Saturday, April 29, 2017

April's Underappreciated Music: The Evolution of Genesis

I've been on a Genesis kick the last couple of weeks. I've been downloading various albums from them off of Spotify, as they're a band I've always been a fan of but never got to listen to their deeper catalog before. 

For those of you only familiar with their later hits such as "Invisible Touch" and "Tonight, Tonight, Tonight," you may be surprised to know that their early work was much more progressive. In fact, after listening to  a few of their early albums, they may actually "out-prog" their contemporaries such as Yes, Jethro Tull, and the Moody Blues.

The lineup changed a bit during their first two albums in 1969 and 1970, but their first steady and more famous lineup consisted of guitarist/bassist Mike Rutherford, keyboardist Tony Banks, drummer Phil Collins--yep, THAT Phil Collins--guitarist Steve Hackett, and original lead singer Peter Gabriel.

Yes, the "Sledgehammer" guy.

Their music was quite out there, with fantastical lyrics and long, suite-like compositions. Gabriel's swan song with the group was the double album The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. Gabriel then left the group, leaving the remaining band members looking for a new lead singer. They heard over 400 audition tapes with no luck. In order to begin recording their new material post-Gabriel, they asked Collins to take the lead on a recording in the meantime. Collins agreed only reluctantly, but the band was so impressed with this vocals they talked him into being their new singer.

As the 1970s progressed, and they lost another band member with Hackett's departure, their music slowly became more mainstream-oriented, recording songs such as "Misunderstanding," "That's All," and "Invisible Touch." It was with these mainstream pop songs that they had their greatest commercial success, but even on the later albums there was always one or two songs that still harkened back somewhat to their progressive roots.

Here are just a few songs that demonstrate their evolution, but for the full story, I recommend checking out their albums on your own. Enjoy!

Genesis - That's All by SoldierClad


Todd Mason said...

One of relatively few bands who went from being proggy darlings to straightforwardish pop-rock...Pink Floyd being the other most obvious example, particularly if you discount the likes of David Bowie, who travelled a more eccentric path...if not quite as much so as Lou Reed. King Crimson and most others often would find new ways to be proggy, and Moody Blues and such to stay Not Really proggy...the Kinks had a bit of a dance thus, too, till they got paranoid and came dancing...

Phillyradiogeek said...

Thanks Todd! I find it interesting that when Gabriel left the band, his solo music as well as the bands changed yet still remained in his style at the same time. Of course, his stage antics remained theatrical, even if his music became more earthy than in his Genesis days.


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