Saturday, June 8, 2013

Genesis--The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (1974)

     The story of Genesis is truly one of two different bands, which made if difficult to choose which one of those incarnations to write about. So to be fair, I am writing about the Peter Gabriel era group today, and the Phil Collins era group tomorrow.
     The story begins in 1967 with schoolmates Peter Gabriel and Tony Banks. The other members drawn from bands which came from other schools included Mike Rutherford, Anthony Phillips, and Chris Stewart. Their original intention was to become a songwriting cooperative, however in 1968,  songwriter Jonathan King, who was an alum of the same school as Gabriel and Banks, heard the band at a gig at the school and was impressed enough by what he heard to help get them signed to a recording contract. The resulting album, "From Genesis to Revelation" in 1969 didn't sell well (didn't sound much like what we know as Genesis either), but King continued to encourage the band to go off on their own rather than write for others.
     During the recording of that first album, drummer Stewart was replaced by John Silver. Silver was replaced before the recording of the second album by John Mayhew. The subsequent album, "Trespass" still showed a band in development, but on hearing it again now, showed the template for what was to become the classic 70's era Genesis sound.
     After that release Phillips chose to leave the band due to ill health. Mayhew was also released and replaced with Phil Collins. The guitarist spot was filled first by Mick Barnard then Steve Hackett in the fall of 1970. Thus began a streak of top albums by the five men. "Nursery Cryme" (1971), "Foxtrot" (1972), "Selling England by the Pound" (1973), and "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" (1974).
     "Lamb" in particular was a massive two album set describing the spiritual story of Rael, a Puerto Rican youth living in New York City. The stage production in concert was as sprawling as the album, but it was a huge success for the band critically and in terms of sales. However, Gabriel was showing continues dissatisfaction with the band. He was not only feeling pigeonholed musically, but also felt the band members showed disinterest and callousness towards the difficult birth of his daughter and the need to be home with her and his wife. This led to him announcing that he was to leave after the "Broadway" tour. The band members were aware of this prior to the tour.
     Despite this, the tour was a massive success, and Gabriel and the band he helped create went their separate ways. This could spell disaster for many groups, but this was one instance where leaving not only was very successful for the man leaving for the solo career, but shot Genesis off into a totally different direction which no one could have predicted.


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