Formed in the 1960s, it began by doing covers of Beatles songs. However, they soon had to change their style since the Romanian communist regime disliked any form of western culture. The communist regime suggested that all rock oriented bands should look for inspiration within the Romanian culture. These restrictions made the band's leader Nicolae Covaci search within the Romanian folklore, which gave them a unique sound.
For the next couple of years the student band was popular in Timişoara's clubs and teen dorms, performing western songs originally by bands such as The Beatles, The Kinks, The Animals, and The Rolling Stones.
In 1965 they had their first big concert in Bucharest. Their performance brought a collaboration with Cornel Chiriac to record some of their songs. The first songs they recorded were "Ştiu cǎ mǎ iubesti şi tu" ("I Know You Love Me Too"), "Dunăre, Dunăre" ("Danube, Danube") and "Bun e vinul ghiurghiuliu" ("Good is the Red Wine"). The same year also marked the beginning of their collaboration with Victor Cârcu, who went on to write many of their most famous songs, such as "Vremuri" ("Old Times"), "Şi totuşi ca voi sunt" ("And Yet I Am Like You"), "Nebunul cu ochii închişi" ("Crazy Man with closed eyes"), "Floarea stâncilor" ("Mountain Flower") and "Canarul" ("Canary").
In December 1967 Phoenix had their first major series of concerts in many western cities, capped off by two huge concerts in Timişoara. After winning a few prizes in national students' contests, held at Iaşi the following year, in 1968 they recorded their first EP, Vremuri (Old Times), containing two original songs, Vremuri and Canarul (The Canary), and two covers (Lady Madonna - The Beatles and Friday on my Mind - Easybeats). A second EP would follow one year later, named Floarea stâncilor (The Flower of the Rocks), with all four songs being original compositions. Both albums sport a sound reminiscent of the beat style popular in that era.
They then started working on a rock theater play "Omul 36/80" (The Man 36/80) which won several prizes for originality.
In 1969 Ioan "Pilu" Ştefanovici was replaced by Dorel "Baba" Vintilă Zaharia (born 1943). For the next year the band became more and more popular, frequently visiting Bucharest and being invited in talk shows about music.
In 1970, Moni Bordeianu emigrated to the US, and, for a brief period of time the band suspended its activity, also due to total censorship that followed a protesting speech held by Bordeianu in his last concert. 1970 ment the blues period of the band. The formula used was Nicu Covaci - guitar, Günther "Spitzly" Reininger - piano and voice, Zoltan Covacs - bass guitar and Liviu Butoi - oboe and flute. Phoenix was born again the next year, with Covaci, Josef Kappl, Mircea Baniciu, Costin Petrescu (replaced in 1974 by Ovidiu Lipan, nicknamed "Ţăndărică") and Valeriu Sepi.
But the Communist officials were not very comfortable with the Western-style music that they were singing, and kept creating them problems. So Phoenix abandoned beat turned to Romanian folklore, pagan rituals, mystic animals and old traditions. In this same year, Phoenix started a collaboration with the Institute of Ethnography and Folklore and the Folklore section of Timişoara University on an ambitious project, a rock poem that combined traditional wooden instruments with modern sounds. During this project the band also started collaborating with Valeriu Sepi (born 1947), who eventually joined the band. The first outcome would be the 1972 LP Cei ce ne-au dat nume (Those Who Gave Us Our Names) - the first LP to be recorded in Romania by a Romanian band. Two years later, Mugur de fluier (Flute Bud) followed. Both albums underwent severe censorship.
On Monday, 19 November 1973, Phoenix held a memorable concert in Bucharest, presenting their new hits "Andri Popa", "Pavel Chinezu" and "Strunga", which composed the new disc "Mugur de fluier". The new songs were still influenced by folklore yet had a new style. This style was the result of the collaboration with new songwriters Andrei Ujică and Şerban Foarţă. Based on those new songs Nicu Covaci created a new show "Introducere la un concert despre muzica veche la români" ("Introduction to a concert about old Romanian music") in which he introduced violins, flutes, archaic percussion and other traditional instruments. The show was never finished due to a new collaboration with "Cenaclul Flacăra." This period is considered the peak for Phoenix. Their sound was considered original and powerful and full stadiums were common for their concerts.
Every winter the members of the band would retreat to Mount Semenic and plan their upcoming songs. That winter the show "Zoosophia", a title that would later change to "Cantafabule", was created. The show began by "calling" all mythic animals and continued by dedicating a song to each of them, finishing with the Phoenix, the band's symbol. The year 1975 brought a newcomer to the band, Ovidiu Lipan "Ţăndărică" (born 1953). The "Cantafabule" show was first presented in Timişoara in February 1975. The disc was recorded in a very short time and was published the same year with a misspelling in the title: "Cantofabule." What followed were two years of almost continuous concerts but also the creation of the soundtrack for the movie "Nemuritorii".
By this time, the popularity of Phoenix had grown huge; people loved their songs not only for what they were, but also because they contained thinly-veiled allusions to the Communist regime. The band members, especially Nicu Covaci, found themselves increasingly harassed by the Securitate. Covaci married a Dutch woman and left the country in 1976. He returned in 1977, bringing in relief aid for those struck by the powerful earthquake on March 4. After two grandiose concerts in Constanţa and Tulcea, Covaci surprisingly left the country again, this time with all the band members (except Baniciu) hidden inside their Marshall speakers - a huge undertaking, since in Communist Romania it was extremely difficult to obtain approval to travel abroad, and illegal border crossing was punished with imprisonment.
After arriving in Germany, Phoenix disbanded. Kappl and a few others (Erlend Krauser, Ovidiu Lipan) formed a new band, Madhouse and released a not very successful album named From The East. In 1981, Covaci co-opted Neumann and Lipan and English bassist Tom Buggie, who had an amazing technical playing ability, under the name Transsylvania Phoenix (since a band named Phoenix already existed) and released an LP named Transsylvania, containing two old Phoenix songs translated into English to target the Western audience and five new ones. Covaci together with Kappl also released two EPs and one maxi single as Transsylvania-Phoenix.
A new album appeared in 2000, the first original album after their 1990 comeback; with the exception of Covaci, the lineup comprised none of the members from the '70s.
In 2002, the 40th Anniversary of the band brought together almost all former members in a supershow.
At the end of 2005 the band (in its classic gold lineup) released a new album, named Baba Novak.
As of 2007, the band still performs at live events.
Post compiled from Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transsylvania_Phoenix