Chameleon in the Shadow of the Night

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Chameleon in the Shadow of the Night
Peter Hammill Chameleon.jpg
Studio album by Peter Hammill
Released May 1973
Recorded February and March 1973[1]
Genre Progressive rock, psychedelic rock
Length 50:20
Label Charisma
Producer John Anthony
Peter Hammill chronology
Fool's Mate
Chameleon in the Shadow of the Night
The Silent Corner and the Empty Stage
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[2]

Chameleon in the Shadow of the Night was the second solo album by British singer-songwriter Peter Hammill. It followed in the aftermath of the breakup of Hammill's band Van der Graaf Generator, although (as with many of Hammill's "solo" albums from this period) the other members of Van der Graaf Generator all perform on the album, blurring the distinction between solo and group work.

The album was produced by John Anthony at Rockfield Studios, Wales, for the first time using pre-recorded parts done by Peter Hammill in his home studio in Worth. For final mixing the then much better equipped Trident Studios were used. The album was released in May 1973 on Charisma Records.

Some of the songs ("German Overalls" and "In the End") relate to Van der Graaf Generator's decision to split, following an exhausting, demoralising and poverty-stricken experience of being a touring rock band.[3] "German Overalls" even name-checks bandmates Hugh Banton and David Jackson.

Hammill has continued to perform "Easy to Slip Away" in concert to the present day. The song relates to him losing touch with student housemates Mike and actress Susan Penhaligon (who were also namechecked in the Van der Graaf Generator song "Refugees").

The complex and atmospheric "(In the) Black Room/The Tower" was originally planned for inclusion on Van der Graaf Generator's album following Pawn Hearts, an album that because of the band's split never came to be.[4] It features all of Van der Graaf Generator's ex-members up to that point, excluding Chris Judge Smith and Keith Ellis. Another recording of it is included on Time Vaults. The song was later performed on stage by Van der Graaf Generator when the band reformed in 1975, and also during their 2005 reunion.


The cover was designed by Paul Whitehead, who also was the artist for Fool's Mate as well as sleeves for Van der Graaf Generator (The Least We Can Do is Wave to Each Other and Pawn Hearts) and Charisma labelmates Genesis (Trespass, Nursery Cryme and Foxtrot). It shows Peter Hammill's astrological sign Scorpio twice, as a painting of a real scorpion and as part of a personal logo which Hammill introduced with this album and which would appear on the covers of many coming releases. The photo of Hammill on the front side was taken by Bettina Hohls in Hamburg.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks composed by Peter Hammill

  1. "German Overalls" - 7:03
  2. "Slender Threads" - 4:57
  3. "Rock and Rôle" - 6:41
  4. "In the End" - 7:21
  5. "What's it Worth" - 3:56
  6. "Easy to Slip Away" - 5:18
  7. "Dropping the Torch" - 4:11
  8. "(In the) Black Room/The Tower" - 10:53

The following bonus tracks were included on the 2006 CD reissue:

  1. "Rain 3 AM" (recorded during Studio Sessions) - 4:45
  2. "Easy to Slip Away" (Live at the All Souls Unitarian Church, Kansas City, on Feb. 16, 1978) - 4:47
  3. "In the End" (Live at the All Souls Unitarian Church, Kansas City, on Feb. 16, 1978) - 7:23




  1. ^
  2. ^ Allmusic review
  3. ^ Gallo, Armando. ""Chameleon in the Shadow of the Night" (review)". Retrieved July 18, 2007. 
  4. ^ Christopulos, J., and Smart, P.: "Van der Graaf Generator - The Book", page 174. Phil and Jim publishers, 2005. ISBN 0-9551337-0-X

External links[edit]