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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New to Genesis? Start Here!
Genesis are on record as saying that they feel they have never produced a definitive album. Maybe, but 'Selling England' is as close as they get. This is their 'Dark Side of the Moon'.
All the elements of Genesis, old and new, are present on this record. Gabriel's voice and quirky, pun filled lyrics are much in evidence. It has Steve Hackett's finest hour in the...
Published on 21 Sep 2000

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Terrible Re-Master
No problem with the actual music. It's probably the finest Gabriel era Genesis LP there is. However, the sound quality on this 2009 remaster is just plain rubbish. Sounds like someone got way out of control with the EQ. I'd be grateful to anyone who might recommend a better sounding copy of this disc...
Published 22 months ago by Snockgrass


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New to Genesis? Start Here!, 21 Sep 2000
By A Customer
Genesis are on record as saying that they feel they have never produced a definitive album. Maybe, but 'Selling England' is as close as they get. This is their 'Dark Side of the Moon'.
All the elements of Genesis, old and new, are present on this record. Gabriel's voice and quirky, pun filled lyrics are much in evidence. It has Steve Hackett's finest hour in the magnificent solo on 'Firth of Fifth', and Tony Banks similarly shines in the awesome instrumental section of 'The Cinema Show'. Mike Rutherford's powerful rhythmn playing drives 'Cinema Show' and 'Dancing With the Moonlit Knight', and Phil Collins, whose drumming is staggering throughout, has a vocal debut on the light, romantic ballad 'More Fool Me', perhaps a sign of things to come.
This is a powerful, complex yet amazingly accessible and melodic work, lyrically loosely based on the theme of England, past and present. For me personally, Genesis hit their peak with this album, and sustained the quality for 'The Lamb', 'Trick of the Tail' and 'Wind and Wuthering' before starting to balance their art with simpler, more radio friendly ballads and anthems. One of the great rock albums of the Seventies.
Interestingly, Radiohead fans listening to this will hear quite a sizeable influence from this record - the mellotron choirs, 7/4 timing and guitar figures all crop up in 'OK Computer'!
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69 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Genesis' absolute peak, 2 Mar 2007
By 
J. Perlmutter (Hampshire, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This is the very peak of Genesis' output. Gabriel's lyrics, the instrumental arrangements, the incredibly clever song structures, the great melodies, all combine to create something utterly moving and magic. The whole mood of this album is quite unlike anything else - a mixture of mythical, medieval and modern; bombast and humour, but above all, beauty.

This is the album on which Tony Banks creates his most magical keyboard soundscapes (but not forgetting to add plenty of fresh, exciting piano), Hackett gets the biggest chance to shine that he ever would on a Genesis album, and Gabriel writes some of his funniest, cleverest and most interesting lyrics, delivering them as only he can. There are some of the most emotionally devastating instrumental moments here on any Genesis album - any album FULL STOP, in fact - for example; Hackett's gut-wrenching guitar solo in 'Firth of Fifth', and Banks' extended keyboard solo at the end of 'The Cinema Show', where his keys create a swirling mass of colourful sound that envelops the listener and seems to come straight from the heart. And amongst all this, Gabriel draws you in with his commentaries on the degeneration of modern England, as well as transporting the listener back to the mythological England that never was.

Nowhere is this more apparent than on the opening track, 'Dancing with the Moonlit Knight', a song with so many twists and turns that you're left gasping for breath at the end, or at least you would be if there were not a two-minute outro of soothing, plucked acoustic guitars and textural sounds from the keyboards and flute.

Next we have 'I Know what I Like (In your Wardrobe)', with another winner of a lyric from Peter and a stomping beat, giving the band its first minor chart success.

'Firth of Fifth' follows, and what strikes you about this track is how intelligently written its instrumental section is, taking the listener along many different musical landscapes, and building tension until culminating in the aforementioned Hackett solo.

Following this is 'More Fool Me', a pretty little acoustic ditty from Phil Collins about a broken down relationship, that does not fit in with the rest of the album at all, but in a way makes it all the more appealing for this little idiosyncrasy. Anyhow, it breaks up the album between two lengthy compositions, much like 'I Know what I Like' and 'After the Ordeal' do, so that taken as a whole it is not too overwhelming.

Talking of which, the next track, 'The Battle of Epping Forest' is the longest on the album at 11:46. It is about a gang battle for rights over land in East London, and Peter Gabriel goes all-out with his theatrics, assuming the roles of so many different characters, and putting on so many different voices, that you can't help but laugh. There's also the strange interlude in the middle of the track about goodness knows what - something to do with a reverend - that seemingly has nothing to do with the rest of the song, but does a great job of keeping the listener's interest (much like 'Willow Farm' in 'Supper's Ready').

Next up we have the instrumental 'After the Ordeal', with some beautiful piano and guitar work from Banks and Hackett respectively; I often get a sense of freedom when listening to this, as indeed I do when listening to most of the album.

After this we have 'The Cinema Show', combining, like 'Firth of Fifth', lyrical sketches with extended instrumental passages, including, of course, the again aforementioned Banks keyboard solo. This leads back into one of the main themes from 'Dancing with the Moonlit Knight', but shifted across the bar, which in turn leads into 'Aisle of Plenty', a reprise of a small section of 'Dancing with the Moonlight Knight' but with different lyrics and a haunting mood, to make you feel complete at album's end.

This is not only my favourite Genesis album, but probably my favourite album of all time, and one of the best musical works (classical or otherwise) that I have heard.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surreal, funny and musically brilliant, 16 Feb 2004
By 
Touring Mars (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Produced before Genesis were a singles band, 'Selling England By The Pound' hasn't got as many (if any) really well-known songs (with the possible exception of 'I Know What I Like'), but don't let that put you off. At times, this is Peter Gabriel's Genesis at their best. Note-perfect throughout and full of Gabriel's surreal humour, the lyrics are a real strong point... infact the album's title was taken from a Labour Party manifesto, which claimed that the Tories were 'Selling England By The Pound', and this theme is taken up (immediately) at the beginning of 'Dancing With The Moonlit Knight' (which is effectively the title track)... it begins the album brilliantly, with Gabriel singing unaccompanied "Can you tell me where my country lies?"
Ironically, "I Know What I Like" was Genesis' first 'hit', but didn't pander to popular taste (as they later would do frequently). Rather, it's as eclectic and weird as anything that Gabriel's Genesis are famous for. With crazy lyrics ("There's a future for you in the Fire Escape trade...") and an incredibly catchy chorus, it remains a staple favourite of Genesis fans. But at a mere 4 minutes, (a more conventional song length), it was unusual territory for a band still prone to 8-10 minute tracks.
"Firth Of Fifth" showcases the talents of the musicians in the band, specifically Tony Banks on piano (and keyboards) and the brilliant Steve Hackett on guitar. For me, this is the stand-out track on the album, and summarises what pre-Collins Genesis was all about. "The Battle of Epping Forest" is a typical Gabrielesque tale, but is a tad overlong and takes away some of the impetus of the album. "More Fool Me" is a prelude of things to come, with Phil Collins coming out from behind the drums to lead vocals. IMO, this is the lamest track on the album, and is too delicate for my liking. Rutherford's picky guitar and Collins weak vocals don't make for a particularly accomplished song, especially when stood right alongside the epic "Firth of Fifth". It's a bit like hanging a child's painting next to a Van Gogh.
'Cinema Show' is a bit of a disappointment, and doesn't hold your attention for it's whole 11 minutes, but the album does end on a humorous high-note, with a reprise of the opening track called 'Aisle Of Plenty' (another play-on-words from a political manifesto of the day).
Overall, this is a great album, with the REAL five-man Genesis of old, firing on all cylinders for the greater part of the album, and no self-respecting prog-rock enthusiast should be without it.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A true classic, not to be missed, 17 Nov 2007
By 
Gentlegiantprog "Kingcrimsonprog" (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
All of the first five Genesis albums have a magical quality to them, they all have their own unique personality, and of course, top quality progressive music.
Selling England' is perhaps one of the greatest prog albums ever recorded, and certainly one of the most loved. From the absolutely epic vocal intro of 'Dancing with the Moonlight Knight,' until the full circle ending of 'Aisles of Plenty,' you are enraptured by some great storytelling, and some astounding music.
Selling England contains one of the coolest Genesis songs ever written: 'After the Ordeal,' a short instrumental of ridiculous quality. It also features some of Genesis's most loved material like the keyboard classic 'Cinema Show,' and the long and crazy 'Battle of Epping Forest.'
As far as prog albums go, you'd be hard pressed to find a more popular one, and there's a reason for that; its marvelous! Buy Now!
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grows On You Unstoppably!, 8 Jun 2006
For me, this is the defining album of the early Genesis years, although perhaps an acquired taste, it has grown on me over the years and has never lost its magic.

From the first moment of Peter Gabriel's stand-alone voice singing "Can you tell me where my country lies? ... " there is a stamp of something bold and different in what is to come in the following songs. The rest of the opening track contains some moments of pure genius and a flowing energy that takes you right into the album.

It is the atmosphere that runs through the whole 50 minutes or so, evoking images of medieval England with an almost mythological air in both the lyrics and the instruments.

Another quality to this album is its diversity, from a classical opening to Fifth of Firth on the piano by Tony Banks to the catchy "In your wardrobe" track, which if I recall correctly from a documentary I saw, was the first taste of single success that Genesis had, getting into the top 20.

Overall, although this may not be to everybody's taste, it is a must for any Genesis fan, and worth a listen for anyone else! If it catches your imagination, then it will last you for years of relistening.
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44 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Summer days and a rippling whimsy..., 9 Feb 2006
By 
I first heard this as a young man in a car driving through central France in the summer of 1979 and it evokes the fondest memories. Beautifully articulate, eccentric and quite, quite different to anyone else aspiring to the so-called (and much maligned genre) "prog-rock". No blues influence at all, hard edges curiously softened - arguably a delicate, feminine quality - and utterly English. I spent many hours learning Firth of Fifth's piano introduction (much to my tutor's irritation! She did seem to appreciate its demanding quality once I'd mastered it). I still find it hard to recognise any clearly definable musical influence on these guys from Nursery Cryme to Wind and Wuthering. Music which defined itself with no recourse to fashion or pandering to popular tastes; I guess that's why it still sounds brilliantly inventive after all these years
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Early Genesis at their very best, 4 Aug 2004
By 
When I was young it was always the 'Lamb lies down on Broadway' for me. I loved the surreal, Sci-Fi element. However age has brought me to re-apparaise this fine album. In terms of production, and musicianship, this is probably where Gabriels Genesis peaked, despite NOT being their last album with him. This album is very English, very eccentric and sits quite comfortably between prog rock wierdness and pop sensibility, never, for one minute risking the accusation of being a 'sell out' High points are the fantastic 'Dancing with the moonlit knight' a fussion of rock, jazz, folk, medievel melodies and a tranquil accoustic guitar outro, allowing you to catch your breath before 'I know what I like' comes in. This was their first hit single, it reached 21 in the singles chart in '73, and was inspired by the artwork on the cover of the album. Other hi-lights are 'Firth of Fifth' and 'The cinema show', both showing off the bands rich musical literacy. A must! Enjoy..
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Genesis come of age with a classic album, 1 April 2002
By 
M. D. Rathbone (Runcorn, Cheshire - UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
The highlight of the Gabriel era, this will appeal to the later fans of the 'Collins era' as much as the Gabriel traditionalists... and it's also the most accessible album of that period for the general public.
"Firth of Fifth" has to be the greatest track Genesis ever did... a favourite live for Genesis and also re-done by Hackett in later years and re-worked for the Archive vol 1, buy this album for THAT guitar solo alone! But more than that, the melody is cleverly re-worked as a keyboard piece, then on flute, then finally on guitar for the big finish.
"Dancing with the Moonlight Knight" is a gentle opener beginning with Peter unaccompanied, and was itself an intermittent live favourite, resurrected during the Ray Wilson tour.
"I Know What I Like" was perhaps the track responsible for bringing Genesis to a wider audience which is a very tongue-in-cheek attempt to explain middle England and 'Englishness'.
If "Firth of Fifth" is Hackett's showcase, then "The Cinema Show" is Banks's highlight as he lets go on a breathtaking keyboard instrumental finish to this beautifully written number.
Also, this album is noteable for a lead vocal performance by Phil on "More Fool Me".
A youthful 5-piece Genesis at their peak.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy it for two of the best tracks ever!, 25 April 2002
By A Customer
I started listening to this again after recently seeing a couple of Genesis tribute bands, and it reminded me just why I spent most of my youth listening to just one band - Genesis.
"Firth of Fifth" and "Cinema Show" are (IMHO) two of the best tracks written by any band ever. "Battle of Epping Forest" is (by the band's own later admission) a bit of a mess. But apart from that, it's one of my favourite albums.
Having said that, you can get great versions of "Firth of Fifth" and "Cinema Show" (together with the superior live version of "Supper's Ready") on the live album "Seconds Out".
And, just to disappoint many of the other reviewers here, "More Fool Me" was NOT Phil Collins' first lead vocal appearance for Genesis. Listen to "For Absent Friends" on the 1971 album "Nursery Cryme", and you will haer Phil Collins singing lead vocals there, too - although he wasn't given a credit for it on the record sleve (hence the confusion)!
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Revolutionary, 19 Oct 2006
By 
This sort of stuff evidently isn't for everyone. "Prog" rock in general, and Genesis in particular, have had abuse heaped on them over the decades, and there is no sign of the torrent slowing down. Adjectives such as "pretentious", "overblown", and my favourite, "self-indulgent" should ring a few bells.

I can only assume by the sense of rage which which most of the insults are slung, that there is a great deal of frustration and anger on the part of the slingers. Not everyone can handle listening to 15-20 minutes of continuous music without feeling at best bored, at worst threatened. It depends on your attention span.

Anyway, to the album..... this is perhaps Genesis' most "threatening" album if you go by the above sentiments. If you want a bunch of catchy songs which make you feel cool and rebellious, please don't go anyware near it - get something by the Buzzcocks.

The music shows incredible depth and richness, unheard of in "popular" music in my opinion. This is particularly prevalent in Firth of Fifth and the awesome Cinema Show (which I think is my favourite Genesis track). There is a huge degree of originality here; I'm sure Genesis were a prime influence on music in the later 70s and 80s, whether you think this is a good thing or not.

Apart from the tracks mentioned, Epping Forest and Moonlit Knight stand out: frequent, well-judged, fascinating tempo and mood changes you can't keep up with. Wardrobe is perhaps the most accessible track but with plenty of weirdness to go around. I think another reviewer mentioned this track was on TOTP, and Tony Blackburn hated it because he didn't understand it. What better advert do you need?

Anyway, probably my favourite Genesis album, or at least equal with Foxtrot...... Long live prog rock!
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Selling England By The Pound
Selling England By The Pound by Genesis (Audio CD - 2009)
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