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Van der Graaf Generator - The Book: A history of the band Van der Graaf Generator 1967 to 1978 Hardcover – Nov 2005


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 317 pages
  • Publisher: "Phil and Jim"; 1st edition (Nov. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 095513370X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0955133701
  • Product Dimensions: 29.6 x 21.8 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,445,791 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"A grand work unbeatable in terms of accuracy and graphic quality." -- Jam (Italy)

"A narrative of considerable exuberance... backed up by an abundance of documentation, photographs, and trivia." -- Mojo [4 star review]

"Will obviously be of interest to fans, but it also provides fascinating insights into the culture of the times." -- Guitar Player (July '06)

An entertaining account of Hammill and co's byzantine history... it's a rollicking good read. -- The Wire (March '06)

The book is a glorious romp for both the initiated and newcomer alike... A remarkable, informative tale. -- Record Collector [5 star review]

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Mark on 21 Jan. 2006
Format: Hardcover
by Mark, 6 January 2006
In the beginning I knew no more about the history of the band than what was in the brief notes that came with two compilation CD's. Ever since I had discovered Van der Graaf Generator (in the Genesis biography by Armando Gallo) I had tried to put together a picture in my mind about how it all had been. The public library had biographies about many different bands, but none about Van der Graaf Generator. And only some of my questions were answered by the brief notes in the two CD's, First Generation and Second Generation, which mostly dealt with the line-up. I knew already that for instance the bassist from the first albums had rejoined the band for their last albums. And I knew the band hadn't been together from 1972 until 1975. But I wanted to know how and most of all: why.
I waited for fourteen years, until in 2000 the four CD box called The Box was released. The most important reason for me to buy it, apart from completing my collection, was that it came with a small book about the history of Van der Graaf Generator. That made me happy, but it didn't still my hunger for information about my favourite band.
Then I waited another five years, and in 2005 found out about the book called The Book. At last, at long last there is a biography about Van der Graaf Generator! I immediately bought it and read all (about) 320 pages in just a few days. It is a big, heavy and all-embracing piece of work, chronologically told from the formation in 1967 until the end in 1978 (with an epilogue about the Present in 2005).
By no means The Book is a dry collection of facts. Nothing whatsoever.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By "higgies3" on 17 Feb. 2006
Format: Hardcover
The story of Van Der Graaf Generator, a band whose classic, but strange, four-man line-up comprises sax, organ, drums and lead vocals, is almost stranger still. Now it is documented superbly by dedicated fans Jim Christopulos and Phil Smart, one American, the other a Brit, in their mammoth book called simply ‘The Book’. ‘The Book’ is a mix of hilarious anecdotes, gripping horror stories of mid-70s touring and spooky festival incidents which all the time documents the behind the scenes struggles and triumphs of composing and playing the classic albums which the band’s legacy leaves. ‘ The Book’ was written with the full co-operation and consultation of the band members past and, ahem, indeed 'Present', and celebrates the innovative body of work produced by Messrs Hammill, Jackson, Banton, Evans, Potter et al during the late sixties and up to the end(?) of the band in 1978. 'The Book' also boasts a veritable treasure-trove of archive unseen, classic, and new photographs by the likes of Barry Wentzell, Armando Gallo and Ed Clarke which supplements the authors’ fascinating sleuthing and interviews with contemporaries of the band, as well as younger, sometimes unexpected fans such as the blokes out of The Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Blur.
Van Der Graaf have often been overlooked by the casual rock fan in favour of the more radio-friendly 70s stalwarts such as Genesis, Pink Floyd & Led Zeppelin, but once investigated this book helps you realise that the recorded output of this band is ultimately so much more rewarding.
‘The Book’. The ultimate story of the ultimate band. Buy it. Read it. Then you’ll want to read it all over again. It really is that good.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A. Hutchinson on 7 Jan. 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book is essentail reading for anybody who has ever shown even a passing interest in the work of VdGG or Peter Hammill, or prog/rock in general - 300+ A4 size pages full of interesting stories,facts and rare photographs. It is the story of the most under-rated and, IMHO, greatest live rock/prog band that ever existed. A band that refused to toe the line commercially and so never made it to the "big league" along with the likes of Yes & Genesis, but who had a much broader appeal and wider influence on the music scene than any other band of this genre. The list of musicains influnced by them is wide ranging (Bowie, Mark E. Smith, Lydon, Cave, Kirk Brandon, Graham Coxon etc etc). The Book is an in depth history of the band's career from their formation in Manchester Uni (1967) to their final dissolution in near bankruptcy (1978)with the epilogue covering the 2005 reunion. It is written in a knowledgable yet loving and at times humourous manner by 2 men who have done their research extremely thoroughly and obviously have a deep knowledge of the band's history and love of their music which shines through in this weighty tomb.It gives a unique insight into the workings of a band whose music was so radical and experimental that it virtually drove the protagonists insane. If you are already a fan it will give you a deeper understanding of what all those crazy time signatures were all about - if you are just curious about a band with an odd, badly spelt name, then read it and take a listen to the music - it might just change your (musical) life. Like Mr. Hammill would say "serious fun".
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