Genesis (band)

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From Seeds of the Word, the encyclopedia of the influence of the Gospel on culture

Genesis onstage performing
Genesis performing in 2007
Left to right: Daryl Stuermer, Mike Rutherford, Tony Banks, Phil Collins
Background information
OriginGodalming, Surrey, England
Years active
  • 1967–2000
  • 2006–2007
  • 2020–present
Associated acts
Past members

Genesis are an English rock band formed at Charterhouse School, Godalming, Surrey, in 1967. The band's most commercially successful line-up consists of keyboardist Tony Banks, bassist/guitarist Mike Rutherford and drummer/singer Phil Collins. The 1970s line-up featuring singer Peter Gabriel and guitarist Steve Hackett was among the pioneers of progressive rock.

The group were formed by five Charterhouse pupils, including Banks, Rutherford, Gabriel, and Anthony Phillips, and named by former Charterhouse pupil Jonathan King, who arranged for them to record several singles and their debut album From Genesis to Revelation in 1968. After splitting from King, the band began touring, signed with Charisma Records and became a progressive rock band on Trespass (1970). Following Phillips' departure, Genesis recruited Collins and Hackett and recorded Nursery Cryme (1971). Their live shows began to feature Gabriel's theatrical costumes and performances. Foxtrot (1972) was their first hit in the UK and Selling England by the Pound (1973) reached number three there, featuring their first UK hit "I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)". The concept album The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (1974) was promoted with a transatlantic tour and an elaborate stage show, before Gabriel left the group.

Collins took over as lead singer, and the group released A Trick of the Tail and Wind & Wuthering (both 1976) with continued success. Hackett left Genesis in 1977, reducing the band to Banks, Rutherford, and Collins. Their ninth studio album, ...And Then There Were Three... (1978), contained the band's first major hit "Follow You Follow Me". Their next five albums – Duke (1980), Abacab (1981), Genesis (1983), Invisible Touch (1986) and We Can't Dance (1991) – were also successful. Collins left Genesis in 1996, and Banks and Rutherford replaced him with Ray Wilson, who appeared on their final album Calling All Stations (1997). The commercial failure of the album led to a group hiatus. Banks, Rutherford and Collins reunited for the Turn It On Again Tour in 2007, and again in 2021 for The Last Domino? Tour.

With between 100 million and 150 million albums sold worldwide, Genesis are one of the world's best-selling music artists. Their discography includes 15 studio and six live albums. They have won numerous awards (including a Grammy Award for Best Concept Music Video with "Land of Confusion") and have inspired a number of tribute bands recreating Genesis shows from various stages of the band's career. In 2010, Genesis were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Biblical references

Name of the band

The names of the band "Genesis" is a reference to the biblical Book of Genesis. Even though there isn't really a strong connection between the name of the band and the contents or message of the biblical book, the purpose of choosing this name comes most likely from the fact that the Progressive Rock genre often mixes themes from classical Greco-Roman literature or from Ancient literature such as the Bible into the songpieces, which tend to be written with more of a poetic purpose in mind rather than being oriented towards dancing. The creative and poetic aspect of progressive rock distinguishes this genre from that of pop music, with lyrics that tend to be more poetic, technology being harnessed for new sounds, in an attempt to create a work of art. Progressive rock attempts to bridge the gap between high culture and low culture, and the usage of biblical themes and imagery by the band Genesis is consistent with this approach.

From Genesis to Revelation

From Genesis to Revelation is the debut studio album by English rock band Genesis, released on 7 March 1969 on Decca Records. The album originated from a collection of demos recorded in 1967 while the members of Genesis were pupils of Charterhouse in Godalming, Surrey. It caught the attention of Jonathan King who named the group, organised deals with his publishing company and Decca, and studio time at Regent Sound Studios to record a series of singles and a full album. A string section arranged and conducted by Arthur Greenslade was added later on some songs. By the time Genesis had finished recording, John Silver had replaced original drummer Chris Stewart.

The name of the album is a reference to the first and last books of the Bible, the books of Genesis and Revelation respectively.

Track listing

All songs written by Tony Banks, Peter Gabriel, Anthony Phillips, and Mike Rutherford.[6]

Side one
1."Where the Sour Turns to Sweet"3:14
2."In the Beginning"3:42
3."Fireside Song"4:16
4."The Serpent"4:36
5."Am I Very Wrong?"3:28
6."In the Wilderness"3:21
Side two
7."The Conqueror"3:44
8."In Hiding"2:56
9."One Day"3:16
11."In Limbo"3:06
12."Silent Sun"2:08
13."A Place to Call My Own"1:57

Track 2 "In the beginning" is a reference to the first words of the Book of Genesis.

Track 4 "The Serpent" is a reference to the devil's appearance to Eve in the garden of Eden under the form of a serpent, to lure her into tasting of the forbidden fruit in defiance to God's instructions.

Supper's Ready

A recorded version appeared on their 1972 album Foxtrot, and the band performed the song regularly on stage for several years following this. Live versions appear on the albums Live at the Rainbow recorded in 1973, Seconds Out recorded in 1977, the compilation Genesis Archive 1967–75, and the box set Genesis Live 1973–2007. A reworked version also appears on Steve Hackett's 2012 album Genesis Revisited II and its accompanying live albums Genesis Revisited: Live at Hammersmith and Genesis Revisited: Live at Royal Albert Hall.

In an interview, Peter Gabriel summed up "Supper's Ready" as "a personal journey which ends up walking through scenes from Revelation in the Bible... I'll leave it at that".[7][8] He was also quoted in the book I Know What I Like by Armando Gallo as saying that the song was influenced by an experience his wife had of sleeping in a purple room, and the nightmares it gave her.[9][10] AllMusic has described the song as the band's "undisputed masterpiece".[11]

"Suppers Ready" is a voyage through the history of mankind, comparing the relationship between a man and woman, two halves of the same soul, to that of the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, together with their troubles from the Beginning of time. It runs through history showing the different lives these people have lived apart from each other, from great and bloody battles (wandering in the chaos) through to the modern day (reference to Churchill). Through all of those lives they have learnt difficult lessons and have come to realize that the path of God within them was the only path. Once that was known both could reunite (can't you feel our souls ignite). The life cycle was complete and they could achieve their personal revelation as described in the Bible and enter the New Jerusalem.

"Suppers Ready" refers to the Last Supper at which a goblet was used and which held the blood of Christ. A goblet was later brought to the UK by Joseph of Arimathea and revered throughout history as the Holy Grail. At Christ's second coming, which will be heralded by Gabriel, God's messenger angel, the grail will be used to cleanse the waters of the world.


I: "Lover's Leap" (0:00 – 3:47)

This section features a gentle arpeggiated guitar backing (with Hackett, Banks and Rutherford all playing 12-string guitars), soft electric piano (Hohner pianet), bass pedals, cello and flute, and a section with folky three part vocal harmonies sung by Gabriel and Collins (which omit the third note of the chord). The only percussion used and played by Collins is triangle, cymbals, and bells.

Lyrically it tells of a man returning home after a long time to be greeted by his lover, and mentions supernatural imagery ("six saintly shrouded men"), which Gabriel claims relate to a genuine spiritual experience which occurred with himself, his wife Jill and producer John Anthony. According to Gabriel, during a late-night conversation, his wife began speaking with a completely different voice. Gabriel held up a makeshift cross out of a candlestick and another household item, and Jill reacted violently; (in Armando Gallo's book, I Know What I Like, Gabriel mentions that his wife had reacted badly to sleeping in a room with purple walls, purple being 'very high in the colour spectrum'). Jill was eventually calmed down and taken to bed, but neither Peter nor John Anthony slept that night. On another occasion, also late at night, Gabriel looked out of the window of his wife's parents' house to see what he perceived to be an entirely different lawn, across which seven shrouded men were walking.[12] Gabriel recounted that these experiences led him to contemplate notions of good, evil, and the supernatural, and eventually inspired the lyrics to "Supper's Ready".

II: "The Guaranteed Eternal Sanctuary Man" (3:48 – 5:43)

Banks composed the chord progression whilst still at University. When performing the song live, Gabriel would don a "crown of thorns" headpiece at this point. The piece segues into the next with a "Lover's Leap" reprise.

The programme describes this section as follows: "The lovers come across a town dominated by two characters; one a benevolent farmer and the other the head of a highly disciplined scientific religion. The latter likes to be known as 'The Guaranteed Eternal Sanctuary Man' and claims to contain a secret new ingredient capable of fighting fire. This is a falsehood, an untruth, a whopper, and a taradiddle, or to put it in clearer terms; a lie."

III: "Ikhnaton and Itsacon and Their Band of Merry Men" (5:44 – 9:42)

This section is much more dynamic than the previous two, with lively drumming from Collins, an elegiac electric guitar solo played by Hackett, and a lot of interplay between Hackett's guitar and Banks’ organ (including a section with fast organ and guitar arpeggios, Hackett employing the "tapping" style of playing). The lyrics refer to a battle of some sort, presumably involving Ikhnaton.

The programme spells "Itsacon" as "Its-a-con". It describes this section as follows: "Who the lovers see clad in greys and purples, awaiting to be summoned out of the ground. At the G.E.S.M's command, they put forth from the bowels of the earth, to attack all those without an up-to-date 'Eternal Life Licence', which were obtainable at the head office of the G.E.S.M.'s religion."

IV: "How Dare I Be So Beautiful?" (9:43 – 11:04)

This is a slow and gentle section, the only instrumentation being treated acoustic piano chords, each chord being faded-in on the recording, thus losing the piano's characteristic attack and sounding more like an organ (it was done on Hammond organ live). The title is a catchphrase used by the band's early music-business contact, Jonathan King. The lyrics deal with the aftermath of the preceding battle, and referring to the Greek myth of Narcissus, who turned into a flower.

The programme describes this section as follows: "In which our intrepid heroes investigate the aftermath of the battle and discover a solitary figure, obsessed by his own image. They witness an unusual transmutation, and are pulled into their own reflections in the water."

V: "Willow Farm" (11:05 – 15:36)

Live in concert, Gabriel would appear in his "flower mask" (by Gabriel's own admission, partly inspired by the BBC children's programme The Flower Pot Men). This section features vaudeville-style sections, the Mellotron Mark II's "combined brass" tape set, sped-up vocals, and musique concrète noises of trains and explosions. Lyrically, it has a Python-esque quality, dealing with elements of the absurd in the English psyche, "there's Winston Churchill, dressed in drag, he used to be a British flag, plastic bag, what a drag!" and numerous elements of word play, boarding schools, agricultural depravity and social conformity. The lyrics also reference Foxtrot's cover artwork ("the fox on the rocks") and a song from Nursery Cryme, Genesis' previous album ("The Musical Box").

The programme describes "Willow Farm" as follows: "Climbing out of the pool, they are once again in a different existence. They're right in the middle of a myriad of bright colours, filled with all manner of objects, plants, animals and humans. Life flows freely and everything is mindlessly busy. At random, a whistle blows and every single thing is instantly changed into another."[13]

VI: "Apocalypse in 9/8 (Co-Starring the Delicious Talents of Gabble Ratchet)" (15:36 – 20:50)

At this point, the drums enter, with the rhythm section striking out a pattern using the unusual metre of 9 beats to the bar (expressed as 3+2+4).[14] The lyrics employ stereotypical apocalyptic imagery, alternating with an organ solo from Banks (played in 4
and 7
time signatures against the 9
rhythm section), then switching to a climactic vocal from Gabriel, and the Mellotron "three violins" tape set. Banks has said that his approach to writing the solo was to parody the style that Keith Emerson had developed with Emerson, Lake & Palmer.[citation needed] In live performances, during the organ solo, Gabriel would don a bizarre "Magog" outfit with geometrical headdress which can be seen on the cover of the band's Genesis Live (1973) album. "Gabble Ratchet" is a reference to the Hounds of Hell;[15] they are usually portrayed as geese, which explains the sound effect heard during this section (18:48–18:53 on Foxtrot). They are also known as "Gabriel's Hounds". The programme for the 1972/3 tour refers to this section as "co-starring the delicious talents of wild geese".[16]

The programme describes this section as follows: "At one whistle the lovers become seeds in the soil, where they recognise other seeds to be people from the world in which they had originated. While they wait for Spring, they are returned to their old world to see the Apocalypse of St John in full progress. The seven trumpeters cause a sensation, the fox keeps throwing sixes, and Pythagoras (a Greek extra) is deliriously happy as he manages to put exactly the right amount of milk and honey on his corn flakes."[16]

VII: "As Sure As Eggs Is Eggs (Aching Men's Feet)" (20:51 – 22:54)

"As Sure As Eggs Is Eggs" is a folklore variation of the logical tautology that "X = X"[17] and in this context is a reference to certainty and faith—being absolutely convinced of the ultimate victory of good over evil and that God and Heaven do indeed exist. "Aching Men's Feet" is a play on "making ends meet".[citation needed] "Apocalypse" segues into this part via a slower section that reprises the lyrics from "Lover's Leap" in combination with the chord progression from "The Guaranteed Eternal Sanctuary Man", backed by a pressed snare drum roll and tubular bells. During live shows, a flash charge would be fired and Gabriel would discard his Magog costume to reveal himself in shining white apparel that glowed when exposed to black light. During one gig, he attempted flying on a Kirby wire, and was nearly strangled.[18] From this point to the end, drums, deep bass pedals and Mellotron brass are present, as are Blakean lyrics which reference The New Jerusalem (The Crystal City of God that is established after the death of the Anti-Christ) and the Second Coming of Christ with reference to the biblical Revelation 19:17: "There's an angel standing in the sun. He cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the sky, Come! Be gathered together to the great supper of God."

After completing the lyrics in this section, Gabriel would pick up and raise an active blacklight tube, holding it near himself, upraised with both hands, as though it were a sword. Gabriel would be the only one lit onstage at this point and would actually appear to be glowing from the combination of blacklight, his reflective white costume and fluorescent makeup. Gabriel considered this effect to be a theatrical way of symbolizing the victory of good/light over evil/darkness.

The programme describes this section as follows: "Above all else an egg is an egg. 'And did those feet ............' making ends meet. Jerusalem = place of peace."[16]

The Lamb lies down on Broadway

The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway
Studio album by
Released18 November 1974
RecordedAugust–October 1974
StudioGlaspant Manor, Carmarthenshire, Wales
LabelCharisma, Atco
Genesis chronology
Selling England by the Pound
The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway
A Trick of the Tail
Singles from The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway
  1. "Counting Out Time"
    Released: 1 November 1974
  2. "The Carpet Crawlers"
    Released: April 1975

The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway is the sixth studio album by the English progressive rock band Genesis. It was released as a double album on 18 November 1974[20][21] by Charisma Records and is their last to feature original frontman Peter Gabriel. It peaked at No. 10 on the UK Albums Chart and No. 41 on the Billboard 200 in the US.

While the band worked on new material at Hedley Grange for three months, they decided to produce a concept album with a story devised by Gabriel about Rael, a Puerto Rican youth from New York City who is suddenly taken on a journey of self-discovery and encounters bizarre incidents and characters along the way. The album was marked by increased tensions within the band as Gabriel, who insisted on writing all of the lyrics, temporarily left to work with filmmaker William Friedkin and needed time to be with his family. Most of the songs were developed by the rest of the band through jam sessions and were put down at Glaspant Manor in Wales using a mobile studio.

The album received a mixed critical reaction at first, but it gained acclaim in subsequent years and has a cult following. The songs "Counting Out Time" and "The Carpet Crawlers" were released as singles in the UK in 1974 and 1975, respectively; both failed to chart. A single of "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" was released in the US. Genesis promoted the album with their 1974–75 tour across North America and Europe, playing the album in its entirety. The album reached Gold certification in the UK and the US. The album was remastered in 1994 and 2007, the latter as part of the Genesis 1970–1975 box set which contains a 5.1 surround sound mix and bonus material.

  1. 1.0 1.1 Buckley 2003, p. 422.
  2. Bowler & Dray 1992, p. x.
  3. Reed, Ryan (10 October 2014). "20 Insanely Great Genesis Songs Only Hardcore Fans Know". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 1 October 2007. Retrieved 17 October 2019.
  4. Breithaupt, Don; Breithaupt, Jeff (2000), Night Moves: Pop Music in the Late '70s, St. Martin's Press, pp. 68–69, ISBN 978-0-312-19821-3
  5. "Former Genesis front man Peter Gabriel backs Catalunya protest movement". thinkSPAIN.
  6. From Genesis to Revelation (Media notes). Genesis. Decca Records. 1969. SKL 4990.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  7. Alper, Eric (22 December 2013). "Peter Gabriel's Isolated Vocal from Genesis' "Supper's Ready"". That Eric Alper. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  8. Murphy, Sean (31 March 2017). "The 100 Best Classic Progressive Rock Songs: Part 5, 20-1". PopMatters. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  9. The Mojo Collection: 4th Edition. Canongate Books. 2007. p. 290. ISBN 9781847676436.
  10. Peter Gabriel in radio interview on the programme "Rockline", 92.3FM KROCK, NYC, 16 June 1986.
  11. Couture, Francois. "Song Review by François Couture". AllMusic. Retrieved 23 January 2016.
  12. Bowman, Durrell (2016). Experiencing Peter Gabriel: A Listener's Companion. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 29. ISBN 9781442252004.
  13. Everett, Walter (2000). Expression in Pop-rock Music: A Collection of Critical and Analytical Essays. Taylor & Francis. p. 82. ISBN 9780815331605.
  14. Seconds Out Songbook 1978 Wise Publications
  15. Brewer, Dictionary of Phrase & Fable, 1898
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 "Genesis Programmes - Gabriel Years". The Genesis Museum. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  17. Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable
  18. Bonanni, Andrea (21 August 2008), Genesis Gabriel Fly, retrieved 4 March 2019
  19. Allen, Jim (4 January 2017). "Genesis Albums Ranked Worst to Best". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 2 March 2019.
  20. "Genesis released the Lamb lies down on Broadway".
  21. "Genesis The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway".