Genesis
1967
United Kingdom
Music group
Genesis was formed in January 1967 at Charterhouse Public School, England, through a fusion between leading members of the local school band and the fledgling (and very local) rock band 'The Anon'. Tony Banks (keyboard) and Mike Rutherford (bass) - both of whom remain with the group - teamed up with Peter Gabriel (flute, vocals), Anthony Phillips (guitar) and Chris Stewart (drums).

In early 1968 they signed to Decca and with some help from producer and novelty hit-maker Jonathan King, they recorded their first two singles 'The Silent Sun' and 'A Winters Tale'. Despite of any sign of real success, Decca showed faith and agreed to finance the groups first LP, entitled 'From Genesis to Revelations' (1969).

By this time Chris Stewart had been replaced on drums by John Silver, who in turn gave away to John Mayhew shortly after the recording of the bands third Decca-single - 'Where the Sour Turns to Sweet'. Sadly enough, neither the album nor the singles proved to sell (failing to fit the standard pop format demanded) and both the record company and King lost interest in the group.
In 1970, the band came to the attention of Tony Stratton-Smith, creator of 'The Famous Charisma Label', and with the help of producer John Anthony they began to work on what was to become the first 'real' Genesis-album - 'Trespass' (late 1970).

Packed with wild song-structure experiments and elaborate lyrical themes, this album certainly proved a substantial cult and critical success. After having replaced Phillips and Mayhew with ex-child actor and 'Flaming Youth'-drummer Phil Collins and ex-'Quiet World' guitarist Steve Hackett, the classic Genesis line-up was in place and the band went on their now legendary 1971-tour - a colorful line-up of both excellent and strange performances that certainly brought rock into a new level of theatricality. Lightshows, mirrors and pyrotechnics on stage, plus an ecstatic Peter Gabriel wearing enormous white garbs and huge papier-mache masks and sometimes even reading poems and (not so short) stories aloud between songs.

'Nursery Cryme', Genesis third album, was released in November 1971. Included on this album was one of the great Genesis-classics to be: 'Musical Box'. A song based on a rather bizarre Gabriel-story about two young children knocking each others heads off with qroquet mallets, and a spirit in an old musical box. (Put some sense into that one, if you can!)

It was with 'Foxtrot' (1972) however, that Genesis scored their first major critical success. A highly ambitious album - musically as well as lyrically - and the songs, including the 22 minute long 'Suppers Ready' and the live-favourite 'Watcher of the Skies', still engage. In early 1973 the band finally took a longer break from their exhausting touring schedule, and went into the studio to record new material. Eagerly awaited by both fans and critics, this emerged in October the same year as 'Selling England by the Pound', an album that was to become their masterpiece. It soon made no 3 in the UK charts, gave the band a reputation in America, and also provided their first UK hit-single - 'I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)'.

About a year later, at the end of 1974, Genesis (now big-time rock superstars) released the concept double album 'The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway' - a somewhat tragic story about a New York street hustler character called Rael. This album was also the last one to be made by the 'original' Genesis line-up. In May 1975 Peter Gabriel announced his departure from the group and almost exactly two years later (in June 1977) guitarist Steve Hackett also left to embark upon a solo career, leaving the line-up - Phil Collins, Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford - that remained until quite recently.

In 1978 the trio moved swiftly from their prog-rock origins towards a more light rock sound of the type that would dominate the worldwide charts in the 1980s. A number of albums were recorded during this period, most of them extremely successful.

But, all things must pass, and in March 1996, when Phil Collins suddenly announced that he had left the band, the Genesis-era finally seemed to have reached an end. However, latest news tells us that Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford are continuing the Genesis name. A new album is also being planned - 'darker, heavier and back to the old melodrama' - to be released some time this year, followed by a tour.

(Source: Jan Peterson)
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