The band's early albums such as Journey to the Centre of the Eye, ...Sounds Like This and A Tab in the Ocean were obscure psychedelic rock albums that won the band a small but growing cult following, based largely on word of mouth. The last of those albums was the first Nektar album to be released in the U.S., on the small Passport Records label.
It was Nektar's second U.S. release, Remember the Future (1973), that propelled the band briefly into mass popularity. A concept album about a blind boy who communicates with an extraterrestrial being, the music was a big leap forward for the band with a much more melodic sound than on previous albums. It shot into the Top 20 album charts in the U.S. The follow up album, Down to Earth (1975), was another concept album with a circus theme; it also sold well, breaking into the Top 40 album charts and included Nektar's only song to chart on the Billboard singles charts, "Astral Man". The next album, Recycled (1976), was stylistically close to bands like Gentle Giant and is considered by many fans to be Nektar's finest moment. Nektar's first major-label release, Magic is a Child (1977) was more eclectic, although with shorter songs and fairly straightforward rhythms many fans thought it was too pop-oriented; lyrically the album covered a wide range of subjects from Norse mythology and magic to more down to earth subjects like railroads, truck drivers, and an anti-drug song. Overall, fans considered the album a misfire and it proved to be the end of Nektar's brief popularity, although a few more albums were released, mostly live albums and compilations.
When the Nektar back catalog was first released on compact disc in the early 1990s, the wrong master was used for the Bellaphon CD release of Remember the Future, infuriating many fans. The master used for that CD release contained a very different mix than the original vinyl release of the album did, one that practically buried Roye Albrighton's lead guitar. Although this was corrected in later CD releases, those looking for Nektar's music on CD should be aware of this if buying used CDs. One way to ensure that the correct master was utilized is to verify that the CD contains "bonus tracks".
Nektar regrouped in 2002 and headlined the NEARfest (opposite Steve Hackett) with a full line-up including synthesizer wizard Larry Fast. They also released their first album of new material since the 1970s, "The Prodigal Son". They followed this release up in 2004 with "Evolution". Recent members of Nektar have included Randy Dembo on bass, and Tom Hughes on Hammond organ alongside original members Albrighton and Howden. Dembo and Hughes left in August, 2006 citing communication problems, money issues, personality issues and trust in the management issues. All of Nektar's back catalogue has either been remastered and re-released or is in the process of being so. This includes A Tab in the Ocean which now features the original 1972 German mix, as well as an alternate 1976 "American" mix, Remember the Future with two bonus tracks in the form of two radio promo singles. The re-issue of Recycled features the original album release mix, and an alternate mix by Beatles engineer Geoff Emerick, something many fans found akin to hearing the music for the first time. Nektar's re-issue of Down to Earth contains seven bonus tracks, including hilarious out-takes by Robert Calvert. The re-issue of Magic Is a Child (an album which did not feature founding member Roye Albrighton) features amazing clear sound, and four bonus tracks including a live-from-the radio version of "Midnight Light".
In 2006, the band found new management (Roy Clay) to replace The Eclectic Records staff, playing "Prog fests" around the globe on a part-time basis, and occasionally appearing in some of their old haunts in the New Jersey/New York area. Mr Clay was subsequently released from management duties early 2007 after a dispute over financial matters.
The band also embarked on the production of a new album (Book of Days) although only currently released on iTunes (March 2007). A new release date of May 16, 2008 has been announced by Bellaphon Records.
In mid-2007 a solo tour was undertaken by lead singer Roye Albrighton to be followed by a full band tour of Europe (primarily Germany), and scheduled by a European-based promoter but alas they had to postpone as extra funds were needed to complete the new album.