This is the one. It is the album that made me love prog. I had heard some Genesis before. There was a copy of “Wind and Wuthering” in our house, and a friend even had “Foxtrot” playing when I was around. It wasn’t until he had me sit down and listen closely, that I got it. I was already a staunch Beatles freak, but I had no idea that I was about to discover my next favorite band. Playing the cello had given me a better appreciation of music, and I suppose I was at the right age to define my tastes.
My friend was quite a talented musician (percussionist), and took me through the album, bit by bit. I’ll never forget him pointing out the coolest bits of “Watcher of the Skies.” He would just gesture in the air, in perfect sync with the music.
The piano of the intro to “Time Table” took me by surprise, as well as the delicacy of the song itself.
“Get ‘Em Out by Friday” had such an odd feel, but it was so engaging. Being socially conscious, the story appealed to me right away. And the bass demanded recognition.
“Can Utility and the Coastliners” deceptively seemed like another soft number. Soon it grew into symphonic grandeur. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. What was that sound? I heard it before, on the opening track. That’s not an orchestra (it took me years to discover what a mellotron was). By the end, Tony has taken off, accompanied by Mike, and Gabriel is reaching a fever pitch. It all winds up, ending in abrupt perfection.
“Horizons” astounded me. I had never heard a rock guitarist play like that. It was so beautiful. The only thing I could compare it to was the likes of Andres Segovia.
Nothing could have prepared me for what came next. “Supper’s Ready” was indescribable. A rock band actually composed a piece with different movements. How wondrous! It worked too. All of the different moods flowed, even the humorous parts. The ending in all illuminating power, with those bells … was absolutely incredible.
To my best recollection, that was my experience when I first heard it. That was a very long time ago, and it still remains very powerful today. My appreciation of it has not diminished. This is a masterpiece. It is prog at its best. Go out and get a copy. You will be glad you did.
Tony Banks – organ, mellotron, piano, electric piano, 12 string, voices
Steve Hackett – electric guitar, 12 string, and 6 string
Phil Collins – drums, voices, assorted percussions
Peter Gabriel – lead voice, flute, bass drum, tambourine, oboe
Michael Rutherford – bass, bass pedals, 12 string guitar, voices, cello
P.S. for those who know, yeah, the friend was Shaw Walker