On October 2, 1982, the legendary ‘Six Of The Best’ reunion show with Peter Gabriel and Genesis took place at Milton Keynes.Continue reading “Six Of The Best”
On 28 September 1972, Peter Gabriel appeared onstage during ‘The Musical Box’ with the foxes’ head and the red dress from the Foxtrot album cover.Continue reading “Dublin, 28 Sept 1972: Peter Gabriel wears a fox head and a red dress”
On 23 September 2002, Peter Gabriel’s album Up was released.Continue reading “Up (2002) – Peter Gabriel”
On 18 September 1993, Genesis played their last gig with Phil Collins at Cowdray Ruins before he left the band.
Genesis in 1993
1993 was a quiet year for Genesis. In 1992, the group had been on their huge’We Can’t Dance tour‘ following their 1991 album We Can’t Dance*. 1993 saw them returning to their solo projects. Phil Collins’ marriage to his second wife Jill started to fall apart with the tabloid press publishing story over story about the family. Phil wrote and released his solo album Both Sides*, a very dark and angry and certainly his most personal album, which unfortunately did not go very well with the critics. In these turbulent times, Genesis only played one gig, when they resurfaced briefly for ‘a charity gig at Cowdray Ruins in aid of the King Edward VII hospice where they were joined by such rock alumni as Pink Floyd and the remaining members of Queen.’1
Queen performed a set of songs with Roger Taylor and Paul Young from Mike and the Mechanics on vocals. Then Genesis took the stage, but not with their regular live members Chester Thompson on drums and Daryl Stuermer on bass and guitar. Instead, Roger Taylor of Queen and Gary Wallis of Mike and the Mechanivs played drums for them and bass/guitar was played by Mike’s bandmate from Mike and the Mechanics, Tim Renwick, who also played with Pink Floyd.
Genesis’ reunion in the picturesque scenery among these famous headliners saw them playing ‘Turn It On Again’, ‘Hold On My Heart’, ‘I Can’t Dance’ and ‘Tonight Tonight Tonight’/’Invisible Touch’. According to some sources, they were also said to have played Phil Collins’s solo song ‘That’s Just The Way It Is’, but that is highly doubtable.
Next up was Pink Floyd who played some of their classic tracks from the 1970s, some also sung by Paul Young and with Mike on bass. Phil remembers: ‘The Floyd I’ve never loved apart from ‘Arnold Layne’. But we did this gig…I went to the sound check, and I was listening to the Floyd and a couple of the things they played I thought ‘I quite like that. There’s a couple of things in there that, you know. They show promise.”2
After Pink Floyd, Eric Clapton played a few songs (with Mike playing bass) and at the end, the ‘All Star Cowdray Ruins Band’, a band that featured everyone that had performed that night, played ‘Ain’t That Peculiar’, ‘Can I Get A Witness’ and ‘Gimme Some Loving’. YouTube videos and audio recordings of the show exist, but in a very low quality, which is a shame when considering this was Phil’s last gig with Genesis.
It was a successful, but ‘low-profile show’ and ‘few people would have ever believed that it was also Phil Collins’s final appearance with the band he’d now fronted for 18 unexpected years’3.
The show may have been one of the reasons for Phil to leave Genesis, as he remembers: ‘In the middle of my writing and making BOTH SIDES, Genesis did a concert with Queen. […] But I didn’t enjoy it … As I was singing these songs, it didn’t feel natural. Obviously, it was bad timing, going just like that from doing my most personal thing to a Genesis thing and back. But it definitely felt like ‘What am I doing here?’, like shoes that don’t fit anymore’.’4
Some time after this gig, Phil decided to leave Genesis, but his departure would not be announced until 1996. But that’s another story.
The line-up of the Cowdray Ruins band (according to the programme):
TONY BANKS: Genesis Keyboards
ERIC CLAPTON Guitar
PHIL COLLINS Genesis Vocals
JOHN DEACON Queen Bass
DAVID GILMOUR Pink Floyd Guitar
ADRIAN LEE Mike &. Mech Keyboards
NICK MASON Pink Floyd Drums
TIM RENWICK Mech./Floyd Bass/Guitar
MIKE RUTHERFORD Genesis Guitar/Bass
ROGER TAYLOR Queen Vocals/Drums
GARRY WALLIS Drums
RICHARD WRIGHT Pink Floyd Keyboards
PAUL YOUNG Mike &. Mech Vocals
Hewitt, Alan (2000): Opening The Musical Box. London: Firefly Publishing.
Platts, Robin (2007): Genesis. Behind the lines, 1967-2007. Burlington, Ont., Canada: Collectors Guide Pub.
Thompson, Dave (2005): Turn it on again. Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins & Genesis. San Francisco: Backbeat Books.
Title photo: Genesis in corcerto. Nizza – Luglio 1992 . Source: Wikimedia Commons, Valerio Ravaglia / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0).
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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 August 1970, Phil Collins joined Genesis as their drummer. This is the story of how he got the job with the band.
‘Looking for someone’
In the summer of 1970, Genesis had faced what is often described by them as the greatest loss in their career. Guitarist and founding member Anthony Phillips had left the band after they had recorded the album Trespass, partly because he suffered terribly of stage fright. With Ant gone, the remaining three members also decided to look for a new drummer. Up to that point, Genesis had already had three drummers. Searching for a new guitarist and a new drummer, the band anonymously placed ads in the famous music magazine Melody Maker: ‘TONY STRATTON SMITH [their then label manager, note of the author] is looking for 12-STRING GUITARIST who can also play lead; plus DRUMMER sensitive to acoustic music.’ One of these ads caught the eye of a young drummer from London: Phil Collins.
Phil Collins had previously played in the band Flaming Youth (they had been called ‘Hickory’ at first) and released one album with them. He had been unhappy because they were not successful and hardly played any gigs. Approaching a career as a professional drummer, he started looking for a new band he could join.
Auditioning for Genesis
Phil and his mate Ronnie Caryl, a guitarist, were both interested in auditioning with the band behind the ad. Having known their manager Tony Stratton-Smith from previous musical projects, Phil went to the Marquee Club, where he knew he would find ‘Strat’, as he was called, at the bar. He asked him if he could join this mysterious band, but Strat told him that the band was very adamant and insisted on auditioning new members. He also told him that the band behind the ad was Genesis. Phil knew their name from the gig announcements in the back pages of Melody Maker.
By this time, Genesis was a threesome: Tony Banks on keyboards, Peter Gabriel on vocals and Mike Rutherford on guitar and bass. ‘I rang up and I guess it was Peter Gabriel who I spoke to’, Phil recalls. ‘He said ‘Yes, uhm, come down to my parents’ house in Chobham.”
Peter Gabriel was impressed when Phil mentioned that he had played with George Harrison. Later he and the rest of the band found out that Phil had only played tambourine on a George Harrison session, but it helped him get the audition.
Then, on a hot summer’s day, Phil and Ronnie drove to Peter Gabriel’s family home, a country house near Woking with a swimming pool and farms surrounding it.
According to Phil, Mike Rutherford wore a dressing gown, looking like a crushed velvet smoking jacket à la Noel Coward, and slippers (Mike insists that he wore swimming trunks and a dressing gown because they were by the pool). Peter Gabriel seemed a little bit eccentric to Phil, and Tony did not say much but had the appearance and demeanour of a ‘tortured artist’, as Phil put it.
Phil and Ronnie had arrived early and there were still some drummers auditioning before him. He was invited to have swim in the pool while waiting.
‘Being there early and having two or three drummers ahead of me, I didn’t know what the conversation was, what they were saying to each other, but I could hear the music’, Phil remembers. ‘The same piece of music being played two or three times and the same piece of music being played with the next guy two or three times. So by the time I came up to play, I kind of felt I knew what I was doing.’
The band had given the drummers pieces from their repertoire that represented the various styles Genesis was playing at the time. It was a mixture of lighter passages, heavier passages and of course, very experimental passages. When it was Phil’s turn, they played him the album Trespass in the house’s living room. Phil felt that the music was very soft and immediately liked the harmonies (a feature in Genesis music that would disappear in their later works), which reminded him of Crosby, Stills & Nash. Phil later said that he would have joined them even if he had not liked the music because he was a professional drummer in search of work.
Having listened to the other drummers while swimming in the pool, he then played everything the band had prepared perfectly.
Peter Gabriel adds: ‘Just the way he sat down on the stool, I knew he was going to be good. Some people have this sort of confidence about what they do.’
When driving away, Ronnie said that he thought Phil failed the audition, but that he – Ronnie – had done a good job. As history proved, it was the other way round. Some time after the audition, Phil got the job and became a member of Genesis, while Ronnie did not. He had not been the right guitarist for their kind of music. Today, Ronnie Caryl actually still plays with Phil Collins in his solo band.
Impressions of Genesis
Having succesfully auditioned, the 19-year old Phil Collins joined Genesis in August 1970. At first, the band took a two-week holiday break and after that, they met to rehearse at Farnham Maltings, a place that Mike’s father had helped them to rent. There, they rehearsed for six weeks and wrote what was to become their album Nursery Cryme.
Coming from Grammar School and Stage School and being a working-class kid, Phil had a very different background than the ‘Charterhouse’-guys, who were upper-class public school boys. Phil realized they were very highly educated and very different to him; Tony Banks with his long hair reminded him of Beethoven. Also, he was irritated by Peter Gabriel’s bass drum that used to be right next to his microphone stand and that Peter just played whenever he felt like it, often completely out of rhythm.
At this point in their career, Genesis had released two albums and were preparing to write their third album. Very soon, Phil realized there was tension within the group. Especially Tony Banks and Peter Gabriel used to have arguments and – sometimes rather violent – disagreements.
‘In the middle of a conversation, suddenly someone would get up and slam a guitar on the floor and walk out’, Phil says. ‘I thought ‘What?’ Someone had said something to upset somebody else. Two hours later this person would come back and we’d start playing again. Suddenly there’d be ‘Oh, f*ck you’ and somebody else walked out. It was very highly strung.’
‘I would often be at loggerheads with Tony Banks’, Peter Gabriel explains, ‘and Phil would always sit on the fence, he would never want to come into the argument.’
Phil quickly realized that his different attitude and background not only had an influence on the music, but on the dynamics in the band too. ‘I saw it was my job to deflate these situations with humour, which the stage school background enabled me to do’, he says.
Genesis guitarist Mike Rutherford adds: ‘Apart from the humour, he’s got a very laid-back approach. He was very serious about his work, but had a very laid-back approach to life, which I think helped us a little bit.’ Mike also thinks that having auditioned at the Gabriel’s country house might have given Phil the impression that playing with Genesis would be a nice, relaxing job. In fact, they would spend their lives in the back of a van on the road for the next couple of years.
Title photo: Genesis – ‘The Knife’ (single cover).
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Phil Collins – A Life Less Ordinary (documentary, 2002)
Genesis – Sum of the Parts (documentary, 2014)
Philipp Röttgers – Two eras of Genesis? The development of a rock band (book, 2015)
On July 4, 1987, Genesis finished their gigantic Invisible Touch tour at Wembley Stadium. It was the fourth sold out night in a row at Wembley.
In 1986, Genesis released the album Invisible Touch. It became their most successful album, peaking at #1 in the U.K. and #3 in the U.S. It produced five hit singles: ‘Invisible Touch’, ‘Tonight Tonight Tonight’, ‘Land of Confusion’, ‘In Too Deep’ and ‘Throwing It All Away’. Songs like the title track, ‘Tonight, Tonight, Tonight’ and ‘Land Of Confusion’ with its famous spitting image video would dominate the radio and music TV stations and the international charts of 1986/1987. Genesis were everywhere and bigger than ever. So of course, the band went on a massive tour through North America, Australia, Japan and Europe before finishing in Britain with four sold-out nights at Wembley Stadium in front of 300,000 people.
Purchase Invisible Touch here on Amazon!*
The Invisible Touch tour
The tour began in the U.S. in September 1986 and included 112 dates and sold close to two million tickets. It ended in July 1987. In Australia and New Zealand, the five-man line-up was accompanied by a four-piece string section on ‘In Too Deep’ and ‘Your Own Special Way’. They had to invite the quartet because of local regulations that required them to employ local musicians.
At this time, the band was not only a hit-machine, but a working and brilliant live act. The Vari Lite light show was impressive as always. The band had much material to rely on, but chose mainly new songs from their hit album and the albums before.
The shows were always opened with ‘Mama’ (which sometimes lacked a bit of atmosphere in daylight) and ended with the ‘Turn It On Again’ hit medley that the band had established on the previous tour. The medley included ‘Everybody Needs Somebody to Love’, ‘Satisfaction’, ‘Twist and Shout’, ‘Pinball Wizard’, ‘All Day and All of the Night’ and ‘Karma Chameleon’.
Older songs in the set included ‘Los Endos’, ‘Home By The Sea’ (including it’s meanwhile standard ghost-story introduction) and another ‘In The Cage’ medley. When the tour began, they had played ‘In That Quiet Earth’ and the second half of the epic ‘Supper’s Ready’ after ‘In The Cage’. However, during the tour Phil had difficulties reaching the higher notes in ‘Supper’s Ready’, so by the middle of the tour they had gone back to the usual ending of ‘In That Quiet Earth’ and ‘Afterglow’.
New songs included ‘Domino’ (with another – soon to be famous – introduction by Phil), ‘Tonight, Tonight, Tonight’, ‘Throwing It All Away’, where the call-and-response singing developed throughout the tour, and ‘Invisible Touch’ itself.
Live at Wembley Stadium
By the time Genesis got to Wembley, they had performed the set so often that it had become a true piece of fine art and musicianship. Interestingly, only two shows were scheduled at Wembley, but the demand for tickets was so high, that a third and then a record-breaking fourth night were added.
The Wembley shows were filmed and released as video and as DVD in 2003. Unfortunately the famous ‘In The Cage’ medley was left out of the release because on every night, the tapes had to be changed during that song.
Apart from that, the results and the performance are astonishing. The band truly ended the tour on a high note there. Looking back at the videos and listening to the songs and performances, we can say that Genesis were at their peak at this very point at Wembley Stadium. Afterwards, the fans had to wait four more years for a new Genesis record.
Title photo: Genesis Nancy 1987. Phil Collins, Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford, Daryl Stuermer, Chester Thompson. Genesis en concert à Nancy le 14 juin 1987 au stade Marcel-Picot de Nancy-Tomblaine Source: Wikimedia Commons, Fredamas / CC-BY-SA-2.5 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0).
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On July 3, 1977, Genesis played the last show of their Wind And Wuthering tour and (unbeknown to them at that point) also the last show with lead guitarist Steve Hackett.
Wind And Wuthering
In December 1976, Genesis had released Wind and Wuthering, their second album since Peter Gabriel’s departure. The band had become a foursome the year before, drummer Phil Collins had taken over the vocal duties. He had proved that he could fill this role easily on the previous album A Trick of the Tail and the following tour in 1976.
By this point, keyboardist Tony Banks and guitarist/bassist Mike Rutherford were the main songwriters with Phil Collins being more of a player and arranger. Guitarist Steve Hackett felt that not enough of his material was used. He was frustrated about his role in the group and decided to leave Genesis after the 1977 tour.
The Wind & Wuthering tour
The band set out for a huge tour in 1977 that would lead them to South America for the first time and through Europe and the US. On drums, they were accompanied by American drummer Chester Thompson. It was his first tour with them and he would remain with the band as a live drummer until 2007 (with a short interruption in the 1990s).
Genesis reached a new peak in live performances and was voted ‘Best live group’ in 1977. This was captured in the double live album Seconds Out.
The last show
The last show of the tour (and also Steve Hackett’s last show as a member of Genesis) took place in the Olympiahalle, Munich, on July 3, 1977. They opened the set with ‘Squonk’ as they had done throughout most of the tour, then they played ‘One For The Vine’, a Banks composition from the new album. ‘Inside And Out’ from the recent EP Spot The Pigeon was added on some European dates and was also played in Munich. Among the highlights of the show were songs like ‘The Carpet Crawlers’, ‘I Know What I Like’ and ‘Supper’s Ready’, some of which had changed a lot since the days when Peter Gabriel sang them. Also, the band had started to play medleys on the tour before and continued to do so on the Wind & Wuthering tour. ‘Dance On A Volcano’ and ‘Los Endos’ were combined as well as ‘The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway’ and the closing section of ‘The Musical Box’. The band also played ‘Firth Of Fifth’ that night in which Steve plays the famous guitar solo. Neither the fans nor the band knew that they had witnessed him playing it live for the last time.
Steve leaves the band
Steve Hackett had been the first Genesis member to record a solo album. There, he included some of the music that was not used on Genesis albums. During the period as a four-piece-band, he wanted to have a certain percentage on each album for his own songs. The others disagreed; they were a democratic band. So he started recording solo albums and felt that his input on Genesis albums became less and less.
Also, when the band mixed the live album Seconds Out in July 1977, he could not stand listening to tracks like ‘I Know What I Like’ anymore after having played them for months at this point. Also, he felt that after playing shows with audiences of 20.000 people, there was nothing new to strive for. So one day he phoned Mike Rutherford and told him he wanted to leave. Mike knew that Steve had been unhappy in Genesis for some time, so he did not try to talk him out of it. Later that day or the following day, Phil Collins drove from West London to Trident Studios, where they mixed the live album. He passed Steve on the street and told him to jump into the car. Steve acted a bit oddly, said ‘Speak to Mike, he’ll explain’ and went off. When Phil arrived at the studio, Tony and Mike informed him that Steve had left the band.
The three remaining members then went on mixing Seconds Out and afterwards went into the studio to record their next album. They would remain a three-piece-band in the studio for the rest of their career and Steve Hackett would continue his career as a solo artist.
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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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On June 26, 1971, Genesis appeared at Reading Festival for the first time.
Peter Gabriel had broken his ankle
On their first appearance at Reading Festival, Genesis were low on the bill. Other artists that performed at the festival were Lindisfarne, Terry Reid, Renaissance and Sha Na Na. There were the usual problems that a festival and its visitors have to deal with: Rain, mud and an unscheduled police squad. For Genesis, the gig at Reading followed the incident at the Friars Club, where Peter Gabriel had broken his ankle.
On June 19th, Genesis had played at Friars in Aylesbury and during the encore of “The Knife”, Peter Gabriel had jumped into the crowd. Unfortunately, the audience parted when they saw him coming and he hit the floor, breaking his ankle. Following the incident, he played at least one show in a wheelchair at the art college in Lincoln. Tour manager, roadie, sound engineer and friend of the band Richard Macphail remembers Gabriel cavorting in the wheelchair on the stage, which was a traditional theatre stage that sloped forward towards the audience. He thought that Peter was going to fall off the stage and break his neck. Luckily, he did not and the band could play Reading Festival at June 26, 1971.
The 11th National Jazz and Blues festival took place in Reading for the first time that year. Before, the event had taken place in Richmond, Windsor, Sunbury and Plumpton, but each time, the locals had complained, so the festival had to move on. The festival usually takes place in August, so admittedly it is a bit unclear to the author why the festival took place on 25, 26, and 27 June 1971. The ticket names the location as “Thames-side Arena, Richfield Avenue” and the festival is titled “Reading Festival of folk and progressive music”. The ticket for Saturday, June 26, cost £1.50.
Over the next few years, the festival would become one of the leading British rock festivals. Not only the greatest bands of the age played there, but it was also the birthplace for future superstars. Organizer Harold Pendleton was allowed to stage the festival in Reading, because the local council wanted to celebrate the town’s 1000th anniversary and really believed it to be a jazz and blues festival, which it had originally been in the 1960s.
Genesis performed on Saturday
In 1971, Genesis was not the only act of Charisma Records that played at Reading Festival. The already mentioned Lindisfarne were there as well as Van der Graaf Generator, and Bell & Arc and Audience. Other notable acts from this year were Arthur Brown, Rory Gallagher, Wishbone Ash, Medicine Head, Osibisa, Ian Matthews and Ralph McTell.
Due to their low billing, Genesis played midafternoon on the second day of the festival. Their performance was highlighted as one of the best of the event, and consequentially, they were invited back for the next two festivals.
During the summer of 1971, Genesis started to appear at outdoor rock festivals. Steve Hackett remembers that it used to rain for the first five years they played at festivals in England or Europe, always resulting in a mud bath. At Reading Festival, the power was fluctuating and the band could not get the organ in tune (and that meant that the Mellotron would be even worse to tune). They also tuned their twelve-string guitars in the dressing rooms and by the time they got on stage, they were already out of tune. Tuning a twelve-string guitar in front of an audience was almost impossible.
Not a festival band
Tony Banks thinks that Genesis were never a good festival group. It was difficult to build a dramatic atmosphere in daylight and most of the audiences did not really understand the long song with lots of chord changes. Also, the sound was mostly rubbish. Nevertheless, they builded a live following and got a reputation of being a good live band for festivals, but the best times were when they could play after dark at the end of a day with their own fans in the audience. However, at their first appearance at Reading, they already got some fans waving their Genesis flag during the gig.
Photo: Reading Festival Line Up 1973. Reading-festivaalin vuoden 1973 esiintyjälista Source: Wikimedia Commons, National Jazz, Blues and Rock Festival. / CC-BY-SA-2.5 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0).
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