Part 1 - In The Beginning

All began at Chaterhouse School. This was where: Tony Banks, Peter Gabriel, Mike Rutherford and Anthony Phillips all went to school.Music for them at that point was just jamming a bit together: Peter with Tony and Mike with Ant. Then they formed their own rival bands, Peter and Tony's was called "Garden Wall", which had a jazzy sound; whereas Mike and Ant's was "The Anon", with a more rockier sound. Then the four joined together and recorded a demo album. Peter gave the demo to Jonathan King, as producer, who loved it.

The name "Genesis" was originally given to a group of five young men in the late 1960s. By 1969, after the release of two singles, Chris Stewart was replaced by drummer John Silver, and the band released their first album From Genesis to Revelation

Though they'd kicked around a few names for the band, by the time they found themselves recording this first album, the group still had not decided on one. Their producer, Jonathan King, dubbed them "Genesis," as they were the first band he'd ever produced.

From Genesis to Revelation was released in 1969. It was a commercial flop. Because of their inexperience, the band themselves were not very involved in the process of the album's production, and, as a result, found many of the songs on it did not come out as they had intended. The album's original cover was pure black, and featured no artist name, only the album's title. As such, many record stores mistakenly put it in the religious music section.

Genesis then switched record companies. Their new managers spent a great deal more energy prompted them, and Genesis found themselves lucky enough to spend the next 1-2 years honing their skills with a great deal of live performances.

Their second album, Trespass was released in 1971. This album was a considerably more formidable one. It contained "The Knife," the first Genesis "anthem" song, which was played at the conclusion of most live shows in the years that followed.

For the album and the tours that followed, the band utilized John Mayhew as drummer. During the Trespass tours, guitarist Ant Phillips began experiencing extreme bouts of stage freight which were effecting his health, and was eventually advised by a doctor to leave the group. Genesis was now auditioning for a new guitarist, and, at the same time, for a new drummer who would better match the playing acumen of the other band members.
Album released : Trespass

 Part II: When They Were Five
With their two new members, Genesis went on to release their third album, Nursery Cryme in late 1971. This was the first of their albums to see a nice amount of commercial success. It entered the top 20 in Italy, and thus forged a special relationship between Genesis and their Italian fans which has lasted to this day.

During one of the performances in the Nursery Cryme tours, Peter Gabriel attempted a stage dive and broke his leg. While recovering from this, he began writing Genesis' most ambitious project to date, "Supper's Ready," a 23-minute masterpiece which occupies the entire second side of their fourth album, 1972's Foxtrot. About this time, Peter also began the habit of dressing up in costumes ("Dressing up in costumes/Playing silly games/Hiding out in treetops/Shouting out rude names!" Peter Gabriel, "Games Without Frontiers", 1980) during Genesis live shows, and telling mysterious stories and narratives between songs. This won Genesis a great deal of press.

Foxtrot was quickly followed up by 1973's 'Live', Genesis' first live album and the only one officially released with Gabriel at the helm. Later that same year, Genesis released Selling England by the Pound, their artistically most ambitious work to date. It contained songs like "I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)" and "Firth of Fifth" which remain popular enough today to have had portions of them performed during Genesis' 1992 tour.

The culmination of the original Genesis came in 1974 with the release of the surrealistic two-disc concept album 'The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway'. The Lamb was a continuous story which tracked the adventures of Rael, a striving graffiti artist, through a psychadelic underworld in a journey of self discovery. It was an extremely abstract work.

In order to play Rael on stage, Peter Gabriel rendered himself into a much more "normal" look than the one which he'd become used to over the previous years. The band now looked like this:

During the production of 'The Lamb', Peter Gabriel's first daughter was born, and, originally, some questions were raised as to her health and chances of survival. The stress of coping with this uncertainty, combined with the stress of the ambitious musical project and a number of other factors, brought about Gabriel's decision to leave Genesis at the conclusion of the Lamb tours.

Album Released :

 Part III: After Peter Left The Group

With Gabriel gone, Genesis began looking for a new singer. They found him within their midst. Drummer Phil Collins stepped to the front and became the new singer. In the studio, Genesis was now reduced to four people.

They released their first album without Peter, 'A Trick of the Tail', in 1976. Though it did not in any way compare to The Lamb, their last album with Gabriel, which most dedicated fans still hold to have been their best album, it did maintain a progressive and experimental sound and featured a number of extraordinary songs. "Dance on a Volcano," for instance, was featured in Genesis' 1992 concert in the same medley as "Firth of Fifth" and "I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)" from Selling England by the Pound (see part II: The Glory Years).

Later that same year, Genesis also released their second album without Gabriel, 'Wind and Wuthering' It, too, maintained a progressive and innovative sound and included some uniquely styled guitar work by Hackett on "Blood on the Rooftops." "Afterglow," another track from 'Wind' would prove to be another favorite later on when performed live.

'Wind and Wuthering' was in fact followed by a large string of live performances. Without the benefit of studio recording equipment, Phil Collins was unable to both play the drums and sing on most more complicated songs. After brief experiments with 'Yes' drummer Bill Bruford, 'Weather Report' drummer Chester Thompson became Phil's supplement during live shows.

The live performances which took place at this time are the source for the material which ended up on 1977's
'Seconds Out', the live double album.

After these group of tours, Steve Hackett left the group, supposedly because of musical disagreenments with Tony Banks. Mike Rutherford took over his role, playing both guitars and basses within the studio. To accomodate Mike during live shows, guitarist Darryl Struermer was hired to perform Steve's parts during performances of older songs and the bass parts in newer songs.

Now reduced to a trio in the studio, later in '78 Genesis released 'And Then There Were Three'. This album was, for the most part, quite progressive. Its sound differed significantly from that of the previous two, however. With Hackett gone, Banks began making much more extensive use of synthesizers and Collins began taking a more extensive part in the writing of song lyrics. The last track on the album, "Follow You Follow Me," became Genesis' first top 20 hit in the US. It was at the time an unusually poppy sounding song for Genesis, and, along with "Many Too Many," another song on the album, comprised the beginning of another new path for the band: romantic songs.

Album released :

Part IV: And Then They Were Three (Pop Music)

Phil's growing involvement with Genesis in the late 70s caused stress within his personal life and the decade ended for him with his first divorce. To give him time to recooperate without hurting the band, Tony and Mike decided to pursue solo projects. This led to the creation of Tony's A Curious Feeling and Mike's Smallcreep's Day. Tony's solo career developed into a successful career of film scoring. Mike has formed a second band, Mike and the Mechanics who have since had such hits as "The Living Years" and "Silent Running".

Having settled his personal life, Phil found his band members firmly engaged in their work. As such, he began work on his own first solo album, Face Value, which started with the mega-hit "In the Air Tonight."

1980's 'Duke' was a clear demonstration that Genesis had opened a new leaf, and was now a commercially oriented pop band. It featured such hit singles as "Misunderstanding" and "Turn It On Again." A series of attacks by previously dedicated fans who felt that Genesis had "sold out" followed. Nevertheless, every single album since then has continued to have its progressive aspect. Alongside songs like "Misunderstanding" and "Turn It On Again," there have always been such progressive songs as "Cul-de-Sac" and "Man of Our Times."

1981's 'ABACAB' (the name is the name of the title song and corresponds to the sequencing of the different pieces of music which comprised an earlier version of the song) united Genesis with producer Hugh Padgham, who had previously workd with The Police, and who pushed the band further into the direction of pop music. Nevertheless, among poppy songs like "No Reply At All," Genesis continued to include songs like "Dodo," which featured' Banks' trademark churning synthesizer melodies and some extremely unusual lyrical work.

1982 saw the release of another live double album, 'Three Sides Live'. The original US releases of 'Three Sides Live' also included a fourth, non-live side with songs left over from the previous few albums. European versions of the album had several additional live tracks instead of these on the fourth side. The remastered version of 'Three Sides Live' now predominantly available in the US has the same tracks as the original European version. The five additional tracks on the original release, "Paperlate," "You Might Recall," "Me and Virgil," "Evidence of Autumn," and "Open Door" are now, to some degree, rarities.

In 1983, Genesis finally released a 'Genesis' self entitled album. With this album, Genesis began a new writing technique. Instead of coming to the studio with prepared material to work on, they now arrived at the studio and simply sat down to improvise and later decided on combinations of musical pieces to be put together and the lyrics to go with them. This produced "Home by the Sea," a 10+ minute long, synthesizer intensive creation of Tony's which related the story of a thief who, upon entering a beachfront home, finds himself trapped inside a haunted house.

1986 saw the release of 'Invisible Touch' and gave Genesis their first American #1 single, 'Invisible Touch' (the album's title song), 17 years after the release of their first album. It also featured Domino, another long and creative project of Tony's which included vivid lyrics and complex synthesizer melodies. With the solo careers of all three band members growing steadily by this time, 5 years were to follow with no new release from Genesis as a group.

Late 1991 saw the release of a new Genesis studio album, 'We Can't Dance'. It contained several new hit songs. "No Son of Mine," "Jesus He Knows Me," and, of course, "I Can't Dance," which became Genesis' latest "anthem" song.

A comparison of "I Can't Dance" with "The Knife," Genesis' first "anthem," (see Part I: Before Phil) can bring about a rather intensive appreciation for the changes Genesis has gone through. Here is what the Genesis of the 90s looked like:

1992 and early 1993 saw the releases of 'Genesis Live: The Shorts' and 'Genesis Live: The Longs', two albums covering the series of tours which followed 'We Can't Dance'.
In Mid 1995, rumors began to surface of trouble between Phil Collins and his second wife. They soon after divorced. Shortly after this, Phil left the group.
Album Released :

Part IV:Phil Gone and They Still Continue

In September of 1997, Genesis released their most recent album, 'Calling All Stations'. On this album, Phil Collins was replaced by new vocalist Ray Wilson, formerly of the European grunge band Stilskin, and drummers Nir Z and Nick D'Virgilio. This album had a much darker sound than the Collins-era Genesis material and included such songs as "Congo" and "The Dividing Line." The album's official web site is here.

Genesis followed this album with a short tour. To the dismay of many American fans, the American leg of the tour was
cancelled due to the poor sales of the new record in the states.

On June 16th, 1998, Genesis released a 4 CD box set entitled The Genesis Archive, Volume I: 1967-75. This box
set featured a complete recording of a live performance of The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway album, as well as a number of other previously unreleased live performances and early studio demos. The box set's official web site is here.

Album Released :

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