top 10 albums by one of my top 10 bands ever – Genesis.
1. Foxtrot. With the epic “Supper’s Ready” and the haunting “Watcher of the Skies” at each end it’s an incredible album. For me the highlight is “Can Utility and the Coastliners”, but everything about this album (except the production) is amazing.
2. Selling England by the Pound. The point in the band’s career when the creativity was flowing easiest. Tony Banks had some new toys which developed the sound, and the songwriting was at its peak.Highlights are “Dancing out with the Moonlit Knight”, “Cinema Show” and “The Firth of Fifth”, but the whole album is terrific…except “More Fool Me” which is the one reason why this album can’t take first place. Poor song poorly sung. Who’d have thought based on this that Phil Collins would end up as the band’s lead singer? Or that he would do such a good job of it? Or be one of the biggest selling pop stars of history?
3. Nursery Cryme. The album that presented the classic line-up of the band for the first time. The way they bring Collins in on “The Musical Box” is genius: yes, it’s the same band as before, but with better backing vocals. Then, bang…oh yes, we’ve got a world class drummer. The songs are great “Time Table”, Fountian of Selmasis” – and the playing is stunning. Chuck in a bit of humour with “Harold the Barrel”. It’s got a bit of everything.
4. The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. I think this was supposed to be their masterpiece. A huge project and ambitious in too many ways. And it is brilliant. However, the story ended up confused and incoherent, and the “atmospheric” instrumentals more weird than wonderful. Still, it’s a tremendous feat, and brings classics such as “The Cage”, Carpet Crawlers” and “Counting out Time” into the repertoire.
5. Trespass. Despite Hackett and Collins not yet being on the scene, this album defines the next 5 years of Genesis. With atmospheric soundscapes and stories in the songs, it’s captivating right from the a-capella start to “Looking for Someone” to the huge heavy rock extravaganza “The Knife” – maybe the best song they did? And Anthony Philips on the guitar – we forget how good he was, don’t we?
6. Duke. I played this again after many years of categorising it as part of the demise of the greatness of the band and the onslaught of commercialisation. However, on reflection (and thanks to Ed Conway for making me give it another chance), I’d have to rate it as the best post-Gabriel album. Unfortunately marred by “Misunderstanding”, it’s an otherwise magnificent album – despite the drum machines.
7. Trick of the Tail. Some great songwriting – “Ripples”, Trick of the Tail” are diminished by the substandard “Squonk” and “Robbery Assault and Battery” . A great sounding album which shows Collins as an acceptable Gabriel sub and starts and ends with archetypal Genesis grandeur.
8. Wind and Wuthering. Well, you understand Hackett leaving after this. Poorly put together album with stuff that shouldn’t have got the green light (Mouses Night”, Wot Gorilla”) that rather detracts from the fabulous “11th Earl of Mar”.
9. And then there were 3. Not by any means a great album. However, when you don’t play it for a decade and then come back to it, it surprises in a positive way. Shouldn’t have made the top ten, but everything post 1980 is too dreadful to come near it.
10. From Genesis to Revelations. A really awful album due to Jonathan King’s intervention. The strings are so out of place it’s painful. But the songs – if you can bear to hear them through the strings – are beautiful. Awful album but still very creative and intellectually stimulating. Unlike all the albums that didn’t make this list.
My theory is that any band who were great in the ´70’s wereterrible in the ´80’s is most perfectly illustrated by Genesis. My favourite band of the early 1970’s and entirely unplayable in the 1980’s. But, hey, that’s just my opinion man . lots of people love the 80’s stuff. Strange but true.