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Genesis - Before Or After Gabriel (or Hackett for that matter)?

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Initial post: 28 Sep 2008 20:39:41 BDT
Number Six says:
I'm the former.

Trespass, Nursery Cryme, Foxtrot, Selling England By The Pound and The Lamb were all brilliantly eccentric examples of something very English, as well as musically groundbreaking in their day. Trick Of The Tail also qualifies, although Wind and Wuthering clearly showed them running out of steam.

I reckon they should have knocked it on the head then and there (or at least after Seconds Out), before atrocities like Then There Were Three and Duke were ever spawned.
After listening to them since '71, I finally saw them on the Abacab (another contrived piece of drivel) tour @ Wembley and walked out it was so appalling. Once cuddly uncle Phil got into his routine , it ended up like a ruddy kid's matinee.

They never should have let that flamin' barrow boy take control and turn them into US arena 'rockers', but I s'pose it made them millions so why should they care? All I know is I DO!
To think that a whole generation grew up only knowing the crap they pumped out on MTV, not the delights of Watcher of the Skies, Get 'Em Out By Friday, Firth Of Fifth, The Musical Box, The Knife, Supper's Ready etc ad nauseam.
Any thoughts?
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In reply to an earlier post on 28 Sep 2008 21:34:44 BDT
GPI says:
Before AND after. Even after Hackett left they still produced some original and creative music I like. As examples, Duchess from Duke, Snowbound from ATTWT, still sound good to me. What would have been the point of producing The Musical Box part II for the rest of their careers? Come on, even Gabriel got bored with his own stuff and had to do something completely different.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Sep 2008 22:05:26 BDT
K. O'Leary says:
Always thought that Hackett leaving was the begining of the end. "Then there were three" is actually pretty good, but I remember my mate rushing out to buy "Duke" the second it hit the shelves. For starters we hated the cover, but when we heard what was on it we both sat open mouthed in horror. I don't really mind the guys wanting to make a little (!) money, but I would have rather they changed their name to "Phil's beat-box three" or similar. They are pretty classy for a pop outfit, it's just not my kind of music.

What I want to know is the real reason for Hackett leaving. The material on his solo albums (the first four in particular) is stonking; so did he keep these to himself and only showed the other guys his "seconds" or did they really hear this stuff and throw it out?

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Sep 2008 22:36:51 BDT
Last edited by the author on 28 Sep 2008 22:39:03 BDT
Yes indeed - this is something you cannot afford to get wrong - there was this incredible entity known as 'Early Genesis' the like of which has never been heard of before or since. I remember reading a comment Robert Fripp made justifying renaming his latest line-up whenever it was 'King Crimson' again - he actually said that he saw this entity beside the side of the road as he was driving called 'King Crimson' who had its own life and demanded it's return (something like that) This is how I think of 'Early Genesis' - a self contained Entity of Genius that was far greater than the sum of it's parts and that found it's purest expression with the 'Trespass' Album, it's Biblical expression with 'Foxtrot', was pretty damn good with the first of the two 'Lamb' LPs and then lost it when Gabriel left (though I was blindsided by the rather good 'Trick of the Tail') - but I don't say that Gabriel was the Main Man - Tony Banks had a wondrous varied palette of keyboard sound prior to Gabriel leaving but Banks became samey, Collins sounded like a girl when he was singing, Rutherford was an ace bassist but couldn't hold a fig to Hackett as Guitarist - but, OK, I think losing the strong and peculiar voice of Gabriel started the rot - though I honestly think he stalled after his first solo album too. They none of them knowed what Genius they was a part of and subject to(except Hackett, judging by his retrospective remarks)

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Sep 2008 00:17:41 BDT
Last edited by the author on 29 Sep 2008 00:45:11 BDT
Number Six says:
@ Gary Izzard. I agree, trading on old glories would have been an awful prospect, but I said knock it on the head, or at least change the name as K O'Leary suggests. If I'm absolutely honest, there are some good bits on the Shapes album (nt the singles, mind) and Man Of Our Times on Duke isn't bad, but it ain't Genesis!
You're quite right, Mr Reid-Brown, Collins' voice is far too weedy to do justice to the early greats and it was only that fact that they couldn't find anyone else to replace Gabriel that he got the job (although Rutherford could have done the job even better, check out his voice on solo album Acting Very Strange).
The reason for Hackett's departure was that the rest of the band wasn't open to recording more on his material, prefering to chose tracks to record 'on merit' (?) not on a quota. His sole credit on W&W was co-writer with Collins on Blood On The Rooftops, arguably the best music on the album, so he bu**ered off and went solo after the tour. Once he was gone, the nature of the beast was changed forever, and the name should have been too (PMT, anyone?). I'm all for bands trying to re-invent and re-invigorate themselves, Yes managed it after a fashion, as did Crimson and the Floyd, and Purple and Sabbath at least twice each, all with varying degrees of success. But as you say Guy, Genesis was a unique entity, very much of its time and once the original chemistry was lost, the name should have been allowed to rest , not turned into a corporate cash cow.
Ironically, it's Steve Hackett who has kept the original flame burning. I know many people were deeply suspicious of the Revisited album, but I rather enjy it! In a way, I'm glad the proposed reunion didn't happen, the very idea of Collins trying to drum like a 25 year old again is too disturbing to contemplate..............

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Sep 2008 07:40:35 BDT
Cartimand says:
Couldn't agree more, zombie woof. Nursery Cryme was the first album that got me into Genesis. Wonderfully evocative and a quintessentially English prog rock sound. All the others from the Gabriel era (leaving out the rather naive Genesis to Revelations for now) were classics. Trick of the Tail was OK, but the Collins influence grew ever stronger and this once great rock back morphed hideously into yet another peddler of disposable pap muzak.

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Sep 2008 14:45:38 BDT
Thank you Cartimand - I didn't mention the marvellously evocative 'Nursery Cryme' but I should have - though Tony Banks said it wasn't an advance on 'Trespass' and I think that is probably true. I listened to the v. early 'Genesis to Revelation' again recently - I actually think there is a lot of strong songwriting, lovely tunes and harmonies and so forth on it. Much prefer it to the later contrived poppiness of something like 'Misunderstanding' (with the wonderfully ironic refrain 'there must have been some kind of mistake.')
I don't think one should be too hard on them for wanting to earn some dosh though - it is very sobering to read about how they spent years touring in grotty conditions etc, all for the integrity of the music.
They could have done a name change though, but keeping the 'name' element - like Jefferson Airplane/Starship. Maybe Genesis AD or something.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Oct 2008 00:43:45 BDT
Dan Glaser says:
Zombie woof - I salute you sir! Twice in fact. A person after my own heart as far as Genesis is concerned. The debate rages on and will no doubt continue to do so for some time to come about the Phil Collins on lead vocals era. (To quote you, 'Ruddy kid's matinee' - I agree wholeheartedly). He is/was a great drummer and that's where he should have stayed - behind the drum kit. The whole thing became farcical as he tried to step into Peter Gabriel's shoes with his pathetic narrative between songs during their tours. That's not to say there isn't some merit (artistic or otherwise) in the music of latter day Genesis, but for heaven's sake they could have amended the name (to say The New Beginning... or some such). Anyway in my humble opinion, the group started to fail even while PG was still there, circa The Lamb. (It could have and should have been a single album). But for me, Foxtrot (as English as Big Ben, Fish and Chips and Sunday cricket), is probably one of the greatest albums of all time.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Oct 2008 04:10:44 BDT
I. Walker says:
I like both sides to Genesis personally. I grew up with Genesis when Phil Collins was on vocals but I tracked back and discovered amazing albums such as Foxtrot and Nursery Cryme.

The last Genesis album, Calling All Stations, with Ray Wilson on vocals, is arguably a return to 'the classic Genesis sound'. It is worth a listen.

Take care.


In reply to an earlier post on 2 Oct 2008 14:30:40 BDT
I went off them about 1981. Although I realised that they had to move on Genesis for me went downhill as soon as Phil Collins realised they could still dovetail with his horrific solo career. Any one who bought his solo stuff tended to buy later Genesis records and thus helped nurture a two-headed yuppie-friendly monstrosity.

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Oct 2008 12:57:26 BDT
J. Hextall says:
I got into Genesis through Seconds Out, a kind of greatest hits of the Gabriel years, sung by Phil Collins. It was pretty good. The older records seemed better with some incredibly beautiful songs on, although the recording and pressing quality was not as good. The more recent albums have been pretty bland. I like Peter Gabriel's solo records although they got a bit samey by the time of So, and I like Phil Collins first solo album, Face Value, especially his version of Tomorrow Never Knows. I don't know his more recent records as I have kind of not been inspired enough to buy them... Although I did like his big band at Nelson Mandela's birthday some years back.

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Oct 2008 08:25:30 BDT
Tommy says:
My little opinion is, Genesis never

Sorry ;-))

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Oct 2008 22:31:53 BDT
FDJ says:
The Gabriel era was Genesis at their Progtastic best.After Peter left they became Phil Collins backing band.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Nov 2008 23:20:40 GMT
I first got in to rock when the likes of Hawkwind/Genesis, etc, hit the scene. My love of Hawkwind has endured, the endless line-up changes have added to the longevity of an institution. Genesis, however, were a far superior band with Gabriel at the helm. First time I saw them live they were truly haunting, rock theatre at it's best. Genesis post Gabriel were awful.

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Nov 2008 12:13:18 GMT
MC Zaptone says:
From Genesis to Revelation was a good folky pop album, Trespass, Nursery Cryme, and Foxtrot were works of Genuis. I saw them 7 times during that period. I think if they had quit
there and then or something tragic had occurred we would be talking about them in the hushed tones of reverence for something quite unique and beautiful.
Instead they just slipped into laughable irrelevance.

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Nov 2008 23:21:12 GMT
Well, no surprises here, the post Gabriel stuff is rarely lauded. And mostly the comments are justified. Though for me, whilst mainly agreeing, my favourite Genesis album is Trick Of The Tail. It`s after Hackett left that it all started to go badly wrong. I could listen up to and including Duke, but after that, no more. When the solo Collins stuff sounded like the latest Genesis album, enough was enough. I too saw the recent tour ( though on DVD) and was not disappointed merely as I knew what to expect eg not much. Compare that to the first time I saw the band in 1972 when my I was blown away. I just think what a waste of talent.
By the way, I totally agree about Rutherford`s guitar playing. On recent tours they have a far better guitarist who ends up mostly playing bass!

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Nov 2008 23:32:42 GMT
pikeyboy says:
All you need to know about Phil Collins and Genesis can be found in the novel 'American Psycho' by Jay MacInnery.

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Nov 2008 23:50:46 GMT
This discussion of the merits of Genesis pre- and post-Gabriel has sparked several conclusions in my own mind.

Firstly, that the Gabriel years contained some of the most wonderful music in history - a lovely marriage of progressive aesthetics with the tradition of English pastoral going back to the English folksong revival of Cecil Sharp, Vaughan Williams and Holst, but also taking in more contemporary influences such as the Canterbury scene.

Secondly, I get slightly irritated, however, with the received wisdom of the pecking order of the Gabriel-era albums. For me, Foxtrot has always been a deeply problematic album, and my love of this music has always been based on Selling England..., Nursery Cryme and The Lamb. In a similar fashion, I can never understand why VdGG fans plump for Pawn Hearts at the best album. Sure Man-Erg is the greatest track the band ever made, but Lemmings was ropy, and whilst Lighthousekeepers contains some great moments, it doesn't work for me as a whole (I digress).

Thirdly, the greatness continued with A Trick... Wind and Wuthering starts off wonderfully well with Eleventh Earl... and One for the Vine, but declines in quality after that.

Fourthly, It may not be a case of getting progressively worse. I think Duke was considerably better than the terribly dull And Then There Were Three.

Fifthly, I think the Buster Bashing may have gone a bit far. Collins' voice is well suited to a particular kind of song, and I think he produced some good quality pop songs in the eighties. Having said that, I cannot listen to the albums from Abacab onwards without cringing at most of the content. Overall, Gabriel had a much better eighties, and though So was too commercial for me, Security was a great album.

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Nov 2008 23:56:03 GMT
pikeyboy says:
Honestly, for your own sake, you need to get out more....

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Nov 2008 21:44:43 GMT
Last edited by the author on 7 Nov 2008 22:09:39 GMT
R. Pievaitis says:
without a shadow of doubt the real genesis has to include gabriel and hackett.
for those youngsters out there who seem to think genesis represent short pop songs like "mamma " etc etc you HAVE TO BE JOKING.
when hackett left for "and then there were three",the group should have renamed( mind you that applies to a lot of bands who should have done the same e.g. purple many times ,rainbow,sabbath,queen,led zep with miles kennedy ?what is going on there !!!!)yes,etc etc etc
genesis stood for quality songs, brilliant musicianship,whimsical themes,a certain penchant for the obscure,no mainstream greed.
i am not normally inclined to express such strong opinions but this one really does need spelling out.
the only exception to this is A TRICK OF THE TALE.
as for PIKEYBOY above who needs to get out more ?at least i don,t waste time leaving such a stupid comment as that ! add to the discussion or don,t bother.

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Nov 2008 17:25:25 GMT
Last edited by the author on 16 Nov 2008 20:19:27 GMT
Red Mosquito says:
Two completely different bands in my opinion. ' Lamb Lies Down' was the last Genesis album. After that, they should have done the decent thing and changed their name. ' Trick of the Tail ' clearly had some of Gabriel's influence but with the housewives choice at the helm the four minute singles were inevitable.

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Nov 2008 18:18:59 GMT
Just noticed this thread while answering the same question to RW Fletcher.

Missed live Gabriel, but did enjoy the Wind and Wuthering tour. ATTWT tour was poor. Stuermer no match for Hackett.

Read "Chapter and Verse" last Xmas, and, as far as rock biogs go, it was good reading - filled in a lot of the blanks as far as band politics go. Hackett was always an outsider - he thought so, and so did they. The pairings of Banks/Gabriel and Banks/Rutherford shifted noticeably, but Banks was clearly the engine of the group.

Nursery Cryme makes me cringe. I was given Platinum for my birthday (not really a fan of such compilations, but there you go..."just what I always wanted") and hearing again the theatrical lyrics of the early albums, and the lack of musical polish justified my decision to give them away. I have sentimental reasons (getting married - having children) for liking Shapes (I love That's All, Silver Rainbow and Home by the Sea) and We Can't Dance (Since I Lost You and Fading Lights) but their middle period was ropey.

That leaves the great 4 - Foxtrot (don't really like side one, but Supper's Ready is wonderful) - Selling England - love it all; no duff track - perhaps their best - The Lamb - dark, rocky (the whole first side, plus Back in NYC is splendid, with Rutherford at his best) - and Trick, with superlative playing that's never been matched, especially Los Endos.

Have I answered the question?

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Dec 2008 21:46:37 GMT
There is no doubt in my mind that the Genesis sound was a product of Steve Hackett. The 'Then There Were Three' album sounds like the dying embers of Steve Hackett's influence, almost as if the remaining three were recording songs written by the previous four. After that album, the Genesis sound died. The Phil Collins band appeared under the name of Genesis and, unfortunately, everyone mourned the end of the Gabriel era. This ignored the tremendous influence of Hackett and turned the entire debate into a Gabriel versus Collins grudge match. Trick of the Tail and Wind and Wuthering become two albums stuck in limbo - neither Gabriel's nor entirely Collins' but definitely Hackett's. Genesis could return tomorrow, with the old sound but without Gabriel or Collins, but without Hackett, the unique Genesis that so many people here are talking about, simply would not exist.

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Dec 2008 23:13:47 GMT
Martin says:
Indeed, didn't The Bald One himself release an album called 'No Hackett Required' some time in the abominable mid-80s? Case well and truly rested, I should say.

Posted on 9 Mar 2009 09:54:34 GMT
I like both Gabrial and Collins until Wind & Wuthering. Then the great Hackett left, forced out by Banks' childishness, and Genesis died. They are unlistenable after .....And then there were three. Rutherford playing guitar......ha ha ha.
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Discussion in:  rock discussion forum
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Initial post:  28 Sep 2008
Latest post:  5 Apr 2009

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