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Music / Nursery Cryme

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"Play me my song. Here it comes again."

"Play me Old King Cole
That I may join with you,
All your hearts now seem so far from me.
It hardly seems to matter now."
—"The Musical Box"

Nursery Cryme is the third studio album by Genesis, released through Charisma Records on November 1971. It was the first album to include Steve Hackett and Phil Collins, who filled in for Anthony Phillips and John Mayhew respectively after an extensive tour of the previous album Trespass. Although it had mixed reviews at the time and didn't sell well in its native UK until 1974, it had proven more successful in continental Europe, with the Italian tour in particular played in front of enthusiastic crowds. The inclusion of Collins and Hackett also solidified the band's identity as a Progressive Rock band for the remainder of the seventies.



Side One

  1. "The Musical Box" (10:25)
  2. "For Absent Friends" (1:48)
  3. "The Return of the Giant Hogweed" (8:09)

Side Two

  1. "Seven Stones" (5:08)
  2. "Harold the Barrel" (3:01)
  3. "Harlequin" (2:56)
  4. "The Fountain of Salmacis" (8:02)

Principal Members:


Why don't you trope me, trope me, trope me, trope me now, now, now, now, now:

  • All There in the Manual: While there is no album drop in the lyrics, the liner notes inside the album contextualizes "The Musical Box" as it relates to the album cover.
  • 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.
  • Companion Cube: "The Musical Box" involved nine-year old Cyntha Jane de Balise-William interacting with the eponymous box which contained the soul of Henry Hamilton-Smythe, the eight-year old boy she decapitated in a croquet match.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Giant Hogweed in "Return of the Giant Hogweed". The properties as described in the song are accurate, albeit portrayed in a more malevolent manner.
  • Epic Rocking: "The Musical Box", "The Return of the Giant Hogweed" and "The Fountain of Salmacis".
  • Ironic Nursery Tune: "Old King Cole" in "The Musical Box". Gabriel quoted said rhyme 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.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: "Harold the Barrel", an upbeat song about a man threatening suicide.
  • Miniscule Rocking: "For Absent Friends", the only song on the album clocking in at less than two minutes.
  • Pun-Based Title: As fitting of Gabriel-era Genesis, the album title was in itself a pun.
  • Severed Head Sports: As portrayed on the album cover, the girl playing croquet with a severed head.
  • Skewed Priorities: "Harold the Barrel", with Harold's mother trying to talk him out of committing suicide:
    Mrs. Barrel: Come off the ledge - if your father were alive he'd be very, very, very upset
    You just can't jump, you just can't jump.
    Your shirt's all dirty, there's a man here from the BBC.
    You just can't jump.
  • Step Up to the Microphone: The first album in which Phil Collins not only appeared in Genesis, but also the first in which he was the sole lead vocal of a song ("For Absent Friends"). He also was co-lead alongside Peter Gabriel for "Harold the Barrel" and "Harlequin".
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: The liner notes detail that a nine-year old child decapitated an eight-year old child with a croquet mallet (as portrayed in the album cover).


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