Goblin (band)

Goblin (band)

Performing at the Supersonic Festival, 2009
Background information
Origin Italy
Genres Progressive rock
Italian progressive rock
Symphonic rock
Soundtrack music
Electronic music
Years active 1972–1982, 2000, 2005–present
Website Official Goblin website

Goblin are an Italian progressive rock band known for their soundtracks for Dario Argento films (including Profondo Rosso (Deep Red) of 1975 and Suspiria of 1977).

They were initially named Cherry Five and were influenced by Genesis and King Crimson. Their early work spawned one eponymous progressive rock record. The band were then called in as replacements for composer Giorgio Gaslini, who had left the film Profondo Rosso after a conflict with director Dario Argento. They changed their name to Goblin and rewrote most of the score, including the famous main theme. The film, and the soundtrack album, were huge hits.

A reshuffle in their line-up followed, and they put out an instrumental progressive rock album Roller, before they got the chance to work with Argento again for Suspiria. The score's nerve-jangling experimental sounds and bizarre vocals have since become legendary. Other film soundtracks and a concept album (Il Fantastico Viaggio Del Bagarozzo Mark) followed, then the score for the European version of George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead (1978) (credited as "The Goblins") (Though track 1, 2 and 5 from the European version are also in the American version).

Despite their success, more members of the band left. The line-up was altered again, but this time they struggled to maintain their credibility. What was left of the band continued to work on further soundtracks, but there was a partial reunification for Argento's Tenebrae (1982) (although they were credited separately, not as Goblin). The last collaboration with Argento took place in 2000, with the film Non ho sonno (Sleepless). CD re-releases of their soundtracks have performed well, especially in Germany and Japan. Goblin returned with a series of live concerts in Europe in 2009.




Between 1972 and 1973 Claudio Simonetti (keyboards) and Massimo Morante (guitars), aided by Fabio Pignatelli (bass guitar) and Walter Martino (drums), recorded some demo tapes of their compositions using the name Oliver. Their music was inspired by groups like Yes, Genesis, King Crimson, Gentle Giant and Emerson, Lake & Palmer.

On a trip to London, while looking for contacts, the band bumped into Eddie Offord (then producer of Yes); after listening to a demo tape, the tycoon producer showed some interest and asked them to move to England. By then, Fabio Pignatelli had become a steady member and the band found a regular drummer (Carlo Bordini) and an English lead vocalist (Clive Haynes). After many months of rehearsing, they unfortunately returned to London while Eddie Offord was on tour with Yes in the United States; after many performances and various attempts at striking deals with record houses, they were forced to go back to Italy, due to lack of funds.

Cherry Five

Back home, they signed for Cinevox, Clive Haynes was replaced by Tony Tartarini, and their name was changed to Cherry Five. This was done by the label, for no apparent reason, according to Claudio Simonetti; they had intended to continue as "Oliver." Their first LP, however, was definitely intentionally titled Cherry Five, whatever debate about the band's name there may have been. Cinevox Records were active mainly in soundtrack publishing; due to their peculiar sound, the band was frequently called to perform and arrange famous musicians' compositions. This helped them better understand the world of soundtracks and its particular techniques.

Their final act as Cherry Five was to drop Carlo Bordini and bring back Walter Martino on drums.


At the beginning of 1975, the band began a cooperation with Giorgio Gaslini on the Profondo Rosso film project. The band replaced Walter Martino (who went on to join the band Libra) with Agostino Marangolo in this period. Martino recorded all but two cuts of Profondo Rosso.

By chance, after three or four days of recording activity, Dario Argento decided to try the band's hand at composing: one night to write a score, one day to record it. To distinguish this new release from their first LP which was just about to be marketed, they changed their name again, this time to Goblin.

Their success exceeded all expectations; more than one million copies sold, enjoying 52 weeks on the Italian hit parade and ranking first in both the singles and LP categories. It launched a highly successful period for the band, which came to an end in 1978 when the band split after the recording of Zombi (also known as Dawn of the Dead).

Il Reale Impero Britannico

In 1976, they collaborated with Willy Brezza to compose the soundtrack to Perché Si Uccidono - La Merde. For the only time, Goblin used the name of Il Reale Impero Britannico. This was due to the controversial subject matter of the movie. Willy Brezza wrote the original soundtrack and the remaining tracks were written by the band together with Fabio Frizzi.


Between 1978 and 1979, the band's core musicians recruited many new members consecutively. Fabio Pignatelli, Agostino Marangolo, his brother Antonio Marangolo (a saxophonist who contributed to several albums) and nephew Carlo Pennisi (a session man who often played in place of Massimo Morante when he was absent), cooperated from 1980 to 1982 in a band (Flea On The Honey) which managed to record several LPs. Fabio Pignatelli took part in all the recordings, with Agostino Marangolo ranking first for number of performances. Over time, it was three of the "founding fathers" (Pignatelli, Simonetti and Morante), plus Agostino Marongolo, who became synonymous with the name Goblin.


In 2000, the group reformed to score the new Dario Argento thriller entitled Non ho sonno (Sleepless). After over 22 years of absence, the soundtrack was a great success and showed the group could still compose after such a long time apart, much to the fans' delight. The group were lined up to perform in Terrytown, NY for the infamous Cult-Con, but the group failed to appear. Claudio Simonetti did appear at the show and informed fans that the old wounds were reopened during their brief reunion. Simonetti (with his tribute band, Deamonia) performed a 9 song set of tunes from the films of Dario Argento. Goblin later officially disbanded. Nevertheless in 2005, with the release of the official Goblin biography by Giovanni Aloisio and the opening of an official website, Massimo Morante and Fabio Pignatelli reformed the group once again and with Marangolo and Guarini recorded the album "Back To The Goblin".


In 2005, with the release of the official Goblin biography by Giovanni Aloisio and the opening of an official website, Massimo Morante and Fabio Pignatelli reformed the group once again. In 2006 the components of the band released the new album BackToTheGoblin - 2005 under the independent label BackToTheFudda. The lineup is Fabio Pignatelli, Maurizio Guarini, Massimo Morante, Agostino Marangolo. The album is available only through the official site store and at the moment is not distributed in regular stores. It is available on iTunes for download.

2009 Reunion

In 2009 (Back to the) Goblin made their first live concert appearance in 32 years. Keyboardist Aidan Zammit has joined the band for their live performances. Excluding Simonetti, this is basically the "classic" lineup. Maurizio Guarini contributed keyboard work to most of their original albums, playing on Roller, Suspiria, Buio Omega, Patrick, Contamination, Saint Helens, Notturno, Volo, BackToTheGoblin and more. The five members (Massimo Morante, Maurizio Guarini, Fabio Pignatelli, Agostino Marangalo, and Aidan Zammit) performed a few concerts around Europe in 2009:

  • Donaufestival in Krems, Austria on April 23, 2009
  • La villette sonique in Paris, France - May 29, 2009
  • Dancity Festival at the Auditorium San Domenico - Foligno - June 25, 2009
  • Supersonic Festival in Birmingham - July 26, 2009
  • Scala, London (UK) - July 27, 2009

In December 2009 Back to the Goblin announced their dissolution due to internal conflict. The remaining scheduled concerts into 2010 were then canceled.


New Goblin are now scheduled to perform at Unsound Festival Krakow on October 23, 2010, this time with Claudio Simonetti in the lineup, as well as Massimo Morante, Maurizio Guarini, Bruno Previtali and Titta Tani.[1]

Another incarnation of the band, formed in December 2010 and called Goblin Rebirth, includes former Goblin members Fabio Pignatelli and Agostino Marangolo plus Giacomo Anselmi on guitars, Aidan Zammit and Danilo Cherni on keyboards.


2011 saw the release of the monumental book (450 pages) Goblin sette note in rosso ('Goblin seven notes in red') written by Fabio Capuzzo. The book not only traces the full history of Goblin from 1973 to 2011 with detailed analysis of all the albums and the movies with music performed by Goblin (including all the works as session musicians), full bios and exclusive interviews but also contains discographies and filmographies of the Italian composers who created scores for police, ‘gialli’ and horror movies and information about all the Italian rock bands with a role in movie soundtracks.

Current Goblin incarnations

New Goblin

Goblin Rebirth

Past Goblin incarnations

1975 - Cherry Five

1975 - Reale Impero Britannico

1975 - Profondo rosso/Deep Red

1975-1977 Roller

1978 - Il Fantastico Viaggio del Bagarozzo Mark

1978 - Zombi/Dawn of the dead

1979 - Squadra Antigangsters - Amo non amo

1979-1981 - Patrick - Contamination - Buio Omega

1982 - Il Volo

1982 - Tenebre (as Simonetti/Pignatelli/Morante)

1983 - Notturno

1985 - Phenomena

1989 - La Chiesa

2000 - Non Ho Sonno

2005-2008 - Back To The Goblin

2009 - Back To The Goblin


  1. ^ Goblin to play Unsound Krakow. Accessed June 8, 2010.

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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