Peter Joseph Andrew Hammill (born 5 November 1948, in Ealing, West London, England) is a singer-songwriter, and a founding member of progressive rock band Van der Graaf Generator. Most noted for his vocal abilities, his main instruments are guitar and piano. He also acts as a record producer for his own recordings, and occasionally for other artists.
With an extensive solo career spanning dozens of albums, Peter Hammill is certainly more than just the front-man and leader of Van Der Graaf Generator (VdGG). His literate, soul-examining lyrics and his often-anguished vocal delivery make his music perhaps an acquired taste, but his uncompromising artistic vision has shone since his first release, Fool’s Mate, back in 1971.
Stylistically, he has forged his own path, touching on progressive rock, punk (before it was even called that), electronic experimentation, intimate singer-songwriter settings, and even opera/musical theatre (with his adaptation of Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher).
Hammill’s solo career has coexisted with VdGG’s activities. The band was offered a contract by MercuryRecords in 1968, that only Hammill signed. When VdGG broke up in 1969 he wanted to record his first solo-album. In the summer of 1969 Hammill had a residency at The Lyceum and played weekly solo-concerts there. Eventually the intended solo-album was released under the VdGG-banner as their first album (The Aerosol Grey Machine).
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