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Fool's Mate is the debut solo album by Peter Hammill of progressive rock band Van der Graaf Generator. The title is both a chess and tarot reference. It was produced by Trident Studios' in-house producer John Anthony. The album was recorded in 1971, in the midst of one of Van der Graaf Generator's most prolific periods. Hammill used the album to record a backlog of songs which were much shorter and simpler than his Van der Graaf Generator material, and declared on the original album sleeve: "This isn't intended to be any kind of statement of my present musical position, but at the same time, it is an album which involves a great deal of me, the person, basically a return to the roots."

Fool's Mate
Peter Hammill Fool's Mate.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedJuly 1971 (1971-07)
Recorded20–28 April 1971
StudioTrident, London
GenreArt rock
ProducerJohn Anthony
Peter Hammill chronology
Fool's Mate
Chameleon in the Shadow of the Night
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic3/5 stars[1]

Guest musicians on the album included the members of Van der Graaf Generator, members of his label mates Lindisfarne, and guitarist Robert Fripp.

The UK music press was generally very positive about Fool's Mate. Melody Maker saw it as "one of THE albums of the year".

The cover was designed by Paul Whitehead who at the time was the favourite cover artist for Van der Graaf Generator and fellow Charisma band Genesis.

Fool's Mate includes one of Hammill's most celebrated love songs, "Vision", which he still performs in concert. Both "Vision" and "The Birds" were re-worked for Hammill's 1984 album The Love Songs.

In 2005 Fool's Mate was issued in remastered form by EMI Virgin Records, supplemented with bonus demo recordings of several songs.

Track listingEdit

All tracks composed by Peter Hammill; except where indicated

  1. "Imperial Zeppelin" (Hammill, Chris Judge Smith) – 3:36
  2. "Candle" – 4:16
  3. "Happy" – 2:36
  4. "Solitude" – 4:56
  5. "Vision" – 3:13
  6. "Re-Awakening" – 4:01
  7. "Sunshine" – 3:56
  8. "Child" – 4:25
  9. "Summer Song (In The Autumn)" – 2:13
  10. "Viking" (Hammill, Judge Smith) – 4:44
  11. "The Birds" – 3:38
  12. "I Once Wrote Some Poems" – 2:56

Bonus tracks on 2005 reissue:

  1. "Re-Awakening" (early demos) – 4:37
  2. "Summer Song (In The Autumn)" (early demos) – 2:50
  3. "The Birds" (early demos) – 3:23
  4. "Sunshine" (early demos) – 3:54
  5. "Happy" (early demos) – 2:49




  1. ^ Prato, Greg. "Fools Mate – Peter Hammill | AllMusic". Retrieved 21 January 2012.

External linksEdit