KAYAK Prog Rock Netherlands Vinyl Discography 1974-1981 and Album Cover Photo Gallery

  KAYAK a Dutch progressive rock band formed in 1972 in the city Hilversum by Ton Scherpenzeel and Pim Koopman. Core members of Kayak have been Ton Scherpenzeel, Max Werner, Johan Slager and Pim Koopman. This discography has information and album photos of some the albums they released between 1974 and 1981.


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KAYAK Band Information:

Kayak is a Dutch progressive rock band that was formed in 1972 in the city of Hilversum. Over the years, the band has released numerous albums and gained a loyal following in the Netherlands and abroad.


Kayak was founded by keyboard player Ton Scherpenzeel and drummer Pim Koopman. The band's early lineup also included Max Werner on vocals, Johan Slager on guitar, and Cees van Leeuwen on bass. In 1973, Kayak released their self-titled debut album, which received critical acclaim in the Netherlands. The album showcased the band's signature sound, which combined symphonic rock with pop melodies and catchy hooks.

In 1974, Kayak released their second album, "Royal Bed Bouncer," which was another critical and commercial success. The album included the hit single "Chance for a Lifetime," which reached the top 10 in the Dutch charts. Kayak continued to release albums throughout the 1970s, including "The Last Encore" and "Starlight Dancer."

The band's popularity waned in the 1980s, and they went on hiatus for several years. In 1999, they reformed and began touring and recording new material. Since then, Kayak has released several more albums, including "Merlin - Bard of the Unseen" and "Seventeen."

Musical Style

Kayak's music can be described as a blend of progressive rock, symphonic rock, and pop. The band's early albums often featured complex arrangements and extended instrumental sections, but they also had a strong sense of melody and catchy choruses. This made their music accessible to a wide audience, and they became one of the most popular bands in the Netherlands in the 1970s.

One of the hallmarks of Kayak's sound is the use of keyboard and synthesizer textures. Ton Scherpenzeel's keyboard playing was a central element of the band's music, and he was known for his innovative use of synthesizers and other electronic instruments. The band also featured strong vocal harmonies, which added to their overall sound.

Contributions to Rock Music

Kayak's contributions to the rock music genre are significant, particularly in their native Netherlands. They helped to popularize progressive rock in the country, and their melodic style had a lasting impact on Dutch music. Their influence can be heard in the work of other Dutch bands, such as Golden Earring and Focus.

Kayak was also notable for their use of concept albums, which were popular in the 1970s. Their albums often told a story through a series of songs, and this helped to create a sense of unity and coherence across the entire album.

Dutch Prog Rock in the 1970s

The Netherlands was a fertile ground for progressive rock in the 1970s, producing a number of iconic bands that made their mark on the genre. Inspired by British prog giants like Genesis, King Crimson, and Yes, Dutch bands brought their unique sensibilities to the sound. Here's why the Dutch prog scene thrived:

Musical Talent: The Netherlands had a high concentration of exceptional musicians well-versed in classical and jazz influences, adding complexity and sophistication to their compositions.

Eclecticism: Dutch prog rock bands were less afraid to blend diverse elements into their music. This ranged from jazz-fusion to folk and pop tendencies.

Strong Supportive Scene: A dedicated audience, favorable radio play, and a supportive music industry helped bands develop and gain recognition.

Notable Dutch Prog Bands of the 70s

Focus: Known for their virtuosic instrumental work and yodeling vocals, highlighted in their global hit "Hocus Pocus."

Earth ∧ Fire: Fused symphonic prog with pop sensibilities, finding commercial success with songs like "Weekend".

Finch: Blended symphonic prog with classical influences.

Supersister: Embraced a jazz-tinged, Canterbury-scene inspired sound.

Kayak: A Dutch Prog Rock Cornerstone


Kayak emerged as one of the most prominent bands in the Dutch prog scene. Founded in 1972 by keyboardist Ton Scherpenzeel and drummer Pim Koopman, their sound evolved over the decade:

Early Years: Kayak's initial albums embodied symphonic progressive rock, showcasing intricate melodies, dynamic arrangements, and a focus on songwriting.

Commercial Turn: Towards the late 70s, Kayak shifted to a more pop-oriented approach while retaining progressive elements. This led to hits like "Ruthless Queen" and "Phantom of the Night".

Breakup and Revival: While Kayak disbanded in 1981, they've experienced a resurgence in the 21st century, continuing to release new music and tour with a fresh lineup.

MAX WERNER Max Werner was a vital force within the Dutch progressive rock scene. As the original drummer and lead singer of the renowned band Kayak, he propelled the band's sound with his powerful rhythms and captivating vocals. Werner's musical journey was as diverse as it was impactful, leaving an enduring mark on European music.

Early Life and the Birth of Kayak


Born in Hilversum, Netherlands, on December 29th, 1953, Max Werner's musical awakening happened early. A trained drummer, his talents led him to co-found Kayak in 1972 alongside keyboardist Ton Scherpenzeel, guitarist Johan Slager, and drummer Pim Koopman. Initially, Werner served as lead vocalist and drummer, a somewhat unusual configuration that showcased his versatility from the start.

Kayak's Formative Years: Werner's Voice and Rhythm

Kayak's first five albums featured Werner's soulful vocals. He brought a raw, blues-tinged quality to their progressive rock sound. His voice was a distinctive element in early hits like "Starlight Dancer," "Ruthless Queen," and "Wintertime." Werner's drumming underpinned Kayak's intricate arrangements, providing steady and dynamic rhythms that gave the music both muscle and groove.

A Change of Tempo: From Vocals to Drums

In 1978, Werner made a surprising shift – he handed the lead vocal duties over to Edward Reekers and became the band's full-time drummer. This transition allowed him to focus intently on rhythmic exploration. Werner's drumming was creative and nuanced, enhancing Kayak's evolving musical direction as the band moved into more pop-oriented territory.

Solo Success and Beyond

Aside from his work with Kayak, Werner ventured into solo projects. In 1981, he found unexpected success with his single "Rain in May." The song swept through European charts, becoming a major hit in the Netherlands and Germany. His solo albums displayed a penchant for melodic pop that reflected the change in musical tastes of the era.

Werner returned to Kayak in 1999, once again as the lead singer, for the album "Close to the Fire." Although he briefly toured with the band in 2000, health issues sadly forced him to bow out once again.


Max Werner sadly passed away on April 9th, 2024, at the age of 70. His legacy lies both in his drumming prowess and his unique and soulful vocal style. Werner was an integral part of Kayak's sound during the band's early, most critically-acclaimed period. His contributions helped propel Kayak to the forefront of the Dutch progressive rock scene, earning them fans worldwide who appreciated their blend of musical complexity and melodic sensibility.

Max Werner was a remarkable talent: a skilled drummer and an emotive singer. While his solo ventures showcased his melodic talents, he will always be remembered as a core member of one of the most influential Dutch progressive rock bands of all time.

TON SCHERPENZEEL Ton Scherpenzeel, a true luminary in the world of Dutch progressive rock, is best known as the founding keyboardist of the iconic band Kayak. His career, spanning decades, is a testament to his enduring musical talent and influence.

Kayak's Heartbeat


Scherpenzeel, along with drummer Pim Koopman, established Kayak in the early 1970s. Throughout the band's extensive history, with its various lineups, he has remained a constant force. His keyboard work, infused with symphonic textures, classical influences, and rock sensibilities, is synonymous with Kayak's signature sound. Lush layers of Hammond organ, synthesizers, and Mellotron are hallmarks of his style. Beyond his instrumental prowess, Scherpenzeel is a core songwriter for Kayak, composing music and contributing lyrics to many of their beloved tracks.

Branching Out

Scherpenzeel's musical journey extends far beyond Kayak. In the 1980s, he brought his keyboard wizardry to the esteemed British prog band Camel. His contributions can be heard on albums such as "Stationary Traveller", "Pressure Points", and "Dust and Dreams". Additionally, he spent a significant period playing with Earth and Fire, showcasing his versatility within the Dutch music scene.

Solo Explorations and Collaborations

As a multifaceted artist, Scherpenzeel has expressed his unique musical vision through several solo albums. His work outside of bands highlights his broad musical interests and compositional depth. He's also notably been the musical collaborator for the prominent Dutch comedian Youp van 't Hek.

JOHAN SLAGER Johan Slager, a vital figure in the development of Dutch progressive rock, rose to prominence as the original guitarist for the influential band Kayak. His distinctive guitar work shaped their formative years, contributing to their unique blend of symphonic complexity and melodic sensibilities.

Early Days and Kayak's Genesis


Koopman began in the band "High Tide Formation"". In 1972, this trio, along with vocalist/drummer Max Werner, founded Kayak. Slager's guitar became an integral part of the band's sound, featured prominently on their first nine albums. His playing style, marked by both soaring melodies and intricate riffs, added texture and depth to their compositions.

Notable Contributions

Fans often identify tracks like "Reason for it All," "They Get to Know Me," and "Merlin" as showcasing Slager's guitar virtuosity. His contributions were essential in establishing Kayak's identity within the progressive rock scene of the 1970s. Despite the band's shifting lineup throughout the years, Slager's work remains a cornerstone of their early legacy.

Beyond Kayak

While his time with Kayak defines much of his career, Slager collaborated with numerous Dutch artists. His guitar can be heard on albums by Circus Custers, Bolland ∧ Bolland, and Ekseption. He even formed his own band, Plus Doreen. Slager also supported former Kayak bandmates Max Werner and Edward Reekers on their solo projects.

Musical Evolution

Slager stepped away from Kayak in 1982. He returned for a short period of reunion shows in the 1990s but ultimately was not involved in the band's more recent reformation. During recent years, he's joined forces with singer Michel van Dijk (Alquin), performing mostly covers of classic rock legends like the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, and The Band in Dutch pubs.

PIM KOOPMAN Pim Koopman was a multifaceted force in the Dutch music scene, best recognized as the founding drummer and a vital creative part of the progressive rock band Kayak. His energetic drumming fueled their sound throughout their formative years, and his contributions extended far beyond the drum kit.

The Founding Member


Koopman and keyboardist Ton Scherpenzeel laid the groundwork for Kayak in the early 1970s. His propulsive drumming was foundational to their early symphonic rock style infused with catchy melodies. Koopman's percussive style was both dynamic and precise, driving Kayak's sound with power and finesse.

Beyond Drums: Vocals, Composing, and Producing

Koopman's role wasn't limited to drumming. He shared occasional lead vocal duties, adding another dimension to the band's harmonies. He was also a key songwriter and arranger within Kayak, contributing to iconic tracks like "Wintertime" and "Ruthless Queen."

After departing Kayak in 1976, Koopman turned his focus to production, making a name for himself with artists like Maywood, Sandy Coast, and Valensia. Notably, he was behind hits like Maywood's "Rio."

The Return and Diesel

Koopman returned to Kayak during their reunion in the late 1990s, once again bringing his energy and experience behind the kit. Additionally, he formed the band Diesel in the late 1970s alongside Rob Vunderink, with whom he achieved success before his return to Kayak.

Untimely Passing and Legacy

Pim Koopman's life and career were tragically cut short when he passed away in 2009. His legacy as a gifted drummer, songwriter, and producer lives on. Koopman's contributions solidified Kayak's place in Dutch prog-rock history and his work continues to inspire drummers and musicians today.

EDWARD REEKERS Edward Reekers, a renowned Dutch drummer, made significant contributions to the progressive rock scene as a key member of Kayak during their successful period in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He brought a unique blend of power and technical precision that fueled their evolving sound.

The Successor


Reekers joined Kayak in 1976 following the departure of founding drummer Pim Koopman. His powerful and dynamic style was a perfect fit for the band's progressive leanings and pop sensibilities. Reekers debuted on the hit album "Starlight Dancer" and continued to solidify Kayak's rhythmic foundation on subsequent releases like "Phantom of the Night" and "Periscope Life."

Notable Contributions

Reekers' precise and driving drumming is a highlight on tracks like the energetic "Starlight Dancer," the captivating "Irene," and the anthemic "Ruthless Queen." His playing enhanced Kayak's musicality and became vital to their identity during this era.

Beyond Kayak

Outside of Kayak, Reekers was a sought-after session drummer with a reputation for versatility and professionalism. He played with numerous popular Dutch acts such as the Golden Earring and contributed to various studio projects. Reekers also established himself as a dedicated drum teacher, sharing his experience and expertise with aspiring drummers.

Return and Reunion

Reekers participated in the Kayak reunion of the late 1990s, once again bringing his signature power to the band. His contributions helped bridge the gap between Kayak's classic and reformed periods. Though no longer active in the band's current lineup, he still performs and occasionally teaches drum clinics.

Index of KAYAK Vinyl Album Discography and Album Cover Gallery

KAYAK, the Dutch progressive rock masters, captivated audiences with their intricate compositions and dynamic live performances. Here's a look at some of their essential vinyl releases

KAYAK - Eyewitness (Live) 12" Vinyl LP

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Bellaphon 260-07-053 , 1982 , Germany

  This album "Eyewitness (Live)" was recorded live at the Wisseloord Studios, Hilversum Holland.

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KAYAK - The Last Encore 12" Vinyl LP

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Vertigo 6360 854 , 1976 , Netherlands

"The Last Encore" is the fourth album by the Dutch progressive rock band Kayak. This is the original version released in 1976, it was produced by Kayak and recorded Morgan Studios, Brussels during May-July 1976.

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KAYAK - Merlin 12" Vinyl LP

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Vertigo 6399 115 , 1981 , West-Germany

Merlin is the eighth studio album by Dutch band Kayak. The first half of the original LP is a concept fantasy story about Merlin the Magician. The album was produced by Gerrit Jan Leenders and Kayak.

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KAYAK - Periscope Life 12" Vinyl LP

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Vertigo 6413 960 , 1980 , Netherlands

Periscope Life is the 1980 album by the Dutch progressive rock band Kayak, it was produced by John Tilly and Kayak and recorded at Village Recorder in Los Angeles, California.

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KAYAK - Phantom Of The Night 12" Vinyl LP

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Vertigo 9198 187 , 1978 , France

"Phantom of the Night" is the 6th studio album by Dutch Progressive rock band Kayak. "Ruthless Queen" was released as a single, becoming the bands biggest hit, nearing the top of the charts in Holland.

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