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50 Reviews
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great memoir, but also a missed opportunity
For dyed-in-the-wool Genesis fans this book is a must-read: the first memoir by one of only two of the band's members who've been there since the very beginning. However, for the casual Genesis or Mike + The Mechanics fan, there really isn't much which hasn't been dealt with in more depth in other biographies. As a genre, the autobiography tends to succeed depending on...
Published 6 months ago by Chris James

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but sketchy, examination of generational differences
Being a huge fan of Genesis I read this book very quickly. Whilst I found the parallels of Mike's life with that of his father an interesting and at times moving chronicle, I would have liked more detail and reflection on his musical career. Whilst the early Genesis career is covered in some detail, there are still gaps in the story. The later career is glossed over...
Published 6 months ago by Steven Aldous


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3.0 out of 5 stars A good read., 15 July 2014
This review is from: The Living Years (Hardcover)
A good read - to say the least. He is honest and clear in his memories of the main events of his [and the band's] life and fortunes. I can't say it enhanced my enjoyment of the music as I don't quite agree with his evaluations of some of my favourite recordings. It's illuminating to read his views though; he's contributed hugely to that great band and deserves everything he's achieved.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Genesis from the inside, 1 July 2014
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This review is from: The Living Years (Hardcover)
If you like Genesis you will like this book.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Feedback, 3 Jun 2014
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This review is from: The Living Years (Kindle Edition)
Enjoyed the connection and parallels with his fathers life,interested in his early and educational memories which were well penned, intrigued by genesis start up, but felt like writer got bogged down in middle section of book.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Hmmmm, 2 Jun 2014
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This review is from: The Living Years (Kindle Edition)
Really liked the idea of the parallel story but this seems to get a bit forgotten part way through. Its a good read but it can't make up its mind if its for fans or general reading
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Living Years, 21 May 2014
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J. Radley (U K) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Living Years (Hardcover)
Had been taken to see Mike Rutherford in concert and it was a nice thank you gift for the person who took me.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Trick Of The Tale, 30 April 2014
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This review is from: The Living Years (Paperback)
I bought this book for my husbands birthday, so over to him.
This is a must for all Genesis/Mike and the Mechanics fans. Well written, it gives you a real insight into the world of Mike Rutherford. From childhood to date it shows what an influence Mikes father had on him but not just an influence also parental backing that maybe you would not expect given his navel background.
A thoroughly enjoyable read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A very original approach, 23 April 2014
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This review is from: The Living Years (Kindle Edition)
This is an excellent autobiography, not dwelling like so many on personal grandeur but revealing the human side of what is actually a fairly remarkable story. Well written, humorous and providing interesting extra details of the rise of one of the worlds great music acts, this is a truly enjoyable read. Mike Rutherford writes very well.
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5.0 out of 5 stars very interesting., 20 April 2014
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This review is from: The Living Years (Hardcover)
thoroughly enjoyable book. learnt loads of facts.if like me you liked mike and the macanics this makes for a great read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good read, 19 April 2014
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Bacchus (Greater London - Surrey) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Living Years (Hardcover)
Mike Rutherford is the only rock star I have ever met. At the time (over 25 years ago), I was working in a record shop in Guildford and sold a few CDs to him. I was in possession of one Genesis record (a single recorded in 1978) and was not really a fan so I wasn't particularly overawed by meeting him although it was odd to talk to someone for whom Genesis was a we rather than a they. Anyway, he didn't seem particularly awe inspiring: just an ordinary bloke doing a bit of shopping with his wife who was more interested in buying clothes at Guildford's newly opened Gap store than talking about recordings.

Since then, I have acquired most of Genesis' studio output and listened to the recordings alongside reading this book. It is a fairly slim volume that possibly does not tell fans of Genesis anything about the group wouldn't already know. However, quite a bit of it was new to me.

What the book does do is show how a self confessedly repressed public schoolboy became a rock musician and gradually become less buttoned up. It also gives an intimate portrayal of a touring band with its creative processes.and group dynamics.

I regret now that I never saw Genesis live. I remember it odd that the band who had headlined at Knebworth would come and perform in the Embassy theatre in Peterborough in 1980. Many of my school-friends went along to see them but I went to a pub and listened to a Reggae band that evening instead. That particular tour is mentioned in the book as an act of thanks to fans who had supported them over the previous decade. Over the next decade, they were destined to be absolutely huge.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Acting Very Proper, 12 April 2014
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This review is from: The Living Years (Hardcover)
For a man with such a long and varied career, his autobiography looked ridiculously short when I first set eyes on it. However, Mike Rutherford writes concisely and, for the most part, without unnecessary padding or gossip. He delivers the facts without embellishment as he guides us through his life and work.

As others have said, it does occasionally feel quite wooden, as Mike himself can often appear in interviews. This, combined with his tendency to leap around in time and space with each subsequent chapter makes for a slightly jilted reading experience. The book also reveals what Rutherford himself considers to be the most interesting and important parts of his career which may not always match up to the readers opinions. As such, some topics have whole chapters dedicated to them while others, including some major events in the Genesis timeline that the reader may be fascinated by, are dismissed in a sentence or less. This however, is the nature of autobiography and we see Mike Rutherford's life through his own eyes.

In terms of what is actually dealt with in the book, fans of Genesis, Mike + the Mechanics, and even his solo work shouldn't be disappointed. Every album is addressed and each member of Genesis and M+tM are referenced and described. This makes for some very interesting revelations about Peter Gabriel about whom Mike Rutherford is very complimentary and Tony Banks of whom Rutherford paints a less flattering picture. We are given a backstage pass to some of the more bizarre incidents of his career (the aforementioned Peter Gabriel leaping from a stage, breaking his leg, and being forced to finish a show anyway being just one) and get an idea of the friendships that have been made (and broken) during several decades of his career.

It's a fascinating read as getting into the mind of a musical legend is always an enjoyable experience and no other member of Genesis has written an autobiography but to be honest, it doesn't quite satisfy. Much more could have been written. Obviously, what Mike Rutherford wants to divulge is his own business but this doesn't feel like a book worth of material.

For those looking for a book that really sinks it's teeth into Genesis and their work written (spoken) by the band themselves, I would recommend Genesis: Chapter & Verse which tells the story of the band in there own words.

I would also recommends Spencer Bright's biography of Peter Gabriel which is slightly dated now but very good.

There is also a decent Phil Collins biography available which claims to be definitive but is very dated now.
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The Living Years
The Living Years by Mike Rutherford (Hardcover - 23 Jan 2014)
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