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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Peter Gabriel’s press announcement about why he has quit Genesis, published in The Melody Maker on 6 September 1975.
Peter Gabriel writes why he left Genesis
The news of Peter Gabriel’s departure from Genesis had first leaked in various music magazines from July 1975 onwards. At first, Genesis’ label Charisma Records denied the rumours, but in August finally admitted that Peter had left. On 6 September 1975, Peter Gabriel issued his own press statement, insisting that they should publish it only in full.
Peter Gabriel’s statement:
I had a dream, eye’s dream. Then I had another dream with the body and soul of a rock star. When it didn’t feel good I packed it in. Looking back for the musical and non-musical reasons, this is what I came up with:
OUT, ANGELS OUT – an investigation.
The vehicle we had built as a co-op to serve our songwriting became our master and had cooped us up inside the success we had wanted. It affected the attitudes and the spirit of the whole band. The music had not dried up and I still respect the other musicians, but our roles had set in hard. To get an idea through “Genesis the Big” meant shifting a lot more concrete than before. For any band, transferring the heart from idealistic enthusiasm to professionalism is a difficult operation.
I believe the use of sound and visual images can be developed to do much more than we have done. But on a large scale it needs one clear and coherent direction, which our pseudo-democratic committee system could not provide.
As an artist, I need to absorb a wide variety of experiences. It is difficult to respond to intuition and impulse within the long-term planning that the band needed. I felt I should look at/learn about/develop myself, my creative bits and pieces and pick up on a lot of work going on outside music. Even the hidden delights of vegetable growing and community living are beginning to reveal their secrets. I could not expect the band to tie in their schedules with my bondage to cabbages. The increase in money and power, if I had stayed, would have anchored me to the spotlights. It was important to me to give space to my family, which I wanted to hold together, and to liberate the daddy in me.
Although I have seen and learnt a great deal in the last seven years, I found I had begun to look at things as the famous Gabriel, despite hiding my occupation whenever possible, hitching lifts, etc. I had begun to think in business terms; very useful for an often bitten once shy musician, but treating records and audiences as money was taking me away from them. When performing, there were less shivers up and down the spine.
I believe the world has soon to go through a difficult period of changes. I’m excited by some of the areas coming through to the surface which seem to have been hidden away in people’s minds. I want to explore and be prepared to be open and flexible enough to respond, not tied in to the old hierarchy.
Much of my psyche’s ambitions as “Gabriel archetypal rock star” have been fulfilled – a lot of the ego-gratification and the need to attract young ladies, perhaps the result of frequent rejection as “Gabriel acne-struck public school boy”. However, I can still get off playing the star game once in a while.
My future within music, if it exists, will be in as many situations as possible. It’s good to see a growing number of artists breaking down the pigeonholes. This is the difference between the profitable, compartmentalized, battery chicken and the free-range. Why did the chicken cross the road anyway?
There is no animosity between myself and the band or management. The decision had been made some time ago and we have talked about our new direction. The reason why my leaving was not announced earlier was because I had been asked to delay until they had found a replacement to plug up the hole. It is not impossible that some of them might work with me on other projects.
The following guesswork has little in common with truth:
Gabriel left Genesis
1) To work in theatre.
2) To make more money as a solo artist.
3) To do a “Bowie”.
4) To do a “Ferry”.
5) To do a “Furry Boa round my neck and hang myself with it”.
6) To go see an institution.
7) To go senile in the sticks.
I did not express myself adequately in interviews and I felt I owed it to the people who have put a lot of love and energy supporting the band to give an accurate picture of my reasons. So I ask that you print all or none of this.1
Title photo: Melody Maker 6 September 1975: Peter Gabriel: Why I Quit Genesis
Bright, Spencer (1988): Peter Gabriel. An authorized biography. London: Sidgwick & Jackson.
Holm-Hudson, Kevin (2008): Genesis and the lamb lies down on Broadway. Aldershot, England, Burlington, VT: Ashgate
Platts, Robin (2007): Genesis. Behind the lines, 1967-2007. Burlington, Ont., Canada: Collectors Guide Pub.
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- The statement can be found in Bright (1988: pp. 65-66), Platts (2007: pp. 80-81) and Holm-Hudson (2008: pp. 113-114), ↩︎
A week after The Melody Maker had rumoured about Peter Gabriel’s decision to leave Genesis, the departure was confirmed with the cover story ‘Genesis Seek New Singer’.
Chris Welch recalls a great British Band
At this point, the band had already moved on and worked on what became their next album A Trick of The Tail. Peter Gabriel’s departure was old news for them, but now, they had to deal with the media. For them, Genesis could not exist without Gabriel and his visuals. In the eyes of the critics, he was the band, not just a member of the team. Naturally, the band felt upset by the obtiuary. In The Melody Maker, journalist Chris Welch ‘recalls a great British Band’.
The front page of Melody Maker from 23 August 1975
Several news papers reported about Peter Gabriel’s departure on 23 August 1975. The front page of Melody Maker said:
Genesis seek new singer
PETER GABRIEL has quit Genesis. And that’s official!
The Melody Maker last week front-paged the growing doubts about Gabriel’s future in the band. Reports, denied by the management of Genesis, indicated that Gabriel was unhappy with his role as a rock star and had already left the group.
And this week an official statement admitted the split in Genesis. “They are now looking for a new singer,” said the band’s management. “They have a few ideas but nobody has been fixed.”
“The group are currently writing material and rehearsing for their new album, and they will go into the studio shortly to record. The album will be released at Christmas and Genesis will go on toe road in the New Year.”
It is understood that Gabriel will now concentrate on straight theatrical ventures.
Of course, the band was interviewed by the press after the news had come out. Phil Collins remarked that the rest of the band ‘…were not stunned by Peter’s departure because we had known about it for quite a while.’1 They had already decided to carry on without him and interestingly, the new singer was already in the group and was exactly the same member who had exclaimed the statement from the Melody Maker‘s article above. But that’s another story.
Title photo: Front page of Melody Maker 23 August 1975
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- Welch, Chris. “Peter Gabriel Quits Genesis”. Melody Maker, 23 August 1975. ↩︎
The Melody Maker rumoured in its edition of 16 August 1975 about Peter Gabriel’s departure from Genesis.
Peter Gabriel left the band after the 1975 tour
After the The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway tour in 1975, lead singer Peter Gabriel left Genesis. The band did not announce his departure right away, but instead went into the studio to record what became their next album A Trick of The Tail and audition new singers. By August 1975, the press had heard rumours about Peter Gabriel’s decision to leave Genesis. On 16 August, the Melody Maker put a picture with him wearing the batwings on the cover and featured the headline GABRIEL OUT OF GENESIS?
Here’s the text from the Melody Maker’s front page:
GABRIEL OUT OF GENESIS?
PETER GABRIEL’S position in Genesis was uncertain this week as mounting speculation suggested he had quit the band.
Gabriel had remained incommunicado since the end of Genesis’ British tour in the Spring – he has refused repeated requests for interviews and reliable sources told the Melody Maker this week that he has decided to leave the band.
The speculation comes as various members of Genesis are becoming increasingly involved in solo projects. Guitarist Steve Hackett has finished work on his first solo album and Michael Rutherford, the bass player, is also planning to record. Phil Collins, the band’s drummer, has been playing with his own pub group.
Commenting on the reports of a split, the band’s manager Tony Smith told the MM: “The group are being rather broody at the moment, but this happens every year when they are thinking and writing for the next LP.“
And Tony Stratton-Smith, head of Genesis’ record label, Charisma, said: “Peter has been involved with one or two summer projects including producing a single for Charlie Drake.” Both Smith and Stratton-Smith, however, denied a split in Genesis.
Genesis manager Tony Smith first denied the rumours, but a week later, the band announced it officially and explained that they were searching for a new singer. Hardly did they know that the singer was already in the group: Their drummer Phil Collins. But that’s another story.
Title photo: Melody Maker 16 August 1975: Gabriel out of Genesis?
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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 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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