In early 1972 British singer-songwriter Ian Matthews (previously of Fairport Convention and Matthews' Southern Comfort) got together with fellow musicians Andy Roberts, Dave Richards and Bob Ronga to form a new band. Calling themselves Plainsong, they were quickly signed to Elektra Records. Matthews, Roberts and Richards all played guitar, and Ronga played bass. They were assisted when recording their album by drummers Timi Donald and Dave Mattacks (the latter another Fairport alumni, on a brief break from the band), plus Martin Jenkins on mandolin and mandola.
The band's sole release turned out to be a loose concept album, based around the life of aviation pioneer Amelia Earheart (the first female pilot to fly across the Atlantic, she mysteriously disappeared during an attempt to fly around the world in 1937). Stylistically it followed the airy folk-rock sound that had characterised Matthews' solo career (including his work with Matthews Southern Comfort), mixing singer-songwriter aesthetics with traditional English folk and American country-rock flavours. Both Matthews and Roberts sung lead vocals, and the whole band provided lush harmonies. The songs consisted of five Matthews originals alongside covers including Paul Siebel's "Louise", Dave McEnery's "Amelia Earheart's Last Flight", Jerry Yester and Judy Henske's "Raider" and the old gospel hymn "I'll Fly Away".
The album was well-received on its release, a fine example of British folk-rock, and they toured in support of it (with drummer Roger Swallow). However it wasn't much of a chart success. The band turned out to be short-lived, and they went their seperate ways in 1973 after abandoning an attempt at a follow-up record (though they would reunite decades later).