Where The Sour Turns To Sweet (1969) – 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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A Winter’s Tale (1968) – Genesis

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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3×3 (EP/1982) – Genesis

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 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.

The songs

“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 song’s 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. The band tried 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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