Genesis recorded a total of five albums, and the 1974 double album ‘The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway’, during Peter Gabriel’s tenure as lead vocalist. During this period of their career the band were primarily an art rock come progressive rock outfit, demanding a concerted effort on the part of patrons to tap into the
In studio, Genesis had been pared back to the trio of Phil Collins, Tony Banks, and Mike Rutherford, and in 1978 released their first album in that formation, with the appropriately titled ‘And Then There Were Three’, which contained their first bonafide commercial hit in the form of ‘Follow You, Follow Me’, and the sublime ballad ‘Many Too Many’. Genesis followed that up with 1980’s ‘Duke’ set, yielding the guitar driven hit ‘Turn It On’, and the soulful, horn laced Phil Collins penned ‘Misunderstanding’. By this time the band were sailing perilously close to becoming a pop-rock outfit. But they still retained some of their art-rock roots, particularly on the pure album cuts.
If Genesis were sailing close to pop-rock territory on ‘Duke’, they docked at the pop-rock pier for 1981’s ‘Abacab’. Released in September of ‘81, ‘Abacab’ was produced by Genesis, with acclaimed producer Hugh Padgham acting as sound engineer. Phil Collins handled the lead vocals, percussion and drums, Tony Banks keyboards and backing vocals, and Mike Rutherford guitars, bass, and backing vocals. The album featured nine tracks in all, with eight clocking over four minutes in length. Six of the tracks were co-written by all three band members, with each of Banks, Collins and Rutherford composing one track.
The ‘Abacab’ album yielded four single releases. ‘No Reply At All’ (US#29 - #2 US Mainstream Rock chart/ OZ#74), boasted the bold brass of the Earth, Wind & Fire horn section (see separate post), who had also recently featured on Phil Collins’ ‘Face Value’ album. The atmospheric ‘Man On The Corner’ was closer to the traditional Genesis sound, and found the outskirts of the top forty (US#40/UK#41). The eccentric ‘Keep It Dark’ (UK#33) was an engaging tale of alien worlds visited (but ssssshhhhoosh, don’t tell anyone) and was backed by an appropriately quirky promotional video. The single remix of the title track, ‘Abacab’ (UK#9/ US#26 - #4 Mainstream Rock chart/ OZ#35), was the closest thing to guitar/synth driven rock on the album, and was remarkably close in nature to a ‘new wave’ song, at least in the single remix. It was backed by a very effective performance based clip. When I’m playing my copy of the Genesis ‘Video Show’ on DVD the volume always gets turned up for ‘Abacab’.