The term charisma (/kəˈrɪzmə/) has two senses:
In discussing sense 1, scholars in sociology, political science, psychology, and management reserve the term for a type of leadership seen as extraordinary;   in these fields, the term "charisma" is used to describe a particular type of leader who uses "values-based, symbolic, and emotion-laden leader signaling".
Since the advent of Dungeons & Dragons in 1974, the word charisma has also been used as an "mental attribute" within the context of tabletop and video gaming, alongside intelligence and wisdom, where it designates actual strength of personality, persuasiveness, personal magnetism, and their leadership ability.
The English term charisma is from the Greek χάρισμα (khárisma), which means "favor freely given" or "gift of grace". The term and its plural χαρίσματα (charismata) derive from χάρις (charis), which means "grace". Some derivatives from that root (including "grace") have similar meanings to the modern sense of personality charisma, such as "filled with attractiveness or charm", "kindness", "to bestow a favor or service", or "to be favored or blessed". Moreover, the ancient Greek dialect widely used in Roman times employed these terms without the connotations found in modern religious usage. Ancient Greeks applied personality charisma to their gods; for example, attributing charm, beauty, nature, human creativity or fertility to goddesses they called Charites (Χάριτες).
Theologians and social scientists have expanded and modified the original Greek meaning into the two distinct senses above. For ease of reference, we will call the first sense personality charisma and the second divinely conferred charisma.
The meaning of charisma has become greatly diffused from its original divinely conferred meaning, and even from the personality charisma meaning in modern English dictionaries, which reduces to a mixture of charm and status. John Potts, who has extensively analyzed the term's history, sums up meanings beneath this diffused common usage:
Contemporary charisma maintains, however, the irreducible character ascribed to it by Weber: it retains a mysterious, elusive quality. Media commentators regularly describe charisma as the "X-factor". …The enigmatic character of charisma also suggests a connection – at least to some degree – to the earliest manifestations of charisma as a spiritual gift.
The Hebrew Bible and the Christian Bible record the development of divinely conferred charisma. In the Hebrew text the idea of charismatic leadership is generally signaled by the use of the noun hen (favor) or the verb hanan (to show favor). The Greek term for charisma (grace or favor), and its root charis (grace) replaced the Hebrew terms in the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible (the 3rd century BC Septuagint). Throughout, "the paradigmatic image of the charismatic hero is the figure who has received God's favor". In other words, divinely conferred charisma applied to highly revered figures.
Thus, Eastern Mediterranean Jews in the 1st century CE had notions of charis and charisma that embraced the range of meanings found in Greek culture and the spiritual meanings from the Hebrew Bible. From this linguistic legacy of fused cultures, in 1 Corinthians, Paul the Apostle introduced the meaning that the Holy Spirit bestowed charism and charismata, "the gift of God's grace", upon individuals or groups. For Paul, "[t]here is a clear distinction between charisma and charis; charisma is the direct result of divine charis or grace".
In the New Testament Epistles, Paul refers to charisma or its plural charismata seven times in 1 Corinthians, written in Koine (or common) Greek around 54 CE. He elaborates on his concepts with six references in Romans (c. 56). He makes 3 individual references in 2 Corinthians (c. 56), 1 Timothy, and 2 Timothy (c. 62 – c. 67). The seventeenth and only other mention of charisma is in 1 Peter.
The gospels, written in the late first century, apply divinely conferred charisma to revered figures. Examples are accounts of Jesus' baptism and of his transfiguration, in which disciples see him as radiant with light, appearing together with Moses and Elijah. Another example is Gabriel's greeting to Mary as "full of grace". In these and other instances early Christians designated certain individuals as possessing "spiritual gifts", and these gifts included "the ability to penetrate the neighbour to the bottom of his heart and spirit and to recognize whether he is dominated by a good or by an evil spirit and the gift to help him to freedom from his demon".
Believers characterized their revered religious figures as having "a higher perfection… a special Charisma". Then, with the establishment of the Christian Church, "the old charismatic gifts and free offerings were transformed into a hierarchical sacerdotal system". The focus on the institution rather than divinely inspired individuals increasingly dominated religious thought and life, and that focus went unchanged for centuries.
Additional changes began in the 17th century when church leaders, notably in the Latin tradition, accented "individual gifts [and] particular talents imparted by God or the Holy Spirit". The 19th century brought an increasing shift in emphasis toward individual and spiritual aspects of charisma; Protestant and some Catholic theologians narrowed the concept to superlative, out-of-the-ordinary, and virtuoso gifts. Simultaneously, the term became alienated from the much wider meaning that early Christians had attached to it. Still, the narrowed term projected back to the earlier period "A systematically reflected and highly differentiated understanding of charisma was often unconsciously infused into the Scriptures and writings of the church fathers, so that these texts were no longer read through the eyes of the authors".
These dialectic meanings influenced notable changes in Pentecostalism in the late 19th century, and charismatic movements in some mainline churches in the mid-20th century. The discussion in the 21st Century Religion section explores what charisma means in these and other religious groups.
The basis for modern secular usage comes from German sociologist Max Weber. He discovered the term in the work of Rudolph Sohm, a German church historian whose 1892 Kirchenrecht was immediately recognized in Germany as an epoch-making work. It also stimulated a debate between Sohm and leading theologians and religion scholars, which lasted more than twenty years and stimulated a rich polemical literature. The debate and literature had made charisma a popular term when Weber used it in The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism and in his Sociology of Religion. Perhaps because he assumed that readers already understood the idea, Weber's early writings lacked definition or explanation of the concept. In the collection of his works, Economy and Society edited by his wife, he identified the term as a prime example of action he labeled "value-rational," in distinction from and opposition to action he labeled "Instrumentally rational." Because he applied meanings for charisma similar to Sohm, who had affirmed the purely charismatic nature of early Christianity, Weber's charisma would have coincided with the divinely conferred charisma sense defined above in Sohm's work.
Weber introduced the personality charisma sense when he applied charisma to designate a form of authority. To explain charismatic authority he developed his classic definition:
Charisma is a certain quality of an individual personality by virtue of which he is set apart from ordinary men and treated as endowed with supernatural, superhuman, or at least specifically exceptional powers or qualities. These as such are not accessible to the ordinary person, but are regarded as of divine origin or as exemplary, and on the basis of them the individual concerned is treated as a leader.
Here Weber extends the concept of charisma beyond supernatural to superhuman and even to exceptional powers and qualities. Sociologist Paul Joosse examined Weber's famous definition, and found that:
through simple yet profoundly consequential phrases such as “are considered” and “is treated,” charisma becomes a relational, attributable, and at last a properly sociological concept.... For Weber, the locus of power is in the led, who actively (if perhaps unconsciously) invest their leaders with social authority.
In other words, Weber indicates that it is followers who attribute the individual with powers, emphasizing that "the recognition on the part of those subject to authority" is decisive for the validity of charisma.
Weber died in 1920 leaving "disordered, fragmentary manuscripts without even the guidance of a plan or table of the proposed contents". One unfinished manuscript contained his above quoted definition of charisma. It took over a quarter century for his work to be translated into English. With regard to charisma, Weber's formulations are generally regarded as having revived the concept from its deep theological obscurity. However, even with the admirable translations and prefaces of his entire works, many scholars have found Weber's formulations ambiguous. For the past half-century they have debated the meaning of many Weberian concepts, including the meaning of charisma, the role of followers, and the degree of a supernatural component. Although sociologists have been most active in applying Weber's ideas, researchers in management and organizational behavior including John Antonakis and his colleagues, have reignited interest in charisma with respect to defining the term in unambiguous ways, finding ways to experimentally manipulate charisma, and to estimate the causal effects of charisma on performance outcomes in work and political settings. Recently, evolutionary psychologists have used game theory and costly signaling theory to study the functions of charismatic leadership in the evolution of human cooperation.
Grabo, A., Spisak, B. R., & van Vugt, M. (2017). Charisma as signal: An evolutionary perspective on charismatic leadership. The Leadership Quarterly, 28(4), 473-485. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.leaqua./ref>
3×3 is the second extended play by the English rock band Genesis, released in May 1982 on Charisma Records. Its three songs were originally written and recorded for their eleventh studio album Abacab (1981), but they were not included on the album's final track selection. 3×3 reached No. 10 on the UK Singles Chart. In the US, its tracks were included on the international edition of the band's live album Three Sides Live (1982). The lead track, "Paperlate", peaked at No. 32 on the US Billboard Hot 100 singles chart and No. 2 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.Another Monty Python Record
Another Monty Python Record is the second album produced by the Monty Python comedy group, released in 1971. Dissatisfied with their monaural BBC debut album the previous year, the group took full control of the follow-up, which would be the first release of a six-album deal with Charisma Records in the UK. Most of the material is from the second series of Monty Python's Flying Circus, with only a few newly written pieces. One track, "Stake Your Claim", is an English language version of a sketch from the team's first German episode.
The production, with its innovative use of stereo and sound effects, was handled by Terry Jones and Michael Palin and proved a technical challenge. According to Jones: "We had this horrendous time because we were recording in this rather hippy recording studio which fortunately I can't remember the name of. ... We were very keen to use the stereo and everything, but what we hadn't realised was that the guy who was doing the recording, who I think was out of his head most of the time, had not been making any notes. We'd end up with tapes and tapes of material with no idea of where anything was on the tapes ... That was a bitter experience."The sleeve was designed by Terry Gilliam, from an idea by Terry Jones. Packaged as "Beethoven Symphony No. 2 In D Major", the cover was defaced by the Pythons to serve as their own record jacket. (The "serious" liner notes on the back also bear a Pythonesque stamp: the biography of Beethoven quickly turns into a commentary on Beethoven's Wimbledon debut.) Included with the original LP were three card inserts printed with detailed instructions, scripts and cut-out props for the "Be A Great Actor" sketch on side 2.
Due to the limitations of the vinyl format, the original 1971 UK release had many sketches edited down while others, such as "Communist Quiz" and "Penguin On The TV", were omitted altogether causing a re-sequencing of the "Royal Festival Hall Concert" and "Spam" sketches. This truncated version was used for all UK cassette releases until 1994. When the album was released in the US in 1972 to coincide with the US release of And Now For Something Completely Different, the full unedited version was used. This longer edit was used for all CD releases in both the UK and US.
As well as featuring a pared down track list, the original UK vinyl enjoyed two subtly different releases. Initial pressings were issued on the pink "famous Charisma label" (erroneously listing the release year as 1970) with subsequent pressings replacing this with the "Mad Hatter" label design (correcting the year to 1971). Both editions featured a trick runout groove at the end of Side 1 where the sound of a record scratch is followed by Michael Palin's exclamation of "I scratched the record" repeated ad infinitum, at least until the listener chooses to lift the stylus off the vinyl.
The album marked the group's first chart success, reaching No.26 in the UK album chart.A 7" single, the Python's first, combining Spam Song/The Concert (CB.192) was issued in the UK on 8 September 1972, almost a year after the album's release. Later pressings were issued in a picture sleeve featuring a still from the "Dirty Fork" sketch from And Now For Something Completely Different.
The 2006 CD reissue features four bonus tracks, although these date from the 1980 Contractual Obligation Album sessions.Charisma (album)
Charisma is an album by jazz trumpeter Lee Morgan featuring performances by Morgan, Jackie McLean, Hank Mobley, Cedar Walton, Paul Chambers and Billy Higgins, recorded on September 29, 1966, but not released on the Blue Note label until 1969.Charisma (magazine)
Charisma (also known as Charisma + Christian Life) is a monthly Christian magazine based in Lake Mary, Florida, a suburb of Orlando. It is aimed at Pentecostals and charismatics. Its perspective is influenced by the charismatic revivalism and other contemporary streams of charismatic Christianity such as the Toronto Blessing, International House of Prayer, and the Apostolic-Prophetic movement.Charisma Carpenter
Charisma Carpenter (born July 23, 1970) is an American actress. She is best known for her role as Cordelia Chase in the popular TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997–1999) and its spin-off series Angel (1999–2004). She has also starred as Kyra on Charmed (2004), Kendall Casablancas on Veronica Mars (2005–2006), Rebecca Sewell on The Lying Game (2012–2013) and Lacy in The Expendables film series (2010–2012).Charisma Records
The Famous Charisma Label (Charisma for short) was a British record label founded in 1969 by former journalist Tony Stratton-Smith. He had previously acted as manager for rock bands such as The Nice, the Bonzo Dog Band and Van der Graaf Generator. Gail Colson was label manager and joint managing director.
The label's most successful acts were Genesis, Peter Gabriel, Julian Lennon, and Monty Python. The initial release was the album The Least We Can Do Is Wave to Each Other by Van der Graaf Generator. Stratton-Smith was unable to find a company to release the album, so he became determined to release it himself.
Charisma's first UK label was a distinctive "pink scroll" design. Its second logo (used beginning in 1972) of Sir John Tenniel's drawing of the Mad Hatter (sometimes combined with a montage of other images from Alice in Wonderland) made the label instantly recognizable. Much of the early distinctive artwork used by the label was created by Paul Whitehead.
The label also released material by The Nice, Lindisfarne and Alan Hull, Hawkwind, The Alan Parsons Project, Clifford T. Ward, String Driven Thing, Jack The Lad, Audience, Vivian Stanshall, Brand X, Sir John Betjeman, Malcolm McLaren and Afraid of Mice. 1970s solo albums of Peter Hammill, Tony Banks and Steve Hackett were also on Charisma.
Gail Colson left Charisma in the late 1970s to form her own management company, Gailforce.
In 1983, Charisma Records was acquired by Virgin Records and continued to operate until 1986, when Virgin absorbed the label following its purchase by EMI. A new version of Charisma, with no connection to the original label other than the name, operated between 1990 and 1992, with a street-oriented and independently distributed subsidiary called Cardiac Records. Some Charisma Records recordings were re-issued on the EMI label. In the UK, the label was revived by EMI's Angel Records in 2007.
With the EMI purchase by Universal Music Group, Charisma returned to Virgin Records.Charismatic authority
Charismatic authority is a concept of leadership developed by the German sociologist Max Weber. It involves a type of organization or a type of leadership in which authority derives from the charisma of the leader. This stands in contrast to two other types of authority: legal authority and traditional authority. Each of the three types forms part of Max Weber's tripartite classification of authority.
"Charisma" is an ancient Greek term that initially gained prominence through Saint Paul's letters to the emerging Christian communities in the first century. In this context, it generally referred to a divinely-originating "gift" that demonstrated the authority of God within the early leaders of the Church. Max Weber took this theological notion and generalized it, viewing it as something that followers attribute, thereby opening it up for use by sociologists who applied it to political, military, celebrity, and non-Christian religious contests. Other terms used are "charismatic domination" and "charismatic leadership".Genesis (band)
Genesis were an English rock band formed at Charterhouse School, Godalming, Surrey, in 1967. The most successful and longest-lasting line-up consisted of keyboardist Tony Banks, bassist/guitarist Mike Rutherford and drummer/singer Phil Collins. Significant former members were original lead singer Peter Gabriel and guitarist Steve Hackett. The band moved from folk music to progressive rock in the 1970s, before moving towards pop at the end of the decade. They have sold 21.5 million copies of their albums in the United States, with worldwide sales of between 100 million and 150 million.
Formed by five Charterhouse pupils including Banks, Rutherford, Gabriel, and Anthony Phillips, Genesis were named by former pupil Jonathan King, who arranged for them to record several unsuccessful singles and their debut album From Genesis to Revelation in 1968. After splitting with King, the group began to tour professionally, signed with Charisma Records and recorded Trespass (1970) in the progressive rock style. Following the departure of Phillips, Genesis recruited Collins and Hackett and recorded Nursery Cryme (1971). Their live shows also began to be centred on Gabriel's theatrical costumes and performances. They were first successful in mainland Europe, before entering the UK charts with Foxtrot (1972). In 1973, they released Selling England by the Pound (1973), which featured their first UK top 30 single "I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)". The concept album The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway followed in 1974, and was promoted with a transatlantic tour featuring an elaborate stage show. Following the Lamb tour, Gabriel left Genesis in August 1975 to begin a solo career.
After an unsuccessful search for a replacement, Collins took over as lead singer, while Genesis gained popularity in the UK and the US. Following A Trick of the Tail and Wind & Wuthering (both 1976), Hackett left, reducing the band to Banks, Rutherford, and Collins. Genesis' next album ...And Then There Were Three... produced their first UK top ten and US top 30 single in 1978 with "Follow You Follow Me", and they continued to gain success with Duke (1980), Abacab (1981), and Genesis (1983), reaching a peak with Invisible Touch (1986), which featured five US top five singles. Its title track reached number one in the US. After the tour for We Can't Dance (1991), Collins left Genesis in 1996 to focus on his solo career. Banks and Rutherford recruited Ray Wilson for Calling All Stations (1997), but a lack of success in the US led to a group hiatus. Banks, Rutherford and Collins reunited for the Turn It On Again Tour in 2007, and with Gabriel and Hackett were interviewed for the 2014 BBC documentary Genesis: Together and Apart.
Their discography includes fifteen studio and six live albums, six of which topped the UK chart. They have won numerous awards and nominations, including a Grammy Award for Best Concept Music Video with "Land of Confusion", and inspired a number of tribute bands recreating Genesis shows from various stages of the band's career. In 2010, Genesis were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.Genesis Live
Genesis Live is the first live album from the English rock band Genesis, released in July 1973 on Charisma Records. Initially recorded for radio broadcast on the American rock program King Biscuit Flower Hour, the album is formed from the recordings of shows at Free Trade Hall, Manchester and De Montfort Hall, Leicester in February 1973 during the band's tour supporting their fourth studio album Foxtrot (1972).
Genesis Live is the band's first album to enter the top 10 in the UK, reaching No. 9. Following its US release in 1974, it peaked at No. 105.Loudon Wainwright III
Loudon Snowden Wainwright III (born September 5, 1946) is an American songwriter, folk singer, humorist, and actor. He is the father of musicians Rufus Wainwright, Martha Wainwright, and Lucy Wainwright Roche; brother of Sloan Wainwright; and former husband of the late folksinger Kate McGarrigle. He resides on Long Island, NY.
To date, Wainwright has released 26 studio albums. Reflecting upon his career in 1999, he stated, "You could characterize the catalog as somewhat checkered, although I prefer to think of it as a tapestry." In October 2017, Wainwright released his autobiography, Liner Notes: On Parents & Children, Exes & Excess, Death & Decay, and a Few of My Other Favorite Things.Man on the Corner
"Man on the Corner" is a 1981 song by British band Genesis, released as a single on 5 March 1982. The song was written and sung by drummer Phil Collins. It peaked at No. 41 on the UK Singles Chart and No. 40 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.Many Too Many
"Many Too Many" is a love song recorded by English rock band Genesis.Selling England by the Pound
Selling England by the Pound is the fifth studio album from the English progressive rock band Genesis, released in October 1973 on Charisma Records. It reached No. 3 in the UK and No. 70 in the U.S. A single from the album, "I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)", was released in February 1974 and became the band's first top 30 hit in the UK.
The album was recorded in August 1973 following the tour supporting the previous album, Foxtrot (1972). The group set aside a short period of time to write new material, which covered a number of themes, including the loss of English folk culture and an increased American influence, which was reflected in the title. Following the album's release, the group set out on tour, where they drew an enthusiastic reception from fans.
Critics and the band have given mixed opinions of the album, though guitarist Steve Hackett has said it is his favourite Genesis record. The album has continued to sell and has reached Gold certification by the British Phonographic Industry and the Recording Industry Association of America. It was remastered for CD in 1994 and 2007. Several of the album tracks became fan favourites and featured as a regular part of the band's live setlist into the 1980s.The Monty Python Instant Record Collection
The Monty Python Instant Record Collection is actually the title of two compilation albums released by the Monty Python troupe - the first in the UK in 1977 drew from the group's first five Charisma albums, and the other in the US in 1981 which comprised tracks from their four Arista albums. It was billed as "the pick of the best of some recently repeated Python hits again, Vol. II." The record sleeve's original design was done by Terry Gilliam. It featured packaging that folded out into a cardboard box resembling a large stack of record albums (all containing spoofs of popular album names). An inner sleeve featured a spoof "Where Are They Now?" update on the members of the Python team.
As ever, the original vinyl release of the UK version had messages from George Peckham on the runout grooves. The first side read: "DEAR MUM, CUTTING ANOTHER PYTHON RECORD. I'LL BE HOME LATE TONIGHT, LUV PORKY", while the second side read: "SPECIAL RECORD NO. 471. RING CHARISMA FOR YOUR PRIZE NOW!".
The only new sketch (on the UK version) is "Summarise Proust Competition" which was originally performed on the television series Monty Python's Flying Circus and was re-recorded for Monty Python's Previous Record but never used, while the Alistair Cooke sketch is preceded by a brief, newly recorded introduction by Michael Palin. Many of the sketches are edited from their original versions.The Nice
The Nice were an English progressive rock band active in the late 1960s. They blended rock, jazz and classical music and were keyboardist Keith Emerson's first commercially successful band.
The group was formed in 1967 by Emerson, Lee Jackson, David O'List and Ian Hague to back soul singer P. P. Arnold. After replacing Hague with Brian Davison, the group set out on their own, quickly developing a strong live following. The group's sound was centred on Emerson's Hammond organ showmanship and abuse of the instrument, and their radical rearrangements of classical music themes and Bob Dylan songs.
The band achieved commercial success with an instrumental rearrangement of Leonard Bernstein's "America", following which O'List left the group. The remaining members carried on as a trio, releasing several albums, before Emerson decided to split the band in early 1970 in order to form Emerson, Lake & Palmer. The group briefly reformed in 2002 for a series of concerts.Three Sides Live
Three Sides Live is the third live album by the English rock band Genesis, released as a double album on 4 June 1982 on Charisma Records in the United Kingdom. It was released by Atlantic Records in the United States. After touring in support of their studio album Abacab ended in December 1981 the band entered an eight-month break in activity, during which they selected recordings from their previous tours for a live album. Three Sides Live includes recordings between 1976 and 1981; the UK edition contains additional live tracks while the international edition features tracks from their 1982 EP 3×3 with B-sides from Duke.
Three Sides Live received a mostly positive critical reception and was a commercial success, peaking at No. 2 on the UK Albums Chart and No. 10 on the US Billboard 200, where it sold 500,000 copies. Its release coincided with the band's Three Sides Live concert film. It was remastered in 1994 and 2009, the latter for their Genesis Live 1973–2007 box set.Trespass (album)
Trespass is the second studio album from the English rock band Genesis. It was released in October 1970 on Charisma Records and is their last album with guitarist Anthony Phillips, and their only one with drummer John Mayhew.
Genesis turned professional in autumn 1969, and began to rehearse intensely and play live shows. After several months of touring, including a residency at Ronnie Scott's, a club in the heart of Soho, London, they secured a recording contract with Charisma Records and entered Trident Studios in London in July 1970 to record Trespass. The music marked a departure from more pop-oriented songs as displayed on their first album From Genesis to Revelation, towards folk-flavoured progressive rock. This ranged from light acoustic pieces with multiple twelve-string guitars to the heavier live favourite "The Knife". The cover was the first of several to be designed by Paul Whitehead, featuring a knife slashed across the cover.
Shortly after recording, Phillips decided to leave the group, which almost caused Genesis to split. After discussions, they agreed to carry on, replacing Mayhew with Phil Collins. Trespass was not a major success upon release; it failed to chart in the UK and the US and it received some mixed reviews from critics, but it was commercially successful in Belgium, which helped sustain the band's career. A reissue briefly charted the UK top 100 in 1984.Ulmus 'Morton Glossy' = Triumph
Ulmus 'Morton Glossy' (selling name Triumph™) is a hybrid cultivar raised by the Morton Arboretum, Illinois. Originally named 'Charisma' until it was realized that name had already been registered for another plant, the tree was derived from a crossing of two other hybrid cultivars grown at the Morton: Accolade and Vanguard. Triumph was introduced to the UK in 2006 by the Frank P. Matthews nursery in Worcestershire.Van der Graaf Generator
Van der Graaf Generator are an English progressive rock band, formed in 1967 in Manchester by singer-songwriters Peter Hammill and Chris Judge Smith and the first act signed by Charisma Records. They did not experience much commercial success in the UK, but became popular in Italy during the 1970s. In 2005 the band reformed, and are still musically active with a line-up of Hammill, organist Hugh Banton and drummer Guy Evans.
The band formed at the University of Manchester, but settled in London where they signed with Charisma. They went through a number of incarnations in their early years, including a brief split in 1969. When they reformed, they found minor commercial success with The Least We Can Do Is Wave to Each Other (February 1970), and after the follow-up album, H to He, Who Am the Only One (December 1970), stabilised around a line-up of Hammill, Banton, Evans and saxophonist David Jackson. The quartet subsequently achieved significant success in Italy with the release of Pawn Hearts in 1971.
After several exhausting tours of Italy, the band split in 1972. They reformed in 1975, releasing Godbluff and frequently touring Italy again, before a major line-up change and a slight rename to Van der Graaf. The band split in 1978. After many years apart, the band finally united at a gig at the Royal Festival Hall and a short tour in 2005. Since then, the band has continued as a trio of Hammill, Banton, and Evans, who record and tour regularly in between Hammill's concurrent solo career.
The group's albums have tended to be both lyrically and musically darker in atmosphere than many of their progressive rock peers (a trait they shared with King Crimson, whose guitarist Robert Fripp guested on two of their albums), and guitar solos were the exception rather than the rule, preferring to use Banton's classically influenced organ, and, until his departure, Jackson's multiple saxophones. While Hammill is the primary songwriter for the band, and its members have contributed to his solo albums, he is keen to stress that the band collectively arranges all its material. Hammill's lyrics frequently covered themes of mortality, due to his love of science fiction writers such as Robert A. Heinlein and Philip K. Dick, along with his self-confessed warped and obsessive nature. His voice has been a distinctive component of the band throughout its career. It has been described as "a male Nico" and would later on be cited as an influence by Goth bands in the 1980s. Though the group have generally been commercially unsuccessful outside of early 1970s Italy, they have inspired several musicians, including John Lydon and Julian Cope.