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.
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)
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)
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
20 The Way We Walk, Vol. 1: The Shorts (C)
(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
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.
Songs from each Album
|Listed chronologically in this format:
# Album Title - Best Song/Worst Song
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
(Stagnation, The Knife, Dusk, Visions of Angels)
3 Nursery Cryme - The Musical Box/Seven
(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,
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
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
(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
(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
(Driving the Last Spike, Domino)
20 Calling All Stations - The Dividing Line/Small
(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").
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
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.
Back to top
Worst Songs by Genesis, Which Are Some Real Stinkers,
But Even So They Remain the Best Band in the Universe,
|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
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.
Back to top
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
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
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).
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
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.
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
Hard as I might try,
I've run out of luck
-"Run Out of Time," Calling All Stations
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
Partners in my tribe,
I've run out of luck
-"Run Out of Time," Calling All Stations
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
3 Going Out to Get You (demo)
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
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.
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.
Back to top
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
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
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.
THE IMPOSSIBLE GENESIS REUNION CONCERT
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)
-Firth of Fifth (instrumental section only) (guitar solo traded
back and forth between Steve and Daryl)
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)
-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
Part Three: Romeo and Juliet order Lamb Stew with a side
-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
-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
Part Five: Supper Time
-Supper's Ready (PG; PC does back-up)
Approx. time: 25 minutes. Cheering follows for an additional
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).
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.
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...
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!
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 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
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 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 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.
I hope this list doesn't get very long, because it would
mean I would have multiple reasons to be aggravated, and nobody
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!
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
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.
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!