Van Der Graaf Generator | Artist

Van Der Graaf Generator | Artist

Tags: Era_1960s, Genre_Prog, Genre_Psych, Origin_UK, Type_Artist

Van der Graaf Generator is an English progressive rock band, formed 1967 in Manchester by singer-songwriters Peter Hammill and Chris Judge Smith. With their experimental approach to vocals and instrumentation, coupled with arcane subject matter, they achieved cult status but little commercial success. After early changes, the enduring lineup comprised Hammill (vocals, guitar), Hugh Banton (organ, bass), Guy Evans (drums), Nic Potter (bass) and David Jackson (saxophone). The band formed at the University of Manchester but settled in London where they became the first band signed to the influential progressive rock focused Charisma label. In July 1969, Hammill had begun performing solo at the Marquee Club in London, and decided to record what was intended to be his first solo album with Banton, Evans, and Ellis as session musicians. However the album The Aerosol Grey Machine was released in September 1969 by Mercury under the group's name in return for releasing them from their contract with the record label. The following year 1970 saw the release of the first true VDGG group album, the superb The Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each Other. This was followed in successive years by the prog-jazz fusion masterpieces H to He Who Am The Only One, Pawn Hearts and Godbluff. The band's unique sound featured the interplay of saxophone, organ and rhythm section against Hammill's distinctive vocals. Unlike most bands of the time, electric guitar did not feature in their sound. Band mainstay and creative force Peter Hammill has many excellent solo albums to his credit. Outstanding VDGG albums include The Aerosol Grey Machine, The Least We Can Do Is Wave to Each Other, Pawn Hearts, H to He, Godbluff, Still Life and World Record. Also highly recommended are Vital:Live from 1978, and the 2015 archival release After the Flood BBC Sessions. Hammill's lyrics covered themes of mortality, due to his love of science fiction writers such as Robert A. Heinlein and Philip K. Dick, along with his confessed warped and obsessive nature. His voice has been a distinctive component of the band throughout its career, described as "a male Nico". Though the group have generally been commercially unsuccessful, they have inspired many bands across various genres, and they command growing cult status.

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Featured Albums: Van Der Graaf Generator

Related Artists: Peter Hammill, Chris Judge Smith, The Misunderstood, The Koobas, VDGG

Video Clips: Darkness, Whatever Would Robert Have Said?, Cats Eye

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