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The Living Years Paperback – 23 Jan 2014

4.4 out of 5 stars 80 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Constable (23 Jan. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1472116194
  • ISBN-13: 978-1472116192
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 2 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,338,467 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

A brisk, wryly humorous trawl through his life in music... [and] a further attempt to explore the relationship between Rutherford and his late father, a high ranking naval officer who clearly loved his family but found it all but impossible to express it. --Glasgow Herald

As much a family saga as a rock autobiography... The result is a very different kind of rock memoir - moving and refreshing. --Mail on Sunday

Rutherford tells the story of his mildly subversive schooldays and the 40 years of his high-flying career in a mellow, forgiving style that celebrates love of family, loyalty to friendship, passion for music, and-in his father's tradition -devotion to duty. --The Times

Book Description

THE FIRST EVER MEMOIR BY A MEMBER OF GENESIS

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
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 how controversial it is. While there is the occasional surprising revelation in The Living Years, there are very few indiscretions.

The most entertaining aspect is of course the first-person immediacy; reading about events in Genesis's history from someone who was there, whereas until now Genesis fans have had to make do with third-person biographies (the most thorough being 2007's Chapter and Verse). But Rutherford's life is not only about the music. His father was a captain in the Royal Navy who saw action during World War Two. Interestingly, Rutherford junior draws parallels between his own career and his father's, so at the beginning of the book we get excerpts from Rutherford senior's unpublished memoirs as well.

This is a highly enjoyable literary device which, unfortunately, only lasts for around the first third of the book. Once Rutherford junior has joined Genesis, the emphasis is very much on the band, and the author proceeds chronologically through the Genesis discography until his father passes away in 1986, when Rutherford was in the middle of the Invisible Touch tour. Afterwards, he goes through Mike + The Mechanics very quickly, and 2007's Turn It On Again tour is also not dealt with in any depth.

I can't help feeling that this memoir should have been substantially longer.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
With Tony Banks (keyboards), Rutherford (bass and guitar) is one of the two musicians to have been in the (progressive) rock band Genesis since its inception in the late 1960s. There have been numerous books written about Genesis and its most high profile members (Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins) but this is the first autobiography to have been published.

The son of a Royal Navy Captain, Rutherford was born in 1950. He went to boarding school from a young age and it was at Charterhouse that he met the other founding members of Genesis. Though critically acclaimed (to a degree) and attracting a loyal fan-base, it wasn’t until after Gabriel and (guitarist) Steve Hackett left, leaving the band reduced to a three-piece (Banks, Rutherford & Collins) in 1978, that Genesis became the globe-straddling, 1980s-dominating behemoth that most people born before 1970 will know (and, often, either love or hate!)

Rutherford uses the father/son device interestingly in the book. After his father died in 1986, Rutherford found his father’s diaries, relating not just to his naval career but also reflection on his life in industry after leaving the navy and on his son’s career as a professional musician.

Rutherford had a parallel career with Mike & The Mechanics. One of their biggest hits was ‘The Living Years’ (1989) which addresses a son's regret over unresolved conflict with his now-deceased father.

Rutherford includes multiple extracts from his father’s diaries throughout the book and repeatedly expresses regret that the relationship with his father wasn’t deeper or warmer than it was.

Received wisdom over the years has been that Banks and Rutherford were typical public school boys – stiff upper lips, reserved, not in touch with their emotions.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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 fairly quickly. Mike is such a likeable guy with a very balanced view of life that the book is unsurprising. We know Mike, Phil and Tony are still very close and as such we don't expect there to be any bombshells, but I would have liked a little more of Mike's assessment of their musical output than we get here. But, to be fair, I don't think that is what Mike intended with this book. It is essentially a collection of anecdotes in the frame of a cross-generational comparison fueled by the desire to give a voice to his father. The stark comparisons of a disciplined naval career and an exploratory and creative music career gives the book its purpose. As such it is entertaining, highly readable and at times poignant. But for those, like myself, looking for more insight into the Genesis machine, they may have to wait for Phil's oft-promised biography.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I found this to be a relaxed read, probably in keeping with his personality. The author reveals doses of dry humour, self deprecation and a degree of emotional honesty. He does show an enormous affection for his parents, particularly his father, whom he admired from a distance. Mike also shows his admiration of Phil Collins who seemingly could do no wrong. He is not shy though, to hand out doses of his blunt acerbic wit in Tony Bank's direction.

I liked the fact that Mike is comfortable sharing his foibles and preferences. He clearly enjoyed a substance or two in his day and made reference to his putting music before his band of brothers. Only to find after the fact, that someone important to him was already walking out the door. Youthful detachment he admits to and also a willingness to change that in later life.

A strength of his is that he respects people and their decisions. He mentions that it needed his wife and children to make him less of a wet fish with his feelings. Where the book falls down a little is that nothing is handled in the book with passion, pride and detail. The narrative is fairly sanitised emotionally and often I felt that there must be more to a story or anecdote and of course it wasn't revealed.

The thing that stuck out for me most in the book is that his musical abilities and his passion were never a foal point. Especially his involvement in the writing process. What did he think of his guitar playing abilities and what does he feel proud of as his contribution to the Genesis legacy? He will tell you that his singing ability is proportionately related to the amount of alcohol he drinks, yet he never reveals the essence of his success.
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