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“Now, in this hate-filled world, we must break all the chains
that have bound us
Now, the crusade has begun, we shall make this a land
fit for heroes”

The biggest doss in my first term of year two at senior school was English. Not because the teacher was rubbish, she wasn’t, she was in her early twenties and dead sexy. Not because we messed about, we really enjoyed the lessons. In fact it was all thanks to Genesis.

My mate Geoff was a massive Genesis fan and during one of the first lessons of the year a discussion started about poetry vs song lyrics. He immediately started talking about Slippermen, slubberdegullions, and the Battle of Epping Forest. We managed to keep the discussion going for the rest of the term! Of course I should say that it was because we appreciated the depth of discussion but really it was just so we could try and get Miss B to read out the sleevenotes on the back of the Genesis Live LP (as far as I remember they involved a woman running her hands down her body). Of course we eventually got busted and after the first term we ended up with Mrs T whose looks could kill at twenty paces. Life used to be so much simpler!

A product of Charthouse School, New Anon comprised of Peter Gabriel, Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford, Anthony Phillips and Chris Stewart. After producing a demo tape it was picked up by ex-student Jonathan King who not only arranged a recording session for them but also renamed them Genesis. The session at the end of 1967 produced two singles but they both sank without a trace. Undeterred and already changing drummers, with John Silver replacing Chris Stewart, the group recorded their debut LP in 1969. Despite a further lack of chart recognition, and changing drummers again with John Mayhew coming in, the group decided to go professional and by the end of the year had played their first paying gig.

Signing to Charisma they recorded their second LP “Trespass” and then went through yet another personnel change with Anthony Phillips and John Mayhew leaving. Replaced by Steve Hackett and Phil Collins the classic Genesis line-up had arrived.

Now operating fully as a group both their recordings and live performances went into overdrive. Peter Gabriel became the theatrical master on stage with his outfits, props and stories introducing the songs while the musical interplay between the group members ensured that they were never second best. Their commercial breakthrough came in 1972 when, with their live performances becoming legendary, they released “Foxtrot” an album that effortlessly combined their complex music and song structure with clever, insightful lyrics.

They continued to develop through further LPs and towards the end of 1974 released their most ambitious project “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway”. Supported by complex tour this album marked the end of the classic line-up with Peter Gabriel leaving in May 1975. In losing such a charismatic frontman there was a view that Genesis couldn’t survive, however with Phil Collins taking on lead vocals they scored their best chart success to date with their next release “Trick of the Tail”. They continued in the same vein with their next album “Wind and Wuthering” but when Steve Hackett announced he was leaving in 1978 the style of the group changed. After spending the majority of the 70s playing progressive rock the remaining trio developed into a more chart friendly rock-pop outfit that released radio friendly singles. While this change did not necessarily reflect well with the ‘serious music fan’ it did bring them success on an undreamt of scale with the 80s and early 90s seeing them playing major arenas and producing platinum selling albums.

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