Wednesday, March 31, 2010

 

Album of the Day: Genesis (3/31/80) 30 Years!

A good number of people - critics and die-hard Genesis fans especially - accused the progressive rock band of selling-out when they released their tenth studio album, the pop-oriented Duke, on March 31, 1980. Truth is, the seeds of change on Duke were sewn years before. Anyone who failed to hear the drift toward pop-rock wasn’t paying attention to all the signals, foul-crying critics and fans especially. Check out and comment on my Genesis playlist here).

Peter Gabriel’s departure from Genesis in mid-1975 ended the growing clash over musical direction for the band and, more importantly, brought drummer Phil Collins into the lead singer role. Where Gabriel was into high brow, theatrical live shows and heavy-handed concept albums, the remaining three (Collins, bassist Mike Rutherford, guitarist Steve Hackett and keyboardist Tony Banks) knew a good pop-rock melody and could pen them easier than Gabriel could design the costumes and deep lyrics for his stage persona. The last Gabriel-era LP, The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, gained radio airplay in the U.S. to chip away at their cult status (they were always big in the U.K.). Each successive album grew bolder with pop rhythms, riffs and harmonies, with “Robbery, Assault And Battery” (1976), “Your Own Special Way” (1976) and “Follow You Follow Me” (1978) setting up the two hits from Duke, “Misunderstanding” and “Turn It On Again.”

Duke is usually viewed as the mid-point between the “new” and the “old” Genesis. While I disagree that the distinction is that clear, the fact remains that it became their first #1 record in the U.K. (and #11 in the U.S.). It was followed by four more terrific Genesis albums in the 80s paralleling Collins’ solo career. CD issues and mp3 downloads are available on Amazon (click here). iTunes downloads are available here.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

 

Album of the Day: Genesis (11/18/74) 35 Years!


Genesis was one of the few British rock bands that successfully made the transition from meddling 60s folk-pop-rock through late-60s psychedelic rock to 80s pop-rock superstardom.  Their November 18, 1974 concept album, The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, was major point along that road and a huge FM radio hit (I remember playing it daily on my radio show at the time).  While well received on air, in the critics’ circles and in stores, The Lamb… unfortunately became the last Genesis album on which Peter Gabriel appeared. Gabriel was the lead vocalist, chief songwriter and stage frontman for the band (he wrote all of the material on The Lamb…).  His departure could have spelled doom, but remaining members Phil Collins, Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford and Steve Hackett moved on to greater things, including a string of nine straight U.K. Top 10 albums (8 in the U.S.) before they called it quits in 1992.

The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway is available as a CD and DRM-free mp3 files on Amazon (click here).

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