Genesis – Superstars – The 1980’s were, unlike for so many others, the most successful of years. The tight-knit trio seemed to have a charmed life; they all pursued solo projects; Tony Banks wrote some film scores and a handful of solo records; Mike Rutherford formed a new group altogether Mike and the Mechanics (see M) and Phil Collins literally flew off into the stratosphere. At the same time Genesis became huge, absolute Superstars. And those who had left – Peter Gabriel was untouchable too (see G) and Steve Hackett (see H) had a succession of great records and a very loyal following. There have always been rumpurs of a Genesis reunion, which have come to nothing – so far. The band though, supplemented by extra members live, continued to have phenomenal success.
As ever it was the songwriting which was the key. They simply managed to write great tunes, changing over the years but still retaining that special Genesis sound.
Duke appeared in 1980. The group had taken a few months off – Banks and Rutherford had released solo albums and Collins wrote one of the great break-up albums (he had split from his wife) which he released shortly after this record. There is something quite magical about this album. It flows and moves from song to song, and yet there are both slower love songs and the Genesis of old – longer more complex ones. My favourites are the two single ‘Misunderstanding’ and ‘Turn It On Again’ but ‘Duchess’ and ‘Man of Our Times’ are excellent. Phil Collins vocals have never been better and the ensemble playing is superb too. A great record. Followed by another a year later. The band were really flying with Abacab. Shorter radio-friendly and highly contagious songs – best are ‘No Reply At All’ and ‘Me and Sarah Jane’ as well as the hit single title track. There seemed no stopping them now – they were pop-royalty and everyone loved them. 1983 saw a self-titled album, which seems strange as it was their twelth studio album, but maybe this was more a decision of the record company than the band – who knows. The album Genesis was their most commercial to date and a number one album across the world. Almost every song is easily accessible and distinctive. Phil Collins was enjoying solo success too – though inevitably this very success turned on itself and he became a bit of a villain in the music press. But his voice and drumming on this record are immaculate. Best songs – ‘Mama’, ;Home By The Sea’ and ‘That’s All’. But by now any resemblance to the Genesis of Foxtrot or Lamb Lies Down were long since gone – though they still included some of the early songs in their huge World tours. Invisible Touch was their next offering. Three years had passed with each of the three pursuing their solo careers, and yet when they got back together they wrote the whole album in a few weeks. Another huge number one hit. Best songs, the title song, and ‘Tonight, Tonight, Tonight’ and ‘In Too Deep’. To be honest there was little difference now between Phil solo and Genesis records. I stopped buying both back then.
I have since caught up with one more Genesis album and a free one from the Daily mail of hits. We Can’t Dance came out in 1991. A five-year gap; and a quieter, more reflective album than the pop bravado of the last 4 records. It seems to have far more of Collins influence and is very similar to his later albums – so a tad on the boring side. But to have had 13 studio albums and worldwide success is a great achievement. Most of their fans still hark back to the classic lineup with Peter Gabriel, but there is no denying their immense popularity. They have been pretty inactive for over 20 years now, and occasionally there are rumours of a band reunion, though it seems none of them can be that bothered to make the effort. So bye for now to GENESIS