PFM were the epitome of Italian Prog Rock.
I bought these records back in the day. I heard “Celebration” on FM radio and was immediately hooked. I bought the album, “Photos Of Ghosts” in 1973. Since I regularly thumbed through the import racks at the local Licorice Pizza it wasn’t long until I found the imports, which I also bought. I have always preferred them to the English language versions, and apparently so did they, by firing the lyricist, Peter Sinfield, not long after. He did get a little over-ripe sometimes. In 2000 I spent a month in Tokyo. I was housed at the Sofitel overlooking beautiful Ueno Park.
I had a pretty memorable experience with an earthquake as my hotel room was on the 18th floor. People were still buying cd’s back then, so the record stores were the absolute bomb. I bought these cd’s, plus other long lost prog rock favorites. This music has never ceased to float my boat. Now, especially when I hear “Impression Di Settembre”, incredible Tokyo is evoked with my view from the 18th floor between tremors. And the mini-bar.
In early 1972, PFM released their first album, ”Storia di un minuto”. The album topped the Italian charts after only one week and was the first album by an Italian rock group to achieve this kind of success. It contained re-recorded versions of songs from the first single, as well as “È Festa” and “Dove… Quando…” which continue to be essential parts of their live concerts.
Later in 1972 saw the release of their second LP, ”Per un amico”. This album opened the way to broader audience recognition all across Europe. It featured a more sophisticated Multitrack recording|16-track production and allowed the group continue to refine their special combination of symphonic classical and traditional Italian musical influences in a rock context. Later, an English language version was re-recorded and re-mixed.
PFM came to the attention of Greg Lake of Emerson, Lake & Palmer during an Italian tour and PFM were signed to Manticore Records. The first album on Manticore, ”Photos of Ghosts” was released in late 1973. It contained mostly remakes of songs from ”Per un amico” in English. New lyrics (not translations) were written for the album by former King Crimson member Peter Sinfield, who also helped produce the re-recording and mixing at Advision Studios in London. ”Photos of Ghosts” was released all across Europe, Japan, and North America and represented the first real attempt by an Italian rock band to break into foreign markets. It was one of the first recordings by a European rock group to have significant chart success in the USA. The album also contained a new instrumental “Old Rain”, one song in Italian, “Il Banchetto” (“The Banquet”), as well as “Celebration (PFM song)|Celebration”, (a remake of “È Festa”) which received considerable airplay on album oriented rock stations in the U.S.A and Canada.