Strange Times (The Chameleons album)

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Strange Times
Strange Times.jpg
Studio album by
Released1 September 1986
StudioJacob's Studio, (Ridgeway House, Farnham), Surrey, England
ProducerDavid M. Allen
The Chameleons chronology
What Does Anything Mean? Basically
Strange Times
Tony Fletcher Walked on Water.... La La La La La-La La-La-La
Singles from Strange Times
  1. "Tears"
    Released: 1 June 1986
  2. "Swamp Thing"
    Released: 1 September 1986

Strange Times is the third studio album by English post-punk band the Chameleons, released 1 September 1986 on the Geffen record label.

Two singles were released from the album: "Tears" and "Swamp Thing".


According to Chameleons frontman Mark Burgess: "The album was recorded at Jacob's Studio in Surrey, south of London over a period of five weeks. Again the material was only loosely sketched and we didn't really have any idea how the album would turn out. We'd spent a month or so getting the ideas together living in a small house in the Lake District of England and rehearsing the ideas in a school hall, specially hired, just outside the village of Hawkshead".[1]


The first single from the album was "Tears", released on 1 June 1986.[2]

Strange Times was released 1 September 1986 on the Geffen label.[3] Initial American pressings of the record came with a bonus 12" with six additional tracks, two of which are covers. The American cassette also had the same bonus tracks, split up so that each side of the cassette contained half of the bonus tracks. The record did not have a B side; it was credited as Side A and Side A+.

The album was never released on CD in any territory until 1993. Although Geffen released it as a two-disc set with all of the bonus tracks in the UK and Germany, the decision was made to omit one of the bonus tracks ("Ever After") from the American version to facilitate its release on a single disc.

The album's second single, "Swamp Thing", was released on the same day as the album.[4]


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[5]
Melody Makerfavourable[6]
The New York Timesfavourable[7]

Strange Times was praised by the critics who reviewed it. Ian Gittins of Melody Maker called it "a marvellous departure" from their previous work and "a wonderful record".[6] Robert Palmer of The New York Times described it as "the band's most inventive and winning album yet and as a fine a record as any pop-rock guitar band has made this year. [...] it should delight just about anyone".[7]

Legacy and influence[edit]

Burgess later said, "Strange Times is my favourite. Personally, I believe it was the best lyrical work I'd done with the band and some of the best vocal performances, and I think the Chameleons really began to mature and move forward with this album".[1]

In a post on his Instagram account on March 22, 2018, Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher cited Strange Times as an early influence on his songwriting: “...I’d forgotten how much this album meant to me. It came out in ‘86. I was 19!! I've been listening to it every day since and I have to say it's blown my mind..again! It must have influenced my early years as a song writer because I can hear ME in it everywhere!!...”[8]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by the Chameleons (Mark Burgess, Dave Fielding, Reg Smithies and John Lever), except as noted.

Side A
1."Mad Jack"3:55
4."Soul in Isolation"7:28
Side A+
5."Swamp Thing"5:56
6."Time/The End of Time"5:41
8."In Answer"4:54
10."I'll Remember"3:39
CD bonus tracks
11."Paradiso" 4:35
12."Inside Out" 3:34
13."Ever After" 3:59
14."John, I'm Only Dancing" (David Bowie cover)Bowie2:30
15."Tomorrow Never Knows" (The Beatles cover)John Lennon, Paul McCartney6:08


The Chameleons[edit]

  • Mark Burgess (credited as "Birdy") – vocals, bass guitar
  • Reg Smithies – guitar, album cover
  • John Lever – drums, percussion
  • Dave Fielding – guitar, strings


  • David M. Allen – production
  • Mark Saunders – engineering
  • Paul Crocket – engineering assistance, piano
  • Beki – engineering assistance, piano


  1. ^ a b "The Chameleons – Releases – The Chameleons, Strange Times". The Chameleons. Retrieved 15 July 2013.
  2. ^ "The Chameleons – Releases". The Chameleons. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  3. ^ "The Chameleons – Releases". The Chameleons. Retrieved 15 July 2013.
  4. ^ "The Chameleons – Releases". The Chameleons. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  5. ^ Raggett, Ned. "Strange Times – The Chameleons UK | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 12 February 2013.
  6. ^ a b Gittins, Ian (20 September 1986). "Strange Times". Melody Maker. Retrieved 15 July 2013.
  7. ^ a b Palmer, Robert (15 October 1986). "The Pop Life". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 February 2013.
  8. ^ "Noel Gallagher on Instagram: "So I feel compelled to share something with you. We(NGHFB) were getting drunk in some dressing room or other recently when a track from…"". Instagram. Retrieved 2018-04-16.

External links[edit]