I've written before about my love of Genesis. One thing I enjoy about this group is their auditory variety due to their various life stages. Many bands that have been around 30 years sound pretty much the same now as they did at their start, which is also a great attribute. But a band that continually matures and evolves despite some major changes, like the loss of their lead singer and image maker, should also be acknowledged.
The other day on my "walg" I listened to "All in a Mouse's Night" from Wind and Wuthering (1976). This is a most interesting song, from a fascinating album. Who writes a rock song about a couple that sees a mouse; parts of the song are from the couple's view and some parts are the mouse's view. And then there's the poor cat. What I love about this album is that it is very musical. It's not formula music to be played on the radio. It's music that makes you listen. How much of that is out there now?
I think the strength of this album comes from the strong musical education of these men. If you watch this video, it's charming how the guys could be your accountant, your butcher, or your child's teacher. Music education like they got growing up just doesn't happen anymore. Much of it was church based, and that is very evident in the heavy Hammond organ and Mellotron use by Tony Banks.
In that video, it's interesting to hear how this is one of Tony's favourite albums. Is that because his songs did well, or did his songs do well because he liked the album (and the making of it)? It's also interesting to know that Phil Collins was not doing much composing back then. In fact, even the singing was still pretty new to him, as you can tell by the thinness of his voice. He hadn't grown into his role as lead singer yet--even the album notes state that he provided the "voices, drums, cymbals, percussion". As Phil's confidence and importance in the band grew, the individualized credits for each song were eliminated until all music was written by "Genesis". And that is also when they started getting more consistent North American air play. Mmmm.
I would love to find out more about the genesis of the songs from this album. There doesn't seem to be much indication of drug use by the band, and mind altering drugs don't suddenly provide talent anyway. What provokes someone to write "Fifty thousand men were sent to do the will of one./His claim was phrased quite simply, though he never voiced it loud, I am he, the chosen one.//In his name they could slaughter, for his name they could die./Many there were believed in him, still more were sure he lied,/But they'll fight the battle on." (One for the Vine; Tony Banks).
Other songs could be on the pop charts today, both musically and lyrically: "You, you have your own special way,/of holding my hand keep it way 'vobe the water,/Don't ever let go-Oh no, no, no./You, you have your own special way,/Of turning the world so it's facing/the way, that I'm going, don't ever don't ever stop." ("Your Own Special Way; Mike Rutherford). Also, "But I, I would search everywhere/Just to hear your call/And walk upon stranger roads than this one/In a world I used to know before?I miss you more//Than the sun reflecting off my pillow..." (Afterglow", Tony Banks). I'm surprised there aren't more remakes of Genesis songs, like "That's All" (I don't particularly like this remake, although for some reason I'm wondering if this isn't the song I'm thinking of...is there another countrified version of a Genesis song? Oh my goodness, look who also performed it! How fascinating to hear such different versions. I can see myself spending too much time on YouTube today!).
Anyway. That's Music Monday today!