When Tangerine Dream released their first live album, ‘Ricochet,’ towards the end of 1975, the German progressive pacemakers were basking in the success of two career-shaping studio releases of the previous 18 months or so, ‘Phaedra’ and ‘Rubycon.’ Now was the perfect time both to let their fans relive the experience of seeing the band in concert, and to send newcomers a message about their power as a performing unit.
The album went into the UK chart 39 years ago on this date, December 20 1975, and although (like many live albums) it was a more modest seller than its predecessors, it was warmly welcomed by Tangerine Dream’s army of followers. It debuted at its peak position of No. 40, in a week in which easy listening artists ruled the British market, with Perry Como’s ’40 Greatest Hits’ at No. 1 and Jim Reeves’ ’40 Golden Greats’ at No. 3, separated only by Queen’s ‘A Night At The Opera.’ In fact, ‘Ricochet’ was the only new entry on the top 40 that week.
Most unusually for a live record, which would traditionally include an artist’s best-known material with perhaps a handful of newer material, the LP consisted of precisely two tracks, parts 1 and 2 of the title. Just as notably, the release was turned around very quickly, because most of the record was taken from a performance by the band at Fairfield Halls in Croydon only a few weeks earlier, on October 23, with some audio from a show in France.
Reflecting their well-established British following by this stage, this was at the end of an extensive UK tour throughout October that had visited Birmingham, Oxford, Glasgow, Sheffield and many other cities. The night before the Croydon date, Tangerine Dream had performed at Olympia in London.
The performance features the three-piece Tangerine Dream line-up of the time, of Edgar Froese, Christopher Franke and Peter Baumann. ‘Ricochet’ not only sounds remarkably fresh today, but well ahead of its time in the field of electronic experimentation that the band excelled in.