The early years of the band were filled with musical innovation within the realms of the so-called “Progressive” movement of the 1960’s and 1970’s. Barclay James Harvest took their brand of melodic rock songs fused with classical tendencies and toured with an orchestra amassing huge debts in the process. A change of record label from EMI to Polydor helped to reshape the group’s career that has now passed an amazing 50 years. During this amazing time Barclay James Harvest went on to create and break records, being the first group to perform an outdoor festival in Europe, setting the mark for the number of paying attendees during a continuous tour cycle and performing in front of a reputed 275,000 audience on the steps of the Reichstag in West Berlin in 1980 with an estimated similar number listening on the East side.
The history of Barclay James Harvest is filled with awards in Europe. For three decades, the group released albums that reached continously the European top 10 and were awarded Gold and Platinum sales status. “Turn Of The Tide” reached number 1 in the album charts in many middle European countries and the single from it, “Life Is for Living”, reached number 1 in the singles chart. “Victims Of Circumstance” also topped the album charts and “Ring of Changes” made it to number 2. A total of eight albums that were Gold or Platinum in Europe. Through their highly acclaimed live shows and Les Holroyd’s song writing skills, the band became superstars in Europe.
In 1998, Barclay James Harvest underwent a transformation that saw a new line-up to accompany the Barclay James Harvest featuring Les Holroyd album “Revolution Days” recorded in 2001. Sadly, founder-member drummer Mel Pritchard passed away in January 2004. 2006 saw the return of the band performing with an orchestra during a short tour of Europe with the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. Following that success, another tour with the PPO was undertaken in December 2006. Another tour with Orchestra took place in October 2009. By the end of 2009, the band will have performed around 350 shows and released live albums and DVDs from the 2002 tour as well as the tour with Orchestra in April 2006.
The Band continues to perform live at every opportunity with several festival performances and tours throughout the last years and will be back to shake audiences on the upcoming extensive European tour in 2019 which will feature many old favourites, including some not heard live for many years. Hits like “Hymn”, “Life is for Living”, “Mockingbird”, “Poor mans Moody Blues” and “Love on the Line” and many others belong to the classics of the modern music history. Bandleader & Frontman Les Holroyd is still the key creative force and responsible for the distinctive band sound. He is also in great demand as guest star on highly acclaimed shows like “Rock meets Classic” and “Excalibur”. No Question – this musical journey is not finished for a long time yet.