Poe through the Glass Prism

Quoth the Raven, "Oh my God!"

Here's another one of those "concept albums" that people used to do back in the 70's before musicians realized that it was a bad bet to expect people to have any interest in actual artistry. This one has the bold idea of recording a series of rock tunes set to the poetry of Edgar Allen Poe. All in all, it's not a bad idea, and one that must have been largely lost on the dope-smoking rock-n-roll record buyers of the era.

The music on this album is really pretty cool. Check out "The Raven", which I understand hit the charts for at least a little while in 1974. Its wailing Hammond organ sounds and monotone vocal delivery are pretty catchy. I also enjoy the way the band combines early-Beatles haircuts with late-Beatles costuming. Who can possibly resist a band with a velvet jacket and a giant black bird? Not me!

Poe through the Glass Prism
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The Raven (MP3) Once upon a midnight dreary...

See Also: The National Gallery

Your Comments:

G Holden says:
I first saw Carl and Tom with George and Steve at West Side Park in Berwick. We followed them everywere. They used to play at high schools, parties, clubs, colleges, teen centers, you name it. They were the top band around. Their name was the El Caminoes and it stayed that way even after George and Steve. I came to see the new guys in a place called Tippers. They were better than ever. Then the album came out with their new name and we were all impressed. Seeing this sight brings back some great memories. They were always nice guys to talk to. You never got ego trips like with other bands. You would hear about them playing here and there. It seems like every week they were somewhere else. I would call Tom and find out where they would be. Some times if I got there at the right time I could get in for free while carring a case or something. Now that was cool. Thanks for the great memories guys. (06-16-2004)

Billy Chen says:
I understand that a song called She's Too Much by the Glass Prism got alot of airplay in Pennsylvania back around 1970. Was that a single? Also, I have heard that a song called Bulletin may also be by The Glass Prism. Does anyone know? I would like to find as many recordings as possible. (06-16-2004)

S Omar says:
A friend of mine bought an album called Poe Through the Glass Prism on ebay about 5-6 weeks ago. I heard it last night. Not bad. Actually, some of the songs are pretty interesting. I like the way they arranged the music to fit the words of Poe. Many of the songs have really neat harmonies. It seems like everyone in the band sings lead at one time of another so adds alot of uniqueness to their sound. These days one lead singer per group is the norm. Not so with the Glass Prism. I'm looking forward to getting my own copy soon. (06-16-2004)

Mitch from Syracuse says:
From about 1977-1984 Mr. Varano managed our group. We were ok but somehow he managed to secure 3-4 engagements per week. Times were good. We even released a few singles on a label his company started. We got airplay. No hit. The industry is not the same so it is probably harder to secure work. I am glad we played when we did. Mr V did a great fob. He spent 3 days teaching us how to put our show together. He knew the moves, the music, the harmony. It blew us away.
When I look back I realize that Mr V controlled the music scene in the upstate New York area. He also sent us to PA, MA, OH, DE, WV. He had the top bands from NY and PA. I know alot of these guys from shows we did together or places that we all played. The places are gone due to changes in tax laws, the economy, DWI, and a host of other reasons.
He never mentioned the name of the band he played in so no one ever knew. Musicians are selfcentered anyway so I guess we were just thinking about ourselves. He pushed us further than we could have done without him. His great relationships with the buyers got the jobs that we never could get without him. I remember trying to get into places that told us to call him. He took care of exclusive booking for many of the places we worked. He had many colleges that payed us well. We ever opened for big acts. One thing that stands out is that he always told us the acts that cooperate will get the work. He told us how to act and what to say and not say. We just took the advise and he rewarded us with more work and more money. Anyway, I got a kick out of his bands music. I think for the time he played the quality is pretty good. I'm impressed.

Some of the guys I worked with are still working with him. That's great. (06-16-2004)

Jackie Saunders says:
I was really impressed with all the great comments about the Raven and the Glass Prism. Many of the groups from the Northeast were very good. The Glass Prism were the best. (06-15-2004)

Brad Mead says:
Purchaced this album many years ago. It is still one of my favorites. I understand that both albums show up on ebay. (06-15-2004)

Dell Hunt says:
By the way, this song is very good. (06-15-2004)

J Marquez ( says:
I want to thank people who have contacted me about Tom Varano and his horrible management company Horizon Management, your comments and support are appreciated. I also wanted to update anyone who cares about this, it looks like there is another pretty heated debate going on here, but anyway, I still have not recieved any word back from Tom and his staff about how they have mistreated, neglected, and ignored me and other recording artists have sent me emails in regard to this unprofessional company as well. I did not realize how many people have been scammed by this guy until I started getting emails in regard to this. Well I think we should all take action, please continue to stay in contact with me and if allowed to I will put up a site similar to this one as a forum for people that have been robbed by Tom Varano and company. God bless you all and be blessed in all your endeavers. (06-15-2004)

Richard Cranium says:

Thanks, Professor Harper....thought I was back in Bullshit 101 there for a minute.

Please tell me the relevance of pointing out that Yes were around from '69 to '83, but Glass Prism for just one year. I would think that someone with your "apparent" intellect would realize that Prism SOUNDED like Yes and other prog rockers, but I guess THAT particular point went over your head.

And oh gee, no overdubbing. Right back to the old days of 4-track recording hmmm? Perhaps that little Edison cylinder would be the ticket for Prism. Hey, cylinder or 4-track or even 32-track....shit is shit....and I don't need no degree from Berkley or 2500 studio hours to realize that.

But, uh, thanks for the soliloquy..... (06-15-2004)

Tim Harper says:
Regarding Richard Cranium comments:

First, I'm not a fan of the Glass Prism. I never heard of them before I came to this site.
However, I am a fan of the 60's and 70's.

Here are some facts for Richard:
1. According to Billboard, Your Move by Yes, was on the charts for 2 weeks and hit #40 in 1971. Roundabout was 1972 and Owner of a Lonely Heart 1983. The Raven by the Glass Prism hit the charts in 1969. How does this make the Glass Prism Yes wannabees? From what I can tell, the group started and ended in 1971 or 72.

2. Again, according to Billboard, Pink Floyd hit the charts in 1973 with Money and 1980 with Another Brick in The Wall. The Glass Prism were ahead of these groups. It's probably not fair to compare them due to the many improvements in recording techniuques etc.

3. I've listened to the Raven and a couple of things stand out. One, there is no overdubbing. Sounds like piano, organ, bass, drums and one voice. The song is decent and the arrangement is very good. Two, the idea of using Poe's words is original for it's time though others tried it latter. Apparantely, the Glass Prism was the first.

4. It seems that there are alot of fans that do appreciate what this group did. I see no reason to put them down. My guess is that the live group was very good. I think you have to put this in context with it's time, as well as consider how it stands up.

By the way I'm a music student at Berkley School of Music in Boston. I have been teaching and performing for years. I have perfect pitch and I have written scores for 2 movies. I'm also a session musician and have logged over 2500 hours in the studio. I know much about rock history and I wonder how this song got away. It's just great. (06-15-2004)

Richard Cranium says:
Ok Tanya....hope I don't see you coming down a two-lane highway with that "mesmerized" look in your eyes, you daft fluff....

Most of you people need some lessons in music appreciation.....I am utterly fascinated by the support from all you tone-deaf arseholes out there for these YES-wannabees.

Play in Philly....STAY in Philly. Oh, and the prism thing? done FIRST and BETTER by Pink Floyd! Look it up.....on second thought, don' bunch of deaf bastards wouldn't be able to appeciate it anyhow. (06-13-2004)

Tanya says:
mesmerized (06-13-2004)

Shelton L says:
For 1969 this stull is pretty darn good. Better than most. I like the spiffy outfit. Really cool. (06-13-2004)

bill dewar says:
These guys suck!Hendrix rules. (06-06-2004)

chris ( says:
I would love to see a reunion concert/tour..maybe even live with an orchestra...wouldn't that be unique. Glass Prism were a one of a kind band, very original,,,nothing short of good as anyone playing in that era...chris (06-05-2004)

Phylis Rhodes says:
I've tried and I've tried but I just can't get this song out of my mind. It's mesmorizing. I would love to get the album so at least I would have something else to fill my head. I'm just in love with the melody, the voice, the musical background and everything about it. I actually had to memorize some of this poem in high school and I wonder if it would have easier if I had the melody and music to help. They say that's it's easier to memorize a song than to memorize a poem or paragraph. I'm sure that's true. Anyway, for now and I'm sure for a long time the Raven will be forevermore on my mind. Thanks guys, you're driving me crazy. (05-29-2004)

The Bishop says:
I went all over the internet and finally found this album. It's really cool. I love the way the words and music seem to match perfectly. The talent to do that can't just come to everyone. The work in the studio to produce a great album like this was much harder then. It sounds like they did little or no overdubs. That's amazing. No one would attempt that today. I wonder how the Glass Prism would compare to the rock groups of today if they had the equipment and time? I think they would really be better than many of them. (05-29-2004)

Reese Langston says:
Here in HI this song was a hit for a month. I remember it well. It sticks in my mind because of all the songs that were big that one didn't get all the national recognition that every other song got. I often wondered why. Something unusual I'm sure. I wonder if anyone knows what happened? I always thought of The Raven as the best song that year. 1969 or 19790. I can't remember exactly but I'm sure it was around then. (05-29-2004)

Sugar says:
I've never heard this song before but it looks like many others have. I'm a child of the 80's so this is all new to me. All I can say is I like it. I've listened to the song five times and it gets better and better. (05-29-2004)

Kimberly Washburn says:
My friends and I went to see The Glass Prism many times and really thought they were the best. We still talk about the dances, parties, proms, concerts, and clubs. They were always the favorite. Now I can see that their dedication has paid off and many people (fans old and new)are getting a chance to express our appreciation. I hope they are aware of how we all feel and wish them the best. They must have given up alot to please so many with their hard work and the great times and music they gave us all. All I can say is Thank You. (05-29-2004)

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