Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Genesis is a progressive rock group that was formed in 1967 when founding members Peter Gabriel, Mike Rutherford, and Tony Banks were still students at Charterhouse School. The band enjoyed considerable success in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. Genesis have been on hiatus since 1998.
- Peter Gabriel - vocals (1967 - 1975)
- Tony Banks - keyboards (1967 - 1998)
- Mike Rutherford - guitar, bass (1967 - 1998)
- Anthony Phillips guitar (1967 - 1970)
- Chris Stewart - drums (1967 - 1969)
- Phil Collins - drums, vocals (1971 - 1996)
- Steve Hackett - guitar (1971 - 1977)
- Ray Wilson - vocals (1996 - 1998)
- Jonathan Silver - drums (1969)
- Jon Mayhew - drums (1970)
Supplemental Concert Musicians
- Bill Bruford (drums) 1976
- Chester Thompson (drums) 1977 - 1992
- Daryl Stuermer (guitars) 1978 - 1992
- Anthony Drennan (guitars, bass) 1998
- Nir Zidkyahu (drums) 1998
Additional session musicians:
- Nick D'Virgilio: drums on 1997 album Calling All Stations
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.
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 Phillips left the band in 1970 after the release of Trespass over disagreements about the direction of Genesis' music, and reported bouts of stage fright. The departure of Phillips was traumatic for both Banks and Rutherford, as Phillips had been a founding member, and there was doubt over whether Genesis could go on without him. Eventually, the remaining members rallied and renewed their commitment to Genesis, sacking drummer John Mayhew in the bargain. Steve Hackett and Phil Collins both joined the band after successful auditions, both musicians having answered ads in Melody Maker. The first album Genesis released by the definitive line-up is Nursery Cryme in 1971.
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. 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" and "Cinema Show" would be staples in live performances for years to come. Genesis would soon venture in a more ambitious project, the concept album The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, released in November 1974.
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 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 breakup with Genesis.
After considering various replacement lead singers — "We got quite a lot of weirdos, because of Peter and his costumes," Rutherford recalled in an interview — Genesis settled on using their drummer, Phil Collins, changing from a quintet to a quartet. Much to everyone's surprise, Collins proved to be the ideal singer for the band. Many believed that the band would fail miserably without Gabriel. A Trick of the Tail and Wind & Wuthering, released within a year of each other, were generally well received and demonstrated that the group were far more than a backing band for their theatrical former front-man. Bill Bruford, freshly out of King Crimson 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.
In 1977, Steve Hackett left the band. Mike Rutherford took over his guitar duties, and 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". The platinum-selling Duke followed, and created two huge hits for the band, "Turn It On Again" and "Misunderstanding". Genesis' course into the 1980s as a pop singles outfit was assured — though some fans of their Gabriel-era music felt alienated. Each successive album saw their music become more commercial and their audience expand. By the late 80s and early 90s, Genesis regularly played stadiums worldwide. In July 1987 they became the first band to play 4 consecutive nights at Wembley Stadium.
The band's live performances 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.
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. Rutherford and Banks elected to go on, and replaced Collins with ex-Stiltskin singer Ray Wilson. 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. Tony Banks describes Genesis as "resting," and Collins (who has begun to lose his hearing in one ear) has even expressed hope that the entire original lineup, including Gabriel, might play together again. The classic lineup did record a new version of "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 as of 2004.
- 1969 From Genesis to Revelation (Gabriel, Banks, Rutherford, Phillips, Silver) #170 US (charted in 1974)
- rereleased in 1974 as In The Beginning
- rereleased in 1980 as Where The Sour Turns To Sweet
- 1970 Trespass (Gabriel, Banks, Rutherford, Phillips, Mayhew) #98 UK (charted in 1984)
- 1971 Nursery Cryme (Gabriel, Banks, Rutherford, Hackett, Collins) #39 UK (charted in 1974)
- 1972 Foxtrot (Gabriel, Banks, Rutherford, Hackett, Collins) #12 UK
- 1973 Selling England by the Pound (Gabriel, Banks, Rutherford, Hackett, Collins) #3 UK, #70 US (charted in 1974), US Sales: 500,000
- 1974 The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (Gabriel, Banks, Rutherford, Hackett, Collins) #10 UK, #41 US (charted in 1975), US Sales: 500,000
- 1976 A Trick of the Tail (Banks, Rutherford, Hackett, Collins) #3 UK, #31 US, US Sales: 500,000
- 1977 Wind & Wuthering (Banks, Rutherford, Hackett, Collins) #7 UK, #26 US, US Sales: 500,000
- 1977 Spot the Pigeon EP (Banks, Rutherford, Hackett, Collins)
- 1978 ...And Then There Were Three (Banks, Rutherford, Collins) #3 UK, #14 US, US Sales: 1,000,000
- 1980 Duke (Banks, Rutherford, Collins) #1 UK, #11 US, US Sales: 1,000,000
- 1981 Abacab (Banks, Rutherford, Collins) #1 UK, #7 US, US Sales: 2,000,000
- 1983 Genesis (Banks, Rutherford, Collins) #1 UK, #9 US, US Sales: 4,000,000
- 1986 Invisible Touch (Banks, Rutherford, Collins) #1 UK, #3 US, US Sales: 6,000,000
- 1991 We Can't Dance (Banks, Rutherford, Collins) #1 UK, #4 US, US Sales: 4,000,000
- 1997 Calling All Stations (Banks, Rutherford, Wilson) #2 UK, #54 US
Live recordings and compilations
- 1973 Genesis Live #9 UK, #105 US (charted in 1974)
- 1976 Genesis in Concert (Concert film)
- 1977 Seconds Out #4 UK, #47 US
- 1982 Three Sides Live (Side 4 of the US release featured studio tracks, but the UK release featured live tracks from the 1976 and 1978 tours. When the "Definitive Edition Remaster" of this album came out on CD in the late 1990s, all editions worldwide used the live tracks, and the studio tracks were reissued in the box set Archive #2 — 1976-1992.) #2 UK, #10 US, US Sales: 500,000
- 1982 Three Sides Live (Video)
- In October 1982, Gabriel and Hackett performed with Genesis at a one-off reunion concert, "Six of the best", which has been widely bootlegged. The outdoor concert was a benefit for Gabriel's WOMAD Festival, and was a huge success despite torrential rain.
- 1984 The Mama Tour (Video)
- 1992 The Way We Walk — Live in Concert (Video)
- 1992 The Way We Walk, Vol. 1: The Shorts #3 UK, #35 US, US Sales: 500,000
- 1992 The Way We Walk, Vol. 2: The Longs #1 UK, #20 US
- 1998 Genesis Archive — 1967-1975 (4-CD box set compilation of live and rare material) #35 UK
- 1999 Turn It On Again: The Hits #4 UK, #65 US, US Sales: 500,000
- 2000 Archive #2 — 1976-1992 (3-CD box set compilation of live and rare material)
- 2003 Live at Wembley Stadium (UK DVD release of 1987 concert)
- 2004 The Platinum Collection (3-CD compilation of Genesis songs from 1970 until 1997). Notable for being compiled in reverse chronological order, and for including new remixes of several songs.
- from "Selling England by the Pound"
- 1974 "I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)" #21 UK
- non-album EP
- 1977 "Spot the Pigeon EP" (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 (1982 release)
- 1981 "Keep It Dark" #33 UK
- 1981 "No Reply at All" #29 US
- 1982 "Man on the Corner" #40 US
- from "Three Sides Live"
- 1982 "3 x 3 EP" (Paperlate/Me and Virgil/You Might Recall) #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 Garbriel 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)
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