Archive I 1967 – 1975 (1998) – Genesis

In June 1998, Genesis released their first of two ‘Archive’ box sets: Archive 1967 – 1975 covers the era with Peter Gabriel as lead vocalist.

The plans to release ‘Archive’ box sets dated back to 1994

After the release of their last studio album Calling All Stations* in 1997, Genesis began putting together unreleased material from their history. The idea dated back to 1994. Originally there were plans to release three box sets. The first would have featured the Gabriel years, the second the period from the mid 1970’s to the early 80’s and the last the period from the mid 80’s to the early 90’s.

But over the years, there were delays and plans were changed. The recordings were released on two box sets, the first one being Archive 1967-75* , released in 1998, the second one being Genesis Archive 2 1976-1992*, released in 2000, which covers the era with Phil Collins on lead vocals. Both sets feature unreleased live performances, studio tracks and demo songs.

A complete live performance of The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway

Archive 1967 – 1975 is a box set that includes four discs. The mixing was done by Genesis producer Nick Davis. The first two discs feature a complete live performance of Genesis’ magnum opus The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway*. When the band toured the concept album in 1974/75, they played the whole double album. After this tour, Peter Gabriel left the band. The live performance in the box set comes from The Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles. Unfortunately, Peter Gabriel’s stories between songs about the adventures of Rael were left out.

Peter Gabriel re-recorded his vocals at Real World Studios in 1995

Also, it is not a completely live recording. Peter Gabriel and former lead guitarist Steve Hackett re-recorded some of their parts in 1995. You can hear the difference in Gabriel’s voice if you compare the studio versions from 1974 to the live version on Archive I. Gabriel recorded his vocals at his Real World Studios. Also, the last song ‘It’, fades out because the tape machine at the Shrine ran out halfway through the song.

The live performance in general sounds more powerful than the studio version and the crowd seems to be enthusiastic. Apart from that, the songs are almost identical to the studio versions. The only exception is ‘The Waiting Room (Evil Jam)’, which was an instrumental with lots of space for improvisation that was therefore played differently every night. Apart from that, especially the title track, ‘Fly On A Windshield’ and ‘Carpet Crawlers’ stand out.

A live performance of ‘Supper’s Ready’ from 1973

Disc 3 includes live performances from the Rainbow Theatre in London, recorded on the Selling England By the Pound* tour in 1973. We finally get to hear songs like ‘Dancing With The Moonlight Knight’ and ‘Supper’s Ready’ live with Peter on vocals on an official release. Here, the stories are included. It also features a 1971 BBC recording of ‘Stagnation’ and b-sides and studio tracks from that era like ‘Twilight Alehouse’ and ‘Happy The Man.’

The last disc is also the most interesting one, at least for the fans. It features songs from the band’s earliest period, still with Anthony Phillips on guitar. There are BBC sessions and many demo songs. You can hear the band becoming Genesis on this disc. Some of the tracks are real gems, from the early version of ‘Dusk’ to the appealing ‘Hey!’. There is an atmosphere in these early recordings that went missing after Ant Phillips left the band.

Apart from the four discs, there is a 82-page booklet which contains the band’s history and interviews with band members and associates.

So Archive 1967 – 1975 is a quite interesting box set. We finally get to hear official live versions of Gabriel-era songs sung by him. The only official live release with him had been Live* from 1973, which only covers songs from Trespass*, Nursery Cryme* and Foxtrot*. The inclusion of b-sides and unreleased studio tracks like ‘Twilight Alehouse’ make this box set special. Some would argue that disc 4 is only for the hardcore fans, but it also is the most surprising and most interesting of the four discs. Unfortunately some rare tracks and demos that are known to exist did not make it onto the box set. But all in all, Archive 1967-75 is an extraordinary release. Fans seemed to agree with that: It reached no. 35 in the UK charts in 1998.

The band met at Heathrow Airport to promote the release

To promote the release of Archive I, Genesis members past and present reunited for a photo shoot (and a following dinner) at Heathrow Airport in May 1998. There were Tony Banks, Peter Gabriel, Anthony Phillips, former drummer John Silver, Phil Collins, Steve Hackett and Mike Rutherford. The band’s first drummer Chris Stewart only made it to the dinner. Trespass-era drummer John Mayhew did not attend the event.

Genesis’ next ‘Archive’ release would be in 2000. It would be entitled Archive II 1976 – 1992 and feature the period with Phil Collins as lead vocalist.

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Duke (1980) – Genesis

On 28 March 1980, Duke* was released. On this album, Genesis went back to jamming together instead of bringing in individual songs. Let’s take a look back on the album that produced the instant classic ‘Turn It On Again’.

Phil Collins became a songwriter

Genesis’ tour in 1978 had lasted a whole year and in consequence, Phil Collins’ marriage had fallen apart. Phil asked for a break to save his marriage, Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford agreed and both of them released their first solo records. Going to Canada, where his wife had moved to with their children, Phil Collins could not save his marriage. He came back to England, sat alone in his home in Surrey and spent his time writing songs, something he had never done before.

The band started jamming again

When Genesis came together to write a new album in 1979, they had not worked together for a year. Tony and Mike came to Phil’s house and when they started playing and writing new music, they were surprised to find that Phil had become a songwriter himself. They all brought in songs individually, but more importantly, they went back to just rehearsing and improvising, something they had stopped doing since Peter Gabriel’s departure. The new songs of these sessions were very strong. They were modern and still typically Genesis.

Turn It On Again

Fans could get a taste when ‘Turn It on Again’ was released as a single in early March 1980. The song became a classic Genesis song for the fans and for the band itself. ‘Turn It On Again’ is central to Genesis’ history. It shows how good the three were getting at incorporating complex and challenging musical ideas into pop songs that would be played on the radio. Based on a riff of Mike’s, the song has an odd 13/8 time signature, but listeners do not realize until they start to clap along or tap their toes to it.

The song was played on every tour since its release. It became an instant classic and grew on every tour. It was mostly played as an encore and from 1983 onwards, the band turned it into a medley that incorporated various rock and roll cover songs. They also named a a hit collection after the song (Turn it on again: The Hits*) and when they announced their reunion tour in 2007 they titled it Turn It on Again – The Tour.*

On an album with outstanding songs, this weird, driving number had a special place. The single reached #8 in the U.K. charts and allowed the group to perform on Top of the Pops in person for the first time. The album itself was called Duke. It was released in late March 1980 and it was the band’s first number one album in the U.K.

‘This is the story of Albert’

There is a story behind the album, the main protagonist is Albert, the character on the album cover. The album opens with ‘Behind The Lines’, a grand musical odyssey that starts with an euphoric instrumental passage and then turns into a soulful song. With an opener like this, Genesis proudly demonstrated who they were in 1980. The trio showed again that they were (and are) the musical core of Genesis. They were the ones who had created the most important passages of ‘Supper’s Ready’, the closing section of ‘The Cinema Show’ and the main bulk of the album The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway.*

‘Misunderstanding’ was a hit in the US

But as mentioned, the three of them did also bring in individual songs on Duke. Phil’s songs were the very personal ‘Please don’t ask’ and ‘Misunderstanding’, which was one of the first songs he had ever written all alone for Genesis. It is a sophisitcated pop song with direct, simple lyrics and a great swinging groove. The band sound like they enjoy the new influence. Funnily enough it was this song that became a Top Twenty hit in the US – a hint at Phil’s solo success in the future.

Tony Banks often named Duke one of his favourite Genesis albums and points out the song ‘Duchess’, which for him combines all the best elements of modern Genesis. It was their first song to feature a drum machine (many more would follow) and the song’s story can be seen similar to the band’s own story. It is one of Tony’s favourite Genesis songs and although it sounds very simple, for him it has as much emotion as ‘Supper’s Ready’.

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Listen to brilliant live versions from the Lyceum gigs of the 1980 Duke-tour on “Genesis – BBC Broadcasts” – Get it here!*

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Face Value (1981) – Phil Collins

In February 1981, Phil Collins’ first solo album Face Value was released. It went straight to number 1 in the UK charts and to number 7 in the US. His debut was his gateway into superstardom and includes his signature track ‘In The Air Tonight’. Let’s take a closer look at the album that turned Phil Collins from Genesis front man into one of the biggest solo artists of the 1980s.

Genesis touring life

By the time Phil Collins wrote the songs for what would become Face Value*, he was a broken man. The drummer of Genesis had become the singer of Genesis in 1976. In 1978, the group released the album …And Then There Were Three*, which included their first big hit single ‘Follow You Follow Me’. The group had become a trio: Tony Banks on keyboards, Mike Rutherford on guitar and bass and Phil Collins on drums and vocals. On …And Then There Were Three, they had moved towards shorter, simpler songs with direct lyrics.

Following the album, the band went on a massive tour that also took them to Japan. Banks, Collins and Rutherford were joined by drummer Chester Thompson, who had played with them on the previous tour, and by Daryl Stuermer for the first time , who became their live guitarist and bassist after Steve Hackett had left the band. This five-piece group would be the Genesis (live) line-up until 2007 (with a short interruption in the 1990s, but that is another story).

Before going to Japan, Phil’s wife Andrea told him that she and the kids would leave if he went on that tour. When Phil returned home, he realized that she had made her promise come true. In an attempt to save his marriage, Phil followed his wife and children to Canada in 1979, but things did not work out and he returned to England alone.

A broken marriage

Phil spent his time alone in his house in Surrey and started to write songs to express his feelings. He sat down at the piano and played along to the drum machine while improvising lyrics. Up to that point, he had not been a songwriter in Genesis . When Tony, Mike and Phil got back together to record their 1980 album Duke*, Phil brought in some demos to Tony and Mike’s surprise. They liked his simpler, more direct approach and chose two of his songs for Duke: The swinging ‘Misunderstanding’ (which turned out to be a big hit in America) and the very personal, heartbreaking ballad ‘Please Don’t Ask’.

When band manager Tony Smith came to visit Phil and listened to the other demos, he suggested to put them out as a solo record. Mike and Tony had already released solo albums during his time in Canada in 1979. Phil took his demos to producer Hugh Padgham, whom he knew from working together on Peter Gabriel’s third solo record, and they turned them into an album. The album became hugely successful and is considered one of Phil’s best.

In The Air Tonight

The opening track ‘In The Air Tonight’ with its dark, eery chords set the mood for the album. The song builds up tension over an interesting drum machine rhythm that finally bursts when the real drums come in with the famous fill-in. The lyrics were mostly improvised and the drum fill was pure coincidence. Had they used another take, maybe another drum fill would be considered the most famous drum fill of all time. The song went to no. 2 in the UK charts has always been the highlight in every Phil Collins show.

The Phenix Horns

The next single, ‘I Missed Again’ is a funky, up-beat song that features a brass section: The Phenix Horns, who played with Earth, Wind And Fire. The horn sections would become a trademark of many of Phil’s solo hits over the decade.

Apart from the hits, the album shows Phil playing with different styles. The ballad ‘You Know What I Mean’ is only him on piano and vocals. The instrumental ‘Hand In Hand’ plays with influences from jazz and black music and was a great show opener in later years as it showcased the talent of every musician involved.

Everything that would define the solo artist Phil Collins was born on Face Value and is presented there in its purest and rawest form. Maybe that is why many fans consider it one of Phil’s best albums. And unlike some of his other works, it definitely stands the test of time.

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The Longs (1993) – Genesis

After the ‘We Can’t Dance’ tour in 1992, Genesis released two live albums titled The Way We Walk (1992/93). A ‘typical’ Genesis concert from that period was split in two. The first volume, The Shorts contained the hits, the second volume The Longs contained longer epics. Live – The Way We Walk, Volume Two: The Longs was released in January 1993 . It was their last release with Phil Collins before he left the group and the band’s last no. 1 album in the UK.

The second volume of the live release The Way We Walk

All the songs on the live album were recorded on the We Can’t Dance tour in 1992. It starts with an impressive ‘Old Medley’ which incoporates snippets from ‘Dance On A Volcano’, ‘The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway’, ‘The Musical Box’, ‘Firth Of Fifth’, ‘I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)’ and more. The sound of the album is pristine, Mike Rutherford’s and Daryl Stuermer’s guitars are much more prominent than on previous live releases. This shift in sound came with new producer Nick Davis, who had also produced Genesis’ last studio album We Can’t Dance. Daryl only plays guitar on the ‘Old Medley’, Mike plays guitar on all the other tracks of the album and rhythm guitar on ‘Dance On Volcano’ in the ‘Old Medley’.

The medley is followed by ‘Driving The Last Spike’, ‘Domino (Part I: In The Glow Of The Night, Part II: The Last Domino)’, ‘Fading Lights’, ‘Home By The Sea/Second Home By The Sea’ and the ‘Drum Duet’ between Phil Collins and Chester Thompson.

‘When we came down to the dressing room afterwards the roadies had put down what tonight’s timing was, because it always got a bit longer’, Phil laughs. ‘They put bets on it and see if we were going to break the 10-minute mark tonight. It was definitely the highlight. Tony Banks would debate because he used to go and have a beer, but it was one of the highlights of the show for sure.’1

‘There’s something that happens when you got two drums locked in together’, Chester says. ‘The power is just so amazing. […] Those moments for me were the ones where there was, for a lack of a better word, a majesty to it.’2

Apart from the medley, the other songs come from the most recent albums Genesis (1983), Invisible Touch (1986) and We Can’t Dance (1991).

Their last number one album with Phil Collins

All of the songs sound stronger than on record with Chester Thompson and Daryl Stuermer playing an important part in it. Chester’s drumming and Daryl’s bass lines on ‘Driving The Last Spike’ lift the song up on another level.

‘Fading Lights’ is interesting as it is only played by the three band members Tony, Phil and Mike. It is a typical long song in band tradition with an extraordinary instrumental part (also way better than on record). The lyrics about fading memories were written by Tony and it almost seems as if Genesis were discreetly saying goodbye to their fans. Was it irony or prophecy that the band really split up afterwards?

‘Domino’ and ‘Home By The Sea’ both sound better than on record because the e-drums are replaced by real drums and there is much more energy in the performance. The ‘Old Medley’ songs that would have sounded interesting as standalone tracks are ‘Dance On A Volcano’ and ‘The Musical Box’. ‘The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway’ and ‘I Know What I Like’ would have sounded very modern between the more recent hits.

Many fans do not like the way the band split up the two The Way We Walk volumes. Nonetheless, The Longs is a great compilation with many of the songs presented in their best versions.

Purchase “Genesis – The Longs” here at Amazon*

Get “Genesis – The Shorts” here at Amazon*

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  1. PHIL COLLINS: ON AMERICAN DRUMMER CHESTER THOMPSON DRUMMING FOR GENESIS. ↩︎
  2. CHESTER THOMPSON FULL INTERVIEW : DRUMMING WITH ZAPPA, WEATHER REPORT, GENESIS & PHIL COLLINS. ↩︎