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Neo-prog band Pendragon formed in London during the heady days of punk, but didn't coalesce until 1983, when the band began playing around London and earned a small spot at that year's Reading Festival. The lineup stabilized, after the 1985 album Jewel, around vocalist/guitarist Nick Barrett, bassist Peter Gee, drummer Fudge Smith and keyboard player Clive Nolan. Pendragon recorded the live album 9:15 in 1986 and began to establish a continental fan base the following year. European audiences proved enthusiastic, spawning a contract with the French M.S.I. label; nevertheless, the group was forced to form its own Toff label just to release material in England.
Pendragon lay dormant through the rest of the '80s, but returned in 1991 with The Rest of Pendragon — a reissue of the early Fly High, Fall Far with added B-sides — and their first new album in five years, The World. The album earned a U.S. release in 1993, followed by The Window of Life. A deal with the Japanese Pony Canyon label in 1994 resulted in the reissue of the entire back catalog, in addition to the new Fallen Dreams and Angels. The band made its U.S. debut a year later at L.A.'s Progfest, and released The Masquerade Overture early the following year.