Nadir's Big Chance

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Nadir's Big Chance
Peter Hammill Nadir's Big Chance.jpg
Studio album by Peter Hammill
Released Feb 1975
Recorded 1–7 December 1974
Rockfield Studios, Wales
Genre Progressive rock, garage rock, protopunk, art rock
Length 47:17
Label Charisma
Producer Peter Hammill
Peter Hammill chronology
In Camera
Nadir's Big Chance
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[1]
Sounds (favourable)[2]
Tentative Reviews 4/5 stars[3]

Nadir's Big Chance was the fifth solo album by Peter Hammill, released on Charisma Records in 1975.

It was recorded shortly after a decision to re-form the band Van der Graaf Generator (of which Hammill was the singer and principal songwriter), and Nadir's Big Chance is actually performed by the reformed Van der Graaf Generator line-up.

The album's songs vary greatly in style, as acknowledged by Hammill in the sleeve notes, which refer to "the beefy punk songs, the weepy ballads, the soul struts". It is indeed notable for its prototype punk rock style on several tracks. The first British citation of the word "punk" in relation to music in the Oxford English Dictionary is dated January 1976 (citations from the USA date from 1971), yet Nadir's Big Chance was released in February 1975. Hammill can therefore lay claim to being the first British musician to use the term in his album's sleeve notes.

In a 1977 Capital Radio broadcast, John Lydon of the Sex Pistols played two tracks from the album, "The Institute Of Mental Health, Burning" and "Nobody's Business", and expressed his admiration for Hammill.[4]

The album includes two of Hammill's most frequently performed ballads, "Been Alone So Long" (written by Judge Smith) and "Shingle Song", and a reworking of Van der Graaf Generator's first single from 1968, "People You Were Going To".

The album saw Hammill's first use of the Hohner clavinet D6 keyboard, which would go on to feature prominently on the next few Van der Graaf Generator albums (particularly Godbluff).

In the song "Pushing Thirty" (from The Future Now, 1978), Hammill claims that he "still can be Nadir". The Rikki Nadir persona returned in October 1979, when Hammill released a single titled "The Polaroid" under the name, with "The Old School Tie" from pH7 as the B-side. It was included on some American pressings of pH7.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks by Peter Hammill, except where noted.

  1. "Nadir's Big Chance" - 3:33
  2. "The Institute Of Mental Health, Burning" (Hammill, Chris Judge Smith) - 3:32
  3. "Open Your Eyes" - 5:13
  4. "Nobody's Business" - 4:09
  5. "Been Alone So Long" (Chris Judge Smith) - 4:11
  6. "Pompeii" - 4:25
  7. "Shingle Song" - 4:15
  8. "Airport" - 3:04
  9. "People You Were Going To" - 5:05
  10. "Birthday Special" - 3:36
  11. "Two Or Three Spectres" - 6:20


  • Pat Moran - engineer
  • Mike Stone - mixing
  • Dinu M'Brela (alias of Peter Hammill) - cover design


External links[edit]