Genesis are a British rock band that formed in 1967. The band consist of their three longest-tenured members: founding members Tony Banks (keyboards) and Mike Rutherford (bass, guitar); and Phil Collins (vocals, drums), who joined in 1970. Former members Peter Gabriel (vocals, flute), Steve Hackett (guitar) and Anthony Phillips (guitar) also played major roles in the band in its early years. Genesis are among the highest-selling recording artists of all time, with approximately 150 million albums sold worldwide.
In the late 1960s, with the release of their first album, Genesis's music was initially regarded by the band and the fans as a pop experiment, referring to then-popular melodic pop. Then, over the course of a year, (beginning with their second album in mid-1970) they quickly evolved into a progressive rock band with the incorporation of complex song structures and elaborate instrumentation. Their concerts became theatrical experiences with innovative stage design, pyrotechnics, extravagant costumes and on-stage stories. This second phase was characterised by lengthy performances such as the 23-minute "Supper's Ready" and the 1974 concept album, The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. In the late '70s and early '80s the band's musical direction changed once again, becoming more pop oriented and commercially accessible. This resulted in their first top 40 single in the US with "Follow You Follow Me", their first number one album in the United Kingdom, Duke, and their only number one single in the United States, "Invisible Touch".
Genesis have undergone several personnel changes throughout its history. Stage fright forced founding member Anthony Phillips to leave the band in 1970. In 1975, Collins, then the band's drummer, replaced Peter Gabriel as lead singer after a lengthy search for a replacement. To facilitate Collins's move to lead vocals during concerts, Bill Bruford and Chester Thompson played drums for the band as they toured, with Collins joining in briefly during lengthy instrumental passages. In 1977, guitarist Steve Hackett left the band. After Phil Collins left the band in 1996, Genesis recruited Ray Wilson (formerly of Stiltskin). Wilson appeared on the 1997 album Calling All Stations, after which the band announced an indefinite hiatus. In 2007, Banks, Collins and Rutherford reunited for a 20-city tour of Europe and North America, which included a free concert at Rome's Circo Massimo in front of 500,000 fans. Genesis were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010. The future of the band remains uncertain, with Collins's retirement from the music business and the other members' solo work, but Banks indicated the band had come to an end in an interview in 2012.
1967–1970: The beginning
Genesis formed in 1967 when Peter Gabriel and Tony Banks were students at Charterhouse School in Godalming. Formed out of school bands Garden Wall and The Anon, Genesis's original line-up consisted of Peter Gabriel (vocals), Anthony Phillips (guitar), Tony Banks (keyboards), Mike Rutherford (bass & guitar) and Chris Stewart (drums). The group (minus Stewart) originally formed as a songwriting partnership with no intention of performing, but with more and more bands writing their own songs, there was no demand for a team of young and inexperienced songwriters.
Charterhouse School alumnus Jonathan King attended a concert at Charterhouse in 1968 while the band were still in school. Following the concert, another student gave King a tape of songs the band had recorded and King thought enough of them to sign them to a recording contract. King was a songwriter and record producer who had a hit single at the time, "Everyone's Gone to the Moon". King named the band Genesis (after previously suggesting the name Gabriel's Angels), recalling that he had "thought it was a good name... it suggested the beginning of a new sound and a new feeling."
The resulting album, From Genesis to Revelation, was released on Decca Records in March 1969. During the sessions, Stewart was replaced by John Silver on drums. The band recorded a series of songs influenced by the light pop style of the Bee Gees, one of King's favourite bands at the time. King assembled the tracks as a concept album, and added string arrangements during the production. Their first single, "The Silent Sun", was released in February 1968. The album sold poorly but the band, on advice from King, decided to pursue a career in music. King holds the rights to the songs on the From Genesis to Revelation album and has re-released it many times under a variety of names, including In the Beginning, Where the Sour Turns to Sweet, Rock Roots: Genesis, ...And the Word Was and, most recently, The Genesis of Genesis.
Silver was replaced by John Mayhew before the recording of Trespass. Genesis then secured a new recording contract with Charisma Records. The band had built a following through live performances which featured the band's hypnotic, dark and haunting melodies. These performances also captured the interest of Charisma founder Tony Stratton-Smith.
Trespass, which was made from many of the songs the band had written during their earliest live shows, was the template for the band's albums in the 1970s – lengthy, sometimes operatic pieces resembling the style of progressive rock bands such as King Crimson, Yes and Gentle Giant, along with the occasional shorter and more accessible, sometimes humorous, number. Trespass included progressive rock elements such as elaborate arrangements and time signature changes, as in the nine-minute song "The Knife".
Ill health and recurring stage fright caused Phillips to leave the band in the summer of 1970. Phillips would later record many solo albums, sometimes in collaboration with other Genesis members. Phillips's departure traumatised Banks and Rutherford, causing the band to doubt whether it could continue. However, the remaining members decided to carry on, replacing Mayhew with Phil Collins formerly of the Flaming Youth (band) on drums, and Phillips first with Mick Barnard and then with Steve Hackett, formerly of Quiet World, on guitar in October 1970.
1971–1975: The classic era
Collins and Hackett made their studio debut in 1971 on Nursery Cryme, which features "The Musical Box" and Collins's first lead vocal performance in "For Absent Friends"; the song was also the first written by new members Collins and Hackett within the band. Two engineers were hired and then quit before John Burns took over during the recording of their next album, and this began a successful three-album collaboration between Burns and the group.
The next album, Foxtrot, was released in October 1972 and contains what has been described as "one of the group's most accomplished works", the 23-minute multi-part epic "Supper's Ready". Songs such as the Arthur C. Clarke-inspired "Watcher of the Skies" solidified their reputation as songwriters and performers. Gabriel's flamboyant and theatrical stage presence, which involved numerous and elaborate costumes and surreal spoken song introductions, made the band a popular live act.
A live album, Genesis Live, was recorded on the Foxtrot tour in 1973, shortly before the band's upcoming studio album was released.
Selling England by the Pound was released in November 1973 and was well received by critics and fans. Gabriel insisted on the title, a reference to a current Labour Party slogan, in an effort to counter the impression that Genesis were becoming too US-oriented. The album contains "Firth of Fifth" and "I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)"; these songs became part of their live repertoire, with the latter becoming their first charting single, reaching No. 17 on the UK singles charts.
During this period Hackett became an early user of the electric guitar "tapping" technique, which was later popularised by Eddie Van Halen, as well as "sweep-picking", which was popularised in the 1980s by Yngwie Malmsteen. These guitar techniques were incorporated in the song "Dancing with the Moonlit Knight". At the same time, the band signed with new manager Tony Smith, who published all subsequent Genesis songs through his company Hit & Run Music Publishing.
In 1974, Genesis recorded a double disc concept album The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway which was released on 18 November. In contrast to the lengthy tracks featured on earlier albums, The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway is a collection of shorter tracks, connected by a number of segues. The story describes the spiritual journey of Rael, a Puerto Rican youth living in New York City, and his quest to establish his freedom and identity. During his adventure, Rael encounters several bizarre characters including the Slippermen and The Lamia, the latter being borrowed from Greek mythology and influenced by a poem by Keats. Peter Gabriel stated in the Genesis on The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway interview that Alejandro Jodorowski's El Topo movie was an influence in the story of Rael.
The band embarked on a world tour to promote the album, performing it 102 times in its entirety, with Gabriel adding spoken narration. This choice of set was soon regretted by the band members, since it lacked the variety of playing material from throughout their career and compelled them to perform songs which didn't work well live. During their live performances, Genesis pioneered the use of lasers and other light effects, most of which were built by the Dutch technician Theo Botschuijver. A customised handheld unit was used to channel laser light, which allowed Gabriel to sweep the audience with various light effects.
Creating the ambitious The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway album strained relations between band members, particularly Banks and Gabriel, who had been good friends since they were at Charterhouse. Gabriel was the album's lyricist, except for on "The Light Dies Down on Broadway" (for which Banks and Rutherford wrote the lyrics as Gabriel was falling behind), while the other band members wrote the music, with the exception of "Counting Out Time" and "The Chamber of 32 Doors" (which were written by Gabriel alone). The other-worldly, burbling, sequenced synth sounds and shattering glass loops in the track "The Waiting Room", as well as the vocal effects in the track "The Grand Parade of Lifeless Packaging" coined "Enossifications", were produced by the ambient composer Brian Eno.
During the Lamb Lies Down on Broadway tour, Gabriel announced to his bandmates that he had decided to leave the band, citing estrangement from the other members, and the strains of his marriage and the difficult birth of his first child. Nonetheless, he saw his commitment through to the conclusion of the tour. In a letter to fans, delivered through the music press at the end of the tour, entitled Out, Angels Out, Gabriel explained that 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." Collins later remarked that the other members "...were not stunned by Peter's departure because we had known about it for quite a while." The band decided to carry on without Gabriel. Gabriel's first solo album, Peter Gabriel 1977, features the hit single "Solsbury Hill", an allegory that refers to his departure from the band.
1976–1977: The four-man era
The group auditioned reportedly over 400 lead singers to find a replacement for Gabriel. Phil Collins, who had provided backing vocals, coached prospective replacements. When the band was about to record the vocals for the album the members came to the realisation that Gabriel's possible replacement just wasn't the voice they needed. Collins asked the other members if he could give it a try. As his voice fit the already-completed music, Collins quickly completed the vocals and the band was left with the decision about what to do for live shows. Even though he had successfully completed the singing for the album, he still was unsure about leaving his drum kit and coming out front to sing for concert performances for 1976's A Trick of the Tail. The new producer David Hentschel, who had served as engineer on Nursery Cryme, gave the album a clearer-sounding production. Music historians later commented that Collins sounded "more like Gabriel than Gabriel did".
Despite the success of the album, the group remained concerned with their live shows, which now lacked Gabriel's elaborate costume changes and dramatic behaviour. Since Collins required the assistance of a second drummer while he sang, Bill Bruford, drummer for Yes and King Crimson was hired for the 1976 tour. Their first live performance without Peter Gabriel, and the first with Collins as lead singer, was on 26 March 1976, in London, Ontario, Canada. Concert footage of this tour is shown in the Genesis: In Concert movie.
Later that year, Genesis recorded Wind & Wuthering, the first of two albums recorded at the Relight Studios in Hilvarenbeek in the Netherlands. Released in December 1976, the album took its title from Emily Brontë's novel Wuthering Heights, whose last lines—"listened to the soft wind breathing through the grass; and wondered how any one could ever imagine unquiet slumbers for the sleepers in that quiet earth"—inspired the titles of the seventh and eighth tracks.
In 1977 former Genesis member Anthony Phillips released The Geese and the Ghost that features Mike Rutherford on guitar, Phil Collins on vocals, and Steve Hackett's brother and former Quiet World member John Hackett (musician) on flute. It was an album Phillips, Rutherford, and Collins started in the summer of 1973.
For the 1977 Genesis tour, the jazz fusion-trained Chester Thompson—a veteran of Weather Report and Frank Zappa—took on live drumming duties. Collins's approach to Genesis shows differed from the theatrical performances of Gabriel, and his interpretations of older songs were lighter and more subtle. At the 1982 Milton Keynes reunion show, Gabriel admitted that Collins sang the songs "better", though never "quite like" him.
Guitarist Hackett had become increasingly disenchanted with the band by the time of Wind & Wuthering's release, and he felt confined. He was the first member of the band to record a solo album, 1975's Voyage of the Acolyte,(with the assistance of Phil Collins and Mike Rutherford) and greatly enjoyed the feelings of control over the recording process that working within a group could not provide. Hackett had asked that a quarter of Wind & Wuthering be allocated to his songs, which Collins described as "a dumb way to work in a band context". While Hackett was given songwriting credits on the instrumental track "Unquiet Slumbers for the Sleepers..."/"...In That Quiet Earth" , the Hackett/Collins "Blood on the Rooftops" was never performed live, and his song "Please Don't Touch" (which appeared as the title track to his 1978 solo album Please Don't Touch) was rejected by the rest of the band, who opted for the shorter and catchier instrumental "Wot Gorilla?" which closed Side 1. Hackett left the band in October 1977 while the band were mixing the live album Seconds Out, which was recorded during the 1976 and 1977 tours.
1978–1979: And Then There Were Three
Following the departure of Hackett, Rutherford took on guitar duties in the studio and the band were getting closer to a balance of what each member provided from a creative standpoint. The group decided to continue as a trio, a fact they acknowledged in the title of the 1978 album ...And Then There Were Three.... The album was a further move away from lengthy progressive epics, and yielded their first American radio hit, "Follow You Follow Me", whose popularity led to ...And Then There Were Three... being the band's first US Platinum-certified album.
For live performances that year, Rutherford alternated again between guitar and bass with American Daryl Stuermer, formerly guitarist with French born violinist Jean-Luc Ponty's instrumental jazz fusion / jazz rock band. Generally, Rutherford played the guitar pieces he composed during the most recent album, but stuck with bass for all of the material recorded prior to 1978. Their 1978 world tour took them across North America, over to Europe, back to North America, and, eventually, to their first performances in Japan at the end of 1978. As the headline act, Genesis performed their first concert at Knebworth in Hertfordshire on 24 June 1978. On 29 July 1978, the band made their second appearance at Madison Square Garden, New York. Genesis would play this venue again on all subsequent US tours except for the 1992 We Can't Dance tour (where they played Giants Stadium).
As the band had been recording and touring constantly since the winter of 1977–78, it was decided by Banks, Collins, and Rutherford to take the majority of 1979 off. Collins had previously informed his bandmates that he needed to attempt to save his marriage by following his wife to her new home in Vancouver. If they planned to go back into the studio, they were going to have to count him out. Banks and Rutherford responded by proposing that the band go into hiatus while he sorted out his family issues and record solo material in the meantime.
1980–1984: Breakout mainstream success
After his attempt to save his marriage (which ended in divorce), Collins returned to the UK in August 1979, and found himself in a holding pattern while Tony Banks worked on "A Curious Feeling" and Mike Rutherford worked on "Smallcreep's Day (album)". With time to spare and new equipment in his home, Collins immersed himself in the recording of home demos that would become his first solo album Face Value (released in 1981) and provide two songs for the upcoming Genesis project. In addition, he rejoined jazz fusion / jazz rock band Brand X for their 1979 tour, and appeared on their album Product. Phil Collins also along with Peter Gabriel did work on the Exposure (Robert Fripp album).
When the three bandmates came back together to begin recording their next album from October to December 1979, Duke (1980), the product was much more the result of all three working together equally as three solo acts instead of a cohesive band Genesis once was. As a result, of this writing arrangement, more of Phil Collins's Motown/R&B influenced pop song writing were allowed in the band, where it had not been used in previous Genesis albums. "Duke" was the real transition from their 1970s progressive rock sound to the 1980s pop era. The use of a drum machine became a consistent element on subsequent Genesis albums, as well as on Collins's solo releases. The first Genesis song to feature a drum machine was the Duke track "Duchess". The more commercial Duke was well received by the mainstream media, and was the band's first UK number one album, while the tracks "Misunderstanding" and "Turn It On Again" became live performance favourites. The machines that were used to make the sound effects on Duke were also used on the 1984 (Anthony Phillips album) in 1981
Duke was followed by Abacab (1981), which features a collaboration with the Earth, Wind & Fire horn section on the track "No Reply at All". Much of the album's rehearsals took place at The Farm, the band's newly built studio in Surrey, and the site where all of their subsequent albums were recorded. The album used a forceful drum sound which used an effect called gated reverb, which uses a live—or artificially reverberated—sound relayed through a noise gate set, which rapidly cuts off when a particular volume threshold is reached. This results in a powerful "live" sounding, yet controlled, drum ambiance. The distinctive sound was first developed by Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins, and their co-producer/engineer Hugh Padgham, when Collins was recording the backing track for "Intruder", the first song on Peter Gabriel (1980 album). The technique, in addition to Padgham's production, had been apparent on Phil Collins's first solo album Face Value (1981). The "gated" drum sound would become an audio trademark of future Genesis and Collins albums.
The Abacab tour also marked the first public appearances of the Vari-Lite automated moving light system, the development of which had been paid for by the band and their management.
In 1982, the band released the live double album Three Sides Live. The US version LP contains three sides of live material — hence the album's title — in addition to a side of studio material. The studio material includes the song "Paperlate", which again features an Earth, Wind and Fire horn section. In the UK and the rest of Europe, the studio material was replaced by a fourth side of live recordings from previous tours. 1982 closed with a one-off performance alongside Gabriel and Hackett at the Milton Keynes Bowl, under the name Six of the Best. The concert was hastily put together to help raise money for Gabriel's WOMAD project, which at the time was suffering from considerable financial hardship. Hackett, who arrived late from South America, performed the final two songs of the show ("I Know What I Like (in Your Wardrobe)" and "The Knife") with his former bandmates.
1983's eponymous Genesis album became their third consecutive number one album in the UK. The album includes the radio-friendly tracks "Mama" and "That's All". The track "Just a Job to Do" was later used as the theme song for 1985's ABC detective drama The Insiders. The final cut to hit the airwaves was "Taking It All Too Hard", which in addition to being highly played on AOR radio, crossed over to soft rock radio stations and became a fixture for 20 years. The album became a worldwide success.
In 1984 Peter Gabriel, Mike Rutherford, and Phil Collins contributed solo material to the Against All Odds (soundtrack)
1985–1996: Height of popularity and Collins's departure
Genesis's highest-selling album, Invisible Touch, was released in 1986, at the height of Collins's 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 title track reached No. 1 in the United States; the only Genesis song to do so; however, it stalled at No. 15 in the UK. In September 1986, Genesis performed "Throwing It All Away" at the 1986 MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles. On the last leg of the Invisible Touch Tour in July 1987, Genesis became the first band to play four sold out consecutive nights at Wembley Stadium, London. Genesis was the first band to use Vari*Lite technology, and the Prism sound system, all of which are now standard features of arena rock concerts.
Earlier that year, Collins viewed a spoof of himself on Spitting Image, a satirical British television show which used puppets to lampoon politicians and celebrities. He was impressed with the representation, and commissioned the show's creators, Peter Fluck and Roger Law, to work on the video for the "Land of Confusion" single. The video was formed as an ironic commentary on the Cold War, and played on the perception that the coalition's leaders were "trigger happy" with the nuclear "button". In addition to puppet representations of Banks, Collins and Rutherford, the video showed Ronald Reagan dressed as Superman. At the 1987 MTV Video Music Awards it was nominated for the MTV Video of the Year, losing to Gabriel's "Sledgehammer". At the 1988 Grammy Awards it won the award for Best Concept Music Video.
"Tonight, Tonight, Tonight" was used in a Michelob commercial—as was Collins's "In the Air Tonight"—while "In Too Deep" was featured in the film Mona Lisa. The instrumental "The Brazilian", appeared in the animated movie When the Wind Blows, alongside a score written by Roger Waters. "The Brazilian" also appeared on Magnum P.I. in its entirety in the episode "Unfinished Business". At the 1988 Prince's Trust concert held in the Royal Albert Hall, London, Collins and Gabriel performed together for the first time since 1982. Collins was drummer for the house band, while Gabriel performed his hit single "Sledgehammer". As of September 2007, the two Genesis frontmen have not publicly played together since, although they did play together at Gabriel's wedding in 2002.
After a hiatus of five years, Genesis reconvened for the 1991 album release We Can't Dance, Collins' last studio album with the group. The album features the hit singles "Jesus He Knows Me", "I Can't Dance", "No Son of Mine", "Hold on My Heart", "Tell Me Why" and "Never a Time" (a US release only), as well as lengthy pieces such as "Driving the Last Spike" and "Fading Lights". The album which was produced by Nick Davis includes "Since I Lost You", which Collins wrote in memory of Eric Clapton's son Conor. In 1993 it was nominated for the Brit Award for Best British Album. At the 1993 American Music Awards on 25 January, Genesis won the award for Favorite Pop/Rock Band, Duo, or Group.
Collins left the band in March 1996. He reasoned that he "felt it time to change direction in my musical life. For me now, it will be music for movies, some jazz projects, and of course my solo career. I wish the guys in Genesis all the very best in their future. We remain the best of friends."
1996–1998: Calling All Stations and Ray Wilson
Rutherford and Banks decided to continue as Genesis. However, they required more than one new member, because the band had lost not only Collins, but also the live musicians i.e. guitarist Daryl Stuermer and drummer Chester Thompson. Stuermer was approached, but was working with Phil Collins on his Dance Into the Light album and touring with Collins at the time, as shown in Phil Collins' "Live and Loose in Paris" DVD. Stuermer's last studio performance with Tony Banks would be on Banks' Strictly Inc album. Thomson enquired regarding the vacant drum stool, but after he was refused full-band membership, he ended his 19-year association with the band; however, did work with Steve Hackett on his Genesis Revisited album and the tour which is shown on Hackett's The Tokyo Tapes DVD. Eventually, drumming duties were shared between Nir Zidkyahu, an Israeli session drummer, who had played with Hidden Persuaders, and Nick D'Virgilio, from the American progressive rock band Spock's Beard. The difference in their playing styles was marked; D'Virgilio played softer, more subtle rhythms in comparison to Zidkyahu's bombastic technique.
Ex-Stiltskin singer Ray Wilson was appointed as the new lead singer of Genesis. Other candidates had included Nick Van Eede from Cutting Crew, Kevin Gilbert, Paul Carrack from Rutherford's Mike + The Mechanics, Francis Dunnery (ex-It Bites), David Longdon (ex-Louis Philippe band, and later the Lead Vocalist for Big Big Train) and ex-Marillion vocalist — and two-time Banks collaborator — Fish.
On the band's criteria in the search for a singer, Banks noted: "We needed someone who fits as many of the things you require as possible — being able to improvise with the kind of music we write and also someone capable of jumping in at the deep end and fronting a band." Wilson was immediately incorporated into the songwriting process, being given "half-a-dozen" songs to work on and ending up with three co-writing credits on the final album.
1997's album Calling All Stations sold well in Europe, while the track "Congo" reached No. 29 in the UK. The album was not as successful in America, where it failed to reach the Billboard Top 50. During 1997 and 1998, Genesis toured across Europe; Banks, Rutherford, and Wilson were joined live by Zidkyahu and the guitarist Anthony Drennan, who previously had worked with Paul Brady and The Corrs. A concert of this tour was featured in Genesis' "Live in Poland" DVD. However, a planned American tour was cancelled due to the album's poor sales performance. Following the truncation of the Calling All Stations tour, Genesis dismissed Wilson and went on an extended hiatus, although the members remained in regular contact. In an April 2007 interview, Wilson expressed his disgust at how his dismissal was handled, saying "it was like death by silence." He also said, he regretted his time spent with the band, feeling uncomfortable as a self-described "working class" man with the wealthier likes of Banks and Rutherford, and also revealed one of Phil Collins's assistants told him Collins "wasn't happy that they had continued."
1998–2005: Partial reunions and hiatus
In 1998, Banks, Collins, Gabriel, Hackett, Phillips, Rutherford, and Silver gathered for a photo session and dinner to celebrate the release of the box set, Genesis Archive 1967–75. In 1999, the 1971–75 line-up of Banks, Collins, Gabriel, Hackett and Rutherford released a new version of "The Carpet Crawlers" for the Turn It On Again: The Hits compilation. On 21 September 2000, Collins, Banks, and Rutherford along with Daryl Stuermer performed acoustic renditions of "I Can't Dance", "Invisible Touch", "Follow You, Follow Me," and "Turn It On Again" at the Music Managers Forum, in honour of their manager Tony Smith. Gabriel attended but did not perform. Most of the original members were involved in compiling the two Archive boxed-sets. Acoustic versions of "Afterglow", "No Son of Mine" and "Follow You, Follow Me" were recorded for a documentary film about the band's history at this time.
2006–present: Reunion and future
After much speculation regarding a reunion, Banks, Collins and Rutherford announced Turn It On Again: The Tour on 7 November 2006; nearly 40 years after the band first formed. The tour took place during summer 2007, and played twelve countries across Europe, followed by a second leg in North America. The trio had wanted to reunite as a five-piece with Gabriel and Hackett for a live performance of The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. While Gabriel reportedly agreed in principle to perform, he was unable to commit to a date. Collins later observed that "Peter is a little over-cautious about going back to something which fundamentally is just fun". Hackett agreed to participation but decided not to without Peter. Phil, Tony and Mike toured with Chester Thompson and Daryl Stuermer.
The band and the producer since 1991, Nick Davis, remixed their back catalogue (into 5.1 and new stereo mixes) for release in three batches over the course of 2007 and 2008, each comprising a third of the band's albums (from Trespass to Calling All Stations) in a boxset-style release. Each album is presented as a double-disc set containing a multi-channel hybrid Super Audio CD, as well as a DVD-Video with DTS 24bit/96K and Dolby Digital 24bit/48K 5.1 tracks. The DVDs also include extras such as promo videos, live performances, TV appearances, tour programmes and new interviews in which the band discuss the period surrounding each album. (For the US and Canada pressings, the audio discs are regular CDs and not SACD hybrids.) These remasters were released in three box sets: Genesis 1976–1982 in May 2007, Genesis 1983–1998 in October 2007, and Genesis 1970–1975 in November 2008, in addition to each album being released individually. Each box set contains the albums from its designated time period, as well as a bonus CD/DVD-A of non-album tracks.
On 12 May 2007, the band were honourees at the second annual VH1 Rock Honors, along with Ozzy Osbourne, Heart and ZZ Top. Genesis performed "Turn It on Again", "No Son of Mine" and "Los Endos", which later was broadcast on VH1 in the US on 25 May 2007. On 11 June 2007 Genesis officially kicked off their 2007 Turn It on Again World Tour in Helsinki, Finland. The band performed over 50 shows in several countries including Denmark, Belgium, Germany, Poland, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada. The German show was broadcast live to several cinemas across the UK and Europe. On 7 July 2007, Genesis participated at Live Earth, a series of concerts to promote action to confront global climate change at the new Wembley Stadium in London, along with other artists including Madonna, Duran Duran and Red Hot Chili Peppers.
In an August 2007 interview, Collins has stated that the recording of a new album is currently "very, I repeat, very unlikely" [emphasis in original], citing a lack of both time and inspiration. However, Banks, on 22 August, stated "The three of us would be quite keen to have a go and see what happens."
On 2 October, Starbucks released the CD Sampler Genesis: 14 From Our Past, containing one song from each studio album from Trespass on (except Nursery Cryme).
An album of the reunion tour, entitled Live over Europe 2007 was released in November of that year. The tracklist features a balanced set list covering most of their career. None of the songs recorded during Ray Wilson's time with the band were featured. In addition to the aforementioned album, sound deck recordings of each show were released by "The Music" A DVD of the concert on 14 July 2007 in Rome's Circo Massimo, When in Rome 2007 was released on 26 May.
In an interview to celebrate the release of the Genesis: 1970–1975 boxset, Tony Banks revealed that it is a possibility that the band may reunite with Peter Gabriel and Steve Hackett. He said: "We've never said 'never' about it, you know. I know Phil (Collins) would be quite happy with the idea of just playing the drums; it would be quite fun for him. Mike (Rutherford) and I are certainly happy to do it. I know Steve (Hackett) is keen as well. I think it'd be down to Peter (Gabriel) more than anyone else." However, Collins has stated in various interviews that he is unable to play the drums due to a medical ailment. "After playing drums for 50 years, I've had to stop. My vertebrae have been crushing my spinal cord because of the position I drum in. It comes from years of playing. I can't even hold the sticks properly without it being painful, I even used to tape the sticks to my hands to get through."
On 10 September 2009, Collins revealed in a post on the official Genesis website that during the 2007 Turn It on Again tour, he dislocated a vertebra in his neck which has required surgery to repair. The injury and resulting recovery has made it "impossible to play the drums or piano" according to the article. However, Collins states that in a year's time or more this situation could change. Future plans for any Genesis reunion could hinge on Collins's ability to recover and play the drums again.
On 21 September 2009, Genesis released Genesis Live 1973–2007, a box set containing remixed and remastered editions of the band's first four live albums. The box includes Genesis Live and Seconds Out in both stereo and 5.1 surround sound versions, and Three Sides Live and The Way We Walk in stereo-only editions. On 23 November 2009, the band released a DVD box set of live concert videos filmed between 1981 and 1992.
On 15 March 2010, Genesis were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The band were inducted by Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio. Collins, Banks, Rutherford and Steve Hackett appeared at the ceremony, but Peter Gabriel did not appear due to rehearsals for his solo tour to support his new solo album Scratch My Back. Genesis did not perform at the ceremony. Phish paid tribute to them by opening the show with "Watcher of the Skies" and then followed Anastasio's speech with a version of "No Reply at All".
In a September 2010 interview with Billboard, Collins was less than optimistic about the future of Genesis, stating "I think Genesis are no longer. I don't foresee me doing any more Genesis shows. Not because I don't like it or don't want to. But it doesn't fit in with my life and wanting to be with the boys, and taking onboard [my other interests like] the Alamo and writing a book about that. And the other stuff that I'd like to do - and that includes doing nothing as well. But also, I can't physically play the drums. I don't want to sound like a spoiled kid, like I've had my stuff and I don't want to do it any more. But I have done it all my life, and now I'm enjoying another side of life."
Citing family commitments, Collins announced on 4 March 2011 that he had ended his music career.
In an interview with Rolling Stone on 27 September 2011, Peter Gabriel said that a reunion with the classic line-up is still a possibility, but hopes remain very slim, stating "I won't say never ever, but it's in the outside department of the betting shop... if you stick with the stuff that nourishes you the most then you'll probably be the happiest." Asked about the future of Genesis during an interview on BBC Breakfast on 4 May 2012, Tony Banks replied "I think we probably won't do it. Phil, particularly, has sort of moved on somewhat. We did do that last tour three or four years ago as a sort of goodbye. That was the idea of it."
Genesis won the "Lifetime Achievement" award at the inaugural Progressive Music Awards in September 2012, with Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford receiving the reward on behalf of the entire band at the presentation evening on 5 September 2012.
On 22 October 2012, Steve Hackett released Genesis Revisited II which featured 17 Genesis songs from the period of Hackett's time with Genesis.
In 2013, Phil Collins stated in German media that he's considering a comeback. "I have started thinking about doing new stuff". He even stated that he considers a comeback as a member of Genesis. "Maybe playing some shows again, even with Genesis. Everything is possible. We could tour in Australia and South America. We haven't been there yet."
On 29 October 2013, Steve Hackett released "Genesis Revistied: Live at Hammersmith" which features a show from the Genesis Revisited II tour performing all the Genesis classics. During the touring of the album in Glasgow Scotland, Ray Wilson and Steve Hackett did live versions of The Carpet Crawlers and Entangled.
Inspiration and influences
Genesis has taken influence from a wide range of music, ranging from classical music to mainstream rock and jazz. Classical music was an influence on Tony Banks, Anthony Phillips and Steve Hackett in particular. Gabriel and Banks were big fans of Simon and Garfunkel. Banks also drew influence from Alan Price of The Animals, whom he regarded as "[t]he first person who made me aware of the organ in a rock context". Collins has cited Buddy Rich and the jazz-rock outfits The Mahavishnu Orchestra and Weather Report. He was heavily influenced by The Beatles, the band he cited as the reason he started making music, The Action ("They were big heroes of mine, especially their drummer, who I copied all the time") and the soul music of Motown, Stax Records and Atlantic Records. Hackett's formative years were also influenced by The Beatles, and he has cited "I Feel Fine" as one of the records he learned to play guitar from. Gabriel's early career with Genesis took influence from Nina Simone and King Crimson.
As a group that influenced the growth of the progressive rock genre, Genesis has been cited as an influence on a number of bands including Sound of Contact, Spock's Beard, Rush, Marillion, IQ, Pendragon, Pallas, Iron Maiden, and Dream Theater. Simple Minds singer Jim Kerr's first concert was on the band's Foxtrot tour, which he described as "just the most terrific gig and in a way my life was never quite the same again." They have also been cited as an influence by alternative rock bands Elbow and Coheed and Cambria. Several Genesis tribute bands, including ReGenesis and The Musical Box routinely perform material from the Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins eras.
Collins became the first artist to cover a Genesis song in a studio release, "Behind the Lines"', which he included on Face Value one year after the original's release. Other former members previously and subsequently performed the band's material live during their solo shows—Gabriel played "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" and "Back in NYC", while Hackett has performed "In That Quiet Earth", "Los Endos", "Horizons", "Firth of Fifth" and "Blood on the Rooftops", among others. Hackett has performed "I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)" on his own solo tours, and on a 1986 tour with his short lived supergroup GTR. Rutherford has performed "I Can't Dance" during his tours with the Mechanics. Collins also later formed The Phil Collins Big Band, which played jazz arrangements of Genesis songs, which were "That's All", "Invisible Touch", "Hold on My Heart" and "Los Endos" (renamed "The Los Endos Suite"), during its 1998 world tour. Ray Wilson has covered the most Genesis songs during his solo concerts. His two solo live albums, Live and Life and Acoustic, feature the Genesis songs "The Carpet Crawlers", "Follow You Follow Me", "I Can't Dance", "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway", "No Son of Mine", "Shipwrecked", and "Mama". He has interpreted two songs from the solo careers of his two predecessors — "In the Air Tonight" (Collins) and "Biko" (Gabriel).
Jeff Buckley reworked "Back in NYC" for the posthumously released 1998 Sketches for My Sweetheart the Drunk; And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead also covered "Back in NYC" as a B-side in 2005. The Brazilian power metal band Angra covered "Mama" in 2002. The Swedish melodic death metal band In Flames covered "Land of Confusion" on Trigger, as did Disturbed on their 2005 album Ten Thousand Fists. Disco-pop band Alcazar, also from Sweden, has covered parts of "Land of Confusion" on their song "This is the World We Live in". Dream Theater covered "Turn It on Again" as part of their song "The Big Medley". In 2007, Simon Collins recorded his own version of "Keep It Dark" with the assistance of sound designer and future bandmate Dave Kerzner as a tribute to the 40th anniversary of his father's band. Collins and Kerzner met at rehearsals for Genesis' 2007 Turn It On Again tour. The duo would later form their own progressive rock band, Sound of Contact, inspired by Collins' experiences on tour with Genesis in his youth as well as Kerzner's appreciation for the band. Collins and Kerzner also provided vocals and keyboards, respectively, on Steve Hackett's 2012 album, Genesis Revisited II, and plan to perform numerous Genesis songs on their upcoming "Bring The Prog Back" tour.
Inducting the band into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010, Trey Anastasio of Phish acclaimed Genesis as "rebellious, restless and constantly striving for something more … Every musical rule and boundary was questioned and broken … It's impossible to overstate what impact this band and musical philosophy had on me as a young musician. I'm forever in their debt."
Beyond purely musical ventures, the theatrical style of Genesis's 1970s concerts with Gabriel and advanced lighting of their 1980s shows have provided inspiration for Cirque du Soleil's productions: the 2004 anniversary show Midnight Sun and the arena-based touring show Delirium trace their musical and multimedia elements back to these concerts. According to Victor Pilon, co-creator and co-director of both shows, "We're not inventing anything. Genesis did it years ago. We're just using new technology."
Album cover art
The band's album covers often incorporate complex and intricate art intended to reflect the themes explored in the music. The initial release of the band's first album, From Genesis to Revelation, used a plain black sleeve with Genesis written in a green gothic typeface. The three subsequent album covers were developed by the popular Charisma Records graphic artist Paul Whitehead. The Foxtrot sleeve depicts a feminine figure in a red dress with the head of a fox. Whitehead has said in an interview that Jimi Hendrix's "Foxy Lady" was an inspiration for the character.
The cover art for Selling England by the Pound was painted by Betty Swanwick. Peter Gabriel saw the original drawing, called The Dream, at an exhibition and asked Swanwick to modify it for use as the album cover. Most notably, Swanwick added a lawnmower to the image in order to tie the painting to the lyrics of "I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)".
After Whitehead moved to Los Angeles, Genesis signed with the art collective Hipgnosis, whose artists had created high profile album covers for Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon and Led Zeppelin's Houses of the Holy. Hipgnosis's first Genesis album cover was for The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, which featured a male model, credited simply as "Omar", portraying the album's protagonist "Rael". Peter Gabriel has said in an interview for the 2008 box-set release of The Lamb that he was not happy about the choice of model as he had vividly imagined Rael as being Puerto Rican.
Through the rest of the 1970s, various Hipgnosis artists heavily—designed all Genesis studio albums. The Trick of the Tail cover depicts the characters from the album songs, including the robber from "Robbery, Assault and Battery", the beast from the title track, and a metaphoric image of old age reminiscing on youth from the song "Ripples..." and a squonk (from the song of the same name) is also featured on the rear of the cover. Beginning with Duke, Genesis albums have featured artwork designed by Bill Smith Studios. The band's highest-selling album Invisible Touch, features the artwork of Assorted Images, which had previously designed sleeves for Simple Minds, Duran Duran and Culture Club. The We Can't Dance cover art features the work of Felicity Roma Bowers, and is reminiscent of Wind & Wuthering, now presented in hazy watercolour. The Calling All Stations and the compilation Turn It on Again: The Hits sleeves were designed by Wherefore Art?.
Early incarnations of Genesis were often targets for criticism during the 1970s. An article in Q Magazine describes a 1977 Ray Lowry cartoon which depicted an arena of "either asleep, moribund, [or] comatose" fans watching a live Genesis performance, with the band's name emblazoned on a banner above the stage reading "GENESNOOZE".
More specifically, some in Britain — especially supporters of the punk movement — regarded Genesis in particular, but also the genre more generally, as overtly middle class (paying particular attention to Gabriel, Banks and Rutherford's private education), and claimed that rock music was being taken away from the working class, whom they regarded as its core audience. But Peter Gabriel claimed that their audience was a "mixture of social classes" and that such a suggestion was a fabrication of the critics.
Gabriel's theatrics were unpalatable to some of the mainstream rock audience, resulting in a cult following rather than mainstream. This was exemplified during live performances of Gabriel's last Genesis album, The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, during which he appeared on stage as various characters in the album's lyrics. The elaborate storyline for The Lamb proved difficult to understand and accept, and caused a bit of friction within the band. Collins later recalled that Gabriel would "be in a Slipperman costume trying to get a mic anywhere near his throat, and be out of breath—all twisted up. Towards the end I felt the singing wasn't really being heard; the songs weren't really being heard".
BBC Radio 1 DJ John Peel championed the band in their early years and they performed three sessions for him between 1970 and 1972, but "he grew disillusioned with their later excesses". Peel was quoted: "I used to go and see Genesis and after about three minutes I'd think, oh, I wish this would stop!"
Conversely, the band's transition from lengthy, complex songs to more compact, simplistic, radio-friendly material was not welcomed by critics; Rolling Stone''s review of ...And Then There Were Three... read: "...this contemptible opus is but the palest shadow of the group's earlier accomplishments." "I don't feel we've bastardised the way we were", Collins remarked in an interview with Music Express: "on a generous day I'll blame me for the change, but I just think it is us growing up, listening to different things".
In a 1982 interview in Sounds, Phil Collins talked about the band’s reputation in the music press and claimed that he only knew of one music journalist, Hugh Fielder, who openly liked Genesis.
Reviewing Genesis 1976–1982 in Q, Andy Fyfe wrote: "... in spite of 150 million album sales the bottom line is that little of the band’s output has aged well ... There are moments of impressive songwriting, such as the tender "Many Too Many", the darkly tragic "Duchess" and epic "One for the Vine", but little of Genesis’s music transcends in the way real classics do, and that is why they will remain perennial whipping boys for decades to come."
Music critic J. D. Considine wrote of the band:
- From Genesis to Revelation (1969)
- Trespass (1970)
- Nursery Cryme (1971)
- Foxtrot (1972)
- Selling England by the Pound (1973)
- The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (1974)
- A Trick of the Tail (1976)
- Wind & Wuthering (1976)
- ...And Then There Were Three... (1978)
- Duke (1980)
- Abacab (1981)
- Genesis (1983)
- Invisible Touch (1986)
- We Can't Dance (1991)
- Calling All Stations (1997)
Band members' discographies
- Tony Banks discography
- Bill Bruford discography
- Phil Collins discography
- Nick D'Virgilio discography
- Peter Gabriel discography
- Steve Hackett discography
- Anthony Phillips discography
- Mike Rutherford discography
- Daryl Stuermer discography
- Chester Thompson discography
- Ray Wilson discography
- Awards and nominations
- The Farm (recording studio)
- Official website
- Genesis (band) at the Open Directory Project
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Image from Discogs