Question: What's got eight legs,
short hair, strange theatrical clothing, no electric
guitar, a Nickelodeon (what's that ?!), a street lamp, a
portable harbour town and dares to call itself a band?
Well, the answer may begin with a folklore tale, seldom
told, of the nightclub "Le Matelot" in Paris.
But in reality the musicians Georg Kajanus and Phil
Pickett who'd already known each other from their first
musical projects were joined by Henry Marsh, formally
guitarist and keyboard player with the band
"Gringo" and Grant Serpell, drummer with the
cult jazz-rock phenomenon "Affinity" to form
SAILOR in 1973.
Those who remember the early 1970s may well remember it
as an area recovering from the psychedelic 60s, and the
music of this new decade featured either rock bands with
guitar heroes, or pop rebels who helped usher in their
style and glamour for what the 70s is now best
SAILOR stands alone as the most original chart act of the
decade. The group line-up incorporates instruments as
diverse as mandolins, glockenspiels, accordion, military
bass-drum, and of course the legendary Nickelodeon, an
exclusive invention of the band. The sound originally
inspired by one of Georg's demo tapes and intended only
as "musical review", was recognized by Grant as
the perfect group direction.
The songs then became theatrical located in a fantasy
world of red light districts and harbour towns - the
characters being lonely sailors far from home.
The Nickelodeon, an extraordinary instrument was designed
and built for the purpose of delivering SAILOR's
definitive sound. The first album, released in 1974,
included the hit "Traffic Jam". The album
achieved Gold status in Holland. But it was the second
album "Trouble" that established SAILOR
throughout the world. "A Glass Of Champagne"
was top hit throughout the world in 1975, and was soon
followed by "Girls Girls Girls" in 1976.
Those fortunate enough to have experienced a SAILOR
concert during this period will recall not only the
unique theatricality of their stage act - a harbour town,
the Nickelodeon, street lamps, palm trees, etc., but also
the variety of musical influences and styles rendered in
The original line-up of SAILOR split up at the end of the
1970s. In 1980 Phil and Henry released a new album
together with Gavin David and Virginia David. Afterwards,
Henry mainly composed music for television, Georg
released three albums with "DATA", Grant took
up teaching chemistry, while Phil enjoyed success touring
with "Culture Club" and co-writing the now
classic hit "Karma Chameleon".
In 1989 a dream for SAILOR and its fans came through. A
new album, after a ten year silence, two new hit singles
"The Secretary" and "La Cumbia",
songs which are firm favourites at their concerts and
which re-establish the band as a force to be reckoned
with in the 90s. From then on they went back on tour
again and played on many of the so-called "Oldie
In 1995 Georg Kajanus departed the band to pursue a solo
career. But, SAILOR took on the seemingly impossible task
of finding a replacement. The arrival of Peter Lincoln, a
respected guitarist and singer, gave new life to SAILOR.
Just listen to the new tracks to really experience the
giant leap that SAILOR has taken in such a short space of
time. The first SAILOR live album "Live In
Berlin" was also recorded in this line-up.
Original member Henry Marsh left the band in late 1999
and was replaced by Anthony England on the left side of
In May 2001 Anthony England left the band. A new young
passionate and very talented musician, Rob Alderton,
joined the line-up and brought new life to the old
Nickelodeon sound. In the new line-up SAILOR recorded
their first DVD at a very special UK headline concert in
November 2002 and continued the legacy of one of the most
extraordniary bands of all time.
In 2004 SAILOR were voted the 45th most successful pop
band of the last 40 years in Germany, surrounded by
Genesis on 46 and Culture Club on 44. Their first and
only SAILOR book "A Glass Of Champagne - The
Official SAILOR Story" with 352 pages and over 120
photographs (mostly unpublished) was released in June
2004. The year ended with the Golden Classics
30th anniversary Holland tour.
2005 started with a big UK "Glitz Blitz and 70's
Hitz" tour and plans to release the long awaited
"Buried Treasure" - SAILOR's new anthology CD
boxed set of greatest hits, private scrapbook, and latest
recordings - as well as the single, a new version of
In July 2005 Rob Alderton left the ship. A few weeks
later original SAILOR member Henry Marsh returned to his
place at the Nickelodeon.
In September 2006 Peter Lincoln decided to leave SAILOR
after ten years to join The Sweet. Afterwards, Henry's
son Oliver Marsh joined the band as their new singer to
continue the journey. The first concert with Oliver in
October 2006 was a huge success, as were the subsequent
concerts. Thanks to Oliver's unique opera voice, SAILOR
added a moving new encore, "Con Te Partirò" to
their set. In April 2009 Oliver Marsh left the band in
order to pursue his career in opera, but he returned
again in May 2011. During those two years, SAILOR's
singer was Nick Parvin.
In February 2011 SAILOR announced the retirement of Grant
Serpell, who was replaced by Henry's son Tom Marsh who
had already helped out in SAILOR for a couple of concerts
while Grant had to take a break after an injury.
SAILOR keep on sailing and the SAILOR legend continues
for one simple reason: there is simply nobody else like
them, anywhere. In 2014 they celebrated their 40th
In 2016 the re-release of the book "SAILOR - The
Official Biography" by James McCarraher informed us
that Phil Pickett had decided to leave the band. The book
ended with the words "SAILOR will continue, with
Henry and Ollie at the helm. Coming to a theatre near
you...". No SAILOR shows have happened since May
2014 though, but the two SAILOR captains Pete Lincoln and
Oliver Marsh continue to perform SAILOR songs at their
shows, keeping the music of the band alive for audiences.