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.
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.
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.