This melodic, multi-layered guitar-pop quartet formed in Manchester in 1981, and originally comprised Mark “Birdy” Burgess (vocals & bass), Reg Smithies (guitar), Dave Fielding (guitar), and Brian Schofield (drums). Schofield was later replaced by John Lever, and eventually Martin Jackson.
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. The Chameleons signed to Geffen for the following year’s Strange Times.
This dark, complex album proved to be The Chameleons’ finale, however, when they split up following the sudden death of manager Tony Fletcher of a heart attack.
The Chameleons reformed in 2000 but split up again three years later.
Drummer John Lever died in March 2017 following a short period of illness.
Mark ‘Birdy’ Burgess