Like most of the artists that I continue to follow to this day, I discovered Genesis in the mid-Seventies, precisely 1978, when the band was reduced to a trio upon the departure of two founding members, lead singer Peter Gabriel and guitarist Steve Hackett, leaving drummer/singer Phil Collins, keyboardist extraordinaire and guitarist/bassist Mike Rutherford to carry on. I discovered Genesis upon the release of their first tentative album as a trio titled …And There Were Three. The single “Follow You, Follow Me” was the gateway to this album. And although Phil Collins was stepping up to become the lead singer, he had yet to develop into the Eighties icon of which we now know him.
During the Peter Gabriel-led era, Genesis was an English art rock band, with few singles hitting the British charts, let alone crossing the Atlantic to become a Top 40 hitmaker, as the Phil Collins-led band would become in a decade. With Peter Gabriel, Genesis had a focal point whose whimsical performance art gave the band live notoriety. What Genesis’ future was definitely unsure. But, Phil Collins lead the band into a more streamlined songwriting unit capable of writing classic rock hits that often crossover for Top 40 success.
If the survival of Genesis were not as unlikely, then to witness the success of Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford AND Peter Gabriel’s solo careers was totally mind-boggling. Just as Genesis was taking off in 1980 with their hit album Duke, Gabriel found success and became a critical darling upon the release of his third album and first masterpiece, 1980’s Peter Gabriel, also known as III or Melting. While Genesis had Top 40 hits with “Turn It On Again” and “Misunderstanding”, Gabriel hit with “Games Without Frontiers” and “Biko”.
In 1981, Phil Collins entered the fray with his own classic solo album Face Value, which contains Collins’ trademark song (and drum solo) “In the Air Tonight”. Over the next five years, Collins became one of the most beloved musicians in the world for both his work as a solo artist and with Genesis. In 1986, Genesis, Collins and Gabriel all hit their creative AND commercial peaks with the music each released that year. Collins was still riding the success wave of his No Jacket Required album and its Thriller-like run of hit singles, while Genesis had its most successful album in Invisible Touch and Gabriel celebrated his first Number One album with his brilliant So album and its singles’ ground-breaking music videos, especially the hit song “Sledgehammer”.
All of this success allowed Mike Rutherford to form his own band, Mike + The Mechanics, who experienced their own hit albums and songs during 1987 and 1988. Rutherford’s band hit the top of the charts with “Silent Running” and “The Living Years” during that time frame.
As all versions of the extended Genesis family knows, all four related acts continue to release material, sell records and sell out tours. In 2010, the five original members of Genesis were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, followed by a solo Peter Gabriel in 2014. And, do not be surprised if Phil Collins were inducted sometime in the next decade.
Today, I would like to present My Top Favorite Songs by the Genesis Family. Enjoy!
- “Sledgehammer” – Peter Gabriel (So, 1986)
- “Games Without Frontiers” – Peter Gabriel (Peter Gabriel (III), 1980)
- “In the Air Tonight” – Phil Collins (Face Value, 1981)
- “Biko” – Peter Gabriel (Peter Gabriel (III), 1980)
- “I Don’t Remember” – Peter Gabriel (Peter Gabriel (III), 1980)
- “Shock the Monkey” – Peter Gabriel (Security, 1982)
- “Solsbury Hill” – Peter Gabriel (Peter Gabriel (I), 1977)
- “Against All Odds” – Phil Collins (Against All Odds OST, 1984)
- “In Your Eyes” – Peter Gabriel (So, 1986)
- “Tonight, Tonight, Tonight” – Genesis (Invisible Touch, 1986)
- “Family Snapshot” (Peter Gabriel (III), 1980)
- “Follow You, Follow Me” – Genesis (…And Then There Were Three, 1978)
- “Big Time” – Peter Gabriel (So, 1986)
- “Turn It On Again” – Genesis (Duke, 1980)
- “That’s All” – Genesis (Genesis, 1983)
- “Misunderstanding” – Genesis (Duke, 1980)
- “Mama” – Genesis (Genesis, 1983)
- “I Missed Again” – Phil Collins (Face Value, 1981)
- “Silent Running” – Mike + The Mechanics (Mike + The Mechanics, 1985)
- “Throwing It All Away” – Genesis (Invisible Touch, 1986)
- “Land of Confusion” – Genesis (Invisible Touch, 1986)
- “In Too Deep” – Genesis (Invisible Touch, 1986)
- “No Son of Mine” – Genesis (We Can’t Dance, 1991)
- “No Reply at All” – Genesis (Abacab, 1981)
- “Don’t Give Up” – Peter Gabriel & Kate Bush (So, 1986)
- “Man on the Corner” – Genesis (Abacab, 1981)
- “One More Night” – Phil Collins (No Jacket Required, 1985)
- “The Living Years” – Mike + The Mechanics (The Living Years, 1988)
- “Abacab” – Genesis (Abacab, 1981)
- “Illegal Alien” – Genesis (Genesis, 1983)
- “Taking It All Too Hard” – Genesis (Genesis, 1983)
- “Invisible Touch” – Genesis (Invisible Touch, 1986)
- “We Can’t Dance” – Genesis (We Can’t Dance, 1991)
- “Easy Lover” – Phillip Bailey with Phil Collins (Chinese Wall, 1984)
- “Separate Live” – Phil Collins & Marilyn Martin (White Nights OST, 1985)
- “You Can’t Hurry Love” – Phil Collins (Hello, I Must Be Going, 1982)
- “Sussudio” – Phil Collins (No Jacket Required, 1985)
- “A Groovy Kind of Love” – Phil Collins (Buster OST, 1988)
- “Another Day in Paradise” – Phil Collins (…But Seriously, 1989)
- “Something Happened on the Way to Heaven” – Phil Collins (…But Seriously, 1989)
My suggestion is that you go back to rediscover Genesis, Gabriel, Collins and Mike + The Mechanics’ hit songs and albums. And, don’t be afraid to dig back into the Genesis catalog to listen to the full band as they gel as a band and discover their own unique sound as a band.