Tonight (October 3rd) on the world famous Classic Album At Midnight on Radio Nova we’re playing Genesis’s Genesis in full on vinyl, courtesy of The Record Hub.
The album is presented in full with no commercials or interruptions.
Formed in the late 1960s in the English county of Surrey, Genesis were initially at the forefront of Britain’s Prog Rock movement of the 1970s. When original lead singer Peter Gabriel departed to pursue a solo career in 1975, drummer Phil Collins took his place as the group’s lead vocalist. In the years following Gabriel’s departure, the band, led by Collins’s sensibilities, would evolve into a more radio friendly outfit, which saw Genesis become one of the most commercially successful bands of the 1980s.
This shift had taken effect with their 1981 album Abacab, the first to be produced by Hugh Padgham, who had impressed Phil Collins with his production of Peter Gabriel’s third solo album. The lineup at this point consisted of lead vocalist and drummer Collins, guitarist Mike Rutherford and keyboardist Tony Banks.
A live album, Three Sides Live, followed in 1982, followed by a two month tour of North America and Europe in the autumn of that year.
After taking a break of several months to pursue solo projects the band gathered in Spring of 1983 at The Farm, the Surrey studio they had recently purchased. Their self-titled twelfth album would be the first album the band would write and record at The Farm in its entirety.
Padgham scaled back his duties to that of an engineer with the band self-producing the album. Initially the band considered giving Rutherford and Banks lead vocals on some tracks but ultimately decided to stick with Collins, though they were given greater roles as backing vocalists than on previous albums.
With Genesis, the band established a songwriting method of developing songs by jamming together in the studio. In the past each member had arrived in the studio with their own ideas. With all three members contributing to each of the album’s tracks, it was decided the album should be named after the band as a collective.
In its original form Genesis features nine songs. On Side A are Mama; That’s All; Home by the Sea; and Second Home by the Sea. Side B consists of Illegal Alien; Taking It All Too Hard; Just a Job to Do; Silver Rainbow; and It’s Gonna Get Better.
The tracks on Side A are generally moody, synth heavy mood pieces with lengthy instrumentals while Side B sees the band offer more radio friendly tunes, hinting at the direction they would lean towards in the coming years.
Genesis was released on October 3rd, 1983. It reached number one on the UK album chart but was ousted after just one week. It would ultimately spend 51 weeks on the chart. In the US it peaked at number nine on the Billboard chart. Five singles were released from the album with Mama reaching number four in the UK, becoming the highest charting single for the band.
Critics were torn regarding Genesis’s self-titled album. Many struggled to embrace its more commercial leanings, which they compared to Phil Collins’ solo work. Others saw this as a positive development, with Kerrang! describing Genesis as “great music for the masses.”
With its mix of toe-tapping pop tunes and moody synth vibes, there’s something to please fans of both Genesis’s early prog period and their later more commercial era. You can hear it at midnight tonight on Radio Nova.