Van der Graaf Generator are an English progressive rock band, formed in 1967 in Manchester. They were the first act signed to Charisma Records. The band achieved considerable success in Italy during the 1970s. In 2005 they embarked on a reunion, which continues to the present day.
The signature Van der Graaf Generator sound in the 1970s was a combination of Peter Hammill's distinctive and dynamic voice and David Jackson's electronically-treated saxophones, generally playing over thick chordal keyboard parts (such as Hammond organ and/or clavinet), and Guy Evans' rolling, jazz-rock-like drumming. The band explored the complete range of phonaesthetics from euphony to cacophony, often within the same song. Van der Graaf Generator albums tended to be darker in atmosphere than many of their prog-rock peers (a trait they shared with King Crimson, whose guitarist Robert Fripp guested on two of their albums), and guitar solos were the exception rather than the rule.
Hammill is the primary songwriter for the band, and the line between music written for his solo career and for the band is sometimes blurred. In interviews, Hammill stated that even though he wrote the majority of VdGG music, its arrangements were always collective, while in the case of his solo recordings, he wrote and arranged all the compositions.