Peter Hammill - Golden Promises (chords)

Chord transcription by Jose Javier Glaria <>, 1/9/97. Comments and corrections welcome, though fast response not promised.

Notation: Modifications to the nominal chord by indication of the string (1 is high E) and fret. Examples: E(3-0) would be Em. Em(2-3) would be Em7.

In some places I play it muting al the strings whith the left hand but still playing the rithm with the right hand. I regret not to know the english name for this kind of playing (if someone knows of any commonly known name and/or notation for this, please, e-mail me). Meanwhile, I will transcribe it with an "*" to the right of the chord. Ex: A#*.

When a chord is played on a different fret to the nominal (the lowest), I write it the first time as in this example: G on 3rd fret= G(f3). From there on, it's played on that new fret until another fret change is indicated.

(In this song, G and C are played on fret 3 (for easy muting) and Dm on fret 5).

This song has a curious and persistent background rithm over which the syllables are placed somewhat irreguarly, which is the only practical difficulty to play it until one gets independence beteween guitar and voice. I've tried to reflect the position of the chords related to the lyrics as exactly as possible, but the best way to learn it is by listening and trying.

Golden Promises (A Black Box)

[I haven't the tape now and transcribe by memory. The intro had to be
something like one of these two:]

1) G(f3) F A# F G
2) G A# C(f3)

   G                        G   F       A# A#* F
Besieged in the battlements of Babylon,

  F    G                                  G F         A#  A#*  F [same rithm]
still looking for the hat-peg to [you can] hang your head upon -

F  G                                G F          A# A#* F
  now you've found a place you think  is Avalon:

 F G                    G    F    A# A#*
     you can talk to anyone here.

F     F     Dm(f5)                    Dm      F        C C*
 You can throw your arms around your nearest neighbour

C       C   Dm                           Dm     F
  and the smiling ones'll tell you that you've saved her,

that she's saved you...

     G                        G F A# A#* F
They offer the golden promises

  F G                G F A# A#* F
the instantly divine;

F      G                        G F A# A#* F
 you swallow the golden promises

F G              G    F A# A#* F F G A# C
    hook, sinker and line.

If you choose to throw your soul around the attitude
reasoning and independent thought go down the tube
as you go slavening after every inane platitude -
how weak you find yourself here.
Do you really need to lose yourself completely?
How come you seem to rate it all so cheaply?
It's so weak-kneed
to go for the golden promises,
mail-order holy vows;
you go for the golden promises -

[this part, less sure]

F   G                                    G  F
I think you really ought to know better by now.

C     A?    Dm         A?
So I do my best and I do my nut,

    G        C             G
I try to explain all these angles

 C           F
but you turn away.

[these 2 verses not yet transcripted (I need to relisten to the song)]
oh, now you're looking in the white of my eyes,
and you know what I'm going [I'm - ] to say: -

[next ending, if notes have not been shifted during the 2 previous verses:]

       G                         G F A# A#* F
don't go for the golden promises,

 F     G                     A# C
don't go for the easy way...

      G                         A# C
It's right here on the doorstep:

        G                       F     F
fool's gold - don't throw your life away.

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