A five-piece instrumental group in 1963 and 1964, Les Aiglons were briefly France’s answer to the Tornados, whose ‘Telstar’ was a number 1 hit in that country early in 1963. Signed to Barclay’s trendy new Golfe-Drouot label, named after Paris’ Hippest disco club of the time, Les Aiglons recorded five EPs of tunes composed principally by their organist Jean-Marc Blanc and lead guitarist Leon Francioli. It was, however, Ken Lean’s vivid production, with its echo, space effects and percussiveness, which gave ‘Stalactite’ its impact and turned it into a hit record. Perhaps the group’s (and Lean’s) pinnacle was ‘Dans Le Vent’ on the second EP, with deep, swirling guitar taking the slow melody while the organ emerges ominously to haunt it. The advent of the ‘Mersey sound’ spelt the end of instrumental beat groups as a commercial force, and by 1966 the group had disbanded.
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