The Chameleons

Chameleons, the

This band around Mark Burgess had its peak around 1985, but I discovered them more than a decade later. The Chameleons play a passionate, melancholic type of guitar wave, with very good compositions and expressive lyrics. The highlight in their career is probably their second album, “What Does Anything Mean? Basically”. They split in 1986, but returned to the stage in the new millennium.

The band was formed in 1981 in Middleton, near Manchester. Their first single, ‘In Shreds’ attracted the attention of John Peel. CBS dropped them after that single, despite decent sales, and they signed with Statik. The debut album, “Script of the Bridge”, was recorded in Rochdale within 6 weeks. The band was upset about the way it was released in the US, therefore they wanted to part with Statik. After their second album, “What Does Anything Mean? Basically”, they signed with Geffen. For this label they created the album “Strange Times”, their last effort before they would take a break for 15 years. One of the reasons for the break was the death of their manager, Tony Fletcher.

During these times many obscure records appeared, like demo tracks and live recordings. Mark Burgess also did some rather succesful solo work. In 2000 The Chameleons started playing live and recording again. A new album entitled “Why Call It Anything’ was released in July 2001. Though the band never reached really large commercial succes, The Chameleons still has a dedicated following.


  • Script of the Bridge (1983)
  • What Does Anything Mean? Basically (1985)
  • The Fan And The Bellows (1986)
  • Strange Times (1986)
  • Strip (2000)
  • Why Call It Anything (2001)
  • This Never Ending Now (2002)