The band released their first album in 1973 with the following members: Richard Harvey, Brian Gulland, Graeme Taylor and David Oberle. Later in 1974 they were joined by Philip Nestor, who then left in 1975 to be replaced by Malcolm Bennett and Ernest Hart. They disbanded after releasing their final album, Treason, in 1977.
Multi-instrumentalist Richard Harvey and his fellow Royal College of Music graduate Brian Gulland, a woodwind player, began the group as an all-acoustic ensemble that mixed traditional English folk music with medieval and Renaissance influences. Shortly after this, the duo was joined by guitarist Graeme Taylor and drummer/percussionist Dave Oberlé. After their self-titled debut, they expanded their sound to include electric guitars and keyboards as well as wind instruments, such as bassoons and krumhorns, not previously used in rock music. Gryphon's music often sounded as much like rural English folk or renaissance chansons as it did rock, at least on their early recordings. After their third album (Red Queen to Gryphon Three) and the subsequent tour as a supporting act for Yes, their instrumentation became more conventional and the use of non-standard instruments was reduced. Fans and critics generally regard Midnight Mushrumps and the all-instrumental Red Queen to Gryphon Three as their finest albums.