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Studio album by
Released10 October 1975
Recorded9–29 June 1975
StudioRockfield Studios, Monmouthshire
GenreProgressive rock
LabelUK Charisma Records
USA Mercury Records
ProducerVan der Graaf Generator
Van der Graaf Generator chronology
Pawn Hearts
Still Life

Godbluff is the fifth album released by English progressive rock band Van der Graaf Generator. It was the first album after the band reformed in 1975 and was recorded after a European tour.[1]

As the first self-produced album by the band, it featured a tighter, more pared-down sound than the band's earlier recordings with producer John Anthony. Hammill said "we did not want to make 'Son of Pawn Hearts' with a big long side two and lots of studio experiments".[2] Van der Graaf Generator would never work with an outside producer from this point forward. Hammill made extensive use of the Hohner Clavinet D6 keyboard,[3] which he had first started using on his previous solo album, Nadir's Big Chance (1975).[citation needed]

The first release of the record in the United States was on Mercury Records. The 2005 reissue added live performances by the band of two songs from Peter Hammill's album The Silent Corner and the Empty Stage (1974), recorded at a concert at L'Altro Mondo, Rimini, Italy.


Godbluff's album cover was minimal, consisting of a band logo and "stamped" red album title on an otherwise black sleeve. The band logo that first appeared here was designed by John Pasche;[4] it would also be used on the next two albums, Still Life (April 1976) and World Record (October 1976). Godbluff's sleeve design was later parodied on the cover of Fall Heads Roll by The Fall.


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic [5]
Christgau's Record GuideD+[6]

In Melody Maker, the reviewer said that "in a very real sense, [Godbluff] is the sound of the mid-seventies: uncomfortable, coherent, unremitting, courageous".[7] Geoff Barton of Sounds deemed Godbluff "simply, an essential buy".[8] A negative review appeared in the Lancashire Evening Post in November 1975, in which Bob Papworth wrote that the album contained "the type of studiously avant-garde rock which so many other groups play infinitely better." Papworth added that "Guy Evans couldn't drum his way out of a paper bag and David Jackson's saxes and flutes are a little too simplistic to be credible."[9]

In a May 2002 review in Mojo magazine, Julian Cope praised the album.[2] A retrospective review in 2011 by AllMusic's Steve McDonald wrote: "Godbluff was a bravura comeback – only four cuts, but all were classics."[5]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Peter Hammill, except where indicated.

Side one
1."The Undercover Man" 7:32
2."Scorched Earth"Hammill, David Jackson9:44
Side two
2."The Sleepwalkers"10:40

Bonus tracks on CD reissue[edit]

  1. "Forsaken Gardens" – 7:58
  2. "A Louse Is Not a Home" – 12:47
    • Both recorded live at L'altro Mondo, Rimini, Italy on 9 August 1975


Van der Graaf Generator
  • Produced by Van der Graaf Generator
  • Engineered by Pat Moran
  • Cut by George Peckham at The Master Room


Chart (2022) Peak
Scottish Albums (OCC)[11] 77
UK Rock & Metal Albums (OCC)[12] 23


  1. ^ "Europe in May/June 1975". Retrieved 24 November 2013.
  2. ^ a b "Run For Your Lives! Van Der Graaf Generator". Mojo. May 2002. Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  3. ^ "Van Der Graaf Generator: "Things went a bit mad after a while"". Uncut. 2 November 2018. Retrieved 5 November 2021.
  4. ^ "Godbluff (2005 Charisma release) notes". Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  5. ^ a b McDonald, Steven (2011). "Godbluff – Van der Graaf Generator". allmusic.com. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
  6. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: V". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved 17 March 2019 – via robertchristgau.com.
  7. ^ "Van der Graaf Generator: Godbluff (Charisma)". Melody Maker. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  8. ^ Barton, Geoff. "Graaf's bluff is just enough". Sounds. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  9. ^ Papworth, Bob (17 November 1975). "Van too many". Lancashire Evening Post.
  10. ^ Scharf 2016-01-27T18:00:00.260Z, Natasha (27 January 2016). "My Prog Hero: Inspiring the wider music world…". loudersound.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  11. ^ "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved June 20, 2024.
  12. ^ "Official Rock & Metal Albums Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company. Retrieved June 20, 2024.

External links[edit]