Van der Graaf Generator stream new single version of Refugees

Van der Graaf Generator
(Image credit: Herman Parmentier)

UK prog pioneers Van der Graaf Generator have streamed a brand new seven inch single version of their 1970 classic Refugees, which you can listen to below.

It comes ahead of the release of The Charisma Years box set which will be released through Virgin/UMC on September 3. The single is available to download and stream now and will be followed by the upcoming digital singles Killer (New Stereo Mix) on June 24 and Pilgrims (New Stereo Mix) on July 1. These are the first in a series of singles - there will be more to follow.

Refugees, which appeared on the band's 1970 album The Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each Other, was famously penned by VdGG singer Peter Hammill about his friends actress Susan Penhaligon and Mike McLean - the Mike and Susie referenced in the lyrics.

"For six months I shared a flat with Mike and Susie, who are among my oldest friends," Hammill explains. "When the time for departure came, I was washed with the melancholia which normally attends moving from 'home' and the physical memories it retains, heightened in this instance by the knowledge that, from being the closest of triads, we were committing ourselves to a separation in which months could easily slide into years. In this knowledge, the last vestiges of hope lay only in a future Utopia and re-joining of the hands.

"In the writing, however, the song developed a life of its own (as is always the best way), and the hope becomes much more than that for reunion with my friends. We are all refugees, and there is no home but hope."

The single version will be released to coincide with Van der Graaf Generator's appearance at this year's sold-out Beautiful Days Festival.

The Charisma Years set includes 17 CDs and three Blu-rays and feature the band's entire recorded works for Charisma Records, including previously unreleased tracks and previously unreleased footage in brand new stereo and surround sound remixes.

Pre-order The Charisma Years.

Jerry Ewing

Writer and broadcaster Jerry Ewing is the Editor of Prog Magazine which he founded for Future Publishing in 2009. He grew up in Sydney and began his writing career in London for Metal Forces magazine in 1989. He has since written for Metal Hammer, Maxim, Vox, Stuff and Bizarre magazines, among others. He created and edited Classic Rock Magazine for Dennis Publishing in 1998 and is the author of a variety of books on both music and sport, including Wonderous Stories; A Journey Through The Landscape Of Progressive Rock.