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Music / Genesis (Band)

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For the video game console, see Sega Genesis. For the Web Game, see (2009).
The classic 1971–75 line-up of Genesis. Clockwise from top left: Mike Rutherford, Steve Hackett, Peter Gabriel, Tony Banks, and Phil Collins.
There's too many men,
Too many people,
Making too many problems.
And not much love to go round.
Can't you see this is a land of confusion?

Genesis is a British band active from 1967 to 2000, with sporadic reunions since then. They went on to become one of the most successful rock bands in history, spanning five decades and selling over one hundred million albums.

Genesis has several distinct eras, though the transitions between them are somewhat more gradual than the popular telling would have you believe. Their first period only truly includes their first album, From Genesis to Revelation, which has a more relaxed and poppy sound and includes slight Christian themes. This album is not included in their official discographies and the band members have commented that it's only still in print because its rights are owned by its producer; however, the dissatisfaction largely comes from its Executive Meddling-induced saccharine production, and several demos from it were included in the Genesis Archive 1967–75 box set.

The interim period and their second album, Trespass (a transitional album that does not clearly belong to either era, though in sound it hews much closer to their second), have a more pastoral sound occasionally edging into Hard Rock, both provided by guitarist Anthony Phillips.note  The start of the band's second era is actually a source of some debate; the clearest demarcation points are either Trespass or the introduction of guitarist Steve Hackett and drummer Phil Collins to the band.note 

The first album this new line up produced, Nursery Cryme, saw Genesis, much like other British bands at the time, diving headfirst into Progressive Rock. The albums made during this time are arguably the strongest, the band being at their peak of musical talent and creativity. Opinions differ on whether the definitive album of this era is Foxtrot, Selling England by the Pound or the enormously long, Darker and Edgier double album The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. The production of The Lamb, however, caused tensions in the band due to Creative Differences. These, in combination with his bandmates' unsympathetic responses to difficulties in his personal lifenote , motivated Gabriel to leave the band in 1975.

Gabriel's departure led to about a year of searching for a new lead singer, but after multiple auditions, the band eventually came to the conclusion they already had one: Collins, who not only sounded almost exactly like Gabriel, but also had a wider vocal range. Despite his initial hesitance, Collins was convinced to Step Up to the Microphone, which led to two commercially successful (and fan favorite) records, Trick Of The Tail and Wind And Wuthering. In 1977 after the Wuthering tour, Steve Hackett also left, taking the quartet down to a trio, with Phil Collins firmly, albeit reluctantly, in the role of the band's frontman.

After fumbling to find a new direction, Genesis released ...And Then There Were Three... in 1978, followed by Duke in 1980, which marked the start of the band's third era, as they broke into the mainstream with a slicker Arena Rock sound, this time to Banks' initial hesitation. The band gradually recreated itself as one of the most successful pop/rock bands of the era, performing to massive audiences, topping the charts several times, and selling albums by the truckload. Most people were introduced to Genesis during this time, and they are most likely remembered for a string of sleek poppy radio hits released between 1983 and 1986, like "That's All", "Invisible Touch", "In Too Deep" and "Land of Confusion", the latter of which even got an iconic music video by the Spitting Image staff.note  Phil Collins also had a successful solo career during the time that Genesis was having hits, and his continued solo success eventually led to him leaving Genesis in good terms in 1996, as he wanted more free time to work on his own projects. Unfortunately, the next album following Collins' departure, 1997's Calling All Stations, was poorly received by fans and critics alike, and disappointing sales and poor sales for the associated tour (which prompted the band to cancel a planned US leg) resulted in Genesis unceremoniously dissolving in 2000.

In 2006, Collins, Banks and Rutherford held a massive reunion tour called Turn It On Again, where they were joined by longtime auxiliary members Chester Thompson and Daryl Stuermer. The tour had originally envisioned as a reunion of the classic lineup, but Gabriel couldn't commit to a timeframe to be available, leading Steve Hackett to back out as well (as Gabriel's presence was the sole reason he decided to participate).

In 2009, Phil Collins revealed that spinal problems accumulated during the Genesis reunion tour, caused by sitting irregularly at the drum kit, led to him needing back surgery. He is unable to play the drums or piano properly as a result, and he had to tape his drumsticks to his hands to play them on his Going Back album. He retired temporarily from music in 2011, and in the following years his medical condition improved considerably, to the point where he began embarking on a comeback of sorts in 2015 with a series of reissues of his solo albums (much like Genesis did with their catalogue starting with a series of boxsets in 2007), and returned to performing two years later. A reunion tour began with shows in the UK and Ireland in late 2021 and ended in March 2022 with a London show that the band billed as its final concert. While Collins sang during the tour, his health has again declined to the point that he can't play drums at all, and he remained seated for some concerts. Notably, the tour featured the return of Daryl Stuermer, but Chester Thompson didn't return; instead, on drums was Phil's son Nic, who had also replaced Chester for Phil's comeback tour.

During the final performance of "The Last Domino?" tour, the band announced that it would be the last time they'd play together as Genesis, formally ending the run of one of the most-influential prog-rock groups of all time.

It's impossible to describe Genesis in general terms since the band has always been constantly evolving, but they have a gentle, emotional sense to their music present regardless of era. Genesis has also pioneered several musical techniques during its existence and is often cited as inspiration by other musicians. There are also many Genesis tribute bands, such as The Slippermen, Dusk, and The Musical Box, the latter of which faithfully reproduces early Genesis performances, and is the only Genesis tribute act endorsed by Genesis members.

They were also one of the early adopters of moving light fixtures, taking some of the very first units on the Abacab tour. They actually invested heavily in the company after being shown the first prototype and their manager Tony Smith even suggested the name "Vari-Lite".

Principal Members (Founding members in bold, most recent members in italic):

  • Tony Banks — keyboard, organ, piano, vocals, mellotron, synthesizer, guitar, pianet, synth bass (1967–98, 1999, 2000, 2006-2022)
  • Mick Barnard — guitar (1970–71)
  • Phil Collins — lead vocals, drums, percussion, vibraphone, drum machine, trumpet, tambourine (1970–96, 1999, 2000, 2006-2022)
  • Peter Gabriel — lead vocals, flute, accordion, bass drum, tambourine, oboe, accordion, percussion, sound effects (1967–75, 1978, 1982, 1999)
  • Steve Hackett — guitar, kalimba, autoharp (1971–77, 1982, 1999)
  • John Mayhew — drums, percussion, vocals (1969–70, died 2009)
  • Anthony Phillips — guitar, vocals, dulcimer (1967–70)
  • Mike Rutherford — bass, guitar, vocals, cello, bass pedals, sitar, drum machine (1967–98, 1999, 2000, 2006-2022)
  • John Silver — drums, percussion, vocals (1968–69)
  • Chris Stewart — drums, percussion (1967–68)
  • Ray Wilson — lead vocals (1996–98)

Studio Discography:

Live Discography:

  • 1973 - Genesis Live
  • 1977 - Seconds Out
  • 1982 - Three Sides Live
  • 1992 - The Way We Walk, Volume One: The Shorts
  • 1993 - The Way We Walk, Volume Two: The Longs
  • 2007 - Live Over Europe 2007

Tropes of Confusion:

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  • Ace Custom: Since he spent most of the classic years playing both rhythm guitar and bass, Mike Rutherford used a number of specially constructed double-neck guitars, with a 12-string and a 4-string bass section. His most famous would be his Shergold Modulator, which allowed him to attach either a six-string or two different 12-string sections (for different tunings) onto a lower bass section.
  • After the End: "Stagnation", "Watcher of the Skies", and "Afterglow".
  • Album Title Drop:
    • The song "Dancing with the Moonlit Knight" contains the lyric, "Old man dies/The note he left was signed 'Old Father Thames'/It seems he's drowned/Selling England by the Pound."
    • "White Mountain" off of Trespass.
    • And the laaaaaaaamb lies dowwwwwwwnnn ... ON BROADWAY!!!
  • All There in the Manual: Peter Gabriel tends to do this trope, for example:
    • The story Gabriel wrote for the liner notes of The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.
    • Many of the songs on Trespass and Nursery Cryme also have liner notes that help put the meaning of the songs into more context - especially "Stagnation" on the former and "The Musical Box" on the latter.
    • "Get 'Em Out by Friday" may also makes more sense after one reads the lyrics to the album, since it lists the characters who sing each line (there are several of them).
    • "Supper's Ready" has explanatory text the band provided in concert programmes at the time, which provides additional context for each of the song's seven movements (which may not otherwise make complete sense unless a listener has a strong knowledge of theology). While not usually printed in album packaging, it's easy to find said text online.
  • Animal Metaphor: "Pigeons" very cleverly uses the titular birds to represent immigrants to London, and its excrement as a metaphor for the things right-wingers blame them for. The song is sung from the perspective of a character who doesn't understand them and wants rid of them, and refers to a politician who hires a skinhead group (who drive a white van) to shoot them. The calypso-inspired horns make it clear this is referring to the large amount of Caribbean immigrants to the UK in the '70s, who were unfairly criticised in a similar way to the way Polish and Arabic people are today. This song remains surprisingly relevant with the increase in right-wing sentiment towards immigrants post-9/11 (and especially post 7/7 in the UK).
  • The Anti-Nihilist: "Land Of Confusion" expresses this philosophy. It describes a Crapsack World, however, the chorus says:
    This is the world we live in
    And these are the hands we're given
    Use them and let's start trying
    To make it a place worth living in
  • Apocalypse How: "Domino" from Invisible Touch; in part 2, a Class 1 or 2 is going on. How it happened is unclear, but it's somehow the fault of the narrator of part 1.
    • Word of God (Tony Banks) explained in the 2007 reissue interviews that the song was written at the time of the Lebanon War and while it didn't have a specific target, it was directed generally speaking at politicians and other leaders taking decision without thinking of the consequences.
  • The Artifact: Until they had enough hits to throw away a lot of their earlier epics, progressive pieces such as "Supper's Ready", "Dancing With The Moonlit Knight", "Squonk", "Dance On A Volcano" and "The Cinema Show", which were still played even as late as 1986, often clashed considerably with the new sound, style and line-up changes of the band in The '80s, to the point where they could be seen as artifacts in the set list.
  • Artifact Title:
    • Abacab is titled after an early arrangement of the title track, and although it changed, they liked the sound of it and used it as the final title.
    • Three Sides Live was so named because it had three album sides of live material, and a fourth made up by studio tracks. However, in the UK, this format was dropped, and the fourth side consisted of live performances of Gabriel-era material. In all cases, the (somewhat temporary) decline of vinyl resulted in this title's meaning becoming somewhat obscure for some twenty years.
  • Artistic License – Geography:
    • On The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, the protagonist Rael had previously been incarcerated at "Twenty-Second Street". There is no mental hospital at that location, nor was there ever one there.
    • There used to be (probably still is) available online, an essay about "The Battle of Epping Forest" that has so many inaccuracies and false assumptions as to be unintentionally hilarious. In particular, the author failed to realise that if a song by an English group, about an event just outside London in England, has the lyric "not since the Civil War", it's almost certainly referencing the English Civil War, not the American one.
  • As the Good Book Says...: Befitting their name, they have some Biblical quotes in their lyrics, mostly in the Peter Gabriel era. Some are quite subtle - the line "seen darkly through the glass" from "The Battle of Epping Forest" is a reference to the phrase "through a glass, darkly", which appears in 1 Corinthians (and also provided the title of an Ingmar Bergman film, amongst other things), while "stranger in an alien place" from "Heathaze" is probably a reference to the phrase "Stranger in a strange land" from Exodus 2:22 (which gave the Heinlein novel its title) - and others are very much in Mind Screw territory.
  • Badass Longcoat: Phil Collins appears to be channeling this trope in the very, very Blade Runner-esque music video for the song "Tonight, Tonight, Tonight", which were both filmed at the same location. Later, Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks tried it on for the "Congo" music video.
    • Phil Collins previously wore one during live performances of "Say It's Alright Joe" during performances in 1978 and 1980.
    • He wore another one in the "Keep It Dark" video.
  • Ballad of X: "Ballad of Big" from ...And Then There Were Three....
  • The Band Minus the Face: Genesis survived (and lasted longer) without Peter Gabriel just fine. Not so much without Phil Collins.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Phil Collins.
  • Big Applesauce: The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway takes place in NYC. Well, parts of the story do, anyway.
  • The Big Guy: Mike Rutherford was practically a giant compared to the other members of the band.
  • Black Comedy: "Harold the Barrel"
    Father of three: It's disgusting
    Such a horrible thing to do
    Harold the Barrel cut off his toes and he served them all for tea
    He can't go far. He can't go far.
    (Hasn't got a leg to stand on!)
    He can't go far.
    • Also present in "Get 'Em Out by Friday" and "The Battle of Epping Forest".
  • Blatant Lies: At the end of the live recording of The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway included on the Genesis Archive 1967–75 boxset (recorded in Los Angeles in 1975), the final song, "it.", fades into a new studio re-recording of the song. In the liner notes, this is stated as being due to the tape running out. However, a full version of the show, used for the King Biscuit Flower Hour radio program, that includes the entire Lamb performance as well as both encores ("Watcher of the Skies" & "The Musical Box"), is available for streaming from the website.
  • Book Ends: Selling England by the Pound and Duke both open and close with the same melodies. This is because both of them are book-ended by parts of suites the band chose to split up part of the way through the albums' development. See "Epic Rocking" below (or "What Could Have Been" on the trivia page) for more information. Other examples include A Trick of the Tail ("Los Endos" reprises not just the opening riff from "Dance on a Volcano" but also elements of "Squonk" and even "Supper's Ready" from a few albums earlier) and Wind & Wuthering (not strictly an example of bookends, but "Unquiet Slumbers for the Sleepers in That Quiet Earth", which fades directly into the last song, "Afterglow", uses a riff from the first song, "Eleventh Earl of Mar"). These don't seem to have been cases of suites that were split up. And actually, We Can't Dance is also a subtle example; Tony Banks' keyboard solo in "Fading Lights" contains an echo of one of the closing segments of "No Son of Mine" for a few bars.
  • Break the Cutie: The disintegration of Phil Collins' first marriage was the inspiration for all of the sad love songs that made him so famous back in The '80s.
  • Brief Accent Imitation: And Brief Voice Imitation, and so on. "The Battle of Epping Forest" has Gabriel doing about fifteen different voices throughout the course of the song, including a hilarious Bob Dylan impersonation. A few other songs such as "Harold the Barrel" contain this kind of vocal chameleon work as well, but probably none to this extent.
  • Briefer Than They Think: The band's era that featured both Gabriel and Collins spans only four albums due to Collins joining after Trespass and Gabriel leaving after The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.
  • B-Side:
    • Usually around 3 to 4 would appear on singles from most albums from 1982's Abacab and after. (Many of them would later appear on the Genesis Archives #2 set.) Spot the Pigeon was an EP released in 1978 with the band's first two songs from the Collins/Banks/Rutherford era, combined with "Inside and Out" - the last track Steve Hackett would contribute to, which was a track left off of Wind & Wuthering. (The other two songs on the EP were written for Wind & Wuthering as well, but not recorded until after Hackett's departure.) The 3x3 EP included three of the songs left off of the UK pressing of Three Sides Live.
    • For all of Calling All Stations' faults, some of the B-sides from that CD were well-received, as they also included covers of a few classic-era Genesis songs, which highlighted Ray Wilson's very Gabriel-esque vocals.
  • Body Horror: The Slippermen from The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.
  • Boring, but Practical: Most of Mike Rutherford's guitar work qualifies. He's no Steve Hackett, but compliments Banks' keyboard leads quite well.
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • Peter Gabriel and Steve Hackett reunited with Genesis for a one-off concert, called Six of the Best, in October 1982. The event raised money for Gabriel's WOMAD world music festival, which was experiencing financial issues. Accordingly, the concert mostly focused on Gabriel-era material, plus Gabriel's solo song "Solsbury Hill" (which incidentally was about his decision to leave Genesis) and the Collins-era hit "Turn It On Again" (featuring Gabriel on drums).
    • Another reunion nearly happened in 2004, when the five classic members reconvened to discuss a tour. Gabriel was ultimately unable to commit, and the project eventually turned into the 2007 Genesis reunion tour featuring only Collins, Banks and Rutherford.
  • Calling the Young Man Out: "No Son of Mine" tells the story of a boy who runs away from home, and after some consideration attempts to return, only to be berated by his abusive father. note 
  • Canon Discontinuity:
    • From Genesis to Revelation, the first album, contains nearly none of the elaborate prog-rock trappings that would define every album after, having a more psychodelic, poppy sound. It is the only album where the rights aren't held by the band, but by the band's manager/producer at the time, Jonathan King. The band's name was left off initial pressings since there was an American band also named Genesis at the time. When the band re-mastered its catalog in 1994 and 2007, that album was not included in the reissues.
      • The album does get re-released periodically, largely because of the aforementioned issue of the band not owning the rights to it. Some re-pressings re titled the record In the Beginning, in yet another biblical pun. Most of the tracks, despite the record's Old Shame, appear on the Genesis Archives 1971-1975 box set (albeit in different arrangements without the widely disliked string section placed on the album as a result of Executive Meddling). It's set to be released again (on 180g vinyl, no less) by German label Repertoire Records in 2016.
    • The only acknowledgement in recent memory that ...Calling All Stations... even exists is its being remastered and re-released with the rest of Genesis' discography in 2008. Ever since the Turn It On Again reunion tour, even the band themselves pretend the album, and Ray Wilson being their lead singer, just never happened. The 2014 documentary Genesis: Together and Apart doesn't even mention Wilson or the album.
      • While Rutherford & Banks may not acknowlege him, Steve Hackett had him sing "The Carpet Crawlers" for a new track included on an abridged re-release of his Genesis Revisited II record in 2014. He also performed the song live with him at the Royal Albert Hall, later released on CD and DVD.
  • Caps Lock, Num Lock, Missiles Lock: In the video for "Land of Confusion", President Reagan has a panel at his bedside with two buttons: "Nurse" and "Nuke". He accidentally starts World War III trying to get a glass of water.
  • Characterization Marches On: Peter Gabriel started out as a typical front man. It wasn't until "Foxtrot" when his personality became much more eccentric and the costumes became a part of the act.
    • Steve Hackett had a beard, glasses and sat while he played early on. He also was mainly just the guitarist, with his song writing contributions limited. Bill Bruford helped him develop more confidence during the "Trick of the Tail" tour and by the last album he did with the band ("Wind & Wuthering"), he no longer had facial hair or wore glasses, he stood while performing, and he became the second most important songwriter in the group, behind only Tony Banks.
    • Phil Collins went from a drummer providing backing vocals and occasionally lead vocals, to a lead singer who became the face of the band.
    • The band itself. They went from prog rock heavyweights with a largely 18-34 year old male audience to ubiquitous soft rock titans popular with housewives and soccer moms everywhere (though, in fairness, the prog rock elements never went away and remained a part of every album and every tour).
  • The Chosen One: "One for the Vine" is a brutal deconstruction of this trope. The Villain Protagonist - possibly an antihero depending upon one's perspective, but certainly not heroic - is the Chosen One purely by accident of having been thrown back in time, which creates a Stable Time Loop of violent warfare that ultimately ends up in his inciting his past self to get fed up and walk off, which results in... See also God Guise, Heel Realization, and Tomato in the Mirror.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Peter Gabriel frequently came across as one.
  • Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: Phil Collins often accompanied Peter Gabriel to meetings with their record company, because Peter could always be counted upon either to say something totally bizarre and off-putting, or just sit there in silence.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: On the 1994 Definitive Edition remasters (which span from Trespass to Abacab, with the former being omitted in the US due to rights issues), the Gabriel-era albums feature clear disc labels, while the Collins-era ones use white labels.
  • Companion Cube:
    • "Turn It On Again" and "Anything She Does" are about people who fall in love with a pretty face on a TV set and with a photo, respectively, then channel their love onto the object.
    • A little bit of this in "The Musical Box" off of Nursery Cryme as well.
  • Concept Album: The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, and to a lesser extent, Duke, which is half a concept album. It was actually originally intended to be divided into an A-side consisting of a suite of related tracks ("Behind the Lines," "Duchess," "Guide Vocal," "Turn It On Again," "Duke's Travels," "Duke's End") and a B-side of unrelated tracks. The band, after listening to this track order, decided it would leave the album with an unnecessarily weak B-side, and also decided they didn't want the A-side suite to be compared to "Supper's Ready", so they split it up. However, the suite of songs was often performed in its entirety live.
  • Continuity Nod: At the very end of the otherwise instrumental song "Los Endos", one can very faintly hear Phil Collins sing, "There's an angel standing in the sun/Free to get back home". These are lyrics from "Supper's Ready", one of the epic songs of the Peter Gabriel era. "Los Endos" is the last song on the album A Trick of the Tail, which is the first album to feature Collins on lead vocals instead of Gabriel. The band may have also intended it to be a reference to Gabriel himself, as in the Archangel Gabriel.
  • Cover Drop:
    • An unusual one for Nursery Cryme. The cover drop doesn't happen in the lyrics of the album themselves but in the booklet's liner notes to The Musical Box, describing a beheading by a croquet mallet.
    • In Supper's Ready, there's a punny one for Foxtrot, the "focks on the rocks".
    • A drop of one album's cover in the background of the artwork of another one? Well, that's ununsual ...Let's see if you can find it.
    • The verse "When the sun beats down and I lie on the bench, I can always hear them talk" from I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe) refers to the cover of ''Selling England by the Pound''.
  • Cross Dresser: Peter Gabriel at one point wore a long red dress and a fox's head on stage, like so, as part of the band's performance of the album Foxtrot.
  • Darker and Edgier: Wind & Wuthering and especially The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. "Back in NYC" is probably the edgiest song Genesis ever wrote, though "Down and Out" and "Mama" can certainly rival it.
    • Duke is filled with songs of melancholy, heartbreak and anguish to various degrees, particularly the "story of Albert" tracks scattered throughout, which seem to tell a story of the breakup of a relationship. Though all three members contributed lyrics note , the Reality Subtext of Phil Collins going through his first divorce during the making of that album lends poignancy to the lyrics and Phil's performance.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Everyone, but Phil Collins (no, seriously!) especially.
  • Decoy Damsel: 'The Lady Lies' tells of one such trope, in which a lady lures a knight into her cottage.
  • Denser and Wackier: The band's songwriting and Gabriel's costumes got more surreal toward the end of Gabriel's tenure, culminating in The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. Even Gabriel seemed to think the theatrics had gotten excessive, as he toned them down in his solo career.
  • Design Student's Orgasm: Some of the early album art definitely qualifies.
  • Double Entendre:
    • Pretty much all of "Counting Out Time" from The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. Also, some people think "Silver Rainbow" from the 1983 self-titled album Genesis fits this trope too.
    • The title of "I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)" from Selling England by the Pound also qualifies. Notable in that both "I know what I like" and "in your wardrobe" both appear in the song, but never right after each other.
  • Double-Meaning Title: "Snowbound" from ...And Then There Were Three.... "Snowbound" refers to being snowed in on a winter day, and to...what that song is really about. See: Lyrical Dissonance below.
  • Dual-Meaning Chorus: "Misunderstanding". The verses describe the singer's attempt to find his partner, whom he had apparently agreed to meet for a date, leading to the chorus "there must be some misunderstanding; there must be some kind of mistake". It references their communications in setting the occasion up ... until the singer finds her in the last verse and realizes she's been having an affair. The chorus repeats; now it's clear that it's a deeper critique of their relationship.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Nursery Cryme features the first Genesis track sung entirely by Phil Collins, "For Absent Friends". And it was the second track on the album. (Collins also sings "More Fool Me" from Selling England by the Pound and the part of John on The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway [although this amounts to only a few lines in "The Colony of Slipperman"], and he's credited with "co-lead vocals" on "Harlequin" from Nursery Cryme, though his voice is far more prominent in the mix than Gabriel's, Banks', or Rutherford's).
  • Early-Installment Weirdness
    • Any album recorded before 1980, for those who only knew the band through their radio hits.
    • Even for fans of the "classic" prog era, the first two albums would qualify, being heavily piano and 12-string guitar driven. The piano songs would be mostly excised from later albums, as electric pianos of the time couldn't do them justice live, and the 12-string would be relegated to rhythm parts, with lead guitarist Steve Hackett mostly relying on his Les Paul.
    • Phil Collins' drum sound for those early albums would qualify as well; cymbal-driven and heavily syncopated, with nary gated reverb drum effectnote  in sight.
  • The '80s: And how!
    • In 1986, Genesis, Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins, Mike + the Mechanics, and supergroup GTR (featuring former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett) all charted in the Top 40 in the United States. And "Sledgehammer" by Peter Gabriel dethroned Genesis' "Invisible Touch" in the #1 singles position.
    • Just to point out how over they were in the decade, "Domino" from Invisible Touch (an eleven-minute-long album piece with a lengthy instrumental section) made the Billboard rock charts despite never having been released as a single or radio promo.
  • '80s Hair: Phil Collins' overly permed mullet should have been taken out and shot.
  • Eldritch Abomination:
    • The Giant Hogweed in "Return of the Giant Hogweed" on the album Nursery Cryme. Note that almost everything said about this plant is true in Real Life, except the malevolent setinence (We hope).
    • Also the alien, parasitic entity that covers the world in darkness in "The Day the Light Went Out."
    • Peter Gabriel's Slipperman costume was covered in growths and incorporated two balloons on the groin that Gabriel would inflate while onstage. He regrets the costume because the mask was so big and unwieldy, he couldn't get the microphone anywhere near his mouth so the audience couldn't hear what he was saying/singing.
  • El Spanish "-o": "Los Endos". The phrase doesn't mean a damn thing in Spanish or Portuguese, and allegedly the closest phrase that does mean something translates to "the entrails".
  • Epic Instrumental Opener: They have a lot of them. The best examples are probably "Duke's Travels", which contains about six minutes before the vocals enter, and "Los Endos", where the vocals don't even start until the song is already beginning to fade out (both of these are also extreme examples of Limited Lyrics Songs).
  • Epic Rocking: Experts in it.
    • The biggest example is "Supper's Ready", which is nearly 23 minutes long and takes nearly a side of Foxtrot.
    • Also of note is the solo section in "The Cinema Show," which would find its way into medleys on the band's late '70s and early '80s live shows.
    • A suite of songs on Selling England by the Pound was initially intended to rival "Supper's Ready" in this, but the band split it up to bookend the album after deciding it was too similar. The songs are "Dancing with the Moonlit Knight", "The Cinema Show", and "Aisle of Plenty". Together they reach about twenty and a half minutes.
    • Another suite of songs on Duke, often called "The Story of Albert", would have gone even further than "Supper's Ready" in this (it's a little over twenty-eight minutes long), but the band again split it up (although they performed its original configuration in its entirety live during virtually every show they played in 1980). The songs here are "Behind the Lines", "Duchess", "Guide Vocal", "Turn It On Again", "Duke's Travels", and "Duke's End". There are recurring motifs throughout this suite that give Duke the feel of a Concept Album.
    • Notably, they continued providing examples of this trope even after allegedly becoming a pop rock band. The self-titled album has a two-song suite that reaches eleven minutes, while one song on Invisible Touch and two on We Can't Dance break the ten-minute mark. The Invisible Touch hit "Tonight, Tonight, Tonight" is nearly nine minutes long on the album, but was cut down to a more radio friendly four and a half minutes for its single release. Invisible Touch also includes the two-part epic, nearly eleven minute long "Domino".
  • Everyone Went to School Together: All five of the founding members are alumni of British boarding school Charterhouse. Banks, Gabriel, and Chris Stewart had arrived in 1963, Rutherford in 1964, and Anthony Phillips in 1965.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin:
    • Three Sides Live, but only in the US edition; the UK edition is entirely livenote . In any case, the US CD is actually "1½ Sides Live" or "Three Half-Sides Live".
    • Also, from "Supper's Ready", "Apocalypse in 9/8"; it's apocalyptic in sound, and (even to a non-musician) it's very noticeably in 9/8.
    • The first album after Steve Hackett's departure left Genesis a trio was ...And Then There Were Three...
  • Fading into the Next Song: The first three songs on Duke do this, as do the first two songs on The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.
  • Fanservice: The video for "Anything She Does" features Benny Hill and his usual collection of scantily-clad girls.
  • Former Child Star: Phil Collins, averted. Though he was a child model/actor who played The Artful Dodger in a West End production of Oliver! and had teeny tiny blink-and-you'll-miss-him roles in A Hard Day's Night and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, his success as an adult far eclipsed his success as a child actor/model.
  • Full-Circle Revolution:
    • "The Knife" is about how violent revolutions just lead to the entrenchment of a new dictator.
    • "One for the Vine" combines this with a Stable Time Loop: the central character eventually becomes the "chosen one" whose army he ran away from at the start of the song.
  • Gender Bender: Father Tiresias from "The Cinema Show" and Hermaphroditus from "The Fountain of Salmacis" both qualify. Like many other elements of the band's lyrics, they're also both taken directly from Greek mythology.
  • George Lucas Altered Version: The band's catalogue was almost entirely remixed in 2007 by Nick Davis, with the intention that the original mixes would "disappear" from future releases (despite this intention, many of the original mixes are still available on streaming services, at least in the United States, and a few original mixes were used on the 2016 compilation R-Kive as well). Much of these remixes add, remove, or alter the levels of various vocal and instrumental tracks, most prominently adding gated reverb to many of the drum parts, even on the pre-Abacab material.
  • Greatest Hits Album: Turn It On Again: The Hits and its even more comprehensive 2007 Tour Edition, the 2004/2005 Platinum Collection box set, and 2014's R-Kive, which also features songs from each of the individual members' solo projects and side bands. The live albums might also qualify. Averted with the other box sets, which are more like a bootlegger's paradise, with rare live shows, demos, and BBC sessions.
  • Grief Song: Word of God says that "Since I Lost You" from ''We Can't Dance" is about the death of a child. Apparently it was written for Eric Clapton, whose four-year-old son Conor had died.
  • Happily Married: Mike Rutherford and his wife Angie have been married since 1976; Tony Banks and his wife Margaret have been married since 1972.note  They're also arguably married to the band, since they're the only members who are on every album.
  • Heavy Mithril: Several songs from the Prog and Transition periods.
  • Heroic BSoD: Phil Collins admitted to having one of these during the breakup of his first marriage, which is reflected in his contributions to Duke and much his first solo record, Face Value.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: In "A Trick of the Tail", the protagonist ends up being locked in a cage by the humans, dubbed 'creatures', due to the fact that he has horns and a tail.
  • Humans Through Alien Eyes: "Watcher of the Skies" describes the remains of the extinct human race through the eyes of an alien that has landed on Earth after their destruction.
  • I Can't Dance: Guess!
  • Indecipherable Lyrics: More often in the Gabriel era than the Collins era.
  • I Have No Son!: "No Son of Mine" from the album We Can't Dance.
  • In Medias Res: Musically, "Land of Confusion" starts with mid-song riffs, as if the song had been played before the listener tunes in.
  • Intercourse with You: Genesis themselves have "The Musical Box", "Anything She Does" and "Counting Out Time". And that seems to be the subtext, under all the Squick, in "The Lamia".
  • Instrumentals. Lots. Examples include "Horizons", "After the Ordeal", "Hairless Heart", "The Waiting Room", "Silent Sorrow in Empty Boats", "The Ravine", "Wot Gorilla?", "Unquiet Slumbers for the Sleepers...", "...In That Quiet Earth", "Duke's End", and "The Brazilian".
  • Insult Backfire: In the video for "Jesus He Knows Me", Phil Collins wears a suit and wig and affects a voice similar to those of American televangelist Ernest Angley, making him a specific target for the song's skewering of televangelism in general. Collins revealed in his appearance on Room 101 that Angley was apparently flattered by his "portrayal".
  • In the Style of:
    • In the 2007 interview on the DVD version of A Trick of the Tail, Phil Collins says that "Squonk" is basically Genesis doing "Kashmir". "Vindaloo" by Fat Les is in the same kind of style as Genesis doing "Match of the Day". "Driving the Last Spike" from We Can't Dance has some people wondering "what is this Gabriel-era song doing on their last-but-one album?". "Misunderstanding" is a The Beach Boys type song with a riff almost directly taken from Sly and the Family Stone's "Hot Fun in the Summertime" (and the lyrics are essentially a rewrite of The Beatles' "No Reply"), and "Hold On My Heart" is an attempt at imitating Burt Bacharachnote . "I Can't Dance" was an attempt by Collins to match the singing style of Fine Young Cannibals lead singer Roland Gift.
    • The historical drama of "Driving the Last Spike" doesn't really echo any Gabriel-era sounds or themes, except for maybe its longer length compared to other songs on We Can't Dance and a couple of time changes, but the song certainly wouldn't look out of place if it had appeared on 1978's ...And Then There Were Three.... On the other hand, the lengthy instrumental midsection of "Fading Lights" could be considered Genesis' re-imagining of their '70s symphonic prog sound for the '90s, though it still sounds somewhat less complex than much of the band's '70s material, owing mostly to its slower tempo. It even incorporates their '70s-era habit of reprising melodic material from an album's first song in its ultimate or penultimate track.
    • For the song "Afterglow," composed by Tony Banks more or less in the time it took to play it, he recalls playing the song back for the first time and realising in horror that he had just re-written "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." (The melodies aren't exact, which he realised later, but they're still similar).
  • Ironic Nursery Tune:
    • Nursery Cryme, specifically on "The Musical Box" - really, it's right there in the title of the album. Gabriel quotes "Old King Cole" at one point, but it's done so in a sinister fashion, given that it's a ghost story about a dead child whose music box summons his ghost... who then rapidly begins ageing and experiencing "a lifetime's desires", as the liner notes put it.
    • The ending of "The Guaranteed Eternal Sanctuary Man" movement of "Supper's Ready" also contains a children's chorus singing "We will rock you, rock you, little snake / We will keep you safe and warm." It's not really much less sinister-sounding.
  • Irony: Phil Collins virtually never played the drums and sang at the same timenote  When inquired about it, he would always cite the dangers of doing so (the microphone has to be placed above and away from the singer in order to not pick up the drums, and straining to reach it can be a very unnatural position) and in particular pointing out the damage that Don Henley had done to his back over the years of doing both. As of 2015, Henley is still touring with the Eagles, drumming about half the band's three-hour-and-change set note , while Collins' back injuries didn't put him in retirement; he just took a 5 year vacation.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • John Pebble, the malicious businessman in "Get 'Em out by Friday".
    • Played with in "Robbery, Assault and Battery". The robber is never caught over the course of the story its lyrics tell, but it ends with him pondering if he will fail to get away with it next time.
  • Large Ham: The band's first two frontmen were hammy af and were proud of it. Though the two had different ways approaching it.
    • Peter Gabriel used an eccentric theater kid approach, complete with elaborate costumes. Often engaging the audience with whimsical stories.
    • Phil Collins used a more comedic, energetic, but actually down-to-earth approach, still telling stories in between songs, but said stories were far less fantastical and more goofy.
  • Lead Bassist: After Steve Hackett left, Mike Rutherford became a variation of a Type B, being the lead guitarist in this case.
  • Limited Lyrics Song: "Los Endos" only has two lines, sung towards the end, and is otherwise entirely instrumental. (Both lines are reprised from "Supper's Ready" three albums prior). Other songs can also qualify as this; for example, "Fading Lights" has only three verse/chorus cycles in over ten minutes of running time, with roughly seven minutes of the song being instrumental. The "Lurker" half of "Dodo/Lurker" is also an example, as the riddle that makes up the lyrics of the movement is repeated twice and the section has no other lyrics. The nearly-nine-minute "Duke's Travels" features a Triumphant Reprise of the one-and-a-half minute "Guide Vocal" towards the end and is otherwise instrumental.
  • Literary Allusion Title:
    • Wind & Wuthering is named in honour of Wuthering Heights. The two penultimate songs on the album derive their titles from the novel's final words. (On some pressings these two songs are combined into one track, with their titles placed back together.)
    • ...And Then There Were Three... takes its title from the same rhyme that gives And Then There Were None its current title.
  • Long-Haired Pretty Boy: Peter Gabriel during most of his time in the band.
    • Phil Collins was also this on and off throughout The '70s.
  • Longest Song Goes Last:
    • Foxtrot closes with "Supper's Ready" (22:57).
    • Also, We Can't Dance closes with "Fading Lights" (10:16), which just barely edges out "Driving the Last Spike" (10:09) as the longest song on the album.
    • At least two other albums also qualify if you consider their Siamese Twin Songs to be a single track:
      • "The Cinema Show"/"Aisle of Plenty" (12:39) from Selling England by the Pound, and
      • "Duke's Travels"/"Duke's End" (10:47) from Duke. (In either case, "Duke's Travels" is by some measure the longest song on the album.)
      • A third case, "Unquiet Slumbers for the Sleepers..."/"...In That Quiet Earth"/"Afterglow" (11:24) from Wind & Wuthering, is arguable. Selling England and Duke are clearly cases where the band just decided, for whatever reason, to separate a long song's coda into its own track, but there's a clear demarcation in the Wind & Wuthering case. The first two of these tracks are instrumental, and "Afterglow" is a fairly straightforward pop song that contains no musical or rhythmic elements in common with the two instrumentals.
  • Long-Runners: Formed in 1967, touring in 2006 and 2007. Reunion of Gabriel-era line-up for BBC documentary in 2014.
  • Looks Like Jesus: Mike Rutherford, particularly so in the music video for Follow You, Follow Me. His puppet in the Land of Confusion music video was actually reused as Jesus in Spitting Image.
  • Loudness War: The 2008/2009 remasters. The 1976-1982 and 1983-1998 sets are absolutely terrible about this and the 1970-1975 set isn't much better. This review of the 1970-1975 box set clearly identifies many of the flaws. Generally, it's recommended to track down an original vinyl pressing or one of the original Virgin/Charisma CDs.
  • Lyrical Cold Open: Gabriel's A Cappella vocals open Selling England by the Pound.
  • Lyrical Dissonance:
    • "Snowbound" from ...And Then There Were Three.... A gorgeously orchestrated song about hiding a dismembered body in a snowman.
    Here, in a ball that they made,
    From the snow on the ground
    See it rolling away, wild eyes to the sky.
    They'll never, never know...
    • "Tonight, Tonight Tonight"
    • The sprightly tempo of "Harold the Barrel" hides some very macabre humour underneath.
    • "Turn It On Again", an upbeat pop rock tune about a man who only watches TV all day and thinks the people on TV are his friends.
    • While Collins chose to do most of the upbeat, peppy songs he wrote with lyrics clearly about his divorce from his first wife on his first two solo albums, some did make it to band albums during that period, including hit singles like "Misunderstanding" and "No Reply At All". "In Too Deep" is a slower, lusher song that fits this category as well.
    • Not that the band couldn't come up with these on its own in the '80s: "Just a Job to Do" ... a bouncy radio-friendly song from the perspective of a determined hit man; "Illegal Alien", almost goofy music with lyrics about the travails of being an illegal alien, and "Invisible Touch", upbeat pop that's either a warning about a woman to avoid or about how it's entirely too easy to get addicted to cocaine and you'd best not even try it once.

  • Meet the New Boss:
    • Implied in "The Knife."
    • In a way, also present in "One for the Vine", though thanks to a Stable Time Loop, the same person actually serves as both the new boss and the old boss.
  • Mind Screw: Much of the Gabriel-era material, particularly "Supper's Ready" and The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.
  • Mind Screwdriver: The story that Gabriel wrote for the liner notes of The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.
  • Miniscule Rocking:
    • Nursery Cryme has the 1:47 "For Absent Friends" in between the ten and a half minute long "The Musical Box" and the eight minute "The Return of the Giant Hogweed".
    • Foxtrot has the 1:41 acoustic guitar instrumental "Horizons", leading into the 23 minute epic Supper's Ready.
  • Modulation: Most of their songs in their symphonic prog era do this frequently; Tony Banks is a master of this. Here is an in-depth, sophisticated analysis from a classical composer who analyses, among other things, several uses of modulation in "Firth of Fifth".
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • The protagonist of "Dreaming While You Sleep," who hit a girl/woman with his car and drove away.
    • Also at the end of "One for the Vine".
  • New Sound Album: While the band is often perceived as having gone from pure progressive rock to pure pop after Hackett's departure, their transition from prog to pop was actually fairly gradual, and they arguably never abandoned prog entirely.
    • The clearest turning point is probably Duke, which consists of about half prog songs and about half pop songs, and was also when Tony Banks abandoned the Hammond organ and Mellotron for an entirely synthesizer-based sound and when Rutherford switched from mostly 12-string guitar work to a more conventional David Gilmourish tone. The concept suite spread throughout the album (see "Concept Album" above) still has pretty strong prog elements (especially the final two, mostly instrumental tracks).
    • The prog sound was more fully abandoned on the next album, Abacab, although the title track and "Dodo/Lurker" still had trace elements of the band's prog roots, and the Self-Titled Album finalized the shift, with AllMusic declaring it the point where Genesis were definitively a "pop" band rather than a "prog" band. That said, a few tracks on the remaining "pop" albums also have elements of progressive rock and could be considered examples of what Prog Archives classifies as "Crossover Prog"note .
    • Meanwhile, the band also had several earlier works that were clearly early attempts at crafting pop singles but were simply too quirky to receive mass airplay ("Happy the Man" from the Nursery Cryme sessions, "I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)" from Selling England by the Pound, "Counting Out Time" from The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, "A Trick of the Tail" from its eponymous album, etc.); the band's first pop songs to catch on were "Your Own Special Way" (Wind & Wuthering) and "Follow You Follow Me" (...And Then There Were Three...).
    • Trespass is probably the most straightforward example, since it was much closer to the progressive sound they were eventually famous for than the folksy light psychedelic pop of From Genesis to Revelation.
    • The band's last album and only album with Ray Wilson, Calling All Stations is another example, due to its more Alternative Rock sound.
  • Nightmare Face: Phil in the video for "Mama" when he does the Evil Laugh. Also repeated in live performances of the song as well.
  • Non-Appearing Title: "Squonk", "A Trick of the Tail", "Undertow", "Snowbound".
  • Non-Indicative Name: The Definitive Edition remasters from 1994 were anything but definitive both then and now, excluding the post-Abacab albums (if only due to their newer nature) and ultimately being supplanted in print by the 2007 remasters. This tends to be a recurring problem for re-releases that call themselves "definitive editions/versions," though with Genesis it tends to get picked at a lot more due to the heavy Loudness War techniques on the 2007 remasters.
  • Obsession Song:
  • Older Than They Look: Steve Hackett doesn't seem to have aged a day since he left.
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted somewhat with Tony Banks, and the band's manager Tony Smith, or the band's other manager, Tony Stratton-Smith. Averted with Anthony Phillips, who goes by "Ant."
  • Our Monsters Are Different:
    • "The Return of the Giant Hogweed" and the title track of "A Trick of the Tail".
    • The Slippermen, again.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Most of them. Notice how Mike Rutherford seems to tower over the other members like he's Wilt Chamberlain? He's 6'3".
  • Poor Communication Kills: Part and parcel of the initial members' boarding/public school upbringing. It took until the recording of Foxtrot for Peter, Tony, and Mike to point out that things were working very well with Phil and Steve — this was after they had toured together for a year and recorded an album together. Similarly, Tony and Mike never really sat down and talked to each other about whether or not to do a post-Phil Collins Genesis album; neither one really wanted to do it, but assumed the other one did. The half-hearted effort is probably the main reason Ray Wilson doesn't have many nice things to say about either one of them these days.
  • Progressive Rock: One of the big ones. They even maintained a sense of experimentalism during their years of mainstream popularity.
  • Pun-Based Title:
    • Selling England by the Pound.
    • And Nursery Cryme.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: "I'M RAAAAAEL!!!!"
  • Putting the Band Back Together: Turn It On Again: The Tour, the 2006-07 reunion of the '80s-'90s touring lineup.
    • The tour had originally been planned as a reunion of the classic '70s lineup (the idea was to perform The Lamb in its entirety at at least some of the shows), which Peter Gabriel shot down as he was in the midst of recording his solo record Up.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot:
    • "The Battle of Epping Forest" from the album Selling England by the Pound.
    • Sadly, "No Son of Mine" evidently fits this trope as well.
    • "Since I Lost You" is less about Collins' life and that of Eric Clapton; the song was written in response to Collins hearing about the death of Clapton's four-year-old son.
    • Songs on Duke and Abacab written by Phil reflect on his first marriage crumbling. They were written around the same time period as Face Value.
    • As does "Throwing It All Away" on Invisible Touchnote . The move towards more personal songs is something people have criticised the Phil Collins era for.
  • Recurring Riff:
    • Selling England by the Pound opens and closes with the same melody. This is because the two songs (along with the interlinking "The Cinema Show") were originally composed as a single suite, but the band split them up after deciding it was too similar to "Supper's Ready".
    • The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, being a Rock Opera, gets in on the action. Most prominently, the Title Track gets a Dark Reprise as "The Light Dies Down on Broadway" (which also uses elements of "The Lamia"), but there are plenty of other examples.
    • A Trick of the Tail ends with "Los Endos", which reprises elements from "Dance on a Volcano" and "Squonk" (and "It's Yourself," which was cut from the album, though it was used as a B-Side and appears on the band's Archive '76-'91), as well as two lines from the band's earlier song, "Supper's Ready".
    • On Wind & Wuthering, one of the riffs from "Eleventh Earl of Mar" is reprised in the second half of "...In That Quiet Earth".
    • From the Duke suite, "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". (Actually, "Duke's Travels") briefly reprises the main melody of "Behind the Lines" after the "Guide Vocal" reprise as well.)
    • Part of Tony Banks' keyboard solo in the instrumental section of "Fading Lights" (around five or six minutes into the song) is melodically reminiscent of elements from the bridge near the end of "No Son of Mine". It's not exactly identical, but it's close enough that it stands out and provides a sense of Bookends to the entire album (since they're the last and first songs, respectively).
  • Religion Rant Song: "Jesus He Knows Me" falls under a "Hate the Leaders" type of song. The song is a critique of televangelists, especially the super-preachy types which were common on TV in the 1980s. It paints such people as Moral Guardians who are also raging Hypocrites which constantly ask for money, either as an attempt to buy salvation or to scam gullible people out of their cash.
  • Rock Opera: "Supper's Ready," The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, and the suite from Duke (see "Concept Album" above) are the band's most extended forays into this trope, but they never really stopped doing it - see "Driving the Last Spike" and "Dreaming While You Sleep" on We Can't Dance for latter-day examples of mini-rock operas. "Get 'Em Out By Friday", being structured like a play, also can be thought of as one.
  • Rouge Angles of Satin: The song "Dancing With the Moonlit Knight" and from that song, the line "And all their hands are playing apart", which is usually misheard as "playing a part".
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: You could say most departures from this group, outside of perhaps Phil Collins, who left under more amicable terms, was some version of this.
    • Anthony Phillips, who partially left due to crippling stage fright that damaged his health, but also left because he felt there were too many songwriters in the group and that his contributions weren't being acknowledged.
    • Peter Gabriel, who felt the group was unsympathetic to his wife's challenging pregnancy.
    • Steve Hackett, who wanted more songwriting credits and time to do solo work.
    • Daryl Stuermer and Chester Thompson both briefly left the band when they asked Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford to become full time members after the departure of Phil Collins in 1996, but Banks and Rutherford refused. Stuermer returned for the reunions in 2006 and 2020 and Thompson for the 2006 reunion, but he left the band for good in 2010 after having a falling out with Phil Collins.
  • Self-Deprecating Humor: A running joke among the band (at least in interviews and such) is that the main reason Daryl Stuermer was hired with the band as road guitarist was so that he could teach Mike Rutherford how the songs went and they could go on tour. Not too far off the mark, as Rutherford is blissfully musically illiterate, and the band has had to drop at least part of one song (the vocal part of "Cinema Show") because he couldn't remember the tuning he used for it.
  • Sex Changes Everything: The Slippermen are an extremely literal example of this trope.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: In their prog rock era, it would take a long time for everyone to retune for each piece. While the rest of the band tuned up, Gabriel would recite poetry or tell a long story, which never had anything to do with the next song in the set.
    • Phil happily continued the practice in his own way. His tales were less surreal and more dirty. He'd tell a story about Romeo and Juliet (the protagonists of "The Cinema Show") and the band would instead play "Supper's Ready" out of left field. Or he'd tell a bawdy story about Albert ("a natural born loser") leading into the Duke suite, but the story had nothing to do with the actual suite (which Phil would lampshade).
    • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: "The Battle of Epping Forest". At the end of the song, all the participants in the gang battle are dead, so their accountants settle the dispute with a coin flip.
  • Shirtless Scene:
    • Peter Gabriel during the The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway tour.
    • After taking on lead vocal duties after Gabriel's departure, Phil Collins did this a few times too.
  • Shout-Out:
    • "Dancing with the Moonlit Knight" begins in a folk style, probably as a tribute to Genesis' then label-mates Lindisfarne.
    • "I Know What I Like" mentions The Garden Wall, which was the name of the very first band Banks and Gabriel were in together.
    • "All in a Mouse's Night" was inspired by Tom and Jerry.
    • The song "Blood on the Rooftops" has the line "The grime on the Tyne is mine all mine all mine", referencing Lindisfarne's famous "Fog on the Tyne".
    • The video for "Tonight, Tonight, Tonight" is one long Shout-Out to Blade Runner.
    • Phil is singing "There's an angel standing in the sun, free to get back home" in the end of "Los Endos", a shout out/tribute to Gabriel, paraphrasing "Supper's Ready".
    • The band rehearsed "Dancing with the Moonlit Knight" for the 1981–82 Abacab tour. Phil took the line, "'Paper late,' cried a voice in the crowd" and used it to title the much shorter and funkier 1982 Three Sides Live studio track "Paperlate".
    • The music video for "I Can't Dance" spoofs the infamous ending of Michael Jackson's "Black or White" video.
  • Shown Their Work: Most of the facts about the Giant Hogweed are accurate. Well, apart from its invulnerability, sentience and desire for revenge...
  • Siamese Twin Songs: Several examples: "The Cinema Show" -> "Aisle of Plenty", a bunch of songs on The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, "Unquiet Slumbers for the Sleepers..." -> "...In That Quiet Earth" -> "Afterglow", "Duchess" -> "Guide Vocal" (although "Guide Vocal" is frequently cut out when "Duchess" is played on the radio, due to the latter's release as a single), "Duke's Travels" -> "Duke's End", "Home by the Sea" -> "Second Home by the Sea" (though, similarly to the "Duchess" example, "Home by the Sea" was released as a single), etc. "Dodo/Lurker" could be considered another example, although it's indexed as one track.
  • Singing Voice Dissonance: Mike Rutherford speaks with a gentle posh accent, but as heard on his solo album "Acting Very Strange", his singing voice is a surprisingly gravelly, chesty, almost Nails on a Blackboard type voice.
  • Sixth Ranger:
    • When Phil Collins stepped up to be the band's lead singer for 1976's A Trick of the Tail, Genesis hired Bill Bruford as the band's second drummer on the album's promotional tour to allow Phil to step away from his kit. Bruford opted not to continue working with Genesis, disliking the routine nature of his role, and was replaced by former Frank Zappa/Weather Report drummer Chester Thompson in 1977. Thompson stayed as the band's live co-drummer till 1996, then returned for the trio lineup's reunion tour of 2007, even taking part in "Drum Duet", a live-only piece that he and Collins would play as a lead-in to "Los Endos". Guitarist/bassist Daryl Stuermer joined in 1978 for their live shows when Steve Hackett quit.
    • Steve Hackett's brother John Hackett worked as an uncredited songwriter and arranger for the group on Foxtrot, Selling England by the Pound and The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.
    • Brian Eno's contributions on The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. There is a disagreement about how involved he was, with Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins and Steve Hackett saying he was very involved, while Tony Banks believes his contributions were minimal.
    • The Ray Wilson era saw Anthony Drennan replace Steurmer and Nir Zidyahu replace Thompson for the short Calling All Stations tour.
    • The 2020 reunion tour will feature Phil Collins' son Nic (who also played on Phil's Not Dead Yet your) behind the drums in addition to longtime touring guitarist Daryl Steurmer.
  • Smoking Is Cool:
  • Solo Side Project:
    • Steve Hackett recorded his first solo album, Voyage of the Acolyte, before he left Genesis and was thus the first member to launch a solo career.
    • Tony Banks was the second to go off and produce his own solo material while still with the band. He put out a series of modestly successful rock albums before deciding to have a go at orchestral music and discovering that his orchestral material sold better.
    • Phil Collins started his highly successful solo career in 1981, having amassed a sizeable amount of material after his first marriage broke apart. At the same time, Genesis hit the mainstream with Collins still as their drummer and lead singer. That way, it was pretty much impossible to avoid his music in The Eighties. It wasn't until the late Nineties that Collins left Genesis.
    • Mike Rutherford recorded two solo albums before forming his own Solo Side Project, Mike + the Mechanics. Mike + the Mechanics turned out to be a respectably successful act in its own right.
    • Genesis' former and gone-for-good lead singer Peter Gabriel began looking into solo projects while still with the band, but only began pursuing a solo career after formally leaving.
  • Step Up to the Microphone: One of the most famous examples, with drummer Phil Collins taking over as lead vocalist after Peter Gabriel's departure. (Ironically given how long Genesis searched for a replacement for Gabriel, some listeners have had trouble even distinguishing Collins' voice from Gabriel's.)
    • Even during the Gabriel era, Collins sang lead on "For Absent Friends" (from Nursery Cryme) and "More Fool Me" (from Selling England by the Pound). His voice also dominates the mix of "Harlequin" (also from Nursery Cryme; may actually be a case of Self-Backing Vocalist), and he sings a few lines in "The Colony of Slippermen" (from The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway) to represent Rael's brother John. He also provides backing vocals on several other songs from the Gabriel albums and can be clearly heard once listeners have learned to distinguish his voice, particularly on headphones.
    • Tony Banks and Ant Phillips provide a few lines of lead vocals on "Shepherd" and "Let Us Now Make Love", respectively, on the first Genesis Archive box set.
    • Bizarre example from Hackett's solo career: his first two albums largely relied on guest stars, but for the Spectral Mornings and Defector albums, Hackett had a stable band including Pete Hicks on lead vocals. However, Hackett himself sings lead on "Ballad of the Decomposing Man". Starting with his next album, Cured, Hackett would start singing most of his songs himself.
    • Another Hackett example: Nad Sylvan was the nominal lead vocalist on the "Genesis Revisited" tour, along with some special guests, but drummer Gary O'Toole sang "Fly on a Windshield"/"Broadway Melody of 1974" and "Blood on the Rooftops".
  • The Stoic: Tony Banks and Steve Hackett both rarely emoted or moved on stage, mainly focusing on their instruments and leaving much of the showmanship to Peter, Mike, or Phil.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Part of the reason the transition of Peter to Phil as the frontman was so smooth was because Phil had a very similar voice to Peter in the early. Of course, the two singers' voices eventually became unique from one another as time went on.
  • Synth-Pop: A small number of tracks from the band's "pop" period are classifiable as this, being primarily synthesizer-driven with an emphasis on the alien qualities of the instrument's sound; "Man on the Corner" off of Abacab is probably the most prominent example.
  • Take That!:
    • The Peter Gabriel solo song "Solsbury Hill" is about his departure from Genesis. Word of God confirms this.
    • Many fans also feel that way about Ray Wilson following Phil Collins as lead singer.
    • "Land of Confusion" isn't particularly subtle given that the video contains unflattering caricatures of Ronald Reagan by the creators of Spitting Image (the video actually contains numerous caricatures of contemporary politicians and celebrities, but focuses mainly on Reagan). The lyrics themselves are more subtle but still, if you read between the lines, make it pretty clear that the band aren't too pleased with Reagan or Margaret Thatcher.
    • Many of the We Can't Dance songs are attacks of one form or another: "I Can't Dance" ridicules stylistic, male model-heavy Dada Ads selling blue jeans (Phil felt the backing track sounded like an artsy/trendy Levi's ad, and the illustration shows a man wearing blue jeans, taken from his backside); "Living Forever" mocks self-help trends, new age philosophies and fad diets; "Tell Me Why" criticizes wealthy governments for doing too little to help poverty and hunger; "Jesus He Knows Me" skewers the hypocrisy of wealthy, money-grubbing televangelists (especially Ernest Angley - who, Phil was disturbed to learn, was flattered by the song); etc.
    • Half of the video interviews on the 2007 box set consist of band members (particularly Peter and Tony) "good-naturedly" taking potshots at each other's playing and songwriting style. Gabriel in particular still seems raw about the rifts that opened up between him and the band when recording The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.
  • Technician vs. Performer:
    • Phil Collins (Performer) vs. everyone else in the band when he joined (Technician). Pretty much everyone acknowledges that the original line-up, as public schoolboys who were forbidden from playing rock music, were quite stiff and exacting about their music when Collins joined. Collins, on the other hand, had been a professional performer since he was a young child and was much livelier on stage. The band credits Collins' arrival with helping loosen things up and getting them moving towards their Classic Five sound.
    • On stage, it was Peter (and later Phil) vs the rest of the band, moreso Peter. The two frontmen focused on over-the-top theatrics despite both their instrumental capabilities (Peter mastering vocals and flute while Phil mastered drums). Leaving much of the technical work to Tony, Steve, Phil (when he was just the drummer) and Mike.
    • Steve Hackett (Technician) vs. Daryl Stuermer (Performer). While Hackett is a brilliant guitarist who can play any style, he can be a little stiff and sticks mainly to the music as it's written. Stuermer, on the other hand, is looser and is able to play around with the music to give performances a new twist.
  • To Absent Friends: The song "For Absent Friends".
  • Those Two Guys: Peter Gabriel and Tony Banks have this kind of relationship, even after Gabriel left the band.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: We discover at the very end of The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway 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!
    • Also "One for the Vine", when the time-travelling protagonist realises that his own actions caused his past self to become disgusted and walk off before vanishing into the past. See The Chosen One, God Guise, and Heel Realization above.
  • Troperiffic: Despite the relatively short length of the lyrics for "One for the Vine" (fairly long by rock standards, but it wouldn't even quality as a short story if it were prose), it manages to pack in a fairly substantial number of tropes. See the number of times it's mentioned on this page as proof.
  • True Companions: Banks, Collins, and Rutherford are this as a trio, having been friends for over five decades.
  • Two-Person Pool Party: Or in this case, Rael and three Lamia.
  • Uncommon Time: "Turn It On Again" is in 13/8 time. Beyond that, bizarre meters were used liberally during their prog rock days.
    • Again, the solo in "Cinema Show" which is in 7/8, as is (almost) all of "Dance on a Volcano."
    • "Apocalypse in 9/8" is in, well guess, as are "Riding the Scree" and the first half of the instrumental "...In That Quiet Earth". The instrumental midsection of "Robbery, Assault and Battery" is in 13/8 (subdivided into a bar of 7/8 followed by a bar of 6/8).
    • The Tony Banks piano intro to "Firth of Fifth" switches between 2/4, 13/16 and 15/16.
  • Unreliable Narrator: "Rael" is practically made of this trope.
  • Unreplaced Departed:
    • When Steve Hackett departed in 1977, the other members decided to proceed as a trio, instead. Mike Rutherford took over lead guitar duties on post-Hackett albums and Daryl Struemer was hired to play Hackett's parts on tour.
    • Phil Collins tried to invoke this after Peter Gabriel left Genesis, suggesting that they retool themselves into an instrumental group. The others voted him down and eventually convinced him to Step Up to the Microphone.
  • Vaudeville Hook: Almost. At the end of both the "I Can't Dance" and the "Jesus He Knows Me" music videos, Mike and Tony come in from offscreen to drag Phil away.
  • Vocal Tag Team: When both Peter and Phil were in the band.
  • A World Half Full: "Land of Confusion".
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The Lamb of The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway is mentioned only once, and then...
  • Word Salad Lyrics: "Willow Farm", which is part of "Supper's Ready".
  • The X of Y: "Land of Confusion", "Ballad of Big", "The Fountain of Salmacis", "The Colony of Slippermen", "Eleventh Earl of Mar".
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: Nursery Cryme, R-Kive, "A Visit to the Doktor".

It's only knock and know all, but I like it.

Alternative Title(s): Genesis



In "Jesus He Knows Me", a toll-free 555 number is shown.

How well does it match the trope?

4.86 (7 votes)

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