Genesis are an English rock band formed at Charterhouse School, Godalming, Surrey, in 1967. The band’s most commercially successful line-up consisted of keyboardist Tony Banks, bassist/guitarist Mike Rutherford and drummer/singer Phil Collins. The 1970s line-up, featuring singer Peter Gabriel and guitarist Steve Hackett, was among the pioneers of progressive rock.
The group were formed by five Charterhouse pupils, including Banks, Rutherford, Gabriel, and Anthony Phillips, and named by former Charterhouse pupil Jonathan King, who arranged for them to record several singles and their debut album From Genesis to Revelation in 1968. After splitting from King, the band began touring, signed with Charisma Records and became a progressive rock band on Trespass (1970). Following Phillips’ departure, Genesis recruited Collins and Hackett and recorded Nursery Cryme (1971). Their live shows began to feature Gabriel’s theatrical costumes and performances. Foxtrot (1972) was their first hit in the UK and Selling England by the Pound (1973) reached number three there, featuring their first UK hit “I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)”. The concept album The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (1974) was promoted with a transatlantic tour and an elaborate stage show, before Gabriel left the group.
BBC Technical College in Evesham (10.-15.10.1968):
Collins took over as lead singer, and the group released A Trick of the Tail and Wind & Wuthering (both 1976) with continued success. Hackett left Genesis in 1977, reducing the band to Banks, Rutherford, and Collins. Their ninth studio album, …And Then There Were Three… (1978), contained the band’s first major hit “Follow You Follow Me”. Their next five albums – Duke (1980), Abacab (1981), Genesis (1983), Invisible Touch (1986) and We Can’t Dance (1991) – were also successful. Collins left Genesis in 1996, and Banks and Rutherford replaced him with Ray Wilson, who appeared on their final album Calling All Stations (1997). The commercial failure of the album led to a group hiatus. Banks, Rutherford and Collins reunited for the Turn It On Again Tour in 2007, and again in 2021 for The Last Domino? Tour.
With between 100 million and 150 million albums sold worldwide, Genesis are one of the world’s best-selling music artists. Their discography includes 15 studio and six live albums. They have won numerous awards (including a Grammy Award for Best Concept Music Video with “Land of Confusion”) and have inspired a number of tribute bands recreating Genesis shows from various stages of the band’s career. In 2010, Genesis were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. (wikipedia)
And here´s their debut album:
From Genesis to Revelation is the debut studio album by English rock band Genesis, released on 7 March 1969 on Decca Records. The album originated from a collection of demos recorded in 1967 while the members of Genesis were pupils of Charterhouse in Godalming, Surrey. It caught the attention of Jonathan King who named the group, organised deals with his publishing company and Decca, and studio time at Regent Sound Studios to record a series of singles and a full album. A string section arranged and conducted by Arthur Greenslade was added later on some songs. By the time Genesis had finished recording, John Silver had replaced original drummer Chris Stewart.
The album and its singles were a commercial flop, and received a mixed to negative reaction from critics. By mid-1969, the group had severed ties with King and resumed education until they reformed and turned Genesis into a full-time band. The album spawned three singles; “The Silent Sun” and “A Winter’s Tale” were released in 1968, followed by “Where the Sour Turns to Sweet” in 1969. In October 1974, after the group had grown in popularity, it peaked at No. 170 on the Billboard 200 in the US. King retains the rights to the album which has been reissued multiple times since, including a 1974 release as In the Beginning and a 1987 release as And the Word Was…. A reissue in 1990 and 2005 included a bonus disc with extra tracks.
The founding line-up of Genesis consisted of guitarist Anthony Phillips, bassist Mike Rutherford, lead vocalist Peter Gabriel, keyboardist Tony Banks, and drummer Chris Stewart, all pupils of Charterhouse School in Godalming, Surrey. The five had played in the school’s two active bands; Rutherford and Phillips were in Anon while Gabriel, Banks, and Stewart made up Garden Wall. In January 1967, after both groups had split, Phillips and Rutherford continued to write songs and invited Gabriel and Banks to participate. During the Easter school holiday the five entered a primitive recording studio run by Brian Roberts in Chiswick to record the material. They assembled a tape of six songs originally intended for someone else to perform as the group saw themselves foremost as a collection of songwriters. This included five songs from Phillips and Rutherford: “Don’t Want You Back”, “Try a Little Sadness”, “That’s Me”, “Listen on Five”, and “Patricia”, an instrumental, plus one from Gabriel and Banks, “She Is Beautiful”. “Patricia” was later reworked into “In Hiding” and “She Is Beautiful” was later known as “The Serpent”. Banks described the material as “straight pop music” as it was the direction the band wanted to explore. At this point, the group were known as The New Anon.
The group sent the demo tape to two people, one being BBC radio presenter David Jacobs. The second was sent to former Charterhouse pupil Jonathan King who had scored commercial success as a singer-songwriter and producer with his UK top five single “Everyone’s Gone to the Moon” in 1965, and therefore seemed a natural choice. King visited the school during Old Boys Day, so the group had a friend give the tape to him. He listened to the tape in his car on his drive home and, despite its roughness, was immediately enthusiastic, particularly about Gabriel’s vocals.
King offered his support to the band and paid them £40 to record four songs. He pressed for more simple arrangements, but maintained that his suggestion for the group to avoid playing electric instruments was because acoustic instruments were cheaper, rather than his personal taste. These early sessions took place between August and December 1967 at Regent Sound Studios on Denmark Street, London, with the intent on releasing them as singles. The four tracks put down were new arrangements of “She’s Beautiful” and “Try a Little Sadness”, with “Where the Sour Turns to Sweet” and “The Image Blown Out”, the latter ultimately rejected from the album. King was happy with the results enough to sign them, offering a ten-year deal with his publishing company JonJo Music with a five-year option and 2% of the royalties, and a five-year recording deal with Decca Records with an optional second year. However, the group’s parents expressed concern as they were aged between 15 and 17 at the time and preferred their children to pursue careers away from music. Upon their intervention, family solicitors took charge and arranged for a new, one-year deal with an optional second.
King noticed the band’s tendency to expand and complicate their arrangements, which he disliked and suggested they stick to straightforward pop songs. This culminated in King either trimming Banks’s solo spots or removing them entirely, much to his annoyance. In response, Gabriel and Banks wrote “The Silent Sun” as a pastiche of the Bee Gees, one of King’s favourite bands, though King later clarified the Bee Gees pastiche description as inaccurate. The song was recorded at Regent Sound studio A in December 1967, with a section arranged and conducted by Arthur Greenslade added later in production. It was released on 22 February 1968 with “That’s Me” on the B-side as the first Genesis single. King came up with the group’s name, thinking it marked the beginning of a “new sound and a new feeling”, and that it was the true start of his career as a producer. Other names included King’s suggestion of Gabriel’s Angels and Phillips’s idea, Champagne Meadow. In May 1968, the second single of “A Winter’s Tale” with “One-Eyed Hound”, was released and, like their first, also flopped. Stewart then left the group to continue with his studies.
Despite their lack of success King continued to support the group and, by mid-1968, suggested that a studio album might reverse their fortunes. The group were a little overwhelmed in working with a greater amount of available time on an LP, so King suggested the idea of a loose concept album that told a story about the Book of Genesis at the start and the Book of Revelation at the end, with linked instrumental tracks. The idea worked, and the group began to write at a faster pace. The band recruited fellow Charterhouse pupil John Silver on the drums, and wrote and rehearsed their new material at his parents’ country home in Oxford and the parents of school friend David Thomas.
In August 1968, during the school summer holidays, the band returned to Regent Sound studio 2 to record From Genesis to Revelation. The music was recorded within two days, and the album was put together in ten. King was the producer, and brought in Brian Roberts and former Charterhouse pupil Tom Allom as recording engineers. The sessions involved two four-track recording machines, and marked Banks’s first time playing an organ. The material put down, Greenslade and Lou Warburton then added more string and horn arrangements to one stereo channel while mixing the band’s performance on the other. This was done without the band’s knowledge, which they thought compromised the strength of the songs. Phillips was particularly angered at the decision and was the only member to express his feelings towards it by stomping out of the studio on the last day.
The album was released in March 1969 and failed to chart. “Where the Sour Turns to Sweet” was released as a single on 27 June 1969 in an attempt to stimulate new interest. The album was released in the U.S. in 1974 after the group had grown in popularity, and peaked at No. 170 on the Billboard 200 in October of that year.
Review in The Evening Standards (1968):
Prior to its release, Decca discovered that an American act had also called themselves Genesis and asked the band to change its name to avoid confusion. King reached a compromise so the band’s name would be omitted from the sleeve, leaving the album’s title written in gold text in a Gothic style in order to evoke mystery when presented in music shops. The American Genesis in question was likely a Los Angeles-based group that released In the Beginning on the Mercury label in 1967. Banks later said that they remained Genesis in the UK and put themselves down as Revelat
Noel Gallagher is a fan of the album, saying, “I became obsessed with early Genesis” despite being a frequent critic of the group’s later work, particularly the Phil Collins-led era. The track “If Love Is the Law” from his album Who Built the Moon? was written as a pastiche of “The Conqueror”. (wikipedia)
This debut Genesis album, which has appeared under license to various labels in addition to Decca and London in different configurations, is largely of historical interest. The group was still in its formative stages, the members barely past their 18th birthdays and still working out what they wanted to sound like. Mostly they sound like the Bee Gees trying to be the Moody Blues (picture something similar to the sound of the former group’s Odessa album). “The Silent Sun” and “Where the Sour Turns to Sweet” are pleasant enough, but scarcely indicate the true potential of the group or its members. A pleasant enough piece of pop-psychedelia/art rock, but not a critically important release, except to the truly dedicated. (by Bruce Eder)
OK, not everyone gets this album, but pay close enough attention to it and you will discover a treasure. True, there area some influences here and there, Moody Blues being the most obvious (I have not noticed any Bee Gees) , but it’s 99% Genesis, the embryo of many good things to come. But apart from that, it stands on its own as a wonderful blend of psychedelic rock, with early stages prog. Peter is in fine form, Phillips also, but the sound is quite cohesive, resulting in a mesmerizing, almost hypnotic and addictive, unique sound. (by Dan Duran)
Tony Banks (keyboards, background vocals)
Peter Gabriel (vocals, flute)
Anthony Phillips (guitar, background vocals)
Mike Rutherford (bass, guitar, background vocals)
John Silver (drums)
Chris Stewart (drums on 12.)
Alternate front+backcover form a re-issue (1974):
01. The Silent Sun 2.14
02. That´s Me 2.39
03. Where The Sour Turns To Sweet 3.14
04. In The Beginning 3.45
05. Fireside Song 4.18
06. The Serpent 4.38
07. Am I Very Wrong? 3.31
08. In The Wilderness 3.30
09. The Conqueror 3.40
10. In Hiding 2.37
11. One Day 3.21
12. Window 3.33
13. In Limbo 3.30
12. Silent Sun 2.13
14. A Place To Call My Own 2.00
14. A Winter’s Tale (single track) 3.31
15. One Eyed Hound (single track) 2.33
16. Image Blown Out (single track) 2.48
17. She Is So Beautiful (single track) 3.42
All songs written by Tony Banks, Peter Gabriel, Anthony Phillips, and Mike Rutherford.
More alternate frontcovers:
More from Genesis:
The official website: