National Health

National Health were an English progressive rock band associated with the Canterbury scene. Founded in 1975, the band featured members of keyboardist Dave Stewart's band Hatfield and the North and Alan Gowen's band Gilgamesh, including guitarists Phil Miller and Phil Lee and bassist Mont Campbell as original members. The band was named after Stewart's National Health glasses. Bill Bruford (previously of Yes and King Crimson) was the initial drummer but was soon replaced by Pip Pyle. Campbell was replaced by Neil Murray and then John Greaves. Alan Gowen stopped performing with the group after their first album, but returned for their final tours replacing Dave Stewart who resigned after their second album. Guitarist Phil Miller was National Health's only constant member.

National Health
OriginCanterbury, England
GenresProgressive rock, Canterbury scene, jazz fusion, psychedelic rock, experimental rock
Years active1975–1981
Associated actsHatfield and the North, Caravan, The Wilde Flowers, Soft Machine, Bill Bruford
Past membersDave Stewart
Alan Gowen
Amanda Parsons
Phil Miller
Phil Lee
Mont Campbell
Bill Bruford
Steve Hillage
John Mitchell
Neil Murray
Pip Pyle
John Greaves
Georgie Born
Lindsay Cooper

A frequently changing line-up, they toured extensively and released their first album, National Health in 1978. Although it was created during the rise of punk rock, the album is characterized by lengthy, mostly instrumental compositions. Their second record Of Queues and Cures, which included Peter Blegvad (recitation on "Squarer For Maud") and Georgie Born (cello), is held as one of the best records ever on the Gnosis website.[1] After the May 1981 death of Gowen, Stewart rejoined the remaining members to record the album D.S. Al Coda, a set of compositions by Gowen, most previously unrecorded. The original albums and additional archival material have subsequently been released on CD.

The intro of National Health's 'Binoculars' was used as a sample on American rock band Deftones' Black Moon.


Studio albums

Other releases

  • Complete (1990; all three studio albums plus bonus tracks)
  • Missing Pieces (1996; archival material)
  • Playtime (2001; live recordings from 1979)
  • Dreams Wide Awake (2005; selected tracks from the first two studio albums)



  1. ranked #10 as of 2012/09/13, the Gnosis search facility
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