits ELP, Yes, Pink Floyd, Genesis, or Tull but they made a lot of memorable records at their peak during prog’s pre-punk heyday.
Octopus is one of Gentle Giant’s most highly regarded LPs. It’s a concept album with an interesting back story:
In the liner notes to the album’s 2011 reissue, multi-instrumentalist Phil Shulman stated, “The eight pieces (on the album) were originally intended as musical portraits of the band and roadies but found their own identity in the making. The title came from Bobbi, my wife, who recognized eight pieces with very different arms as a fair reflection of the band then.”
Octopus is another album that had different covers in the UK and US upon its release in 1972. I couldn’t find anything definitive as to why this happened but it *could* be that Roger Dean did the cover art in the UK and he’s heavily associated with Yes. The odd thing is that *both* covers are good. The US cover was by Charles White and it was cut into a jar shape when it hit the record stores.
I was lucky enough to stumble into a two-fer scan of both covers. I don’t know who did it but if you’re out there, thanks, mate.
Mmm, jarred Octopus. It almost makes me want to watch 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea again. Instead, let’s play the album via the YouTube: