main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Music: The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway

The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway is a Concept Album released by Genesis in 1974. It is their last album with Peter Gabriel.

The story follows a young half-Puerto Rican street kid from New York City named Rael as he embarks on a fantastical journey to find his brother John. Or something like that.... Seriously, there's an entire book that contains various interpretations of the story.


  • A Date with Rosie Palms: The final line of "Counting Out Time":
    Without you, mankind handkinds thru' the blues.
  • Aerith and Bob: Rael and his brother John.
  • All There in the Manual: The story Gabriel wrote for the liner notes.
    • Rael's "guide to erogenous zones" in Counting Out Time, in-universe.
  • Artistic License - Geography: Rael comes "out of the subway" at Broadway which is evidently "just like Twenty-Second Street". The New York subway system does not work that way. Averted when performed live, as Phil Collins sometimes sings "just like Forty-Second Street" instead.
  • Beneath the Earth
  • Big Applesauce
  • Bitter Almonds: From "Broadway Melody of 1974":
    The cheerleader waves her cyanide wand
    There's a smell of peach blossom and bitter almond
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: In the synopsis of the album included in the liner notes, Rael tells readers to "Keep your fingers out of my eye."
  • Breather Song: "Hairless Heart", "Silent Sorrow in Empty Boats"
  • Body Horror: The Slippermen.
  • Concept Album
  • Darker and Edgier: The musical, lyrical and conceptual tone of the work was deliberately meant to be this trope, as compared to the very pastoral, English, whimsical (if often very ironic) sounds and styles they were known for prior to the work. They always had dabbled in dark (or dark-humored) themes and harder-rocking sounds, but The Lamb was a full change of pace from, say, "I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)".
  • Dark Reprise: "The Light Dies Down on Broadway" is sort of a twisted reprise of the theme from the first song, mixed with part of The Lamia's melody.
    • At least he got trucks and gas stations right. Any reference to "lorries" or "filling stations" would have raised a red flag.
  • Gainax Ending: "It" doesn't seem to be about anything clearly related to the story, but the end of the story in the liner notes is pure crazy. Rael saves his brother John's life only to discover that he and John are actually the same person, they have an out-of-both-bodies experience, they are "outlined in yellow," and they and the scenery melt into purple haze. Figure that one out.
  • Intercourse with You: "Counting Out Time."
  • Meaningful Echo: Several musical cues reappear throughout the album. Most notably, the melody from the bridge of "The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway" is reused as the intro of "The Carpet Crawlers".
    • Not to mention "The Light Dies Down on Broadway", which begins with motifs from "The Lamia" and turns into a full-blown Dark Reprise of the title track.
  • Mind Screw: The main character's emasculation is a major plot point. Also, pretty much everything else.
  • Mind Screwdriver: the story that Gabriel wrote for the liner notes. It still doesn't explain everything, though. For that, this site might help...probably.
  • No Ending: See Gainax Ending above.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: "I'M RAAAAAEL!!!!"
  • Rearrange the Song: "The Carpet Crawlers" was rerecorded for Turn It On Again: The Hits as "The Carpet Crawlers 1999" in... well... 1999. Notable for being the last time to date all five members who worked on this album — Gabriel, Hackett, Rutherford, Banks, and Collins — have performed together. Due to Collins' retirement from music, it is likely to remain that way.
  • Rock Opera: One of the most famous.
  • Sex Changes Everything: The Slippermen are an extremely literal example of this trope.
  • Shirtless Scene: Peter Gabriel during the The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway tour.
  • Shout-Out: Plenty of the songs' lyrics shout out or paraphrase popular standards or rock oldies of the '50's and '60's ("On Broadway", "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head", "Needles And Pins", etc.). "The Colony Of Slippermen" 's first line is also, "I wandered lonely as a cloud".
  • Snakes Are Sexy: The Lamia
  • Take That: Apparently, on various legs of the tour, Peter Gabriel (jokingly) compared the Slippermen to either guitarist Mike Rutherford or drummer Phil Collins.
  • The Ending Changes Everything
  • The Walrus Was Paul: Gabriel's liner notes do little to clear the Mind Screw.
  • Thieving Magpie: A raven plays a pivotal role in the story when it flies off with the yellow tube containing Rael's genitals.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: We discover at the very end that Rael and his brother John whom he's spent the entire album chasing are actually the same person.
    Hang on, John! We're out of this at last
    Something's changed, it's not your face
    It's mine! It's mine!
  • Two-Person Pool Party: Or in this case, Rael and the three Lamia.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Rael is practically made of this trope.
  • Wham Line: "Something's changed, it's not your face! It's mine! It's mine!"
  • What Happened To The Lamb?: It's mentioned only once, and then...
  • Wipe That Smile Off Your Face: Rael is shown like this on the back cover.
  • "You Are Number Six": "Brother John is number nine", from "The Grand Parade of Lifeless Packaging".

Juno And AvosRock OperasLost In The New Real
GenesisThe SeventiesPeter Gabriel
SoAlbums IndexThe Message

alternative title(s): The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy