Quicksilver Messenger Service is an American psychedelic rock band formed in 1965 in San Francisco. They were one of the major bands associated with the San Francisco hippy movement of 1966-67, performing at venues such as the Fillmore Auditorium, the Avalon Ballroom and the Matrix, but they were the last group to sign a recording contract, with Capitol Records issuing an LP under their own name in 1968. This and its successor Happy Trails, recorded live at the Fillmore West, established them as an influential group, known for their long tracks featuring guitarists John Cipollina and Gary Duncan, which typified the so-called "San Francisco Sound". After Happy Trails the band changed its line-up, with Duncan leaving for the next album, Shady Grove, and then former member Dino Valenti rejoining (after a spell in prison for possession of marijuana). The singer-songwriter Valenti began to dominate the group and despite a single, "Fresh Air", which made the lower reaches of the US charts, Quicksilver Messenger Service gradually lost their allure. Like their San Francisco contemporaries the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane/Starship, their mid-1970s releases were disappointing, and they finally split up in 1979, although the name has subsequently been used by reunion groups featuring founding members Duncan and David Freiberg. But their reputation rests on their early period, as was shown by the release of CDs of live recordings from 1966-1968 in 2008 and 2009.
A more detailed account of their career can be found at Wikipedia.
Links To PeelPeel welcomed the first Quicksilver Messenger Service LP, praising it in his column in International Times and playing the occasional track from it on Top Gear, but, as with its successor Happy Trails, he was unable to play the long tracks which were highlights of the LPs due to time constraints. Yet Quicksilver exercised an influence on a number of British bands who recorded sessions for his programmes in the early 1970s, including Cochise, and then Quiver and Help Yourself, who both played a Californian mixture of country rock and psychedelia and tried to live out the idea of being "community bands", playing for hippy audiences in London's Notting Hill (before its gentrification) and around the country, while avoiding "star trips". Man were also admirers of Quicksilver Messenger Service and John Cipollina guested with them on gigs during 1974-75.
In 1987, the subject of Quicksilver Messenger Service came up when Peel was discussing his earlier DJ career and Tony Blackburn with producer John Walters as part of the Peeling Back The Years series:
"Looking back on it ... he [Blackburn] by and large was right and I was wrong ... because he would say that Tamla Motown music was the stuff that would endure, and I would say, “No, no, it’s the music of the Quicksilver Messenger Service that is going to last forever.” And I think it is not unreasonable to say that he was right and I was wrong on that." 
Nevertheless, this did not prevent Peel from revisiting the first two Quicksilver LPs on his shows in subsequent years. In 2012, seven albums by the band were found when first details of Peel's record collection were released on TheSpace website.
Festive Fifty Entries
Other Shows Played
- 04 April 1970: Joseph’s Coat (LP - Shady Grove) Capitol
- 03 October 1970: Cobra (LP - Just For Love) Capitol
- 01 August 1972: Fresh Air (3xLP - The Last Days Of The Fillmore) Fillmore
- 04 June 1979: (JP: "The John Peel roadshow doesn't often work these days: just every once in a while, when it's short of pocket money. it lurches out and steals the stale crusts from your lips. There was one notable appearance a few years ago in Ipswich to which nobody came whatsoever, and even the promoters adjourned to the pub round the corner: and I was left standing in this deserted ballroom, with light streaming in through the windows, playing Quicksilver Messenger Service LPs to myself, and quite rightly too.")
- 19 March 1980: Mona (LP – Happy Trails)
- 02 April 1980: Gold and Silver (LP - Quicksilver Messenger Service)
- 21 February 1993 (BFBS): Gold And Silver (album - Quicksilver Messenger Service) Capitol
- 17 April 2003: Mona (Capitol)