This is the main Lists page. See above for list-related sub-pages with lists of obligatory links (which all sites must have by unwritten law) and sources which I used in developing this web site.

When you think about it, lists are the core of any discussion about Genesis, or of any band: top ten albums, favorite songs, favorite lyrics, fantasy set list, ranking of vocalists, worst album covers, best versions of songs, favorite b-sides, favorite hair styles, and so on. In the spirit of this obsession with ranking and listing, I've provided a page of them. The first half are subjective lists of my own, the second half are more factual, cataloguing lists. The basic ideas for many of the objective lists were culled from Scott McMahan's discography, then cross-checked with Hewitt's book and the a-z site; then heavily researched and fleshed out and re-organized by me. I think they're a good resource for the discerning Genesis freaks. To try to keep this page from getting too massive, I've put the two subjective pictorial lists into pop-up windows, and all of the objective lists onto a separate page. The list of set lists is so long that I made it its own separate page. The Best Bootlegs list in the subjective category is also its own page, and can also be reached from the main Live Shows page.

Enjoy at your own risk.


Album Ranking (including Discography)
Best/Worst Song from each Album
Absolute Best/Worst Songs
Best/Worst Lyrics
Best Non-Album Tracks

Best Genesis Bootlegs (my picks)
Fantasy Set List for Impossible Reunion Gig
A Pictorial List: Best Album Covers
Who is Their Leader? Most Important Members
Genesis Pet Peeves
A Pictorial List: Phil's Hair Through the Ages

Album Name (and other) Abbreviations
Non-Album Tracks
Songs Never Played Live
Songs Rarely Played Live
Songs Most Often Played Live
Pete-Era Songs Played by Phil-Era Band
Mystery List
Band Formations Through the Ages
Set Lists Through the Ages


Album Ranking
(including Discography)


01 From Genesis to Revelation (1969)
02 Trespass (1970)
03 Nursery Cryme (1971)
04 Foxtrot (1972)
05 Live (1973)
06 Selling England by the Pound (1973)
07 The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (1974)
08 A Trick of the Tail (1976)
09 Wind and Wuthering (1977)
10 Seconds Out (1977)
11 ...And Then There Were Three... (1978)
12 Duke (1980)
13 Abacab (1981)
14 Three Sides Live (US and UK) (1982)
15 Genesis (1983)
16 Invisible Touch (1986)
17 We Can't Dance (1991)
18 The Way We Walk, Vol. 1: The Shorts (1992)
19 The Way We Walk, Vol. 2: The Longs (1993)
20 Calling All Stations (1997)


My Ranking
01 The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (C)
02 A Trick of the Tail (C, V, S)
03 Foxtrot (C)
04 Selling England by the Pound (C)
05 Nursery Cryme (C)
06 Live (R)
07 Trespass (C)
08 Abacab (C, R, V, S)
09 Wind and Wuthering (R, S)
10 Duke (C, V, S)
11 Seconds Out (R, V)
12 Genesis (C)
13 ...And Then There Were Three... (C, V, S)
14 Three Sides Live (UK--don't have US) (R)
15 Invisible Touch (C)
16 From Genesis to Revelation (C)
17 Calling All Stations (C)
18 We Can't Dance (C)
19 The Way We Walk, Vol. 2: The Longs (C)
20 The Way We Walk, Vol. 1: The Shorts (C)

Media/Format Key
(C) = CD
(R) = Original Remastered CD
(S) = 2007 5.1 Surround CD/DVD reissue
(V) = Vinyl LP


Excuses: First a note: after Three Sides Live, the Genesis catalogue was not reissued in a remastered form--those albums were already considered to be as "mastered" as they were going to be.

Many will disagree with my ranking, but that's how opinions are--everybody has a different one. Ahh, the spice of life! Snnnifff! Smells like...teen spirit? Ranking the albums is very difficult and I found myself employing many different factors. One of the most important of course was that the album have a majority of solidly "good" songs. What is good? I don't want to write a theory of aesthetics; for musicians and/or composers more technical issues would come into play. I like to think that I look for a certain amount of originality of composition in my music. Lyrics should be passable, not cliche, but are not always my main focus. Probably a lot of it is based on a gut reaction--I have always felt my way into music, kind of intuitively, so it's hard for me to accurately verbalize what it is about music that grabs me.

It's pretty clear from the ranking that I prefer the 70-77 era in terms of musical style and subject matter, and shy away from the more commercial albums of the late 80s. Oddly enough though I really like Abacab because of the production and overall sound on that album--a slick electric and electronic sound that avoids the pop sensibilities of Invisible Touch, and shows the band experimenting with different styles (the horn section, the reggae influence--and yes, the "Who Dunnit"). This was the first album recorded at the band's studio, The Farm, and I think it shows. It's nice to hear the confidence and energy on there, the fluidity of compositions coming from jam sessions. This album was really a turning point in the band's musical style which caused a lot of unhappiness among old fans when Genesis tried to tour with the new songs. Probably one of the major sore points was the infamous track "Who Dunnit?" the majority fan choice for Worst Genesis Song Ever--more about my stance on that later.

I feel that particularly ATTW3 is a weak album. There are good bits in many songs but not a lot of totally good-all-the-way-through songs. Steve's departure left the band wondering how to continue and they tried a new format with generally shorter songs, and with only limited success--the music is not cohesive and Phil did not provide much in the writing department. Duke was a much more successful band effort. I like the later albums but can't help but feel embarrassed by the pop hits. Ranking the last half-dozen or so was a difficult task--in the end I left it down to how often I find myself listening to those albums. Choosing what music I listen to is sometimes an almost subconscious decision which doesn't always seem to synch up with what I think my opinions are about things. If you asked me, I'd probably say that Calling All Stations is one of my least favorite Genesis albums, basing this judgment on some kind of objective aesthetic system having to do with originality and instrumentation. Yet I find myself listening to it more often than a few of the other albums on the list.

I was particularly at a loss as to how to rate the various live albums. The odd thing is that though I have a large collection of live recordings, I don't particularly enjoy listening to the official live albums! Maybe it's because they've been re-ordered and re-mixed and over-dubbed to the point where a lot of the live energy has been lost. Or maybe bootlegs have that forbidden fruit angle. I will say that on one particular listen to Live I had what could almost be called a transcendent experience. I really don't like mixing the live ones in with the studio ones, and if I felt I could I would leave them out or rank them separately. Can you compare a live album to a studio album and say one is better than the other? Does an apple taste better than an orange? Hmm. This has been your Genesis Deep Thought for the day.

The album ranking has been revised at least once since the first time I wrote it. I did a re-ranking independently without consulting my original list and was pleasantly surprised to see how little my opinions had changed over the years--the biggest shuffling occurred at the bottom of the pile.

Best/Worst Songs from each Album
Listed chronologically in this format:
# Album Title - Best Song/Worst Song
(other favorites)

1 From Genesis to Revelation - In the Wilderness/Where the Sour Turns to Sweet
(In the Beginning, The Conqueror, The Serpent)

2 Trespass - Looking for Someone/White Mountain
(Stagnation, The Knife, Dusk, Visions of Angels)

3 Nursery Cryme - The Musical Box/Seven Stones
(The Return of the Giant Hogweed, The Fountain of Salmacis)

4 Foxtrot - Supper's Ready/Time Table
(Watcher of the Skies, Can-Utility and the Coastliners)

5 Live - The Knife/Watcher of the Skies
(The Return of the Giant Hogweed)

6 Selling England by the Pound - The Cinema Show/After the Ordeal
(Dancing with the Moonlit Knight)

7 The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway - The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway/It
(Back in N.Y.C., In the Rapids, The Carpet Crawlers, many more)

8 A Trick of the Tail - Dance on a Volcano/Robbery, Assault and Battery
(Mad Man Moon, Entangled, Squonk, Los Endos)

9 Wind and Wuthering - Eleventh Earl of Mar/All in a Mouse's Night
(One for the Vine, Blood on the Rooftops)

10 Seconds Out - Los Endos/Robbery, Assault and Battery
(Cinema Show)

11 ...And Then There Were Three... - Down and Out/Scenes from a Night's Dream
(The Lady Lies, Say It's Alright Joe)

12 Duke - Turn It on Again/Please Don't Ask
(Duke's Travels, Cul-de-sac, Man of Our Times, Behind the Lines, Duchess, Guide Vocal)

13 Abacab - Me and Sarah Jane/Who Dunnit?
(Abacab, Like It or Not, Keep It Dark)

14 Three Sides Live (UK) - Abacab/Misunderstanding
(In the Cage medley)

15 Genesis - Mama/Silver Rainbow
(Second Home by the Sea, That's All, Taking It All Too Hard, It's Gonna Get Better, Just a Job to Do)

16 Invisible Touch - Domino/Invisible Touch

17 We Can't Dance - Driving the Last Spike/Tell Me Why
(Living Forever, Fading Lights)

18 The Way We Walk, Vol. 1: The Shorts - No Son of Mine/Invisible Touch

19 The Way We Walk, Vol. 2: The Longs - Old Medley/Drum Duet
(Driving the Last Spike, Domino)

20 Calling All Stations - The Dividing Line/Small Talk
(Not About Us, Calling All Stations, One Man's Fool - esp. closing section)


Excuses: One thing about Genesis is that over the years they have had a chance to write many different types of songs in varying styles and tones, so even big fans of the band may have been attracted to the music for different reasons, and can easily have major disagreements about individual songs. ("He doesn't like the Little Nemo song? What the $@&*!?") I for one find it hard to believe when I hear people say they love the song "Time Table."

You'll see that for some albums I listed a ridiculous amount of "other favorites." In most cases this was because I was having a really hard time choosing a favorite track, so I copped out and listed other ones. I felt that in those cases the album had a bunch of songs that were all at about the same quality level (especially Trespass--this proved to be the hardest one for me, and I listed every single track from the album!). Another album that was very hard was The Lamb, partly because I think there are just a lot of great songs on there, but also because it is a concept album and the music works best as a cohesive unit, so how can you single out one track? Duke also felt this way for me; I remember hearing the band say that they could have made a good deal of the tracks fit together seamlessly for this one (a la the Duke Suite played in 1980 live shows), but chose not to, because they didn't want to "do that again"--by which they meant, the whole concept album thing. Genesis was always trying very hard to evolve and leave their past behind them.

Unfortunately in some cases I found it hard to choose my least favorite track, because there were multiple contenders. FGtR was one album like this, and ATTWT, and even W&W. There's a whole string of songs kind of in the middle of that album that just don't do it for me: "Your Own Special Way," (a corny love song) "Wot Gorilla?" (Steve Hackett would agree with me on that one), and "All in a Mouse's Night." This one just struck me as goofy when I discovered what it was really about, and the music never really moved me. A song that I used to feel similarly about was "White Mountain"--I couldn't get over the ridiculous image the song called up in my mind of a wolf wearing a crown and bonking people with a scepter. However I've mellowed out on this song and though it is not my favorite from the album I still think it's a great track (and done quite well live during the ATOTT tour). As for ...And Then There Were Three..., I always found it hard to buy "The Ballad of Big" as a serious song--"All-star Indian tribe?!" Same goes for the one I ended up picking. On Duke, I found it difficult to choose between "Please Don't Ask" and "Alone Tonight" as the worst; they're both whiny songs about being alone.

For best tracks I sometimes picked the less obvious contenders, and strayed away from overplayed tunes like "In the Cage" and "Firth of Fifth" and "I Know What I Like." I also usually stuck with the longer, more prog-sounding songs; I was always a sucker for long songs, they just seem more important than short ones. Some songs I picked merely on nostalgiac grounds, because I remember when I was first getting into the album they were the first tracks I really enjoyed (eg "Dance on a Volcano").

Absolute Best/Worst Songs

Absolute Best Songs of all time by Genesis, the Best Band in the Universe, Even If There Are Other Races That Have Music on Other Planets

Above: The classic 76-77 line-up, led by the indomitable tough guy Tony Banks, stands firm even while being blown upon by 80 mile an hour winds. The ghost of their creative muse floats, disembodied, above them; and looks on.

1 Supper's Ready
2 The Musical Box
3 The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway
4 The Knife (live version)
5 Dance on a Volcano
6 The Cinema Show
7 Turn It on Again

Honorary Members
Firth of Fifth
I Know What I Like (in Your Wardrobe)
Watcher of the Skies
The Fountain of Salmacis
The Carpet Crawlers
One For the Vine

Excuses: This is by no means a ranking--well, maybe a little. But "Dance on a Volcano" is not necessarily better than "Cinema Show," or anything like that. Here I tried to pick songs that are generally considered "classic" Genesis songs by lots of fans, not necessarily just myself; and ones that have best stood up to the test of time and repeated, repeated, repeated playings.

I don't think I even need to talk about how great "Supper's Ready" is. "The Musical Box" is one of their most successful mergings of music with lyric, as well as their best mood-capturing, atmospheric pieces; and that big triumphant ending gets me almost every time. "The Knife" in its live form blew my mind when I listened to it in 1995 while doing some artwork in my dorm room during a pre-college summer program I was taking at the Rhode Island School of Design. "Dance on a Volcano" I first heard in the "Old Medley" and decided: "I need to buy those older albums, too." And no matter how many times I hear "Turn It on Again," I don't seem to get tired of it--the studio version, at least. "Cinema Show" is just a great, epic song with long, beautiful instrumental movements and moods and an excellent story.

The "Honorary Members" section is reserved for songs that are classic and signature tunes by the band, ones they played often live, and ones that are generally considered to be very excellent by a majority of fans. Through my skewed viewpoint, that is. Many of these songs I know to be quite good, but for whatever reason they never grabbed me emotionally quite as much as the songs that made it to my list. "Fountain of Salmacis" and "Afterglow," particularly, I've found it hard to get into. I used to think it was a no-brainer which track was better between "Salmacis" and "Box"--it was "Box" every time! The fountain just never moved me as much. However I can't really say anything against "Salmacis" after having listened to so many great live versions of it on my bootlegs--it's a fantastic, classic number, but it just can't reach the spot that "Box" has reached in my book. "Afterglow" is actually a totally excellent song, one of Banks' most beautiful tunes--but I didn't realize it until I heard the stripped down version featured on the Songbook DVD. Something about the studio version and the live version is off-putting; it seems to me this is a song that should be sung very quietly and softly, not in the loud and pushy way that it was performed on the album and during concerts.

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Absolute Worst Songs by Genesis, Which Are Some Real Stinkers, But Even So They Remain the Best Band in the Universe, etc.

Above: Ant attempts to hide his face in shame for belonging to the band that would eventually write songs like "Who Dunnit?"

1 Where the Sour Turns to Sweet
2 Fireside Song
3 Sea Bee
4 Scenes From a Night's Dream
5 Silver Rainbow
6 Match of the Day
7 Invisible Touch
8 Tell Me Why
9 Small Talk
10 The 12" Remixes

Honorary Members
Who Dunnit?
Time Table
After the Ordeal
Happy the Man


Excuses: For those of you who may have been wondering, "Where are the b-sides?"--well, there are a couple here! (Actually I honestly didn't pay as much attention to b-sides and early demo tracks, because they clearly weren't the songs that the band were proudest of and really wanted people to listen to, so I think it's a little unfair to include them in here; a lot of those tracks from disc four of Archive 1 are fairly embarrassing, especially from a lyrical standpoint.) This is by no means a definitive list, and just because these songs are here doesn't mean I absolutely detest them. A few are more like representatives of albums or musical periods of the band that I thought were somewhat weak.

The first three on the list are representatives of the naive first days of Genesis, when they were really just a bunch of school boys who had real talent but didn't know what to do with it. Some rather fruity and pretentious pop music, indicative of the late sixties in England, is seen here; as well as a love song with a curious title/refrain ("Sea Bee?!") that clearly came out of what fit with the music rather than out of a lyrical inspiration on the part of the writer. "Scenes From a Night's Dream" pops up here again not because I absolutely can't stand to listen to it, but because I really feel that ...And Then There Were Three... is one of their overall weakest albums, and I wanted to represent that. On interviews the band (or Tony Banks at least) agree with me on this one being weak. The production is bad and the instrumentation is competing with itself. The fact that Phil was having marriage problems at the time probably didn't help (although some would argue that marriage problems were what really generated most of Phil's solo success--witness the first Spitting Image sketch his puppet appeared in).

"Silver Rainbow" was a song I never got into, even just recently when I figured out what it was really about (losing one's virginity, apparently! it does make a certain amount of sense). It seemed like they were trying far too hard to make a certain style of song that was simply not in their vocabulary. I blame the eighties. "Match of the Day" is a silly throwaway song about football from the Spot the Pigeon EP that didn't make it even to the Archive 2 set--with good reason. It's not terrible, it's just not up to normal Genesis standards. "Invisible Touch" was the infamous title track which for many became the nail in Genesis' "we sold out" coffin (what kind of a metaphor was that?). The fact that Phil thinks it sounds like Prince or Sheena E should be reason enough to add it to this list. This song manages to encapsulate in three or four minutes almost everything that was wrong with the eighties. Still, it is catchy, and ranks as one of Phil's favorites (all of the ones that he wrote the lyrics to are his favorites). "Tell Me Why" is one of the sappiest, heaviest-handed "social conscience" songs Genesis has ever done. "Small Talk" is one of the best examples of what was wrong with CAS--and as I discover from the mouth of Tony Banks (from an interview I read on the web), it was written entirely by Ray Wilson! This makes me very happy, actually, because it means Mike and Tony are not to blame for it. Still, this song offends me that much that I want to strike back at it. It's just a bad pop song with a jarring vocal refrain and cheesy sampled bits of people talking. The only good part is at the end, when Ray tries to assure us that "I'll be alright." The 12" remix tracks are here as one item because I consider them more a concept/style than a bunch of songs. Remixing in this manner, as the band admit themselves, was not something that fit the Genesis sound or music ethic, and it sounds quite wrong--embarrassingly wrong. Yet these songs made it to the box set, probably because they represent a unique little sidebar in the band's last stages of evolution, and are interesting relics of the times.

As for the "Honorary Members," these are songs that generally seem to be considered very bad by most fans, or by members of the band itself, or which I simply thought were forgettable but not that bad that they needed to be put in the main list. "Who Dunnit?" is the song that generates the most amount of ire among fans, and is probably one of the main reasons why Abacab is so often ignored as an album (that and "Another Record," which I personally enjoy listening to). But I actually respect Genesis for this song. I don't think it's one of their best of course, and I'm not even sure whether it really succeeds in its intention (whatever that may have been), but I still respect the band for having the guts to experiment in this manner. I love the way they did this song live--it's very energetic and angry, and Phil does some neat things with his voice that he didn't get the opportunity to do on other songs. It's this kind of experimenting and originality that makes Genesis the incredibly eclectic and varied band that they are.

For me "Time Table" is easily the most forgettable track on the otherwise star-studded Foxtrot album. The music, especially the chorus, seems rather awkward, and the lyrics are in the vein of pretentious prog. The band were capable of much more subtlety and cleverness than this in the lyrics department, as evinced by "Supper's Ready" and "Get 'em Out by Friday" (and many more, featured in the lyrics section below).

"After the Ordeal" is, as I understand it, Tony's most hated song (written mainly by Steve Hackett, or so I understand--no wonder), one he argued vehemently to keep off of Selling England by the Pound--it remained on as a compromise, to keep on the closing instrumental section of "Cinema Show" that Pete had wanted to dump (which in retrospect seems a ghastly idea). It's a rather forgettable little ditty, but to me it's really quite harmless, and seems a fitting transition between "Epping Forest" and "Cinema Show." It also does evoke a certain flavor of times past that can be quite inspiring, if it hits you in the right place. "Happy the Man" is a silly little song that Tony claims was written because the band had been hanging around their Charisma tour partner Lindisfarne for too long. It's goofy sugar pop of the era, a catchy tune with attitude and cuteness, but not one that's going to go into the annals of history.

I got a bit defensive with my explanations here, because I know that every one of these songs has a dedicated group of rabid Genesis-freak supporters.

I'd just like to say a last word for "Illegal Alien," which didn't make the list, but which deserves a mention. I don't know what Genesis were trying to say with this song, but it comes off sounding prejudiced and somewhat closed-minded. I like to think the band didn't mean it to sound that way; that's what I tell myself while I'm singing along to it.

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Best/Worst Lyrics

Best Lyrics

Peter Gabriel provided some of the most intelligent and darkly humorous verse that Genesis ever had. His rhyming skills are also not too shabby. His lyrical skill was in creating a tone that was sustained throughout the song, and in telling a story well. The storytelling slant of his style (at that time) meant that he didn't write really good one-liner stuff like some other writers, so it's often hard to just pull out one or two lines from one of the 70-75 Genesis albums and have it work well out of context. That's why the first part of this list is actually just a list of whole songs that have overall excellent lyrics (though not all of them are from Gabriel).

I have listed the lyricists by their initials, where known, after each song--if you pay close attention you'll notice that Mike seems to be very fond of writing historical-type songs! My source for all these was (as always) Scott McMahan's discography (for real stumpers I also checked out the A-Z of Genesis Songs web site). In cases where he didn't know or neglected to list the writer, I turned to the liner notes of the album itself. Often the notes credited only one band member with writing credits for any one song. In all of those cases I assumed that that band member was responsible for both the music and lyrics. After the songs are the actual short lines that I think were really cool. (In fact I picked so many of these out that they are contained in several pop-up windows, the links to which are listed below.) The lyrics are still hard to take out of context, however, and all of these lines are indelibly linked in my memory to the music that plays behind them on the songs.

If you've perused the previous ranking lists above, it will be no surprise that one of my favorite sources for lyrics is The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, which is admittedly cryptic; but its symbolism and imagery is thick and beautiful. Again here as in most of his writing, it's the story as a whole that captures the imagination. So, though I might not have too many single lines from this album below, I do consider the entire album as a unit to be their crowning achievement lyrically and musically (by the way, it's interesting to note that the music to two of the most accesible songs from this album, "Counting Out Time" and "The Carpet Crawlers," was actually also written by Peter Gabriel--what a guy).

But in compiling these lyrics I discovered that Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford and even Phil Collins (sometimes) contributed some really great words. I was especially surprised by the total of Mike Rutherford songs that ended up getting quoted in my best lines section.

Songs: The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (entire album) (PG all songs except "The Light Dies Down on Broadway," MR and TB);

Stagnation (PG), The Knife (PG), The Musical Box (PG), The Return of the Giant Hogweed (PG), The Fountain of Salmacis (MR), Get 'em Out by Friday (PG), Can-Utility and the Coastliners, Supper's Ready (PG), Dancing With the Moonlit Knight (PG), The Battle of Epping Forest (PG), The Cinema Show/Aisle of Plenty (TB/PG);

Squonk (MR?), Mad Man Moon (TB), Eleventh Earl of Mar (MR), One for the Vine (TB), Blood on the Rooftops (PC and SH, mostly SH), Down and Out, Deep in the Motherlode (MR), Say It's Alright Joe (MR), Guide Vocal (TB), Man of Our Times (MR);

Turn It on Again (PC?), Cul-de-sac (TB), Me and Sarah Jane (TB), Dodo/Lurker (TB), Home by the Sea (TB), Illegal Alien (PC), Land of Confusion (MR), Domino (TB), No Son of Mine (PC), Driving the Last Spike (PC), Fading Lights (TB), The Dividing Line (MR), Pigeons (TB), Inside and Out (MR).

1974 (The Lamb)
Misc (B-sides/Demos)

Worst Lyrics

Yes, they're all geniuses, but even demi-gods make mistakes. And when they do, in I pounce! In the very early days, the band's blunders ranged from incredibly pretentious, psychedelic, fruity language ("Pacidy") to inane, sugar-pop, love song stuff ("Build Me a Mountain"). Then, as the albums and the '70s rolled by, they matured and dropped the inane stuff and most of the pretentiousness and got very clever. Then came the '80s, when the music simplified and so did the words. Often the lyrics came from Phil's vocal improvisations, and sometimes it really shows. Then the late '80s and early '90s, when the sickening love song stuff came back with a vengeance, along with the new "social conscience" claptrap. Genesis began writing songs about "issues" and generally getting onto a high horse and preaching about problems that could never really be solved (the pinnacle of this heavy-handed hooey is "Tell Me Why"). Then the late '90s, when Banks and Rutherford seemed to have a simultaneous mid-life crisis, and wrote an album full of songs about loss and regret and guilt that generally tread the same grounds that second-rate songwriters have been tromping over in their huge, lead-soled, pop music boots for eons (CAS). Of course, music was always the main purpose of Genesis, more than the words, but I think this is the album where Banks and Rutherford seemed the least concerned about lyric quality.

What I've assembled below is a representative sampling of these types of (IMO) cringe-worthy lyrics. I could have included more from the first album, but I think you get the picture. Unlike the best section above, I didn't list songs that have overall bad lyrics separately, because there really aren't any that are ALL bad. There are some that give me a general feeling of mediocrity, though, and those have been listed within the lines section. Also there are thankfully much fewer bad lines than good ones, so there are consequently fewer pop-up windows.

Before you read the list, one more disclaimer: I like, even love, all Genesis songs, whether they suck or not. That is, even if the "objective," musical snob section of my mind tells me that what I'm listening to is a rather silly pop song, the Genesis section of my mind will be happily singing along and loving it. So just because I put a line from "Firth of Fifth" in this list doesn't mean I'm insane (actually I think Tony himself always thought this was one of his worst efforts as a lyricist, and must have been rather embarrassed that they kept having to play it live!). I'm just trying to make this list as complete as possible to satisfy the musical snob section of my brain.


Album Tracks (1969-1997)
Non-Album Tracks (1968-1998)

Bonus List: Misheard Lyrics
I hope to expand this list, if I can think of any more lyrics I initially misheard. Or if I can get some people to contribute some of their own... Send me your silly lyrics

What They Actually Said

One day I'll find myself
And wrap it in my love for you
-"One Day," From Genesis to Revelation

"Look into my mouth!" he cries.
-"Supper's Ready, (ii) The Guaranteed Eternal Sanctuary Man," Foxtrot

"Can you tell me where my country lies?"
Said the unifaun to his true love's eyes
"It lies with me!" Cried the Queen of Maybe
For her merchandise he traded in his prize.
-"Dancing With the Moonlit Knight,"
Selling England by the Pound

My distortion shows obsession
-"In the Cage," The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway

Dog baiter, agitator
Asking questions, says he wants to know why
-"Dodo/Lurker," Abacab

Hard as I might try,
I've run out of luck
-"Run Out of Time," Calling All Stations b-side

Thanks to Genesis Freak Kate Palmer for providing these misheard lyrics:

He's a sly one, he's a shy one
All the while and in perfect time
-"Squonk," A Trick of the Tail


What I Heard

One day I'll find myself
A rabbit in my love for you
-"One Day," From Genesis to Revelation

"Look into my magic eyes!"
-"Supper's Ready, (ii) The Guaranteed Eternal Sanctuary Man," Foxtrot

"Can you tell me where my country lies?"
Said the uniform to his true love's eyes
"It lies with me!" Cried the Queen of Maybe
For her merchant eyes he traded in his prize.
-"Dancing With the Moonlit Knight,"
Selling England by the Pound

Body's starship shows obsession
-"In the Cage," The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway

Darth Vader, agitator
Asking questions, says he wants to know why
-"Dodo/Lurker," Abacab

Partners in my tribe,
I've run out of luck
-"Run Out of Time," Calling All Stations b-side


He says, I won't need a shower
All in white happy birthday time
-"Squonk," A Trick of the Tail


Best Non-Album Tracks


1 Twilight Alehouse
2 Shepherd
3 Going Out to Get You (demo)
4 Hey!
5 The Mystery of the Flannan Isle Lighthouse
6 Hair on the Arms and Legs
7 She is Beautiful
8 Evidence of Autumn
9 Do the Neurotic
10 Inside and Out
11 Open Door
12 Pigeons
13 Mama (work in progress)
14 It's Yourself
15 Going Out to Get You (live)
16 Afterglow (Songbook DVD version)
17 Me and Virgil
18 Banjo Man
19 Run Out of Time
20 Bye Bye Johnny (live early version of Can-Utility)
21 The Dividing Line (live)
22 In the Wilderness (rough mix)

Excuses: I decided not to bother much on this list with really good live versions of studio tracks, mostly because it's too hard to choose something like that. I only put "The Dividing Line" because it's one of the most impressive Ray Wilson era Genesis tracks I have ever heard, and one of the only ones comparable with their earlier work (I also liked their acoustic set at Cape Canaveral very much, especially "No Son of Mine;" and the "Not About Us" from RTL Studios is quite good). I might also have included "Carpet Crawlers '99," except its being on the best of collection kind of makes it an "album" track. They're in no particular order and are not ranked in any way, as I would have found that too difficult, and I still think that comparing the musical periods of Genesis against each other is almost like comparing apples to oranges. I made sure to choose tracks from over the whole history of the band. I do think they showed an ability to write catchy and atmospheric tunes in their early years, and I think songs like "Hey!" are competent pop songs that gave a glimpse of the eventual skill of the band.


Best Genesis Bootlegs (my picks)

Want to see what I think are the best bootlegs for each tour? Go here. I give detailed descriptions of venue, date, boot titles, quality, rarity, etc. Good to check out if you're not sure which boots to get or if you want to quickly compile a wish list.

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Fantasy Set List for Impossible Reunion Gig


Above: Floating heads, from left to right: Chester Thompson, Daryl Stuermer, Nir Zidkyahu, Anthony Drennan. Back row, from left to right: Tony, Pete, Ant, Ray. Front, left to right: Steve, Phil, Mike. Steve Hackett is actually a day older than Peter Gabriel, and months older than Phil, yet he still looks like the youngest guy there. It must be that deal with the Devil he made...

The Set-Up: Will they rejoin? Will they get back together and make new albums? Will they do one last tour (other than the Turn It on Again, one, I guess)? Will they do a one-off show? Will they perform on some new project not called Genesis? Will fans continue to hypothesize about this until the end of time?

This list is not in any way an answer to these questions. Speculations about this are reserved for the Mysteries section of this web site (and every Genesis discussion forum everywhere). However, another question that is a frequent topic of fan discussion: IF they got back together, what songs would you want them to play? Well, my answer to that lies below. I'd rather include all of my favorites than make the set even remotely realistic in terms of stage time, so this concert would probably take half of a day. I've broken it into sections, with the vocalists' initials after each song. Even in their prime they could never have had the energy (or the memory) to play this set list! But, who knows, maybe some day...I mean, they all still like each other, right? It could happen...

Who would be there: Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, Steve Hackett, Anthony Phillips, Mike Rutherford, Daryl Stuermer, Chester Thompson, Ray Wilson, Nir Zidkyahu. There are enough guitarists here already, really, so they probably wouldn't need Anthony Drennan (or Mick Barnard!). So why is Drennan's floating head included in the doctored photo above, you ask? Well, I guess I just wanted to be complete, and include the main live players from the band's history; and I like floating heads. Also not needed for the reunion are Bill Bruford, Chris Stewart, John Silver and John Mayhew, although even with three different drummers to share the duties, it will probably still be quite an ordeal. I would be there, of course, in the audience, wearing as many t-shirts as possible and most likely being rained on.

Part One: Opening Cocktail
-Back in N.Y.C. (PG)
-Eleventh Earl of Mar (PC)
-Down and Out (PC) (if he's capable, I'd love to hear Nir Zidkyahu do drums on this one)
-The Fountain of Salmacis (PG, PC does back-up)
-Mama (PC)
-Firth of Fifth (instrumental section only) (guitar solo traded back and forth between Steve and Daryl)
-Abacab (PC)
Approx. time: 50 minutes. There follows a short break; you are encouraged to purchase memorabilia.

Part Two: The Ten Minute Songs, Chronologically Speaking
-Dancing With the Moonlit Knight (PG)
-The Musical Box (PG) (Ant has to play guitar on this one)
-One for the Vine (PC)
-Home by the Sea/Second Home by the Sea (PC)
-Domino (PC)
-Driving the Last Spike (PC)
Approx. time: 65 minutes (at least). These songs are played in chronological order except the first two; "Musical Box" should come first, but I'd rather have "Moonlit Knight" start off the set. Following this comes another short break, in which Chester puts his arms in a bucket of ice.

Part Three: Romeo and Juliet order Lamb Stew with a side of Albert
-The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (PG; at the end, PC and RW join in chorus)
-Fly on a Windshield (instrumental)/Broadway Melody of 1974 (instrumental)/The Carpet Crawlers (PC/PG/RW)
-The Cinema Show (PG/PC, alternating)/Riding the Scree (instrumental)/In the Rapids (PG)/it (PG/PC)/Watcher of the Skies (PG)
-Duke's Travels/Duke's End (PC)
Approx. time: 60 minutes. Ideally, as soon as "Watcher of the Skies" ended I would want them to start right up with "Duke's Travels." But, after that, a short break. Pete goes to take a nap, because he's not needed for the next section. Tony, Ant, Mike, Steve, and Daryl get their guitars ready (well, maybe that's too many guitars...).

Part Four: Unplugged (Acoustic set)
-No Son of Mine (RW/PC) (short version)
-Afterglow (PC) (just Tony on piano and Phil on vocals and bongos)
-Not About Us (RW)
-Horizons (with Blood on the Rooftops intro in the middle) (just Steve, of course)
Approx. time: 15 minutes. While all of the instruments are plugged back in and such, Pete wakes up and tells a story. It's about Old Michael, who walked past the pet shop into the park...

Part Five: Supper Time
-Supper's Ready (PG; PC does back-up)
Approx. time: 25 minutes. Cheering follows for an additional five minutes.

Part Six: Los Endos...and Endos and Endos
-Dance on a Volcano/Drum Duet/Los Endos (PC)
-Can-Utility and the Coastliners (PG)
-Harold the Barrel (PG/PC)
-The Dividing Line (RW) (Nir on drums)
-I Know What I Like (in Your Wardrobe) (PC/PG/RW, alternating) (Nir on drums?)
Here Nir, Daryl, Chester, Ray, and even Steve leave the stage, leaving only Pete, Tony, Mike and Ant with Phil on drums for the last number:
-The Knife (PG)
Approx. time: 55 minutes.

Approx. total time: 270 minutes, or 4 1/2 hours; not including breaks between sections or breaks between songs. There's still more songs not here that I would have liked to include, like "The Return of the Giant Hogweed," "Behind the Lines," "Duchess," "Squonk," "The Lady Lies," and "Say It's Alright Joe." But I didn't want it to get
too long...

It might seem obvious to put "Turn It on Again" in here, but I think songs like "The Knife" and "I Know What I Like" are better songs for the ending. Plus, I really think they've done that song and "In the Cage" quite enough live (even though they've probably played "Musical Box" a few more times than those).


Who is Their Leader?
Most Important Members

Another common question amongst fans is: who is the most important member of the band? Who is the best guy? Who epitomizes everything that is pure and good about Genesis? Rather than pick one, I've put together some analyses of the main members and what I perceive as their contributions to the band.

Tony Banks
Many fans would say that if Genesis has a leader, or a most important member, it's the quiet, retiring genius Tony Banks. He is their main writer, he's been there since the beginning, and since his solo career never took off he probably has the most commitment to the band. In the Songbook DVD Tony Smith said that Tony Banks was the only guy that absolutely needed to be in the band to maintain the Genesis sound. Tony writes a lot of lyrics and a lot of music on all of the albums. But is that enough to make him the Genesis keystone? Possibly. But one should keep in mind that Tony Banks' solo albums don't sound like Genesis albums. Tony writes a lot of Genesis songs, but not all of them, and most of Genesis' work of the 80s developed from band jam sessions, not solo compositions filtered through the group performance dynamic. Tony's real control may be exerted in the position of conductor or director, telling Mike and Phil (or for the last album, just Mike) things like "let's keep that bit in, play it like you did before," or "that's not working, let's try something else." His 2004 release, Seven, an album of original classical pieces performed by an orchestra, actually does put him in the position of conductor; maybe one of the things that led him to this project was his already-established "conductor" status within the band. He likes to control people...


Phil Collins
For some, "the dreaded" Phil Collins, who made the band sell out and write cheesy love songs. A common response to this charge is "He did not! Their musical style was moving in that direction anyway. It wasn't Phil's idea only, but a transformation the whole band was making simultaneously." Or sometimes "Genesis never sold out! They just happened to get recognized by a lot of people. Their music started selling records. So what? Even IT and WCD still had the epic prog songs of yore! Look at 'Driving the Last Spike' and 'Domino!'" In actuality, I think it's hard to ignore Phil's impact on the band. A lot of their popularity in the 80s must have been due to Phil's success as a solo artist. Like it or not, the lead singer of a band is often its avatar, so to speak; the communicator through which the band expresses itself to its audience, and the one the audience looks to as the image of the band. For many who became fans in the 80s, Phil Collins was Genesis, and without him they weren't interested in the band. If you look purely at who wrote which song, you'll see that the lyrics to a lot of their big hits, like "Misunderstanding," "No Reply At All," "Mama," "Invisible Touch," "No Son of Mine," "In Too Deep," and "That's All" were all written by Phil. Phil really did bring the love song into Genesis' repertoire, and not only from a lyrical standpoint. He wasn't the only one of them writing love songs, but he wrote more of them. He also probably brought in a few million more fans than Tony or Mike ever could. Let's also keep in mind that it was Phil who brought Earth, Wind, and Fire onto a Genesis record, and it was his idea to move into a more R&B type of sound; possibly he pushed the band into the reggae style you hear on Abacab, which had already been popularized by The Police. Don't overlook the Phil factor. It'll get you back!

Peter Gabriel
The fabled "Gabriel Years" are called that for a reason. Pete, perhaps more than Phil, created a persona and a vocabulary of imagery for the band. He was their lyrical mastermind, penning most of the tracks from the 70s and virtually all of their epic Lamb album. He also got the band's first public attention through his humorous storytelling and fantastical use of costumes. Critics and reviewers started to talk about the band (in many cases), not because of their music, but because of its presentation through Pete. A lot of their early live appeal might have come from Pete's zany antics. Their songs wouldn't have had half the character and depth they had without him. Most of the band's dark humor and sexuality left with him (notice I specify "dark" humor; the band members all have their respective senses of humor, but Pete's was a special kind). Pete left because of his growing position as the rock star, the perceived leader. He wanted to avoid becoming something that he was not, to stop playing a role projected onto him by the expectations of rock, and start being himself. The band was taking him over. He was the image of the band, in a way, and his words did lend a power and character to the music, but after his departure the music was still there: always changing, but still maintaining the core group sound. Phil and Pete as lead singers lent a certain attitude to the music, just as Ray Wilson did, but the music itself was still this separate, free-standing, malleable entity, that could survive with or without them.

Steve Hackett
Steve had a lot of the romantic sensibility in Genesis. He was very willing to explore musical atmospheres and work on songs about myths and fantastical stories. He is also very influenced and inspired by classical music, and he liked and endorsed that aspect of the band's music. His writing contribution, as he has stated on more than one occasion with differing amounts of bitterness, did not match some of the bigger guns, but he apparently did function as a sort of "cheerleader" for the music that he appreciated, supporting passages by Tony that were more to his liking and voting for their inclusion on the album (I got this from a 1998 interview with Steve posted on the official web site). One of the most important things Steve did for the band was to simply play with them; his guitar work was amazing, and provided Genesis with a more layered and fascinating sound than they had without him. Steve really wanted the guitar to be a main part of Genesis songs, and fought to get it there. Without Steve, the only guitarist left in the group was Mike, who as a bassist was not particularly interested in asserting the lead guitar into the mix of their songs. Tony's keyboard took over and became the lead instrument, the instrument driving and leading a lot of the songs. The guitar was still there of course, but it ceased to become a big player (and sometimes was only present in the form of a sample that was actually played on Tony's keyboards!). I think a lot of the (I hesitate to call it) animosity between Tony and Steve can be linked to this struggle between the guitar and the keyboards, a constant fight over which one would take control; a fight in which Tony more often than not was the winner. So Hackett's contribution was as a demon on the main band members' shoulders, nudging songs in certain directions; after he left the romanticism and fantasy slowly seeped out of the group's subject matter. And so did the lead guitar.

Mike Rutherford
Mike, as he has himself stated (see the interviews on the WWW DVD), supplies a sort of chunky, simplistic bass riff to many Genesis songs, something basic that Tony Banks can work around in a much more complex way on his keyboards. He has also supplied a lot of good songwriting ("Land of Confusion," "Follow You Follow Me," "Deep in the Motherlode," "Say It's Alright Joe," "Man of Our Times," "Like It or Not," "Land of Confusion"). I'm also a big fan of his early lyrics, which were often inspired by existing history and myth ("Eleventh Earl of Mar," "Deep in the Motherlode," "Fountain of Salmacis"). Mike is also quite capable of writing the typical love song ("Your Own Special Way"). He's been with the band since it's earliest, earliest days, and is clearly an integral part of their songwriting dynamic, but he never really exerts control over the musical direction in any way; he's content simply being a cog in the machinery.

Anthony Phillips
Anthony Phillips was a very important early member of the band who helped in its formation and early growth. He helped write formative classics like "The Knife," "The Musical Box," and "Visions of Angels;" and, as the rest of the band have repeatedly stated, they came the closest to breaking up when Ant left. He was also there on the lead guitar before Steve, providing that warring counterpart to Tony's keyboards. It's hard to say what Ant really added to the music; perhaps a folky, pastoral flavor, the style of much of his early solo work.

The Band
The real leader of Genesis is the band as a unit. The original purpose of the band was to be a democratic, songwriting co-op, and the band has stayed true to this idea. Much of their later writing was born out of all the members playing together and seeing what worked, and much of their early writing was born out of lots of argument. None of the solo projects from this band have been able to match the power of the musicians working together; that's what kept Phil coming back to it, even after his solo career skyrocketed. There's something in Genesis that is more than the sum of its parts. So, to answer my initial question, the leader of Genesis is Genesis.

Genesis Pet Peeves

I hope this list doesn't get very long, because it would mean I would have multiple reasons to be aggravated, and nobody needs that.

Play "In the Air Tonight!"
Although I can understand how it could happen, it bugs me when people confuse Phil Collins with Genesis, and vice versa. Phil's solo music is actually quite different than Genesis music, but when people hear the same voice on both...I've heard that people would request Phil songs at Genesis concerts, though, and that's just wrong. If you go to the concert, you should really have a better idea of what you're listening to than that!

Dancing with...What??
One Genesis song title that seems to induce the most confusion is the first track from SEbtP, which for the record is called "Dancing With the Moonlit Knight." I've seen a million misspellings of this title, even on an official release from the band--the "Not About Us" single featuring a live acoustic version of the song. I swear I've seen "Dancing With the Moonlight Knight," "Dancing Out With the Moonlight Knight," "Dancin' Out With the Moonlite Knight," "Dancing With the Moonlit Nite," and every variation on those. Anyone with enough respect for the band or their own work should at least take the time to check the accuracy of song titles. It's not very hard to check.

While I'm on the subject of misnamed titles, I'd like to mention "Horizons." I've always wondered about this one, because my copy of Foxtrot has the song being called "Horizon's," with an apostrophe. Which doesn't really make any sense, unless the song was somehow referring to something that the Horizon possessed, or it was a contraction for "Horizon is" or "Horizon was." Scott McMahan says that the correct name is in fact "Horizons," the more logical title (and the spelling on the original LP releases), although the error of "Horizon's" has been perpetuated in almost all of the re-releases of the Foxtrot album.

Phil and the Ladies
I don't really like the way Phil talks about the lack of female fans in the early days. He says something to the effect that old Genesis was too complex for the ladies, and wasn't giving them what they were looking for. He makes it sound as if the only thing women want in music is a song like "Follow You Follow Me." He also simultaneously insults their male fans by describing them all as spotty young men with long overcoats and fishing hats (this is paraphrased from the "A History" video). I know he was just kidding, but it doesn't really seem to be a very diplomatic way of putting it. I imagine his PR person shaking her head as he was saying these things. For the record I have never possessed either an overcoat or a fishing hat.

The "Oh Lawd" Effect
Unfortunately, this is another one aimed at Phil. Sorry, man! I think Phil is a great guy, a wonderful drummer with a great sense of humor and a good stage presence. But he is the member of the band with the biggest personality, so he's also the one that's easiest to criticize. In this case, what bugs me is a little thing I like to call: The "Oh Lawd" Effect. Phil was possibly afraid at live shows that fans looking for some really special experience would come to the concert to find the same songs they heard on the record. Of course, there were the spectacular light shows and smoke machines and the irreplacable experience of seeing it done live, but was that enough? Phil resolved to spice up the same-old, same-old by really laying on his vocals thick. This entailed general repetition of choruses ("Turn it, turn it, turn it, turn it, turn it, turn it..."), stressing of certain phrases ("And the lamb lies down....down down down!" or "And the tickler takes his stickleback...back, back, back, back!"), unnecessary and out of place profanity to show that he's really a "tough guy" ("Shit, there's no reply at all," or "And though she will fuck up your life, you'll want her just the same..."), and of course, the addition of really impressive emotional outbreaks, such as "Oh lawd!" Phil lays it on too thick with this kind of stuff IMO, stressing things that have no reason to be stressed and going over the top with the lyrics. His best vocal work is when he sticks to the basics and just sings the darn song (which is why I think the Songbook DVD version of "Afterglow" is the best version around). Don't get me wrong, sometimes I love what he adds to the songs live; but sometimes it's just...oh, lawd.

The rest of the lists named at the top of this page but not included in this page can be reached by clicking on their corresponding links at the top of the page. The lists not included here are the pictorial lists and the objective lists, which have been placed on separate pages. Thanks for checking it out!