Gillan is a rock band closely associated with but not directly arising from the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, formed in 1978 by Ian Gillan and Colin Towns in the UK. In 1978 Ian Gillan had become dissatisfied with the jazz fusion style of his band called Ian Gillan Band and dissolved it, retaining only keyboard player Colin Towns, and formed a new band entitled Gillan. He added Steve Byrd on guitar, Liam Glenocky on drums and John McCoy (ex-Zzebra) on bass, and initially pursued a progressive rock direction, releasing their eponymous debut in 1978, although they could only get a record deal in Japan. This recording has subsequently become more widely available as The Japanese Album.
The album was sufficiently successful to attract more attention and in 1979 the band secured a European deal with Acrobat Records. Before a new album was recorded, Byrd was replaced by Bernie Tormé and Glenocky by Mick Underwood, Ian Gillan's former colleague in Episode Six. Torme's "screaming guitar" sound fundamentally altered the dynamics and Gillan took a heavy metal direction. This lineup's first album was released as Mr.
Universe and contained many re-worked songs from The Japanese Album. The band caught the rise of the NWOBHM at just the right time and the group gained popularity in Europe. At Christmas Gillan turned down an offer from Ritchie Blackmore to join Rainbow, but Blackmore did make a "legendary" guest appearance for Gillan at their Christmas show. It was the first time Ian Gillan and Blackmore had performed together since 1973.Make Gillan Playlist