Genesis: 1976-1982

2020 Album Draft- Round 14 Pick 2- Box Sets- Aphoristical selects Genesis 1976-82

A progressive rock act, then a mega-selling pop band, Genesis have an unerring urge to chronicle every moment of their career. Three box-sets from 2007 and 2008 captured almost every song released over a long and mostly illustrious career. The Genesis 1970–1975 box covered the Peter Gabriel years, while Genesis 1983–1998 represented their peak success with records like Invisible Touch and We Can’t Dance.


The middle box, 1976–1982, captures the band in a fascinating period of transition. Vocalist Peter Gabriel left the band in 1975, and drummer Phil Collins took over the lead singer role. Guitarist Steve Hackett left in 1977, reducing the group to a trio. The five studio albums released over the period capture a band in flux – 1976’s A Trick of the Tail is an accomplished progressive rock album, but Wind & Wuthering is muddled and less convincing. 1978’s …And Then There Were Three feels like a dead end, but 1980’s excellent Duke reinvigorates the band with Collins emerging as a songwriter and then a solo superstar. By 1981’s gratifyingly weird ABACAB, the band were huge, hitting number one in the UK and the top ten in the US.

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The sixth disc of 1976-1982 captures all the outtakes from the era, and there’s some very strong material. Wind & Wuthering would have been much stronger had it included outtakes ‘Inside & Out’ and ‘It’s Yourself’. ‘Pigeons’ and the silly ‘Match of the Day’ wouldn’t have fit on an album, but they’re tuneful tracks that are worth preserving.

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ABACAB had enough material for a double album, and tracks were chosen on the basis that they didn’t repeat previous Genesis ideas. ‘You Might Recall’ and ‘Paperlate’ both sound like hit singles, but were relegated to the 3×3 EP. ‘Naminanu’ and ‘Submarine’ were planned as part of a suite with ‘Dodo/Lurker’. Keyboardist Tony Banks’ ‘Evidence of Autumn’, a b-side from the Duke era, is lovely.

Phil Collins is sometimes dismissed as lightweight, but his ability to concurrently enjoy success as a band member and a solo artist, for more than a decade, is unmatched in the history of popular music.



  1. Nice choice. I’ve been slowly exploring the Gabriel years albums, but this set covers my overall favorite Genesis material. Phil Collins does take flack, but it’s hard for me to blame someone for enjoying commercial success. If one doesn’t like “Against All Odds” there’s always “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.”

  2. I didn’t know much about early Genesis until I started to follow Aphoristical and Dave. I thought the earlier years before the massive Phil Collins 80s would be extensive progressive rock but to my surprise, I did find a lot of good pop songs and melodies.

    • I think this band always had good tunes. Listening to their last album recently – the one without Collins – made me realise how they’re often cheesy and sentimental, and needed a talented yet weird singer to pull those songs off.

  3. I’ve not explored the 1976-82 Genesis years, but had a classmate back then who talked about them all the time. Now I’m hearing a bit of what I missed out on. It was some good sounds. ‘A Trick of the Tail’ was one of the best album titles ever, imo. I agree with you about Phil Collins. I don’t know how his greatness can be denied. This is a nice box set choice.

  4. Gotta be the best of the three box sets you mention, though it would have been even better if it ran through the next album. To me it was them at their best – Abacab especially – right blend of pop and experimentalism. And then we got solo Peter Gabriel back then too, which was a big bonus. A nice pick and write-up!

  5. I think we discussed this one at your station earlier. I have most these on vinyl. I was a huge fan when Gabriel was in the group but hung on after because they were still making music that I liked. Talk about musical ideas from these guys. How do you focus that creativity? I guess that’s why they move on to other things. In short what would I be getting that I dont have on the albums, especially the early years. By the way. I dig these guys.

  6. While I haven’t exactly gotten into the weeds with Genesis, I like many of their songs, probably with a slight preference to the Peter Gabriel era.

    I’ve also listened quite a bit to Phil Collins, especially in the ’80s, and liked his tunes. But between Genesis, solo efforts and collaborations with other artists, I think he was way overexposed. At some point, it became too much for me, and I stopped listening. But that doesn’t change the fact he’s written good songs and has had a remarkable career.

    His return to music following his retirement appears to have been a struggle, in large part due to health challenges. And next year, it looks like there will be a Genesis reunion, featuring Collins’ son on drums, just like was the case during his last solo tour.

  7. Haven’t heard any Genesis album only airplay but I do like their music. Will see if I can borrow this one. Great addition to the diversity of the DID and good info to know about their box sets.

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