The Nice were an English progressive rock band from the 1960s, known for their unique blend of rock, jazz and classical music. Their debut album, The Thoughts of Emerlist Davjack was released in 1967 to immediate acclaim. It is often considered the first progressive rock album. The Nice are also a forerunner of the much more widely known Emerson, Lake & Palmer.
The Nice consisted initially of keyboardist Keith Emerson, bassist/vocalist Lee Jackson, drummer Brian Davison, and guitarist David O'List, more commonly known as "Davy". The band took their name from a suggestion made by jazz singer P. P. Arnold, who suggested that the band be called "P.P. Arnold and her Naz" as the band were essentially her backing group; the name was then shortened to "The Nice".
Elegy was the final official album release by The Nice, Keith Emerson having moved on to Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Lee Jackson to Jackson Heights and Brian Davison to Every Which Way. It consists of different versions of already familiar tracks and broke little new ground. However, despite being released after The Nice had disbanded, the album achieved number 5 in the UK album chart.
"Hang On To A Dream" and "America" were recorded live at Fillmore East, New York during the group's 1969 tour.
The UK edition came in a gatefold sleeve, the front section of which is shown here. Designed by Hipgnosis (Storm Thorgerson and Aubrey Powell), well-known as designers of album covers for Pink Floyd and other progressive rock bands, there are several enigmatic references. The front & back show a Sahara desert scene with a line of fifty red footballs (credited to Mettoy Playcraft) receding towards a distant dune. The inside of the cover shows, in the distance, a mesa or plateau; in front is a gravelly landscape strewn with memorabilia of The Nice such as older album covers, publicity shots, press releases and a scrapbook of press cuttings.