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Genesis - Foxtrot: Progressive Rock At Its Best

Updated on February 02, 2015

Many who began listening to Genesis in the 1980s or later are unfamiliar with their earlier albums from the 1970s. It was Foxtrot which was released in 1972 that set them firmly on the road to fame, and in my opinion this album has some of their finest tracks.

The music of Genesis was less commercial in the 1970s, in fact their first single released in 1973 wasn't even really commercial. Genesis evolved quickly into a Progressive Rock band, and there is far more to their music than the singles that you are probably more familiar with from the 1980s and later.

Genesis as a band formed at Charterhouse School in London in 1967 and the following year Jonathan King, who topped the charts with "Everyone's Gone To The Moon", got them a recording deal and came up with the name "Genesis" for the band.

Foxtrot is the 4th album that they released, and it's success probably came about as much through front man Peter Gabriel's flamboyant stage costumes as the unique style of music and the quality of the tracks on this album.

This was one of the first albums that I purchased when I started university in 1973, and I still have that original album, plus of course a copy on CD. I first heard the album in my last year at high school, having borrowed it from a friend, and I was instantly hooked.

I was so disappointed to have not gone to the Lindisfarne concert in my hometown of Bournemouth that year, because a number of my school friends went and Genesis were the support act. Few people knew who Genesis were before the concert began, but the band apparently left the stage to tremendous applause and Lindisfarne hadn't been on long before there were shouts of people asking for Genesis to come back on stage. They never looked back since and became one of the best known rock bands of all time.

Genesis Watcher Of The Skies Live

Genesis - Foxtrot - The Tracks On This Album

Watcher Of The Skies (7:22)

This is an innovative piece of progressive rock with some interesting uses of organ and monotone, and is about a Guardian/God watching over the Earth, from it's creation and the evolution of different life forms, and now the time for man's long union with earth is coming to an end. Excellently performed live by Peter Gabriel.

Timetable (4:40)

This track takes us back to the times of King Arthur and the ave of chivalry, then brings us forward to all that remains.

Get 'Em Out By Friday (8:36)

As relevant today as it was back then, greedy corporations force people to move out of their old homes into new ones, convincing them that this is a good deal, when in fact by the time they realise it's not it's too late. It then looks forward to a future time when a declaration is made genetically limiting people's height to 4 foot, so they can squeeze more people into the same space.

Can-Utility And The Coastliners (5:45)

Another trip back in time, this time to the era of Viking invasions in England and King Canute, who legend has it tried to command the waves, but failed.

Horizons (1:43)

This is a short acoustic instrumental that is not only different to anything else on the album, it's different to anything else that Genesis has every done. It's short, pretty but forgettable.

Supper's Ready (22:50)

Supper's Ready is a weird and wonderful track that runs for over 20 minutes. It's a dream sequence that conjures up imagery from the Book of Revelations and it goes through a number of different passages that vary in style and rhythm. You have to listen to it a number of times to fully appreciate it, and in some parts just turn it up, close your eyes, and listen to some of Phil Collins amazing drumming or Mike Rutherford's innovative use of base pedals.

In summary, if you hate Progressive Rock you might love or hate this, but it just might turn you on to an era of great music from the early 1970s, when some amazing music was being created. If you love Progressive Rock or Genesis and you haven't heard Foxtrot, "where have you been?". For me this is one of Genesis's finest moments.

Genesis Supper's Ready Live 1973

More Early Genesis Albums You Might Enjoy


These are some more Genesis albums from their early days, all in the Progressive Rock genre, and all now classic albums in their own way. "The Knife" is the best track on Trespass, but I highly recommend Nursery Cryme and Selling England By The Pound as complete albums for all Genesis fans.

Trespass
Trespass

This is the second album that Genesis released and it's good in it's own right. It really is interesting to hear how Genesis were evolving at that time, and this is the beginning of a transition which would result in Foxtrot 2 years later. The best track on the album in my opinion is "The Knife".

 
Nursery Cryme
Nursery Cryme

This was the 3rd album released by Genesis back in 1971, with some classic tracks including Return Of The Giant Hogweed and The Musical Box.

 
Selling England By The Pound
Selling England By The Pound

This album was the follow up to Foxtrot and it's a fantastic album with advancements in style and sophistication over the previous albums. The Battle Of Epping Forest is a humorous track that is loosely based on a London gangland battle. The Cinema Show is one of the all time Genesis classic tracks, parts of which form a main part of the Genesis Live medley that has featured in their concerts over the years.

 

Genesis Live - An Amazing Experience

Genesis in Denmark - Phil Collins (2007)
Genesis in Denmark - Phil Collins (2007) | Source

Phil Collins The Amazing Showman

While (in my opinion) Genesis were an amazing band, and their live performances something ultra special, it wasn't just the music and special effects that were the reason for this.

There was another factor in the success of the Genesis live tours, and that was their front man Phil Collins.

The following is a classic example of how Phil engineered responses from a crowd:

Phil: Tonight we are going to play some new songs.

Loud cheers from the crowd.

Phil: We are also going to play some old songs.

Mega loud cheers from the crowd.

Phil: We might even play some REALLY old songs.

The crowd goes wild, since this is what everybody wants to hear Genesis play.

Phil: But first, a new song...

Under normal circumstances people hearing this would be disappointed, but Phil has craftily built them up so that there is no way that they can seem disappointed even if they wanted to. And so the crowd cheers loudly.

Phil was such a great showman, and we all know that a concert where there is great interaction with the audience is the kind that people enjoy the most.

Genesis Can-Utility And The Coastliners

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    • TonyPayne profile image
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      Tony Payne 2 years ago from Southampton, UK

      Personally I love the really old Genesis (Foxtrot was the first album I heard back in 72) but Invisible Touch was probably their most popular commercial album. I saw them at Wembley on that tour, it was amazing.

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan Robert Lancaster 2 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      Hello again Tony (twice in one night?)

      This is more like it! It's a 'let's push the boat out' page that I can get my teeth into.

      I've only got 'Invisible Touch' on cd and 'The Way We Walk' on audio cassette (this is one I bought earlier, when I only had cassettes).

      For what it's worth I think Phil brought them in from the cold, gave them a human touch and he could relate to the fans in a way they didn't before, although purely artistically they were on another level - a bit like Floyd.

    • RobertConnorIII profile image

      Robert Connor 2 years ago from Michigan

      Brings back memories!

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 2 years ago

      Congratulations on LOTD! Oh my goodness I forgot all about the Genesis music....flash back! ;-)

    • profile image

      anonymous 2 years ago

      The Peter Gabriel era of Genesis was exceptional. Congratulations on a well-deserved LotD!

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