Genesis band

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Genesis Band Members
(1967-1968)
(1968-1969)
  • Tony Banks - keyboards
  • Peter Gabriel - vocals, flute
  • Mike Rutherford - guitar, bass guitar
  • John Silver - drums
  • Anthony Phillips - guitar
(1969-1970)
  • Tony Banks - keyboards
  • Peter Gabriel - vocals, flute
  • Mike Rutherford - guitar, bass guitar
  • John Mayhew - drums
  • Anthony Phillips - guitar
(1970-1975)
(1975-1977)
  • Tony Banks - keyboards
  • Mike Rutherford - guitar, bass
  • Phil Collins - drums, vocals
  • Steve Hackett - guitar
(1977-1996)
  • Tony Banks - keyboards, backing vocals
  • Mike Rutherford - guitar, bass, backing vocals
  • Phil Collins - drums, vocals
(1996-1998)
  • Tony Banks - keyboards
  • Mike Rutherford - guitar, bass
  • Ray Wilson - vocals
Session musicians and other personnel

Genesis is a British progressive rock group that was formed in 1967 when founding members Peter Gabriel and Tony Banks were still students at Charterhouse School. Genesis was formed from the merger of two separate school bands — The Garden Wall (Gabriel, Banks) and Anon (Rutherford, Philips). The band was christened and managed by Jonathan King and later by Tony Stratton-Smith then Tony Smith. The band enjoyed considerable success in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. Genesis' longevity is only outdone by the likes of the Rolling Stones and The Kinks.

Genesis has been on indefinite hiatus since 1998, though they did reunite to re-record a single song in 1999.


The beginning

Genesis recorded its first album, 1969's From Genesis to Revelation, after striking a deal with Jonathan King, a songwriter and producer who had a hit single at the time called "Everyone's Gone to the Moon". The band recorded a series of songs reflecting the light pop style of the Bee Gees, of whom King was very fond, and King assembled these tracks into a pseudo-concept album, piling string arrangements on top of them. The album flopped terribly, and the band, feeling manipulated by King, told him they had broken up in order to get out of their contract with him. To this day, King is infamous among the band and its fans for bragging that he gave Genesis their name and trying to hawk the rights to the first album's songs for re-recording. King supposedly dubbed the band Genesis because it was the first serious band he'd worked with, or the 'genesis' of his career.

Genesis soldiered on, playing what gigs they could get and eventually landing a new deal with the fledgling Charisma Records. Through live performances the band became known for hypnotic melodies that were often dark, haunting, and medieval sounding. Anthony Philips left the band in 1970 after the release of Trespass primarily for health reasons. However, his increasing bouts with stage fright expedited his departure.

The departure of Philips was traumatic for both Banks and Rutherford, as Philips had been a founding member, and the primary force behind the band becoming "professionals." There was also doubt over whether Genesis could go on without him.

Eventually, the remaining members rallied and renewed their commitment to Genesis, also deciding to sack drummer John Mayhew in the bargain. Phil Collins joined the band on 4 August of 1970 and the band played a handful of gigs as a four-piece band before (briefly) hiring Mick Barnard to fill in.

While the band was becoming aware that Barnard was not up to their caliber of musicianship they continued to seek out his replacement. Late in 1970 Steve Hackett placed an ad in Melody Maker that was answered by Gabriel. After an in-home audition with Hackett's brother John accompanying him, Gabriel hired him on the spot.

The "Peter Gabriel" Era

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The "classic" Genesis lineup with (clockwise from left) Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Steve Hackett, Mike Rutherford and Peter Gabriel
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Peter Gabriel performing with Genesis, c. 1972

The first album Genesis released by the definitive line-up is Nursery Cryme in 1971. The album featured such songs as "Harrold the Barrel", "Fountain of Salmacis", "For Absent Friends" (which was Phil Collins' vocal debut with the group) and "The Musical Box" — a crowd favorite whose climactic end was featured in various medleys throughout the many years of live Genesis concerts.

1972's Foxtrot, which featured the 23-minute magnum opus "Supper's Ready" and the Arthur C. Clarke-inspired "Watcher of the Skies", solidified Genesis' reputation as songwriters and performers. Gabriel's flamboyant and theatrical stage presence, which involved numerous costume changes and surreal stories told as the introduction to each song, made the band one of the most talked-about live acts on the early-70s UK club scene.

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Peter Gabriel performing 'Dancing with the Moonlit Knight'

Selling England by the Pound followed in 1973 and received praise from critics and fans alike. It is regarded by many Genesis fans to be the finest of their albums. Classics such as "Firth of Fifth", "I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)" and "Cinema Show" would be staples in live performances for years to come.

During this period, guitarist Steve Hackett became one of the first to use the technique "tapping" (the invention of which is normally credited to Eddie Van Halen) and "sweep picking", (popularized in the 80's by Yngwie Malmsteen). These techniques were used in songs such as "The Return Of The Giant Hogweed", "Supper's Ready" and "Dancing With The Moonlit Knight".

Genesis would soon venture in a more ambitious project, the concept album The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, released in November 1974. The story features the super-natural, out-of-body journey of its protagonist, Rael, a Puerto Rican punk kid in New York City. The album strained relations between members of the group, particularly Banks and Gabriel. Genesis played "The Lamb" in its entirety at stage shows throughout the United States, but its complex theme was not an easy one to sell to most audiences. Years later, Phil Collins would comment that he never really got "The Lamb".

Peter Gabriel left the band in 1975, following the tour to support The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. He had been feeling more and more estranged from the band, and his marriage and birth of his first child only added to his personal strain. The other members of Genesis essentially wrote all of the music to The Lamb without Gabriel's participation, and he wrote the story and lyrics on his own. Gabriel's first solo album (Peter Gabriel, 1977) featured the single "Solsbury Hill," an allegory about his departure from Genesis.

The "Phil Collins" era

File:Genesis Live in Buffalo 1983.jpeg
Phil Collins performing "That's All" in Buffalo, NY, 1983. Also visible are Mike Rutherford, Tony Banks and Daryl Stuermer.

The group began auditioning lead singers — "We got quite a lot of weirdos, because of Peter and his costumes," Rutherford recalled in an interview —. Phil Collins, whose backing vocals had featured heavily in the Genesis sound of the Gabriel era, was given the job of coaching prospective replacements how to sing Genesis songs. Slowly, it dawned on the rest of the band that that the "teacher" sounded a lot better than any of the potential new replacements. But the band were reluctant to concede that their own drummer might be Peter Gabriel's successor. Jon Anderson of Yes, was one of the few that championed Collins for the job.

Eventually, Genesis did settle on Collins as their new singer, at least in the studio. Many believed that the band would fail miserably without Gabriel, but changing from a quintet to a quartet, Collins proved to be the ideal singer for the band. This was rather to the suprise of many of the band's fans, as well as the music critics. There were, after all, few precedents for successful bands losing their lead singers, and then carrying on as successfully as before. Especially not when the departed lead singer was as charismatic as Gabriel had been, and especially not when the replacement turned out to be the band's own drummer. But A Trick of the Tail was generally well received and demonstrated that the group were far more than a backing band for their theatrical former front-man. It helped that the album featured a markedly clearer production than previous albums. This was courtesy of new producer, David Hentschel, who had previously served as engineer on Nursery Cryme. Another factor that may have influenced the positive response was that Collins sounded, to paraphrase one review, more like Gabriel than Gabriel did. (At the time, Gabriel's voice did not yet have the raspy character it does today; at the time both singers sounded much like Collins does now.) The album featured some classic post-Gabriel songs including "Ripples", "Mad Mad Moon", "Dance on a Volcano" and "Entangled".

Despite the success of Trick of the Tail, there was still the problem of what to do on stage. Collins was confident that he could handle live vocal duties too, but needed another drummer to fill in for him while he was singing. At that time, the only drummer with whom he felt confident was Bill Bruford from Yes via King Crimson. Bruford joined the band on tour in 1976 as drummer; later, the jazz fusion-trained Chester Thompson, a veteran of Weather Report and Frank Zappa, would take over live drumming duties, leaving Collins to step into the spotlight. Phil Collins' approach to live Genesis shows differed from the more theatrical performances of Peter Gabriel, and his interpretation of Gabriels' works were often lighter and more subtle. Peter Gabriel famously told Collins at the 1982 Milton Keynes reunion show that Collins sang Gabriel's songs better than Peter, but never quite like Peter.

Wind & Wuthering was released in early 1977, and confirmed that the new lineup of the band was a going concern. The album featured two classic songs, "Eleventh Earl of Mar" and "Afterglow".

Hackett's departure

Guitarist Steve Hackett was becoming increasingly disenchanted with the band. Following the departure of Gabriel, he had taken the opportunity to become the first member of the band to record a solo album. The freedom that he had experienced during the making of Voyage Of The Acolyte lead to him to feel constricted at what he regarded as the confines of Genesis. According to Collins, Hackett wanted a quarter of the Wind & Wuthering album to be given over to his own material; "a dumb way to work in a band context" said Collins. Genesis tried to placate him by giving extra songwriting credits on the track "Unquiet Slumbers for the Sleepers..In That Quiet Earth". But it was to no avail. Following the release of the Spot the Pigeon E.P., consisting of outtakes from Wind & Wuthering, Hackett left the band. The Seconds Out live album of the 1977 tour, would be Hackett's final release with Genesis.

Mike Rutherford took over his guitar duties on record, although Daryl Stuermer would be the live guitarist and bass player (In the 80s, Stuermer and Thompson would be present in both Genesis' and Collins' own live shows). The group continued as a trio, a fact reflected in the title of their 1978 album ...And Then There Were Three.... This album began yet another change in Genesis' musical direction, away from their 10-minute-plus progressive epics and towards shorter, more radio-friendly tracks. It yielded their first American radio hit, "Follow You Follow Me" which caused ...And Then There Were Three... to be the band's first US Gold selling album.

A more rock/pop direction

In 1979, Genesis almost lost Phil Collins as he moved to Canada in an attempt to save his first marriage. However, two months and a divorce later, Phil Collins returned to the UK and immersed himself into working on Duke. Collins later claimed that his marriage breakup accelerated his growth as a songwriter: Duke was the first Genesis album upon which he pulled equal songwriting weight with Banks and Rutherford. Duke was also a further departure (begun on ...And Then There Were Three...) from the sounds and concepts that identified Genesis in the 1970s. Lengthy, complex themes and music gave way to shorter, more "accessible" pieces. The use of the drum machine was a consistent element in the forthcoming Genesis albums and certainly in Phil Collins' solo projects.

The more commercial Duke was well received by the mainstream media and was Genesis' first UK Number 1 album, and the tracks "Misunderstanding" (a Collins song) and "Turn It On Again" became two of the band's standbys.

Genesis followed Duke with 1981's Abacab, which featured brass and wind instruments and a collaboration with Earth, Wind & Fire on the track No Reply At All. The album also featured an even more forceful live drum sound from Collins, featuring the use of a reversed noise gate and (on some songs) no cymbals. The distinctive sound was originally developed at the instigation of Peter Gabriel with Genesis co-producer/engineer Hugh Padgham, when Collins was recording the backing track for "Intruder," the first song on Gabriel's 1980 solo album.

All of these new developments, including Padgham's production, had been apparent on Face Value, Collins's debut solo album, earlier that year. The "gated" drum sound, in particular, would become an audio trademark of both Genesis and Collins albums from then onward.

Reunion and solo successes

In 1982, the band released the double live album Three Sides Live. The U.S. version of this album had three sides of live material (hence the album's title) plus one side of studio tracks. The studio side included the song "Paperlate", featuring the EWF horn section yet again. In the U.K., the three songs on the "Paperlate" side of the album had already been released on an E.P entitled 3 X 3. This enabled the U.K. version of Three Sides Live to also contain further live material, albeit from earlier tours, making something a mockery of the album's title. An eventful year was capped by the reunion of the band with Gabriel and Hackett for a one off concert at the Milton Keynes bowl. The concert was hastily put together as a way of recouping some of the losses that Gabriel had incurred on the inaugural WOMAD festival, earlier that year.

The self titled Genesis album (sometimes referred to as "Shapes" for its game-piece covers) was released in 1983 and was their third successive number 1 album in the UK.

The album featured radio friendly pieces such as "Mama" (with its dramatic live drum sound near the end) and "That's All", but also re-introduced the band's flair for lengthy pieces in "Home by the Sea", which did particularly well in Asia because of it being based largely in the pentatonic scale (as most Oriental music is). The album track "Just a Job to Do" became the theme song of the 1985 ABC detective drama The Insiders.

Genesis released their highest selling album, Invisible Touch in 1986, at the height of Phil Collins' popularity as a solo artist. The album yielded five US Top 5 singles, "Throwing It All Away", "In Too Deep", "Tonight, Tonight, Tonight", "Land of Confusion" and "Invisible Touch" (the last of which went to #1). "Tonight, Tonight, Tonight" was used in a Michelob commercial (as was Collins' "In the Air Tonight"). Critics and fans of the classic Genesis sound found the new album too commercial and "pop," and also wondered whether the band would persist given Collins's growing solo fame.

Earlier that year, Collins had seen a spoof of himself on Spitting Image, a satirical British TV show that featured politicans and celebrities of the day in puppet form. So impressed was he with own puppet representation that the band commissioned the show's creators, Fluck and Law, to work on the video for "Land of Confusion". The video was a sarcastic commentary on The Cold War, played to the perception of each coalition's leaders as being "trigger happy" with the nuclear "button". As well as puppet versions of Banks, Collins and Rutherford, the video also showed Ronald Reagan dressed as Superman. It was nominated for the MTV "Video of the Year", losing to Peter Gabriel's Sledgehammer. Amusingly, the puppet of Rutherford created for the video was later re-used in Spitting Image to depict Jesus.

In 1987, Genesis became the first band to play 4 days in a row at Wembley Stadium. The band's live performances, as always, were augmented by a commitment to cutting edge technology. Genesis were the first band to use Vari*Lites, Jumbotron screens and the Prism sound system, all of which are now standard features of arena rock concerts.

After a lengthy layoff to work on solo projects (more solo work for Collins, while Rutherford formed Mike and The Mechanics) Genesis reconvened to release We Can't Dance in 1991. This proved to be Phil Collins' last studio album with the group. The album featured several successful singles such as "Jesus He Knows Me", "I Can't Dance" and "No Son Of Mine" and lengthy pieces such as "Driving the Last Spike" and "Fading Lights". The album also features "Since I Lost You", which was written in memorial to the death of Eric Clapton's son, Connor. (Also see Tears in Heaven).

Meanwhile, Collins had become a superstar in his own right with a hugely successful solo career, studio production work, acting stints (including the then popular TV show Miami Vice), and guest drumming on tours for Robert Plant and Eric Clapton. Collins' own success as a solo artist may have influenced the success and musical direction of Genesis. Certainly many saw his departure from the group in 1996 as the band's death knell.

In November 2005 Phil Collins expressed interest in re-uniting the original Peter Gabriel era Genesis. Peter Gabriel has stated that the original members will be having a meeting on November 20th. It's very possible that a Genesis reunion tour will happen in 2006.

Genesis with Ray Wilson

Rutherford and Banks elected to go on, and were able to fill in the gaps of missing members. Drumming duties were shared by Nir Zidkyahu, an Israeli session drummer who had recently played with The Hidden Persuaders, and Nick D'Virgilio of Spock's Beard fame. The difference in the two play styles was noticeable, as D'Virgilio played softer, simple rhythms in comparison to Zidkyahu's pounding of the skins. Regular touring guitarist Steurmer was touring, ironically enough, with Collins. Anthony Drennan, who had played with Paul Brady and The Corrs, was recruited as a replacement. Finally, Banks and Rutherford replaced Collins with ex-Stiltskin singer Ray Wilson. He was not the only choice for the post. Rumours began circulating that Paul Carrack and Paul Young, vocalists for Rutherford's solo group Mike & The Mechanics had been considered as possibilites. Others suggested Fish, former singer of the progressive rock group Marillion, or Sting from The Police, while Prog-rock purists hoped for the triumphant return of Peter Gabriel. However according to producer Nick Davis, the only other serious candidate was David Langdon, who had never sung with a band before. Hence Wilson got the job.

The album Calling All Stations sold well in Europe but went nowhere in America, where hip-hop, alternative rock, and teen pop were supplanting classic rock on the charts. Genesis cancelled a planned American tour due to the album's commercial failure.

Genesis has, for all intents and purposes, disbanded, but the individual members (including Phillips and Hackett, but excluding Gabriel) are in regular contact, and have not ruled out some sort of reunion.

The classic lineup did record a new version of "The Carpet Crawlers" (though this was done over many separate sessions) for a 1999 greatest hits CD, and most of the original members were involved in the two Archive boxed-set compilations. SACD re-releases of most of Genesis' studio albums have been announced, though they are still pending.

Discography

Studio albums

Live recordings and compilations

Hit singles

  • from "Selling England by the Pound"
    • 1974 "I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)" #21 UK
  • non-album EP
    • May 1977 Spot the Pigeon EP (Banks, Rutherford, Hackett, Collins) ("Match of the Day"/"Pigeons"/"Inside and Out") #14 UK
  • from "...And Then There Were Three..."
    • 1978 "Follow You Follow Me" #7 UK, #23 US
  • from "Duke"
    • 1980 "Misunderstanding" #14 US
    • 1980 "Turn It On Again" #8 UK
  • from "Abacab"
    • 1981 "Abacab" #9 UK, #26 US
    • 1981 "Keep It Dark" #33 UK
    • 1981 "No Reply at All" #29 US
    • 1982 "Man on the Corner" #40 US
  • from "Three Sides Live"
    • May 1982 3 X 3 EP ("Paperlate"/"You Might Recall"/"Me and Virgil") #10 UK
    • 1982 "Paperlate" #32 US
  • from "Genesis"
    • 1983 "Mama" #4 UK
    • 1983 "That's All" #16 UK, #6 US
  • from "Invisible Touch"
    • 1986 "Invisible Touch" #15 UK, #1 US
    • 1986 "In Too Deep" #19 UK, #3 US (1987 release)
    • 1986 "Land of Confusion" #14 UK, #4 US
    • 1986 "Throwing It All Away" #22 UK (1987 release), #4 US
    • 1987 "Tonight, Tonight, Tonight" #18 UK, #3 US
  • from "We Can't Dance"
    • 1991 "No Son of Mine" #6 UK, #12 US
    • 1992 "I Can't Dance" #7 UK, #7 US
    • 1992 "Hold on My Heart" #16 UK, #12 US
    • 1992 "Jesus He Knows Me" #20 UK, #23 US
    • 1992 "Never a Time" #21 US
  • from "The Way We Walk, Vol. 1: The Shorts"
    • 1992 "Invisible Touch" (live) #7 UK
  • from "We Can't Dance"
    • 1993 "Tell Me Why" #40 UK
  • from "Calling All Stations"
    • 1997 "Congo" #29 UK

Other releases of interest

  • 1975 Voyage of the Acolyte is a Steve Hackett solo album, but is regarded by some as a quasi-Genesis album; it features Hackett, Rutherford and Collins in addition to John Hackett (flute, ARP synthesizer, bells); Nigel Warren-Green (cello); Robin Miller (oboe, cor anglais); John Acock (Mellotron, harmonium, piano) John Gustafson (bass) and Sally Oldfield (vocals).
    According to Robert John Godfrey of The Enid, the album's title was originally slated for the first Enid album, but was "leaked" to Hackett, who decided to use it on his album. The Enid were forced to retitle their album In the Region of the Summer Stars, which Godfrey contends was a better title anyway.
  • 1977 The Geese and the Ghost is the first solo album by Anthony Phillips, former Genesis member. The album contains songs composed by Phillips and Mike Rutherford, such as the title track. Phil Collins guest sings in a couple of songs and John Hackett plays the flute.
  • 1991 Genesis: A History (Documentary video)
  • 1996 Steve Hackett: Genesis Revisited. Another Steve Hackett solo album, but this album includes only remakes of earlier Genesis songs, plus one that Hackett co-wrote with Gabriel in 1973, but which was never recorded. Incorporating an orchestra and some artists affiliated with Genesis and its members in the past (such as Paul Carrack, vocalist in Mike & The Mechanics) the album is a tribute as well as an effort to fresh up some old Genesis songs and present them in a more modern context.
  • 2001 The Genesis Songbook (Documentary DVD)

See also


External links

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