Peter Hammill

English singer-songwriter

Peter Joseph Andrew Hammill (born 5 November 1948) is an English singer-songwriter. He is a founder member of the progressive rock band Van der Graaf Generator.

Peter Hammill at the 2009 Ottawa Bluesfest


  • "Obviously we're English middle-class chaps - there's not much voodoo chile about us."
    • On the time Van der Graaf Generator supported Jimi Hendrix. "Peter Hammill: Heart attack music" Interview with The Independent, 27 June 2004
  • "It is actually, in a way, an incredibly mundane experience. Not everyone has a heart attack but everyone has something or other, so I'm not remotely special. Just because I write songs doesn't make it a better or worse near-death experience."
    • Interview with Mike Barnes, The Wire, March 2007

Song Lyrics

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  • Re-awakening isn't easy when you're tired.
    Don't push me: I was taught self-expression
    when I was a child
    • "Re-awakening" on Fool's Mate (1971)
  • The streets seemed very crowded, I put on my bravest guise
    I know you know that I am acting, I can see it in your eyes.
    • "La Rossa" on Still Life by Van der Graaf Generator (1976)
  • These words are not enough to save my soul,
    they just mock me from the mirror.
    • "This side of the Looking-Glass" on Over (1977)
  • She's here now, perfume coiled like a thuggee scarf
    • "Empress's Clothes" on Sitting Targets (1981)
  • If we were always here and now,
    electric shiver in the spine,
    how could we turn away, see life as grey and drab?
    How come we don't see what we have?
    • "Now Lover" on 'Skin (1986)