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THE BEST TEN GENESIS ALBUMS – WHAT ARE THEY?

Near the beginning of what was, and is, a hobby, as a naïve music reviewer (for which I have never been paid), I was a member of the Rotherham based Classic Rock Society. I decided to conduct a survey, published as “Favourite All Time Progressive Rock Albums” in 1998. I canvassed 100 people, including Mike Stobbie of Pallas, Tim Bowness, Ken Senior, Martin Hudson, Roine Stolt, and Arena. It didn’t really surprise me that Genesis had the most entries. “Selling England by the Pound”, “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway”, “Foxtrot” and “A Trick of the Tail” all made the top 10, “Wind and Wuthering” made the top 20, and Genesis solo in the form of STEVE HACKETT with “Spectral Mornings” made the top 30. Others to appear were “Nursery Cryme”, “Seconds Out”, other GENESIS offshoots MIKE RUTHERFORD’s “Smallcreep’s Day” and TONY BANKS’s “A Curious Feeling” also made the list. It was a long time ago and I don’t pay an awful lot of attention to polls and surveys these days. So, excluding live albums, and twenty-five years, I think it is high time I had my say, so (much as I hate ordering albums, here goes):


1 FOXTROT (1972): Watcher of the Skies/ Timetable, Get ‘em Out by Friday/ Can-Utility and the Coastliners/ Horizons/ Super’s Ready: From the melodramatic adagio mellotron introduction to Watcher of the Skies to the final 23-minute masterpiece Supper’s Ready this was GENESIS’s breakthrough album, both musically and commercially,

2 NURSERY CRYME (1971): The Musical Box/ For Absent Friends/ The Return of the Giant Hogweed/ Seven Stones/ Harold the Barrel/ Harlequin/ The Fountain of Salmacis: Genesis was in confident form after a year on the road, with a typically allegorical PETER GABRIEL song that ends with the victim of Cynthia’s overzealous croquet playing (Henry) emerging from the musical box to plead “Why don’t you touch me?”, one of the most moving moments in rock history. ‘Hogweed’ is another epic about a rampaging plant threatening the human race, its raucous conclusion easily mistaken for VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR. Should be a joint #1 really.

3 SELLING ENGLAND BY THE POUND (1973): Dancing with the Moonlit Knight/ I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)/ Firth of Fifth/ More Fool Me/ The Battle of Epping Forest/ After the Ordeal/ The Cinema Show/ Aisle of Plenty: STEVE HACKETT’s description of “surreal with scattered references” seems apt, with a big hit and all-time classic in ‘I Know What I Like; ‘Firth of Fifth’ and ‘Cinema Show’ would become live staples.

4 A TRICK OF THE TAIL (1976): After the somewhat divisive “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway”, this album broke Genesis to an even wider audience, with its balance of soft, romantic acoustic moments (Entangled and Ripples), enduring classics like Dance on a Volcano and Los Endos, and Phil Collins (almost) reprising his childhood role in “Oliver” on Robbery, Assault and Battery.

5 THE LAMB LIES DOWN ON BROADWAY (1974): An ambitious concept double album, Rael is half Puerto Rican/ New York ‘punk’ and a figment of PETER GABRIEL’s imagination. It had some brilliant moments, but STEVE HACKETT’s role was comparatively minimal. Carpet Crawl was a stand-out.

6 WIND AND WUTHERING (1977)

7 TRESPASS (1970)

8 AND THEN THERE WERE THREE (1978)

and, finally two brilliant GENESIS ‘offshoot’ albums: STEVE HACKETT - SPECTRAL MORNINGS and ANTHONY PHILLIPS – WISE AFTER THE EVENT

 

These are the ten I would take to the proverbial desert island. Along with Hackett’s ‘Shadow of the Hierophant’. I haven't included live albums, but SECONDS OUT would be a definite desert island disc.


Now what have I missed? Please use 'Comments' box or contact me at phil7jackson@outlook.com



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Guest
Dec 12, 2023

It does depend on my mood at the time but I do have huge A1 size framed print of the Lamb cover on my living room wall so I guess that edges it. Almost too many inventive musical and lyrical ideas jammed onto 2 discs when 5 were needed. On the 'related' front a parallel top ten (that isn't really) is Gabriel 3 and 4; Rutherford 'Smallcreep's Day'; Banks 'A Curious Feeling'; Hackett 'Guitar Noir', 'Darktown', 'Defector'; Phillips 'Private Parts and Pieces II, III and IV', and Phil Collins 'Face Value' placed randomly in a line depending on how you feel at the time (Also for Collins 'Moroccan Roll' and 'Unorthodox Behaviour' with Brand X if side-side projects count!). …

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Guest
Dec 12, 2023
Replying to

Interesting choices, especially the Brand X and the two excellent albums you picked out. Thanks for contributing.

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