In this blog, we’re going to look at Genesis albums. When I refer to Genesis I refer to the band fronted by Peter Gabriel, most certainly not the pop act fronted by Phil Collins. The only people who would like that are psychos.
From Genesis to Revelation
A concept album based on the bible produced by Jonathan King. King pushed the band towards a Bee Gees direction and the band themselves described it as “a Bee Gees pastiche, written to gain King’s approval. With little text on the album cover, it was put in the religious music section by many record shops and sold a pathetic 650 copies on its first release. The album has an unlikely fan in Noel Gallagher, who is a vocal critic of Phil Collins.
Trespass was a new direction for the band, with producer John Anthony taking over production duties. The first album to really showcase the progressive rock style the band became famous for it reached 98 in the UK charts, selling 6500 copies. The key track is the single The Knife, which was name after Keith Emerson, then of The Nice and later Emerson Lake and Palmer.
Genesis’ first top forty album in the UK, Nursery Cryme was the first album to feature Phil Collins on drums. It has been certified as silver by the BPI for selling 60000 copies. The album marked new sonic territory for the band with heavy use of Mellotron, inspired by King Crimson. Critics were fairly unimpressed by the album with Rolling Stone magazine’s Richard Cromelin calling it “a murky, distant stew that at best bubbles quietly when what is desperately needed are the explosion of drums and guitars.” A fan, however, was Keith Emerson who was quoted in Melody Maker as saying “Their (Genesis) new album is incredible.”
Foxtrot was a breakthrough album for Genesis, peaking at number 12 in the UK charts. The album’s key tracks are the two epics Watcher of the Skies and Supper’s Ready. By this time the band had truly found their voice, and it was on the tour for this album that Gabriel started wearing his iconic costumes. Sounds magazine said the band had “almost achieved the perfect album.” The website has described the album as “the band’s undisputed masterpiece.”
Selling England by the Pound
In the lead up to this album the band were suffering from writer’s block and were given more time by Charisma records to formulate new ideas and the result was a prog masterpiece. Commercially the band’s most successful album to date, it reached number 3 in the UK charts and number 70 in the US charts and has gone on to sell 100000 copies in the UK, France and Canada and 50000 copies in the USA. The album features the single I Know What I Like (In my Wardrobe), the band’s first top 30 single in the UK.
The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway
Gabriel’s final with the band and a double album to boot was a concept album charting the self-discovery of a Puerto Rican youth in New York. By the time of recording, there was considerable tension in the band, with Gabriel demanding full creative control of the lyrics. Though a challenging piece of work, the album charted at number 10 in the UK, number 15 in Canada, number 14 in Italy and number 34 in New Zealand. The album is notable for having Brian Eno as a contributor. Critical reception was quite poor with the Melody Maker describing the album as “a white elephant.” The band members also couldn’t agree on what they thought with Tony Banks saying: “the concept was weak” while Gabriel and Collins both described it as “the best music the band made.”