Anthony George "Tony" Banks (born 27 March 1950) is a founding member and the keyboardist of the rock band Genesis. He is actually the only original member left in the band, with Mike Rutherford having come aboard after Banks and Peter Gabriel's founding of the band The Garden Wall. He appears to be responsible in large part for some of their weirder post-Peter Gabriel tunes as well as the more fancy ones.
While he never was the face of the band, he's recognized for having authored many of its more important tunes and being with Mike Rutherford the only constant member of it. His creative peak could be said to be the albums A Trick Of The Tail and Wind And Wuthering, where he has a majority of the writing credits and contributed large expansive pieces such as "One For The Vine" or "Mad Man Moon". In the Phil Collins era, he was still recognized as a writer for "long songs", notably "Domino" and "Home By The Sea". While he enjoyed giving a song breathing space and certainly did so when you let him, he did recognize that being able to create a song with a few basic chords and adequate lyrics can often be enough and contrary to what is often new fan's first instinct didn't consider the pop turn of Genesis as a negative.
The other notable aspect of his career is that he is the only Genesis member to have failed his solo career. Phil Collins became a titan of the 80's, only second to Michael Jackson in sales. Peter Gabriel similarly cast an intimidating shadow. Mike Rutherford, while he didn't have much success with his first two albums, he did assemble Mike And The Mechanics and remained a major figure in the 80's, even restarting the machine in the 21st century. Steve Hackett meanwhile remains a respected figure in the progrock community and continues to release albums generating a lot of buzz. Meanwhile, Banks never managed to get off the floor in spite of trying a lot of things, including synthpop.
His main solo albums include:
- A Curious Feeling 1979
- The Fugitive 1983
- Bankstatement 1989
- Still 1991
- Strictly Inc. 1995
- Seven: A Suite for Orchestra 2004
- Six Pieces for Orchestra 2012
Other albums include:
- The Wicked Lady Soundtrack 1983
- Soundtracks 1986
Tony Banks and his music provide examples of these tropes:
- Boring, but Practical: Tony prefers modern keyboards over retro ones like the Mellotron simply because they're much easier to manage.
- Born in the Wrong Century: The protagonist of the song "Throwback" from the album Bankstatement:I walk the backstreetsOf every dirty city, searching for the routeThat leads me back to where I belongI don't know how, but I'm trapped in the wrong timeIf you know someplace I can goThen I ask you, lead me to the door!
- Concept Album: A Curious Feeling.
- Deadpan Snarker
- Gentleman Snarker
- Good Is Not Nice
- Happily Married
- I Am the Band: He never went on record saying this, but other people involved with Genesis were happy to say it on his behalf. Genesis manager Tony Smith always held that everyone in that band was replacable exept for Tony, and Phil Collins has admitted nothing happened in Genesis without Tony's approval. In fact, if Peter Gabriel wanted to do something cheeky (like wear a dress and a fox's head, or sing over the solo in Supper's Ready) he had to go behind Tony's back, or Tony would have put a stop to it.
- Lonely Piano Piece: "In The Dark" from A Curious Feeling.
- Loss of Identity: This happens to the protagonist of the Concept Album A Curious Feeling.
- The Man Behind the Man: Arguable. Despite the fact that people tend to label the band's eras as the Gabriel and Collins eras and give those two the largest share of the credit, Banks actually had the majority of writing credits in both eras.
- Perpetual Frowner
- Pop-Star Composer: Banks scored the 1983 Faye Dunaway movie The Wicked Lady and the 1986 Kevin Bacon movie Quicksilver (no, not this Quicksilver, the one about the bike messengers), among others.
- Rich Idiot with No Day Job: Though he came from a wealthy/upper class background and met his fellow Genesis founders at the prestigious public school they all attended, this is an averted trope.
- Ripped from the Headlines: Word of God says that "Strictly Incognito" from the album Strictly Inc. is loosely based on an actual case Banks read about in the newspaper.
- Sanity Slippage Album: A Curious Feeling.
- Step Up to the Microphone: For his second record The Fugitive.
- Also on "Big Man" from Bankstatement and "Hero for an Hour" from Still. He was also the second lead vocalist on "Shepherd", a rare early (pre-Collins and Hackett) Genesis track that never received an official studio recording (a version from a BBC session has been released on multiple box sets)
- The Stoic