It wasn't so easy now, all uphill and not feeling so strong
Yes, times were hard
Too much thinking about the future and what the people might want
And then there was the time that she performed
When nobody called for more
And soon everytime she stepped into the light
They really let her know the score
Duke is the tenth studio album recorded by English Progressive Rock band Genesis. It was released through Atlantic Records on 24 March 1980 in the United States, and through Charisma Records on 28 March 1980 in the United Kingdom.
The newly-refreshed trio of Phil Collins, Tony Banks, and Mike Rutherford felt they were on the verge of a breakthrough with ...And Then There Were Three.... But not all was paradise. The new release put fresh pressure on Collins' marriage. His wife gave him a choice between their marriage and going on tour to promote the album.
He chose the album. She moved home to Vancouver, British Columbia, and filed for divorce. The band went on hiatus, with Collins following his wife to Canada to try to save their marriage, and Banks and Rutherford beginning work on solo albums.
When his efforts failed, Collins returned to the United Kingdom in the Spring of 1979, embittered by the experience. Collins then went to Sweden, joining Banks and Rutherford at Polar Studios in Stockholm, where both had recorded their solo albums. Back together, they got to work on the next Genesis album.
Six of its songs—"Behind the Lines", "Duchess", "Guide Vocal", "Turn It On Again", "Duke's Travels", and "Duke's End"—began as a 30-minute mini-Concept Album titled "Duke". That title eventually became the title for the whole album, while the story of the six combined songs became known as "The Story of Albert".
The second movement of the Story, "Duchess", marked the first time Phil used a drum machine.
The album was the first to hit No. 1 on the U.K. Albums chart, starting a trend that would remain unbroken until ...Calling All Stations... 17 years later (and even then that reached No. 2), and peaked at a band high of No. 11 on the Billboard 200 album chart; it went Platinum for the first time in the U.K., and also went Platinum in the U.S.
The album produced three singles: "Turn It On Again", "Duchess", and "Misunderstanding". While "Turn It On Again" hit #8 in the UK, "Misunderstanding" hit #14 on the Billboard Hot 100, reflecting the differing tastes on each side of the Atlantic for their sound.
The band would begin to dip their toes in the burgeoning world of music videos, with narrative videos for both "Duchess" and "Misunderstanding".
- "Behind the Lines" (5:31)
- "Duchess" (6:40)
- "Guide Vocal" (1:18)
- "Man of Our Times" (5:35)
- "Misunderstanding" (3:11)
- "Heathaze" (5:00)
- "Turn It On Again" (3:50)
- "Alone Tonight" (3:54)
- "Cul-de-sac" (5:02)
- "Please Don't Ask" (4:00)
- "Duke's Travels" (8:41)
- "Duke's End" (2:04)
- Tony Banks keyboards, 12-string guitar, backing vocals, "duck"
- Phil Collins drums, lead vocals, percussion, drum machine, "duck"
- Mike Rutherford guitars, bass guitars, bass pedals, backing vocals
I waited in the tropes for hours:
- Bizarre Instrument: Banks and Collins are listed with a "duck" among their instruments. This refers to a duck call used to automatically trigger certain sounds on their synthesizer.
- Bookends: The album begins and ends in the same synthesizer lines.
- Concept Album: The album started with a mini-story that spanned six songs and 30 minutes. Other songs were inserted for the final album. Mike Rutherford for one felt the final run order was "very balanced".
- Epic Rocking: "Duke's Travels" approaches nine minutes, and "Duchess" approaches seven minutes.
- Fading into the Next Song: "Behind the Lines", "Duchess", and "Guide Vocal" all flow smoothly into one another.
- Franchise Codifier: While ...And Then There Were Three... planted the seeds for Genesis' new pop direction, it was Duke that solidified it, introducing a more Arena Rock-oriented sound that Genesis would further build upon for the rest of Phil Collins' time in the band.
- Longest Song Goes Last: Taken together, "Duke's Travels" and "Duke's End" make up the final track of the album.
- Loony Fan: "Turn It On Again" is written from the perspective of one.
- New Sound Album: Genesis was already heading to a more radio-friendly direction with ...And Then There Were Three..., but by this point the Mellotron has given way to '80s synthesizers. They still maintained elements of their Progressive Rock roots but the pop-oriented direction had been established.
- Obsession Song: "Misunderstanding" is arguably about a Stalker with a Crush. It's also an attempt by Collins to make a The Beach Boys-type song.
- Recurring Riff: "Duke's Travels" reprises "Guide Vocal" at the end, and "Duke's End" does the same for the opening riff of "Behind the Lines" and a riff from "Turn It On Again".
- Shout-Out: The artwork is similar to the illustration in Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's The Little Prince. The mini-story is also loosely inspired by the book.
- Siamese Twin Songs: "Duke' Travels" and "Duke's End", both as a holdover of an original plan for a "Supper's Ready"-esque suite.
- Stalker with a Crush: One possible interpretation of "Misunderstanding".
- Uncommon Time: To show that Genesis hasn't strayed from its progressive rock roots, "Turn It On Again" is composed in 13/8 time.