2019 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the debut album by Genesis, one of the band’s that made the biggest impression on me in my teenage years, so what better time to take a look at this new book that dissects their huge back catalogue song by song, album by album.
Genesis went through three important phases in their career: the Peter Gabriel era (my personal favourite), when they were at their most creative and inventive, the middle years when there was still a big prog influence in their work, but shorter songs came more to the fore, and finally the later years, when the music became much more commercial and radio friendly, and the prog days were just a distant memory apart from the very rare new sighting, and were largely restricted to a medley in their increasingly massive live shows. Having got over the loss of Gabriel, ‘my’ Genesis really ended with Wind and Wuthering, the subsequent departure of Steve Hackett causing an irreversible sea change in the music. Of course, I kept on dutifully buying the albums, and there was still the occasional high spot, Home By The Sea, Domino, Fading Lights and Dodo for example, but the quirky, maverick sparkle of the early seventies line-up that gave us albums I still play regularly today such as ‘Selling England’ and ‘Lamb’, was largely gone for good, replaced by a stadium filling behemoth. The author of this book is a long time fan of the band, but it’s obvious he too prefers their earlier work. Nevertheless, he does a good job giving extensive background to each album and providing some nice analysis of the songs. Even the later albums, which he isn’t so keen on, get a fair hearing, and he also rounds up the various live albums and compilations too. This is a well-written, interesting and informative book, aimed, as with all this series, specifically at fans rather than the casual reader. Very enjoyable though, and if you’re interested in the music of Genesis then I’d recommend you look out for this, especially as, perhaps surprisingly, there aren’t too many books around on this influential band.
Length of Read:Short
Might appeal to people who enjoyed…
The music of Genesis of course! Their last show was in 2007, and although rumours of one last reformation of the classic line up surface periodically, the passage of time will, I think, ensure this remains in the realms of fantasy. Perhaps though, in the fullness of time, we’ll see some deluxe reissues of the back catalogue – we can but hope!
One thing you’ve learned
Big Big Train member David Longdon made it to the last two in the search for a vocalist to replace Phil Collins, before finally losing out to Ray Wilson.