Soft Machine
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Soft Machine
Soft Machine
Group photo circa 1970:
l-r: Elton Dean, Mike Ratledge, Robert Wyatt, Hugh Hopper
Background information
Origin Canterbury, England
1978-1983 (as Soft Head/p)
1999-2002 (as Soft Ware)
2002-2004 (as Soft Works)
2004-2015 (as Soft Machine Legacy),
Labels ABC Probe, Columbia, Harvest, EMI, Major League Productions (MLP)
The Wilde Flowers, Caravan, Pink Floyd, Syd Barrett, Matching Mole, Nucleus, Gong, Isotope, Adiemus, Soft Heap, Soft Head, Soft Bounds, The Police, The Keith Tippett Group
Members John Marshall
Roy Babbington
John Etheridge
Theo Travis
See: Members

Soft Machine are an English rock and jazz band from Canterbury, named after the book The Soft Machine by William S. Burroughs. They were one of the central bands in the Canterbury scene. Though they achieved little commercial success, they are widely considered by critics to have been very influential in rock music,[2][3][4] with AllMusic describing them as "one of the more influential bands of their era, and certainly one of the most influential underground ones".[5]


Beginnings, psychedelic, jazz fusion (1966-68, 1969-71)

Soft Machine (billed as The Soft Machine up to 1969 or 1970[6]) were formed in mid-1966 by Robert Wyatt (drums, vocals), Kevin Ayers (bass, guitar, vocals), Daevid Allen (guitar) and Mike Ratledge (organ) plus, for the first few gigs only, American guitarist Larry Nowlin.[7] Allen, Wyatt and future bassist Hugh Hopper had first played together in the Daevid Allen Trio in 1963, occasionally accompanied by Ratledge. Wyatt, Ayers and Hopper had been founding members of The Wilde Flowers, later incarnations of which would include future members of another Canterbury band, Caravan.

This first Soft Machine line-up became involved in the early UK underground, featuring prominently at the UFO Club, and subsequently other London clubs like the Speakeasy Club and Middle Earth. Their first single, 'Love Makes Sweet Music' (recorded 5 February 1967, produced by Chas Chandler), was released on Polydor Records in February, backed with 'Feelin' Reelin' Squeelin' (January 1967, produced by Kim Fowley--rumoured to have Jimi Hendrix, who was recording "Hey Joe" in the same studio, playing rhythm guitar).[8] In April 1967 they recorded seven demo songs with producer Giorgio Gomelsky in De Lane Lea Studios that remained unreleased until 1971 in a dispute over studio costs.[9] They also played in the Netherlands, Germany and on the French Riviera. During July and August 1967, Gomelsky booked shows all along the Cte d'Azur with the band's most famous early gig taking place in the village square of Saint-Tropez. This led to an invitation to perform at producer Eddie Barclay's trendy "Nuit Psyche;de;lique[fr]", performing a forty-minute rendering of "We Did It Again", singing the refrain over and over, achieving a trance-like quality. This made them instant darlings of the Parisian "in" crowd, resulting in invitations to appear on leading television shows and at the Paris Biennale in October 1967. Upon their return from their sojourn in France, Allen (an Australian) was denied re-entry to the United Kingdom, so the group continued as a trio, while he returned to Paris to form Gong.

Sharing the same management team as Jimi Hendrix, the band were rewarded with a support slot on the Jimi Hendrix Experience's North America tour throughout 1968.[7] Soft Machine's first album - a psychedelic rock/proto-prog classic - was recorded in New York in April at the end of the first leg. Back in London, guitarist Andy Summers, later of The Police, joined the group following the breakup of Dantalian's Chariot (previously Zoot Money's Big Roll Band). After a few weeks of rehearsals, the new quartet began a tour of the USA with some solo shows before reuniting with Hendrix for a final string of dates in August-September 1968. Summers, however, had in the meantime been fired at the insistence of Ayers,[10] who himself also departed amicably after the final tour date at the Hollywood Bowl in mid-September, and for the remainder of 1968, Soft Machine were no more. Wyatt stayed in the US to record solo demos, while Ratledge returned to London and began composing in earnest. One of Wyatt's demos, Slow Walkin' Talk, allowed Wyatt to make use of his multi-instrumentalist skills (Hammond organ, piano, drums and vocals) and featured Hendrix on bass guitar.[11]

In December 1968, in order to fulfill contractual obligations, Soft Machine re-formed[12] with former road manager and composer Hugh Hopper on bass added to Wyatt and Ratledge, and set about recording their second album, Volume Two, which launched a transition towards a purely instrumental sound resembling what would be later called jazz fusion. In May 1969 this line-up acted as the uncredited backing band on two tracks of Syd Barrett's solo debut album, The Madcap Laughs. The base trio was, later in 1969, expanded to a septet with the addition of four horn players, though only saxophonist Elton Dean remained beyond a few months, the resulting Soft Machine quartet (Wyatt, Hopper, Ratledge and Dean) running through Third (1970) and Fourth (1971), with various guests, mostly jazz players (Lyn Dobson, Nick Evans, Mark Charig, Jimmy Hastings, Roy Babbington, Rab Spall). Fourth was the first of their fully instrumental albums, and the last one featuring Wyatt.

Their propensity for building extended suites from regular sized compositions, both live and in the studio (already in the Ayers suite in their first album), reached its apogee in the 1970 album Third, unusual for its time with each of the four sides featuring one suite. Third was also unusual for remaining in print for more than ten years in the US, and is the best-selling Soft Machine recording.[13]

This period saw them gaining unprecedented acclaim across Europe, and they made history by becoming the first 'rock band' invited to play at London's Proms in August 1970, a show which was broadcast live on national TV and later appeared as a live album.

Post-Wyatt era (1971-72)

After differences over the group's musical direction, Wyatt left (or was fired from[14]) the band in August 1971 and formed Matching Mole (a pun on machine molle, French for soft machine; also said at the time to have been taken from some stage lighting equipment "Matching Mole"). He was briefly replaced by Australian drummer Phil Howard. This line-up toured extensively in Europe during the end of 1971 (attested by the "Drop" 2008 release) and attended the recording of their next album, but further musical disagreements led to Howard's dismissal after the recording of the first LP side of Fifth before the end of 1971 and, some months later, in 1972, to Dean's departure. They were replaced respectively in 1971 by John Marshall (drums) and in 1972 by Karl Jenkins (reeds, keyboards), both former members of Ian Carr's Nucleus, for the recording of Six (1973), and the band's sound developed even more towards jazz fusion.

Jenkins era part #1 (1972-78)

In 1973, after the release of Six, Hopper left and was replaced by Roy Babbington, another former Nucleus member, who had already contributed with double bass on Fourth and Fifth and took up (6-string) electric bass successfully, while Karl Jenkins progressively took over the role of band-leader and main composer. After they released Seven (1973) without additional musicians, the band switched record labels from Columbia to Harvest. On their 1975 album, Bundles, a significant musical change occurred with fusion guitarist Allan Holdsworth adding guitar as a very prominent melody instrument to the band's sound, sometimes reminiscent of John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra, setting the album apart from previous Soft Machine releases, which had rarely featured guitars. On the last official studio album Softs (1976), Holdsworth was replaced by John Etheridge. Ratledge, the last remaining original member of the band, had left during the early stages of recording. Other musicians in the band during the later period were bassists Percy Jones (of Brand X) and Steve Cook,[15] saxophonists Alan Wakeman and Ray Warleigh, and violinist Ric Sanders. Their 1977 performances and record (titled Alive and Well, ironically) were among the last for Soft Machine as a working band, their very last performance (until the 1984 reformation) being the only Soft Machine concert of 1978.[16][nb 1]

Jenkins era part #2 (1980-81; 1984)

The Soft Machine name was used for the 1981 record Land of Cockayne (with Jack Bruce and, again, Allan Holdsworth, plus Ray Warleigh and Dick Morrissey on saxes and John Taylor on electric piano), and for a final series of dates at London's Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club in the summer of 1984[nb 2], featuring Jenkins and Marshall leading an ad hoc lineup of Etheridge, Warleigh, pianist Dave MacRae and bassist Paul Carmichael.

Alternative bands: Soft Ware, Soft Works and Soft Machine Legacy (1999-2015)

Soft Machine having been a much loved band since their inception in the late 1960s and having always been at the cutting edge of many music genres (including the early progressive and psychedelic rock scene and then the burgeoning jazz rock and fusion scene), it was inevitable that former Soft Machine members would reconvene over the years, to continue on their legacy.[17]

Soft Ware (1999-2002) and Soft Works (2002-04)

The first such conception in September 1999 was Soft Ware which featured Elton Dean, Hugh Hopper, John Marshall and long-time friend Keith Tippett. This line-up would only remain together briefly. Then in 2002, another former Soft Machine member, Allan Holdsworth, joins the remaining three members of Soft Ware who would rename themselves Soft Works[17] in June 2002.[16] They had changed their name to avoid confusion with Peter Mergener's band Software. As Soft Works, they made their world live debut on 17 August 2002 at the Progman Cometh Festival (at the Moore Theater in Seattle, Washington), released (on 29 July 2003[18]) their only (studio) album, Abracadabra, consisting of all new material recorded at the Eastcote Studios in London on 5-7 June 2002, and toured Japan in August 2003, Italy in January-February 2004 and Mexico in March 2004.[16]

Soft Machine Legacy (2004-15)

In October 2004, a new variant of Soft Works, with John Etheridge permanently replacing Holdsworth, took the name of Soft Machine Legacy and performed their first two gigs (two Festival shows on 9 October in Turkey & 15 October in Czech Republic), Liam Genockey temporarily replacing John Marshall who had ligament problems (the first Soft Machine Legacy line-up being consequently: Elton Dean, John Etheridge, Hugh Hopper and Liam Genockey).[16] Later on, Soft Machine Legacy released three albums: Live in Zaandam[19] (2005), the studio album Soft Machine Legacy[19] (2006) recorded in September 2005 and featuring fresh material[17] and the double CD Live at the New Morning[20] (2006). After Elton Dean died in February 2006, the band continued with British saxophonist and flautist Theo Travis, formerly of Gong and The Tangent.

In December 2006, the new Legacy line-up recorded the album Steam[21][22][23] in Jon Hiseman's studio. Steam was eventually released by Moonjune Records in August 2007, before a European tour in autumn. In 2008, Hopper was sidelined by leukemia and the band continued live performances with Fred Baker.

Following Hopper's death in 2009, the band announced that they would continue with Babbington once again stepping into the role formerly held by Hopper.[24]

On 4 October 2010, Soft Machine Legacy released their fifth album, a 58-minute new live album entitled Live Adventures recorded live on 22 October 2009 in Austria and Germany during a European tour.[25]

In February 2013, founding Soft Machine bassist Kevin Ayers died, aged 68.[26][27] On 13 March 2015, following a short battle with cancer, Ayers' fellow Soft Machine co-founder Daevid Allen died, aged 77.[28][29]

On 18 March 2013, the Legacy band released a new studio album, titled Burden of Proof.[30] In an early 2013 interview, Travis stated that, "legally we could actually be called Soft Machine but for various reasons it was decided to be one step removed."[31]

On 11 February 2015, Soft Machine Legacy gave one show at The Y Theatre, Leicester, UK.[32]

In March 2015, Gary Husband stepped in for drummer John Stanley Marshall performing with the Legacy for a short tour of Japan,[nb 3] along with guest artist and long-time friend Keith Tippett.

Later on, Soft Machine Legacy performed a few shows in Spring and Summer 2015.[nb 4]

A return to the name "Soft Machine" (2015-present)

In September and October 2015, it was announced that the band Soft Machine Legacy (made of guitarist John Etheridge, drummer John Marshall, bass player Roy Babbington and sax, flute and keyboard player Theo Travis) would be performing under the name "Soft Machine" in late 2015 and early 2016: two shows in the Netherlands and Belgium in early December 2015[36][nb 5] and a series of seven UK shows in March-April 2016.[36][38][nb 6]

In December 2015, it was confirmed that the band had dropped the "Legacy" tag from their name, as the band featured three of the group's 1970s era members - John Etheridge, John Marshall and Roy Babbington - joined by Theo Travis on sax, flute and keyboard.[38]

At least at one Spring 2016 show (on 26 March in Sheffield Green, East Sussex, UK), Nic France (from Theo Travis's band Double Talk[42]) deputised for John Marshall on drums and percussion.

On 4 September 2016, Soft Machine took part in the "2 Days Prog 1" Prog Festival at Piazzetta della Musica in Veruno, Province of Novara, Italy.

In early 2016, a series of six other UK shows were scheduled for November 2016.[nb 7] Later on, two more UK shows were added for November 2016.[32][nb 8]

On 25 October 2017, Soft Machine announced a 10-date UK tour due to take place the next month in November 2017. The run of shows should start in Wavendon on 2 November and end in New Brighton on 26 November.[nb 9] Theo Travis reported that the band should be playing material from the 70s era - compositions by Hugh Hopper, Mike Ratledge and Karl Jenkins - as well as other pieces composed by John Etheridge or himself plus some band improvisations. The band (still) features John Etheridge on guitar, Roy Babbington on bass and John Marshall on drums and yours truly on sax, flute and keyboards.[44][45]

After a unique Spring show on 26 May 2018 in Stoke-On-Trent, UK and a unique North-American Summer show on 7 July 2018 in Montre;al, Canada, Soft Machine will embark on 6 September 2018 in Oslo, Norway on a 5-date Summer tour of Europe to be followed on 7 October 2018 in Philadelphia, PA by the 9-date North-American leg of their Fall tour and on 8 November 2018 in Kinross, UK by the 7-date European leg of their Fall tour due to end on 22 November 2018 in Southampton, UK.


Soft Machine's music has been described by critics and journalists as progressive rock,[5][27][46][47][48]experimental rock,[49][50]jazz rock,[51][52]jazz[5][53] and psychedelic rock,[27] as well as being a part of the Canterbury scene of progressive rock.[5][48] According to Hugh Hopper, "We weren't consciously playing jazz rock, it was more a case of not wanting to sound like other bands; we certainly didn't want a guitarist."[54]



Soft Machine

Former members

Soft Ware

  • Hugh Hopper - bass, saxophone, guitar (1999-2002; died 2009)
  • Elton Dean - saxophone, keyboards (1999-2002; died 2006)
  • John Marshall - drums, percussion (1999-2002)
  • Keith Tippett - keyboards (1999-2002)[16]

Soft Works

  • Hugh Hopper - bass, saxophone, guitar (2002-2004; died 2009)
  • Elton Dean - saxophone, keyboards (2002-2004; died 2006)
  • John Marshall - drums, percussion (2002-2004)
  • Allan Holdsworth - guitar (2002-2004; died 2017) [16]

Soft Machine Legacy


Soft Machine line-ups


Studio albums

Year Album Line-up
1968 The Soft Machine Ratledge, Ayers, Wyatt
1969 Volume Two Ratledge, Hopper, Wyatt
1970 Third (double album) Ratledge, Dean, Hopper, Wyatt
1971 Fourth Ratledge, Dean, Hopper, Wyatt
1972 Fifth Ratledge, Dean, Hopper, Howard/Marshall
1973 Six (double album) Ratledge, Jenkins, Hopper, Marshall
1973 Seven Ratledge, Jenkins, Babbington, Marshall
1975 Bundles Ratledge, Jenkins, Holdsworth, Babbington, Marshall
1976 Softs Jenkins, Wakeman, Etheridge, Babbington, Marshall
1981 Land of Cockayne Jenkins, Marshall

Live albums

Year Album Released Line-up
September 1967 - May 1968 Middle Earth Masters 2006 Ratledge, Ayers, Wyatt
March 1969 Live At The Paradiso 1969 1996 Ratledge, Hopper, Wyatt
November 1969 / May 1970 Backwards 2002 Ratledge, Hopper, Wyatt, Dean, Dobson, Evans, Charig
January 1970 Noisette 2000 Ratledge, Dean, Dobson, Hopper, Wyatt
January 1970 Breda Reactor 2005 Ratledge, Dean, Hopper, Wyatt
April 1970 Somewhere in Soho 2004 Ratledge, Dean, Hopper, Wyatt
April 1970 Facelift 2002 Ratledge, Dean, Hopper, Wyatt
August 1970 Live at the Proms 1970 1988 Ratledge, Dean, Hopper, Wyatt
October 1970 Grides 2006 Ratledge, Dean, Hopper, Wyatt
February 1971 Live at Henie Onstad Art Centre 1971 2009 Ratledge, Dean, Hopper, Wyatt
March 1971 Virtually 1998 Ratledge, Dean, Hopper, Wyatt
March 1971 Soft Machine & Heavy Friends - BBC In Concert 1993 Ratledge, Dean, Hopper, Wyatt
November 1971 Drop 2008 Ratledge, Dean, Hopper, Howard
May 1972 Live in Paris 2008 Ratledge, Dean, Hopper, Marshall
June 1972 Soft Stage - BBC In Concert 1972 1994 Ratledge, Jenkins, Hopper, Marshall
Nov-Dec 1972 Six (Disc 1) 1973 Ratledge, Jenkins, Hopper,Marshall
May 1973 NDR Jazz Workshop Hamburg, Germany 2010 Ratledge, Jenkins, Babbington, Marshall
July 1974 Switzerland 74 2015 Ratledge, Jenkins, Holdsworth, Babbington, Marshall
January 1975 Floating World Live 2006 Ratledge, Jenkins, Holdsworth, Babbington, Marshall
October 1975 British Tour 75 2005 Ratledge, Jenkins, Etheridge, Babbington, Marshall
July 1977 Alive & Well: Recorded in Paris 1978 Jenkins, Etheridge, Marshall

Compilation albums

Year Album Notes
1972 Jet Propelled Photographs 1967 demos with the original line-up.
1977 Triple Echo (triple album) A "best of" album, including their first single (available on an album for the first time) and material from all the studio albums up to Softs.
1990 The Peel Sessions (double album) Recorded during 1969-71.
1994 Rubber Riff Stock music composed by Jenkins, 1976.
1996 Spaced Recorded in 1969. Is the soundtrack for a work of artist Peter Dockley.
2001 Turns On Volume 1 Lo-fi quality recordings from April to December 1967.
2001 Turns On Volume 2 Lo-fi quality recordings from November 1967 to August 1968.
2003 BBC Radio 1967-1971 (double album)
2003 BBC Radio 1971-1974 (double album)

Other minor releases

These albums were released by various small labels, and most of their content is available on the "main" albums listed above.

Year Album Note
1972 Rock Generation Vol. 7 one side only, April 1967 De Lane Lea Studios demo recordings with Giorgio Gomelsky.
1972 Rock Generation Vol. 8 one side only, more April 1967 demo recordings; This and the preceding entry were combined on many subsequent releases, under such titles as Faces & Places Vol.7 (BYG Records, 1972), At the Beginning (Charly Records, 1976), Jet Propelled Photographs (Piccadilly Records, 1980 [LP], Charly Records 2003 [CD]), and several others. These issues contain the track "She's gone", recorded in April 1967, which is not the same track released in Triple Echo.
1975 Soft Machine 1&2 (Architects of Space Time)
1990 The Untouchable compilation from Bundles, Softs, and Alive and Well.
1991 As If... Curious (probably unauthorized) compilation with six Ratledge/Hopper compositions ranging from 1970 (Third) to 1973 (Six) in sparse order.
1994 Soft Machine Live At The Paradiso 1969 plus six tracks from Jet Propelled Photographs
1995 The Best of Soft Machine - The Harvest Years - Anthology 1975-1978 includes tracks from Bundles (1975) to Alive & Well (1978).
1998 Canterburied Sounds, Vol.s 1-4 Voiceprint Records released four CDs, containing several tracks by various musicians from the Canterbury scene (mainly from the Soft Machine and the Caravan bands), compiled and with notes by Brian Hopper. The four single CDs are re-released in 2013 in a boxed set
1998 Live 1970 (Also known as Live in Europe 1970) tracks 1 & 2 recorded on 13 February 1970 at Swansea (or 14 at the London School of Economics); tracks 3-11 also in Live at the Proms; here, with the edited version of "Out-Bloody-Rageous" from 11:54 to 8:46 minutes, and "Esther's Nose Job" split in 7 contiguous tracks.
1999 Fourth / Fifth
2001 Turns On vol. 1 Includes tracks from the Middle Earth and Speakeasy clubs in London, recorded in 1967, including a low-quality remaster of "She's Gone" (2:37), recorded in June 1967, previously available only on Triple Echo (1977).
2001 Turns On vol. 2 Includes low-quality tracks from the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, 10 December 1967, the Middle Earth Club, 10 November 1967 and from the Col Ballroom, Davenport, Iowa, 11 August 1968.
  • Man in a Deaf Corner - Anthology 1963-1970; CD1 mainly with live pieces from 1963 to circa 1967, with tracks 7-8-9 also in Turns On vol. 1, resp. tr. 2-1-16; CD2 with tracks 1-10 recorded at the Paradiso, 29 March 1969 also in Live at the Paradiso (circa 32 min. out of 40); tracks 11-12 ("Facelift" and "Moon in June" - short versions) also in Live 1970, resp. tr. 1-2; tracks 13-16 recorded at the Fairfield Halls in Croydon on 26 April 1970 also in Facelift, resp. tr. 4-7; track 17 is a Jakko Jakszyk rendition of "As Long as He Lies Perfectly Still" in conjunction with the two short tracks "That Still and Perfect Summer" and "Astral Projection in Pinner " to appear in his future album The Bruised Romantic Glee Club (Iceni 2006).
2004 Six / Seven
2005 Out-Bloody-Rageous: An Anthology 1967-1973
2005 Orange Skin Food A 2-CD Live compilation of previously released live recordings; tracks from Somewhere In Soho, recorded 20-25 April 1971, Facelift, recorded 26 April 1970 and the entire Live in Europe 1970, recorded 13 or 14 February 1970 and 13 August 1970 at the Proms.
2010 Original Album Classics includes the whole Third, Fourth, Fifth, Six and Seven in the 2007 remaster
2011 Tales Of Taliesin: The EMI Years Anthology 1975-1981

2013 68 credited to Robert Wyatt, it nonetheless contains an 18 minutes early version of "Rivmic Melodies" (to appear in the 1969 album Volume 2) and a 20 minutes early version of "Moon in June" (to appear in the 1970 album Third), both recorded in U.S. in 1968, after Soft Machine dissolution, and just before the new formation with Hopper in place of Ayers.
2013 Canterburied Sounds re-issue in a single 4 CDs edition of the four titles previously released in 1998 by Brian Hopper on Voiceprint Records
2014 Tanglewood Tails (2 CDs), Anthology; Disc 1 with tracks 1-4 from 1963 (also in "Canterburied Sounds"), tracks 5-12 from 1967 studio recordings (also in Turns On vol. 1); Disc 2 with tracks 1-4 live from the Col Ballroom, Davenport, Iowa, 11 August 1968 (also in Turns On vol. 2), tracks 5-6 live from the Paradiso, Amsterdam, 29 March 1969 (also in Live at the Paradiso), tracks 7-11 live from the Fairfield Halls, Croydon, 26 April 1970 (also in "Facelift"). The quality of tracks are far better than in both volumes of Turns On (especially "She's Gone" - June 1967 version that now has a quality comparable to the Triple Echo version - that is up to now the only acceptable CD version of this track).
2014 Soft Machine Turns On (An early collection) (2 CDs) is a reprint (from Floating World Records) of the two Turns On volumes of 2001, with the same track list. The low quality of the former editions was here maintained.
2014 Live in 1970 (4 CDs) is a reprint of two live concerts, CD1 and CD2 recorded at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club on 20-25 April 1970 (already in Somewhere in Soho, Voiceprint 2004), CD3 and CD4 recorded at Het Turfschip, Breda, Netherlands on 31 January 1970 (already in Breda Reactor, Voiceprint 2005).
2014 Live in the 70s (4 CDs) is a reprint of various live concerts, CD1 and the first four tracks on CD2 also issued as Live in Paris (Cuneiform 2004), tracks 5-7 of CD2 also appear on Backwards (Cuneiform 2002); Mark Charig is here wrongly mentioned as the trumpet player; CD3 was previously released as Noisette (Cuneiform 2000) and CD4 was previously issued as Drop (Moonjune 2008).
2015 Hugh Hopper - Volume 9: Anatomy of Facelift Five performances of "Facelift", 1969 through 1971.


  • 1967: "Love Makes Sweet Music / Feelin' Reelin' Squeelin'" [UK / NL]
  • 1968: "Joy of a Toy / Why Are We Sleeping?" [US / JPN]
  • 1978: "Soft Space (Part 1) / (Part 2)" [UK / Europe]

Live concerts not yet published

The following is an incomplete list of Soft Machine concerts appeared only unofficially in bootlegs, rarely with good quality sound, to serve as a guide for those wanting to officially expand the Soft Machine discography with restored live gigs that made history.

The 1960s

  • 1969, 04-13, Live at the Country Club in London
  • 1969, 06-25, Live at the Ba.Ta.Clan in Paris
  • 1969, 08-09, Live at Plumpton Race Course - only "Moon in June" was performed.
  • 1969, 10-05, Live at the Lyceum in London
  • 1969, 10-28, Live at Actuel Festival in Amougies, Belgium - excerpt
  • 1969, 10-627, Live at the Liverpool University - excerpt

The 1970s

  • 1970, 01-04, Live at the Fairfield Halls, in Croydon - This concert was published as Noisette (Cuneiform 2000), but this official release lacks "Facelift", that was in part used for the Third album (1970), where it is joined by another version recorded January 11 and overdubbed; This concert is inserted here only because the version of "Facelift" herein contained (over 25 minutes long) is a very special version and the full song would deserve an official treatment.
  • 1970, 01-17, Live at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam
  • 1970, 04-04, Live at the Kolner Festival, Germany
  • 1970, 09-01, BBC Radiophonic Workshop - Eamonn Andrews explained
  • 1970, 09-17, Alan Black "Sound of the Seventies" (broadcast Sept. 25), recorded at the Camden Theatre in London
  • 1970, 10-24, Live at DeDoelen, Rotterdam - excerpt
  • 1971, 02-07, Live at the Roundhouse, London, UK
  • 1971, 03-21, Live in Het Turfschip, Breda, Netherlands
  • 1971, 06-07, Live at the Cafe au Go Go (the Gaslight) in New York City
  • 1971, 10-17, Donaueschinger Musiktage - this concert has appeared partially on Drop (Moonjune 2008)
  • 1971, 11-07, Live at the Berlin Jazz Festival - there exist two versions of this concert: the live recording and the radio broadcast (with German DJ inserts) - this concert has appeared partially on Drop (Moonjune 2008).
  • 1972, 04-22, Live at Palazzo dello Sport in Bergamo, Italy
  • 1972, 04-24, Live at the Piper Club in Rome - one of the last concerts with Elton Dean
  • 1972, 06-07, Live at King's Cross Cinema - this concert is arguably the first with Karl Jenkins
  • 1972, 12-03, Live at Fairfield Halls, Croydon, UK
  • 1974, 03-11, Radio Interview with Mike Ratledge and Alan Holdsworth for an American Radio broadcast
  • 1974, 03-13, Live at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York
  • 1974, 03-17, Live at "My Father's Place" in Roslyn, New York
  • 1974, 03-2324, Live at the Howard Stein's Academy of Music in New York
  • 1974, 08-10, Live at Le Naiadi, Pescara, Italy
  • 1974, 09-2024, Villa Pamphili Festival in Rome

Related bands, projects and tributes


Year Album Soft Machine members involved
The Wilde Flowers
1965-69 The Wilde Flowers (released in 1994) Ayers, Hopper, Wyatt
Planet Earth
1978 Planet Earth Ratledge, Jenkins
Soft Head
1978 Rogue Element Hopper, Dean
Soft Heap
1979 Soft Heap Hopper, Dean
1979 Al Dente Hopper, Dean
1982-83 A Veritable Centaur (released in 1995) Dean
1979 Push Button Ratledge, Jenkins
2nd Vision
1980 First Steps Etheridge, Sanders
1980 Wonderin' Ratledge, Jenkins
Soft Works
2002 Abracadabra Hopper, Dean, Holdsworth, Marshall
Soft Mountain
2003 Soft Mountain Hopper, Dean
Soft Bounds
2004 Live at Le Triton Hopper, Dean
Soft Machine Legacy
2005 Live In Zaandam Hopper, Dean, Etheridge, Marshall

2006 Soft Machine Legacy Hopper, Dean, Etheridge, Marshall
2006 Live at the New Morning Hopper, Dean, Etheridge, Marshall
2007 Steam Hopper, Etheridge, Marshall
2010 Live Adventures Etheridge, Babbington, Marshall
2013 Burden of Proof Etheridge, Babbington, Marshall
Delta Saxophone Quartet
2007 Dedicated To You But You Weren't Listening: The Music Of Soft Machine Hopper (as a guest on some tracks)


  • Soft Machine Legacy: New Morning - The Paris Concert, available in DVD format (2006)
  • Alive in Paris 1970, available in DVD format (2008)
  • Romantic Warriors III: Canterbury Tales, available in DVD format (2015)


  1. ^ On 8 December 1978 at the Sound & Musik Festival in Dortmund, Germany; the then probable line-up being: Karl Jenkins, John Marshall, Ric Sanders, Steve Cook and Allan Holdsworth.[16]
  2. ^ A week of gigs from 30 July to 4 August 1984.[16]
  3. ^ The Soft Machine Legacy March 2015 Japan tour included three shows: on 24 and 26 March 2015 in Osaka and on 27 March 2015 in Tokyo.[33]
  4. ^ On 10 May 2015 (with Keith Tippett) in Vicenza Italy, on 9 June at The Stables, Wavendon, Milton Keynes, on 16 June at the Robin2, Bilston, Wolverhampton, UK, on 9 August 2015 (with Keith Tippett) at Ronnie Scott's Club, London[34][35] and on 12, 13 & 14 August 2015 as part of Jazz na Fbrica 2015 at SESC Pompe;ia in So Paulo, Brazil.[32]
  5. ^ On 2 December 2015 at Cultuurpodium Boerderij in Zoetermeer, Netherlands [37] and on 4 December 2015 at N9 Villa in Eeklo, Belgium.[36]
  6. ^ On 18 March 2016[39] as part of the HRH Prog 4 Festival (scheduled from 17 to 20 March) at Camp HRH (Hafan y Mr Holiday Park), Pwllheli, North Wales, UK,[40] on 19 March at the Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal, UK, on 20 March at the Bristol Jazz Festival, Bristol, UK (once scheduled then cancelled and rescheduled for 16 November 2016 at The Robin 2, Wolverhampton, UK), on 24 March 2016 at the Talking Heads in Southampton, UK, on 26 March 2016 at Trading Boundaries, Sheffield Green, East Sussex, UK,[41] on 30 March at the Assembly Rooms, Leamington Spa, UK, on 31 March 2016 at the Band on the Wall in Manchester, UK, on 1 April 2016 at Nell's Jazz & Blues Club in London, UK.[36]
  7. ^ On 15 November 2016 at The Stables, Milton Keynes, on 16 November 2016 at The Robin 2, Wolverhampton, UK (as a rescheduling of the cancelled show on 20 March 2016 at The Robin in Bilston, UK.,[43] on 20 November 2016 at Holmfirth Picturedrome, Holmfirth, Yorkshire on 24 November 2016 at The Borderline, Soho, London, on 25 November 2016 at The Flowerpot, Derby and on 27 November 2016 at The Talking Heads, Southampton.
  8. ^ On 17 November 2016 at Tivoli Theatre, Wimborne, Dorset and on 30 November 2016 at The Stage, Basingstoke.
  9. ^ Soft Machine November 2017 UK tour: on 2 November 2017 in Wavendon at The Stables, on 3 in Farncombe at St John's Church, on 11 in Derby at The Flowerpot, on 15 in Wolverhampton at Robin 2, on 16 in Cambridge at Cambridge Modern Jazz Club, Hidden Rooms, on 17 in London at The Borderline, on 23 in Manchester at Band On The Wall, on 24 in Kinross at Backstage at the Green Hotel, on 25 in Selby at Town Hall, on 26 November 2017 in New Brighton at the Wirral Guitar Festival, Floral Pavilion.


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Further reading

External links

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