PETER GABRIEL DEPARTS PROG INSTITUTION
INADVERTENTLY UNLEASHES LAND OF CONFUSION
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.
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