Sat Eye Candy: Gabriel's Exodus


Not long after the release of their most ambitious (and posthumously, most critically lauded) album, The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, Peter Gabriel announced his departure from Genesis this week in 1975. While sullied by their '80s video age dominance and myriad MUCH less, uh, artistic efforts over the years, the boys of Genesis in their earliest days were musically ambitious, creatively charged and genuinely weird – all fine virtues for a band. Gabriel's exodus was deemed the death knell for Genesis but we all know how it worked out for all parties, who now enjoy their bowel movements atop gold toilets while adoring legions peel them grapes in the next room. Still, it's worth leaning back to the early '70s to see them in their prime, a worthy if largely uncredited contributor to rock's sophistication and overall scope.

Let's kick it off with a sinewy odyssey, "The Musical Box," captured live on Belgian TV in 1972. Gabriel looks so young one wonders if he got carded every time he ordered a pint. And yes, that's an incredibly youthful Phil Collins, long before he ruined the drum sound of popular music, providing fab stick work on this merger of jazz fusion, space rock and nursery rhymes.

Despite the goofy, theatrical intro, "I Know What I Like" is perhaps the closest Genesis' original lineup came to pop music. Here's a swell version from a concert in Shepperton, England in 1973.

"The Return of the Giant Hogweed." They just don't come up with titles like this anymore. This live take from 1973 is about as funky as this bunch ever got. Tony Banks organ playing is pretty bloody sweet here, and Gabriel moves like Gollum's silky little brother. Appealing? Creepy? You decide.

Gabriel-era Genesis could be so, so lovely at times, none more so than "Supper's Ready," offered here in a 10-minute version from French television.

Here's a series of clips and commentary from Gabriel and others on his tenure with the band. Such costumes, such make-up, such lovely, innocent frolicking…

We wrap with a spectacular run through "The Knife" from Paris in 1973. Guitarist Steve Hackett plays with some real fire on this one.

Don't forget, you can eyeball video sweetness 24/7 with JamBase TV.

[Published on: 8/16/08]

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minutes Sat 8/16/2008 06:24AM
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Phil Collins ruined modern day drums sounds? Much less artistic after Gabriel left? Who wrote this? If you get a chance to see it, there is a new documentary titled "Come Rain or Shine" that is all about the recent tour. Word is a few "Lamb" shows will be staged in the future with Gabriel and hacket, but the boys had to play as the modern line up just to fund it. This band was hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt when Gabriel left. they were personally funded by the heads of their label up until Gabriel left. It took the hit "Misunderstanding" to break this band out of debt. Even in the mid 80s Genesis reformed under the name "Six of the Best" with Gabriel so they could raise money for this then bankrupt WOMAD project.

Bottom line, with out without Gabriel, this band is great. Thanks for posting these rare gems. Lets keep out fingers crossed for a Lamb re-union.

snappy Sat 8/16/2008 08:50AM
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I love these guys up through ...And Then There Were Three but the turn they began to make on Duke never worked for me, and I have a hard time defending "Illegal Alien," most of Mike & The Mechanics, most of Phil's solo career after the first album (Tarzan animated soundtrack? Separate Lives?). The kind of music they made before "Misunderstanding" wasn't likely to make boatloads of money but man it was good, and really underrated by most modern listeners only familiar with hit years. As for the '80s drum thing, I think "In The Air Tonight" is tremendous on its own but it began the trend where drums, over every other instrument and even sometimes vocals, dominate the production, style, etc in pop music. Phil really pushed that sound through Phillip Bailey, his soundtrack work, etc. It's probably unfair to blame him alone but he was the spearhead of the thick drum mush on radio today.

daveapaug Sat 8/16/2008 09:15AM
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Actually, "In the Air Tonight" was originally produced without drums altogether. Ahmet Ertegun, Atlantic Records co-founder, talked phil into putting drums on the track. That track from his first solo album made him a superstar. Please dont blame Phil Collins for the crappy pop music that has come out in the last 25 years. Genesis is an extremely influential band, with or without Gabriel. I would love to see a Lamb Reunion, however, I doubt it would be financially successful.

jcvalentine Sat 8/16/2008 06:15PM
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To say that Phil Collins "ruined the drum sound of popular music" is an abomination of rock music criticism. The writer obviously never listened to "Duke's Travels," "Fading Lights," or anything Phil ever did with Brand X. Collins' unique drumming sound and style are still lauded by many of today's drummers.

The collation of all this Gabriel footage is great and draws attention to a much overlooked era from the band's history. If one were to look beyond this for more examples of post-Gabriel drumming prowess from Collins, I would start with 1980's Duke.

snappy Sat 8/16/2008 06:53PM
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Brand X ran from 1974-1980, and indeed Collins,percussionist Morris Pert, drummer Mike Clarke and the various other drum guys that did a turn in Brand X were great, Collins in particular. But would you put his inventive work on Moroccan Roll, Unorthodox Behaviour or even Product(I loves me some "And So To F...") up against dead dull covers like "A Groovy Kind of Love" or Cyndi Lauper's "True Colors," not to mention his own metronomic post-1980 solo work like "One More Night," "Against All Odds" or "Easy Lover"? Few signs of life on ...But Seriously, where he dumped the drum machines and started playing again, but there's not much post '80 that measures up to either his Brand X or Genesis work before that. But perhaps I'm missing something somewhere in the last 28 years...

snappy Sat 8/16/2008 07:35PM
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Hell, I'll front him two more years because, as rightly pointed out, there's tracks on Duke where he shines and moments on Abacab but even the more "art" bits after that are awfully busy. Just because you have that many cymbals and floor toms doesn't mean we need to hear them on every track.

jcvalentine Sun 8/17/2008 01:56PM
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I just think it's unfair to preface a page like this by labeling Collins, one of rock's greatest drummers, as also a drumming "ruiner." Despite the fact that, yes, a lot of his solo work is not very good.

jcvalentine Sun 8/17/2008 02:05PM
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Another thought --- if one were to call the Invisible Touch album the catalyst for Collins "modern drum sound" ruining, another person could say that that very same album is a concept piece and every electronic drum fill on it belongs there. But that'd open up another can of worms.

Phil Collins is one of my favorite musicians, but he's also the most frustrating and schizophrenic. It's an age-old Genesis fan argument --- how can someone who provided the groundbreaking drumming and arrangements on basically ALL of Genesis' albums (not to mention being a pretty stellar rock front man at the same time!) produce such garbage as "I Can't Stop Loving You," "You'll Be In My Heart," "Dance Into The Light," "Wear My Hat," "True Colors," the list goes on.