Music: Supper's Ready

As Peter Gabriel has said, it's "a personal journey which ends up walking through scenes from Revelations in The Bible."

"Supper's Ready" is a seven-part song by the seminal progressive rock band Genesis, appearing on their 1972 album Foxtrot. At 23 minutes long, it takes up one side of the original vinyl release (apart from a brief unrelated instrumental entitled "Horizons") and is Genesis' first real Rock Opera (if "The Musical Box" doesn't count, anyway). Alongside The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, it's one of the major contributors to Genesis' lasting reputation and influence on progressive rock, and it's exactly how a surrealist prog-rock opera should be done.

The song is divided into:

  1. "Lover's Leap"
  2. "The Guaranteed Eternal Sanctuary Man"
  3. "Ikhnaton and Itsacon and Their Band of Merry Men"
  4. "How Dare I Be So Beautiful?"
  5. "Willow Farm"
  6. "Apocalypse in 9/8 (Co-Starring the Delicious Talents of Gabble Ratchet)"
  7. "As Sure as Eggs Is Eggs (Aching Men's Feet)"

"Supper's Ready" contains examples of:

  • As the Good Book Says: The supper in the title is the "great supper of God" during the Second Coming in Revelation 19. The song later paraphrases that passage.
  • Cover Drop: "like the fox on the rocks..."
  • Epic Rocking: Teases throughout, until Apocalypse in 9/8, when they never look back. The song as a whole is 23 minutes long, so it definitely counts.
  • Gratuitous Panning: All throughout the song, but especially in "Willow Farm", in which the vocals very obviously pan from left to right during one line, and back to the left in the next.
  • Meaningful Echo: Twice in "As Sure as Eggs Is Eggs":
    • The lyric "And it's hello babe, with your guardian eyes so blue... hey, my baby, don't you know our love is true?" recalls "Lover's Leap".
    • The melody of the section is the same as that for "The Guaranteed Eternal Sanctuary Man".
  • Mind Screw
  • Narcissist: "How Dare I Be So Beautiful?", which directly alludes to the myth of Narcissus staring at his reflection in the pond and getting turned into a flower.
  • Non-Appearing Title: While there are a couple of allusions to supper, the title "Supper's Ready" never appears in the lyrics. Also, "The Guaranteed Eternal Sanctuary Man" and "Willow Farm" are the only sections whose titles appear in the lyrics.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: The lyrics to "Lover's Leap" are heavily based on a real-life supernatural experience that Peter Gabriel and his then-wife Jill had at her parents' house.
  • Subdued Section: Between "Apocalypse in 9/8" and "As Sure as Eggs Is Eggs". All of the instruments drop out, the flute comes in, then church bells, then a drum roll, then quieting under Peter's vocals, followed by full instrumentation returning via a drum break.
  • Triumphant Reprise: The initial singing of "Lover's Leap" isn't necessarily dark, per se, but since it's at the beginning, it's clear that problems are about to occur very soon for the protagonists. When the lyrics are reprised after "Apocalypse in 9/8", the tone is much more positive, especially since it leads directly into the triumphant finale.
  • Uncommon Time: "Apocalypse in 9/8". The solo is an exception as parts of it are in Common Time.
  • The Walrus Was Paul: Gabriel's descriptions of the song do little to increase its comprehensibility. His way of announcing it at concerts was telling a completely unrelated story (involving earthworms) ending on the punchline Supper's Ready.
    • "Gabble Ratchet" apparently refers to the Hounds of Hell. Either that, or squawking geese.
  • Winston Churchill: In "Willow Farm", he's dressed in drag and used to be a British flag.note 
  • Word Salad Lyrics: "Willow Farm"

Alternative Title(s):

Suppers Ready