Beyond the Hall of Mirrors: A History of the Enid
by Mike Ezzo
To put into perspective The Enid's background we need to be acquainted with the soil in which the seeds of their history were sown. This place was called Finchden Manor and was situated on the edge of the Romney Marshes in England.
Finchden was very unorthodox. A cross between an informally structured boys boarding school and Boys Town in America. It was here, in 1973, where the nucleus of Robert John Godfrey, Francis Lickerish, and Steve Stewart, met and later formed the group. Let's pick up the story a few years before The Enid came into existence.
After leaving Finchden, and an abortive attempt at a career as a classical pianist, Godfrey hooked up with Barclay James Harvest. From 1969 until 1971 he worked with them, developing and helping to compose some of their early classic songs. He also directed and conducted their accompanying orchestra.
Upon leaving this situation he was asked to join a band called Siddartha. While playing at one of their concerts he was discovered by Charisma Records mogul Tony Stratton-Smith, who soon signed the very talented keyboardist onto the label's roster. Late in 1972 Robert went to work and produced "The Fall Of Hyperion" for Charisma. If ever there were such a thing as Pre-Raphaelite music, this is probably what it would resemble. Certainly it addresses similar themes. Lyrics are based upon the poems of Keats, and the whole affair has an air of the mythological.
The music is rapturous and majestic, featuring mellotron and piano extensively setting the stage for much of what would come later. Dante, Gabriel Rossetti and Edward Burne-Jones would have loved this! "The Fall Of Hyperion" was dedicated to George Lyward, the founder of Finchden Manor, who had passed away a year prior. His death inspired in Godfrey a concern for Finchden's fate.
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