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The Chameleons UK

The atmospheric pop band the Chameleons formed in Manchester, England, in 1981 from the ashes of a number of local groups: vocalist/bassist Mark Burgess began with the Cliches, guitarists Reg Smithies and Dave Fielding arrived from the Years, and drummer John Lever (who quickly replaced founding member Brian Schofield) originated with the Politicians. After establishing themselves with a series of high-profile BBC sessions, the Chameleons signed to Epic and debuted with the EP Nostalgia, a tense, moody set produced by Steve Lillywhite which featured the single "In Shreds."

The quartet was soon released from its contract with Epic, but then signed to Statik and returned in 1983 with the band's first full-length effort, Script of the Bridge. What Does Anything Mean? Basically followed in 1985, and with it came a new reliance on stylish production; following its release, the Chameleons signed to Geffen and emerged the following year with Strange Times. The dark, complex record proved to be the Chameleons' finale, however, when they split following the sudden death of manager Tony Fletcher; while Burgess and Lever continued on in the Sun & the Moon, Smithies and Fielding later reunited in the Reegs. In 1993, Burgess surfaced with his proper solo album Zima Junction. He and his band the Sons of God toured America the following year.

As the '90s came and went, the four members of the Chameleons UK continued to work on music and see one another on a personal basis. While their own musical projects kept them busy, a reunion was practically inevitable. The Chameleons reconnected in January 2000 to prep for three May dates in England. The acoustic-based, self-released Strip was available by showtime and for a limited time only. Additional European dates followed throughout the summer, and by fall the Chameleons UK played their first American shows in nearly 15 years. Several live efforts appeared shortly thereafter. Why Call It Anything? (2001) marked the Chameleons' first studio album since 1986's Strange Times. This Never Ending Now appeared two years later. ~ Jason Ankeny
full bio

Selected Discography


Track List: Strange Times


Track List: Strange Times

1. Mad Jack

2. Caution

3. Tears (Original Arrangement)

4. Soul In Isolation

5. Swamp Thing

6. Time - The End Of Time

7. Seriocity

8. In Answer

9. Childhood

10. I'll Remember

11. Tears (Full Arrangement)

12. Paradiso

13. Inside Out

14. John, I'm Only Dancing

15. Tomorrow Never Knows


Track List: Script Of The Bridge

Disc 1

1. Don't Fall

2. Here Today

3. Monkeyland

4. Second Skin

5. Up The Down Escalator

6. Less Than Human

7. Pleasure And Pain

8. Thursday's Child

9. As High As You Can Go

10. A Person Isn't Safe Anywhere These Days

11. Paper Tigers

12. View From A Hill

Disc 2

1. In Shreds (Prev. Unreleased Version)

2. Dear Dead Days (Prev. Unreleased Version)

3. Things I Wish I'd Said (Prev. Unreleased Version)

4. Don't Fall (Live In Bremen, 1983)

5. Here Today (Live In Bremen, 1983)

6. Thursday's Child (Live In Bremen, 1983)

7. A Person Isn't Safe Anywhere These Days (Live In Bremen, 1983)

8. Less Than Human (Live In Bremen, 1983)

9. Pleasure And Pain (Live In Bremen, 1983)

10. Second Skin (Live In Bremen, 1983)

11. Paper Tigers (Live In Bremen, 1983)

12. Monkeyland (Live In Bremen, 1983)

13. Singing Rule Britannia (Live In Bremen, 1983)

14. Up The Down Escalator (Live In Bremen, 1983)

15. View From A Hill (Live In Bremen, 1983)


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They were an underground band im glad they hold nostalgic memories of my good times back in my days of 1980s .....
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Enough to Chameleons fans). Unfortunatel y the label went bankrupt just before they were supposed to record their second album and they wound up breaking up too
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Mikemostad; you're welcome. Hopefully you've been lucky enough to have tracked down a copy of the Sun and the Moon's self titled album. It's Mark Burgess and John Lever with 2 new guitarists. They released the album on Geffen the year after the Chameleons breakup and just before an A&R purge led to them losing their contract. It is a close to the real 4th Chameleons album as you can get. They also released an ep on Midnight music (home of Sad Lovers and the Giants, a band I can't recommend
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Wow, I guess I never looked at the comments for the Chameleons. Lots of action here! I do think they are excellent, and I can vouch that they were/are little known. I never heard them before joining Pandora in 2005 or so, despite being old enough, and into indie/alt rock back in the day.
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elchinogrand e, thanks for the info. I heard What Does Anything.. first. Was browsing at a record store and they had it playing. Loved it so asked who it was, bought it on the spot. After that I started looking for more of their work and bought Strange Times and Script. Loved em both too. Fast forward to now, found Denim and Curls on YouTube. It instantly became my new fave Chameleons tune but had no idea where it came from.. Now I know! Thanks.
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Every time I listen to Tony Fletcher Walked on Water, I think about how great the fourth album (I don't mean Why Call it Anything, I mean the album they were about to record right after Strange Times when their manager Fletcher died) had they not fallen apart. Is It Any Wonder and Denims and Curls are among the best songs they ever wrote. If those songs were any indication, it would have been amazing.
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" and another revolutionar y falls from grace....... " One of the best tunes from the 80s..... IMHO
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I wish this feeling....w o u l d go away.
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Funny you should mention Coldplay and their Super Bowl sell out. When my wife heard miracles and wonders from the chameleons last album she asked if it was Coldplay
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The Stone Roses first single, So Young, was a self admitted Chameleons imitation.
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My love of The Chameleons has cost me a lot of money over the years as I've obsessively tracked down everything they released. The cliche that a band was more influential than their sales would otherwise indicate, or that they were ahead of their time could not be more appropriate. Every post punk revival band basically owes their sound to them. Those no talents Interpol best songs sound like abandoned Chameleons demos. Coldplay‘s first 2 singles were Chameleons clones. The Stone Roses first sin
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I saw there last U.S. Show in San Diego. It was at a place called the Stratus Theater. I had saw them earlier in the tour at the Metro Club (formally SPIT). Opened with Swamp Thing Both times. By the time they played San Diego they were barley looking at each other. The guitarist Reg looked pissed and annoyed with mark the whole show. They were still great but it wasn't the same vibe as the show I saw in Boston in the beginning of the tour. I had a extended LP of Tears that had the whole US tour
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ABSOLUTELY LOVE THE CHAMELEONS!! ! ! ! Wish I was in LA to see live!!!!
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The Chameleons are playing in a small venue in Los Angeles..Hav e time and watch them LIVE(Sept.22 n d )
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Im Herbst vor dem Winter, kommst des mannes verrückten Frühling
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@CoolerThanY o u

Script from the Bridge is under The Chameleons instead of The Chameleons UK (same band). But post-Strange Times recordings, and the Tony Fletcher LP, should DEFINITELY be on here (Denims & Curls, off of the LP, is one of their best).
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they have way more albums than that pandora!! geez no justice!!! but man i freakin love this band!!!
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One of my favorite bands. The perfect combination of (post?) punk and the emerging New Wave of the 80s, with a touch of the burgeoning alternative genre being vultivated at the time by bands like R.E.M. and Sonic Youth. The Chameleons just have a beautiful sound all around. I'd love to see them live.
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Saw them in SF in 1987 at the I Beam. One of the best shows I ever saw. Just incredible energy.
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rikkcandelej o
No one cares
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I see the poet and the fool, walking hand in hand to school...
My favorite Chem UK song is Paradiso
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I wish I had found this band much, much earlier as they are tremendous.
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This is one of those bands that didn't get very popular but who influenced bands that did become popular. They were too ahead of their time for their own good.
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Wonderful unique sound. Still holds up in the present day.
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I love going back in time to a music that was so far ahead of it's time..
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by far the best band ever!!!! Ive been following them since I was a kid ( 46 now) and they sound incredible- What a shame they've een so overlooked- the guitar work and Mark's voice are so heartfelt- and still makes me blast this song- INSIDE OUT, DONT FALL are my alltime faves
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Strange Times! Great stuff!
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Fell in love with them when I first heard "In Shreds" on the radio in the 80s and "Second Skin" still ranks as one of my top fifteen songs of all time. Fantastic in concert.
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just seen furs days ago.oh yeah,for lack of better words.
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in its autumn for the winter ,comes mans last mad surge of youth.what on earth are you talking about?dont fall, script of the bridge.
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The perfection of this music finally found me across time and the pond.
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I only know about this band because Second Skin showed up on The Peel Session collection called Manchester, So Much to Answer For. I added them here on Pandora and have found I like a lot of their stuff.
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It begs the question: If you haven't heard them, then where the hell have you been?
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It started with Swamp Thing for me. Magic!
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Like a greek oracle Mark Burgess allows the listener to just bearly hear and understand the carefully structured tones that arrive through the mist as a puzzle in a riddle. I love to let go of definitions and simply feel the words or sounds. What a creative era. I miss the myrth and mystery of the 80s.
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the chameleons UK is coming to san francisco at cafe dunord on the 28th of septemeber. so there!
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GO SEE MARK BURGESS THIS MONTH! He's on tour! July & August 2010
myspace/cham e l e o n s v o x
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One of if not the best post punk bands ever! In doubt, listen to Second Skin, what a masterpiece! If you like em' check out an obscure band called The Names. Very similar in mood and sound.
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I absolutely LOOOVE THE CHAMELEONS!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! I have ALL THEIR ALBUMS and I wish they'd never stopped playing. I saw them a few years ago and they blew me away!!!!!!!! !
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Good god I love this band. I had heard of them, but Pandora actually let me listen to them for the first time. Now I own all of their albums. One of the most solid bands I've ever heard. No missteps whatsoever. They rank right up there with Joy Division and the Smiths as one of my all time favorites.
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Saw them live in 87 and then again in 2002, and both times they were just incredible! Always a joy when one of their songs plays here. Still one of my all time faves....
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i love this band
i wish i could of seen them live =(
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i have to thank my uncle and aunt who got me hooked starting with "swamp thing"
from there.... it was history
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Yeah, beautiful gauze-like, hard-edged and rough the next.
So take this into today and go listen to Roy Montgomery
of New Zealand fame.
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Ever since discovering these guys about a year ago, I've been absolutely hooked. I still don't quite know how I missed them back in the 80's. Comparisons are always dangerous, either falling short or overstating, but as you work through their music, there are evocations of the Psychedelic Furs, some U2, The Cure, The Smiths, etc., then ultimately they stand in their own place. Beautifully gauze-like one minute, hard-edged and rough the next. Love 'em!
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I love sweater bands.
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Try Zima Junction for a killer version of a Philip Glass tune ....
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Yeah, yep, yes indeed the Chameleons are for sure a force to reckon with. Emotive explosions of sincere passion and in your face post punk intensity. Love these guys, and they just get better with every listen.
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