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Van Der Graaf Generator

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Van Der Graaf Generator Rock Heavies album cover
2.22 | 8 ratings | 1 reviews | 0% 5 stars

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Boxset/Compilation, released in 1980

Songs / Tracks Listing

Side A
1. Lizard Play (4:11)
2. The Habit of the Broken Heart (4:19)
3. Lemmings (including Cog) (11:36)

Side B
4. A Place to Survive (10:00)
5. La Rossa (9:47)

Total Time 39:53

Line-up / Musicians

Peter Hammill / lead vocals, guitars, pianos
- Hugh Banton / organs, piano, Mellotron, bass, bass pedals, synthesizer (3), Fx (3), backing vocals (3)
- David Jackson / saxophones (3,4,5), flute (3,4,5), Fx (3), backing vocals (3)
- Graham Smith / violin (1,2), viola (1,2)
- Nic Potter / bass (1,2)
- Guy Evans / drums & percussion, timpani (3), cymbal (4)

- Robert Fripp / electric guitar (3)

Releases information

Writer: Peter Hammill
Cover Photography: Keith Morris

LP Charisma ‎- 9198 637 (1980, Germany)

Thanks to Per Kohler for the addition
and to Prog Network & NotAProghead for the last updates
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VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR Rock Heavies ratings distribution

(8 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(0%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(38%)
Good, but non-essential (12%)
Collectors/fans only (38%)
Poor. Only for completionists (12%)

VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR Rock Heavies reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by VianaProghead
2 stars Review Nš 276

"Rock Heavies" is a compilation of Van Der Graaf Generator and was released in 1975. This is a compilation that includes tracks from four studio albums of Van Der Graaf Generator. So, it includes one track from their fourth studio album "Pawn Hearts", released in 1971, one track from their sixth studio album "Still Life", released in 1976, one track from their seventh studio album "World Record", released also in 1976, and three tracks from their eighth studio album "The Quiet Zone/The Pleasure Dome", released in 1977. Their album "Pawn Hearts" belogs to what is usually considered their first musical era and the other three belong to what is considered their second musical era.

"Pawn Hearts" is with "The Aerosol Grey Machine", released in 1969, "The Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each Other", released in 1970 and "H To He, Who Am The Only One", released in 1970 too, one of the four albums that belong to their first musical period. "Pawn Hearts" is with "H To He, Who Am The Only One", the two best albums of that era and two of their best albums ever. Of their second musical era, with also four studio albums, only lacks their fifth studio album "Godbluff", released in 1975, to be joined to "Still Life", "World Record" and "The Quiet Zone/ The Pleasure Dome".

So, we have represented here one of their best albums from their first musical era "Pawn Hearts" and represented also one of their best albums of their second musical era "Still Life". But unfortunately, we don't have tracks from "H To He, Who Am The Only One", from their first era and tracks from "Godbluff" from their second era. That is really a pity, because "H To He, Who Am The Only One", "Pawn Hearts", "Godbluff" and "Still Life", are generally considered their greatest four masterpieces. Furthermore, the representativeness between both eras is somehow unbalanced, really.

"Rock Heavies" has five tracks. The first track "Lizard Play" was released on "The Quiet Zone/The Pleasure Dome". "Lizard Play" is a song with some very peculiar rhythm and with a very interesting violin work. "Lizard Play", with its infectious rhythm section is one the biggest standout on the first side of that album. It has a laid back and the pacing and sharp delivery makes for a very interesting contrast with the strings which are quite nice to hear. This is a good song to open that album and this compilation too. The second track "The Habit Of The Broken Heart" was also released on "The Quiet Zone/The Pleasure Dome". "The Habit Of The Broken Heart" is also a good track and is essentially an acoustic song commanded by acoustic guitar, but the bass becomes the real driving force of the song. The sound of the organ is very subtle, quiet and nice. The middle of the song consists of a fast tempo, book- ended by slower and gentler passages. This is also a very nice track. The third track "Lemmings (Including COG)" was released on "Pawn Hearts". "Lemmings (Including COG)" has very powerful vocals with different harmonies and strange vocal passages, and musically, it has parts with extended saxophone work, keyboards and guitar passages. The track is pretty calm but contains some long musical dissonant parts, but is very pleasant to listen to. This is the weakest song on that album, but it manages to be a very good composition, with all the essential characteristics of the band. The fourth track "A Place To Survive" was released on "World Record". "A place To Survive" is probably the most standard Van Der Graaf Generator's track on that album. This song is about we are alone in this solitary world, after the breakup of a close relationship, and trying to find a place and a way to survive in this hostile world. This is one of the better tracks on that album with some great Hammill vocals and a great instrumental break with scorching blasts of sax and organ. The fifth track "La Rossa" was released on "Still Life". "La Rossa" is an epic tale about a desire fulfilled. It's a very powerful song, is the hardest rocking song on that album and is one of my favourite songs of the band, a real highlight. "La Rossa" combines a magical groove with imaginative shifts in texture and mood. On "La Rossa" and "My Room", another track of that album, Jackson delivers some of his most inspired saxophone performances ever made by him.

Conclusion: So, "Rock Heavies" has a track from one album that belongs to their first musical era, 1968-1972, "Pawn Hearts", and four tracks from three albums that belong to their second musical era, 1975-1977, "Still Life", "World Record" and "The Quiet Zone/The Pleasure Dome". So, we can say this isn't a well balanced compilation album by two reasons. First, of their first era only one album was represented, while from their second era there are three. Second, and above all, some of the best representative albums of both eras aren't represented, even of their second era. It's absolutely incomprehensible that from their first era, "The Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each Other" and "H To He, Who Am The Only One", aren't represented with any track. The same goes to their second era. I can't believe that any track from "Godbluff" wasn't chosen. Besides, "H To He, Who Am The Only One", "Pawn Hearts", "Godbluff" and "Still Life", are usually considered the great four masterpieces of the band. Finally, why two tracks from "The Quiet Zone/The Pleasure Dome", an atypical album and one of their weaker. So, this isn't a well representative compilation of the band.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

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