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STANDOUT TRACK: No. 1 “Tower,” a glam-prog mini-epic that’s probably the closest the legendarily overindulgent band ever got to its goal of “being a mix between Led Zeppelin and Emerson, Lake & Palmer.” As keyboardist Greg Giuffria shames even ELP’s unrestrained synth man, vocalist Frank Dimino tells the story of a barbarian in existential crisis: “With the stars as my guide/There’s no one here but my empty thoughts/And the sword by my side/Just a light from the tower/Burning on from dusk ’til dawn.”
MUSICAL MOTIVATION: The leadoff track on Angel’s recently reissued 1975 debut, “Tower,” “was the first song that we learned to play well while rehearsing,” says Dimino, 54. “It was the first song that really pulled us together.” Even in those early days, however, the D.C.-founded quintet was working on its stage show as much as on its music. “We had flash pots and illusions,” Dimino recalls. “I had my suspender costume, which would later evolve into the all-white bodysuit.”
LET THERE BE LIGHT SHOW: Despite featuring holograms designed by Doug Henning’s special-effects guy and a talking, 11-foot A created by Sid and Marty Krofft, Angel’s act depended heavily on that unifying song. “Before we would go into ‘Tower,’” Dimino says, “we had this complicated entrance.” As black-robed roadies stacked translucent blocks around each band member, the vocalist ordered rock ’n’ roll creation.
“It was supposed to be the archangel Gabriel introducing his angels,” he recalls. “I’d say, ‘In the beginning, there was Greg Giuffria.’ And then, on cue, his tower would light up. I did some heavenly narration, and then I’d intertwine bits and pieces of Kahlil Gibran.” —David Dunlap Jr.