On 3 October 1983, Genesis released their self-titled album Genesis.Continue reading “Genesis (1983) – Genesis”
On 23 September 2002, Peter Gabriel’s album Up was released.Continue reading “Up (2002) – Peter Gabriel”
After Phil Collins’ departure from Genesis, the remaining two members Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford kept writing music and hired a new singer: Ray Wilson, born in 1968, known as lead vocalist of the band Stiltskin.Continue reading “Calling All Stations (1997) – Genesis”
In June 1969, Genesis’ third single ‘Where The Sour Turns To Sweet’/’In Hiding’ was released on Decca. It was released to raise interest in the LP From Genesis to Revelation, but to no avail.
From Genesis to Revelation
By 1969, Genesis had released two singles on Decca Records: ‘The Silent Sun‘ and ‘A Winter’s Tale‘, both in 1968, both produced by Jonathan King. King had then produced their first proper album From Genesis to Revelation*. At this time, the band consisted of Tony Banks (keyboards), Peter Gabriel (vocals), Anthony Phillips (guitars), Mike Rutherford (guitars and bass) and John Silver (drums). The album became a sort of concept album about the history of mankind, but the music was still far from being progressive. To the band’s disappointment, King added a string arrangement in the production which made the whole album sound very soft.
The album got about the same interest as the previous singles – not very much at all. So it was decided that a single off the album should be released. ‘Where The Sour Turns To Sweet’ was chosen.
When The Sour Turns To Sweet
The song itself had been in the band’s repertoire for quite some time. They had already recorded it among three other songs in a one-hour session at Regent Studios in London, where many rock legends had recorded, in 1967. Jonathan King had taken them there to record a tape that was sent to Decca Records. The label had been impressed and signed them and King went into the studio with them again, this time to Advision Studios, to produce a reprise of ‘Where The Sour Turns To Sweet’ for their debut single.
The session was disastrous, the band (and the producer) were unexperienced and the idea was abandoned. Then, in 1968, the two other singles were released and finally, in June 1969, the long-delayed ‘Where The Sour Turns To Sweet’ was set to release.
So on June 27, 1969, the album version of ‘Where The Sour Turns To Sweet’ was released as a single, backed with ‘In Hiding’. It was their third single on Decca Records and also their last, as it was a unsuccessful as its predecessors. There were however, thoughts about releasing a remixed version of ‘In The Beginning’ as single, too, but these plans were never realized.
‘Where The Sour Turns To Sweet’ begins with a bluesy piano phrase and the snapping of fingers, giving it a jazzy swing feel. The added strings by Arthur Greenslade really get in the way of this powerful song. The lyrics are already a bit humorously and Peter Gabriel knows how to emphasize the words and use his voice. It definitely is one of the outstanding tracks of the album and has its charm, only the fade-out seems a bit uninspired.
Tony Banks accosted Tony Blackburn in the street
Tony Banks remembers that he was sent to disc jockey, singer and TV presenter Tony Blackburn to accost him in the street and tell him to play the single on his show. Tony Banks said ‘Well, don’t play the A-side, play the other side’ (‘In Hiding’). It was an embarrassing situation for both of them, but Blackburn was important enough for the band to risk it.
The end of their relationship with Jonathan King
After the album and all the single releases failed to chart and the band moved into a different musical direction than King, their ways parted. They went to the country to think about their future and write new music. Jonathan King however, had given them one lasting legacy: Their name Genesis.
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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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On 10 May 1968, Genesis’ second single was released. Like its predecessor and its successor, it flopped. Here’s the tale of ‘A Winter’s Tale’.
In 1968, Genesis were still at school. The four guys from Charterhouse were in their late teens, when producer Jonathan King decided to offer them a record deal. Tony Banks (keyboards), Peter Gabriel (vocals), Anthony Phillips (guitars), Mike Rutherford (guitars and bass) and Chris Stewart (drums) agreed. King decided to produce their first album himself. The name Genesis was chosen for the band, partly because it was also the beginning of King’s career as a producer.
The first singles
The band had started writing pop songs at school, but by the time they got the record deal, they were already moving into a more adventurous direction. Jonathan King preferred the simpler pop songs. So Tony Banks and Peter Gabriel wrote ‘The Silent Sun‘, a Bee-Gees pastiche, which King loved and which became their first single. The song flopped.
A Winter’s Tale
‘A Winter’s Tale‘* was chosen as the band’s second single. It was also written by Tony Banks and Peter Gabriel, just like ‘Silent Sun‘*. Both songs are love songs, but on ‘A Winter’s Tale’ the band sounds much more confident, especially in the chorus. Just like in its predecessor, the song’s focus lies on Peter Gabriel’s voice. The band is buried under the heavy string arrangement. Gabriel’s young, but strong voice already hints at what he was able to do later in their and his career.
The single also flopped
The single got very little airplay and was reviewed only twice. But the reviews were rather enthusiastic and the New Musical Express praised the ‘pulsating crescendo’ and the lyrics. Mike Rutherford remembers in his autobiography, that the band thought about how to get more airplay. Peter Gabriel suggested to hand the single to radio presenter Tony Blackburn personally. Tony Banks was given the task to wait outside Broadcasing House. Since he was nervous, he got a bit aggressive when Blackburn came out, which must have frightened him a bit.
From Genesis to Revelation
After the release of ‘A Winter’s Tale’, drummer Chris Stewart left the group. He was followed by John Silver, who would play the drums on their first album From Genesis to Revelation*, which is very different from everything the band has ever done. The album became a sort of concept album about the history of mankind, but the music was still far from being progressive. To the band’s disappointment, King added a string arrangement in the production which made the whole album sound very soft.
Another single was released, ‘Where The Sour Turns To Sweet‘. After the album and all the single releases failed to chart and the band moved into a different musical direction than King, their ways parted. What is left is is an interesting, strong selection of songs recorded by a band in their late teens. One of the tunes is ‘A Winter’s Tale.’ Interestingly, there is a story about a cover Rita Pavone’s brother did of that song, but that is another tale.
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In May 1982, Genesis released 3×3, an extended-play featuring three previously unreleased tracks from their 1981 album Abacab.
Three songs from the “Abacab” sessions
Abacab* from 1981 had brought a change in sound and style for Genesis. They had a new producer (Hugh Padgham) and had bought ‘The Farm’ in Surrey, where they had their own studio and could take time to jam for the new record. When they put Abacab together, there was not enough space on the record to include all the songs they liked. So they decided to release an EP with three leftover tracks the following year.
The three tracks were ‘Paperlate’, ‘You Might Recall’ and ‘Me And Virgil’. All of them were written by Tony Banks, Phil Collins and Mike Rutherford together. The EP 3 x 3* was released in May 1982 between two Genesis tours. In the US, they did not release 3×3, only ‘Paperlate’ was released as a regular single with ‘You Might Recall’ as b-side.
‘Paperlate’ is similar to Abacab‘s ‘No Reply At All.’ It also includes the Earth Wind & Fire horn section with which Phil Collins had worked on his first solo album the year before. The title comes from the song ‘Dancing With The Moonlit Knight’ from the band’s 1973 album Selling England By the Pound*. During a soundcheck of the song in 1978 or 1980, Phil was repeating the phrase ‘Paperlate cried a voice in the crowd…’ over and over again, which inspired the band to write a song around this term.
‘You Might Recall’ is a romantic tune, which resembles some earlier Rutherford compositions like ‘Alone Tonight’. The third track, ‘Me and Virgil’ resembles his ‘Deep In The Motherlode’ (1978) in lyrics. This time it was Phil Collins who wrote a Wild West story with the band trying to create a ‘The Band’-like song. Phil Collins was so unhappy with the song that it was left off the Genesis Archive release in 2000, which featured many non-Album songs on CD for the first time.
The artwork was inspired by The Beatles
Inspired by the Beatles’ EP’s in the 1960’s, Genesis decided to create a cover similar to their Twist And Shout* EP. They also called in Tony Barrow to write the sleeve notes. Barrow had been the Beatles’ publicity man 20 years earlier. He wrote the Genesis sleeve notes in the same style (‘These cheeky chappies from Guildford…’).
One reviewer was not familiar with the Beatles original and misunderstood the design for being serious. But it was another sign of the band’s humour and the EP was a success for them. With ‘Paperlate’ they appeared on ‘Top of the Tops’ once more. The EP went to number 10 in the British charts.
Three Sides Live
In the same year, Genesis also released the successful live album Three Sides Live*. As EP’s rarely charted well in America, they decided to put the 3×3 songs on the fourth side of the live album and not release the EP individually. To complete the fourth side, they added two leftovers from Duke (1980): The Rutherford composition ‘Open Door’ and the Banks composition ‘Evidence Of Autumn.’ The UK on the other hand had a fourth side live.
3×3 was never released as a CD. Instead, ‘Paperlate’ and ‘You Might Recall’ were released on the Genesis Archive 2: 1976-1992* box set from 2000. It features rare and unreleased songs for the first time on CD. All three songs were included in the box set 1976-1982* on CD. Even ‘Me And Virgil’ was remixed for this release.
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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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In February 1968, Genesis’ debut single “The Silent Sun” was released on Decca Records. Peter Gabriel was just 17 when it came out. Let’s take a look at the band’s first single!
Genesis at Charterhouse
Genesis were still at Charterhouse in 1968. Tony Banks, Peter Gabriel, Mike Rutherford and Anthony Phillips had met at the public school and formed the group Genesis to break away from the oppressing school life. Back then, the group consisted of two songwriting pairs: Tony Banks and Peter Gabriel on the one hand and Anthony Phillips and Mike Rutherford on the other. They had recorded some demos while at school and had passed them on to producer Jonathan King. King was an ex-Charterhouse pupil and had become a successful producer and musician (his famous hit back then was “Everyone’s Gone To The Moon”).
King liked the music, in particular Peter Gabriel’s voice. He signed them at Decca Records and decided to produce an entire album with them. But when the band came with their next demos, he was not impressed with what he heard.
Their producer Jonathan King was a Bee Gees fan
Knowing that he was a Bee Gees fan, Tony Banks and Peter Gabriel then composed “The Silent Sun“*, a Bee Gees-style effort.
Naturally, King liked it, it became their first single and he went on to produce their first album “From Genesis to Revelation“*.
The song is pure pop and the focus is on Peter and his voice. It is very different from everything they would do later. It is a mixture of folk and pop with Tony Banks’ piano (already) being very dominant. The strings were added later in the studio by King. It is also one of very few official recordings that feature the group’s original drummer Chris Stewart.
Anthony Phillips (considered by the band to be best and main writer at the time) did not like the song. He also did not like the idea of “selling out”, of writing a hit single to be able to release more complex music. The song did get some airplay and the boys and their relatives were very excited about being played on the radio. Mike Rutheford remembers hearing it on the radio in Ant Phillips’s kitchen and being convinced that they would be invited to Top Of The Pops. Peter Gabriel recalls the band going to Carnaby Street to buy outfits for the TV appearance. But the single did not chart and the call to appear on Top Of The Pops never came.
“The Silent Sun” failed to chart
The single was a flop as well as the following album and ultimately, the band and King separated ways. Genesis went on to produce more adventurous music (which they always wanted to do) and once they were famous, King kept re-releasing his early recordings with the band in different versions over the years.
Still, it is it is a good pop tune and a remarkable first single. One might wonder in which direction Genesis would have developed if it had been a success. Imagine this song being played by the band and sung by Phil Collins in the 80’s between “Mama” and “Supper’s Ready”!
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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 with “In The Air Tonight” it includes his signature track. So 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 1980’s.
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 for the first time by Daryl Stuermer, 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 1990’s, but that is another story).
Phil’s wife Andrea told him that if he went on that tour, she and the kids would not be home when he returned. He went and she made her promise come true. In an attempt to save his marriage, Phil followed his family 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. He had not really been a songwriter in Genesis up to that point. So when Tony, Mike and Phil got back together to record their 1980 album “Duke“*, Phil brought in some demos. Tony and Mike were surprised and liked his simpler, more direct approach. They 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. So Phil took his demos to producer Hugh Padgham, whom he knew from working together on a solo record of his old Genesis mate Peter Gabriel, and they turned them into an album. The album became hugely successful and is considered one of Phil’s best (or maybe THE best).
In The Air Tonight
The standout track is of course the opening track “In The Air Tonight”. Its dark, eery chords set the mood for the song and the whole 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 have been considered the most famous drum fill of all time. The song went to no. 2 in the UK charts and is a rock classic today. Live it has been celebrated even more and is presented even more powerful. It reaches another dimension and has always been the highlight in every Phil Collins show.
The Phenix Horns
But the album does not only consist of “In The Air Tonight”. 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. And it all started here on “Face Value”. The album was therefore his gateway to becoming a huge pop star.
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. You couldn’t show your heart on your sleeve much more. And 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 here in its purest and rawest form. Maybe that’s 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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