‘A Trick Of The Tail’: Genesis Embrace The Post-Peter Gabriel Future

When Phil Collins took the vocal reins from the departed Peter Gabriel, fans soon gave the new era their seal of approval.

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Genesis 'A Trick Of The Tail' artwork - Courtesy: UMG
Genesis 'A Trick Of The Tail' artwork - Courtesy: UMG

Peter Gabriel’s departure from Genesis after The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway may have cast the band’s future into some doubt. But as Phil Collins somewhat hesitantly took up the vocal reins on the first album of their new era, A Trick Of The Tail, it soon became clear that they were going to get along just fine. The new album reportedly sold twice as many copies as the previous one.

Released on February 2, 1976, it was a record that saw Messrs Collins, Banks, Hackett and Rutherford following their best instincts. “It’s as strong as it ever was,” Banks told Melody Maker as A Trick Of The Tail emerged, following that with a bold statement. “If it isn’t, we won’t play again. If it’s not as good, there’s no point in playing. Peter left and life goes on. We were all sort of sad. We spent some time trying to make him change his mind, but when he didn’t, we just carried on.”

Nevertheless, Banks made no secret of his nervousness about how the LP would be received. “We are apprehensive about the album. We still are. We’ve always had confidence in our own ability. The apprehension is more on whether audiences will accept us without Peter. He was our visual logo. The things you remember are Peter and his costumes. It’s losing that.”

But in the same interview, Collins professed himself “supremely confident” about a record that he felt had more appeal than any previous Genesis release. And so it proved for the 51-minute set, produced by the now-four-piece with David Hentschel. It started with the powerful band composition “Dance On A Volcano,” and never looked back.

For the first time on a Genesis album, band members were credited individually, which revealed how different combinations of writers were pooling their talents to great effect. The closing “Los Endos” was the only other track ascribed to all four members, but Banks emerged as the most productive individual: two of the others were by the keyboard player with Rutherford, one with Collins, another with Hackett, and Banks wrote two on his own.

Among the most enduring pieces was “Squonk,“ the track on which Phil first tested himself (and the band’s reaction) in the lead vocal role. The results were so successful that he took the job from that point on. The title track, written solely by Banks, was a delicate delight, and was released as a single, with the band’s first promotional video.

Genesis - Ripples (Official Music Video)

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A Trick Of The Tail debuted on the UK chart at No.5 on March 20. It spent its first six weeks in the Top 10, enjoying an unbroken 31-week run in the Top 75 until September. The album was still making occasional appearances on the survey more than two and a half years after release. By June, it went both silver and gold, and also struck gold in America, where it reached No.31.

Listen to the best of Genesis on Apple Music and Spotify.

“We’ll lose people and we’ll gain people with the new album,” said Banks in that Melody Maker interview. “We expect that. The trouble with England is that people decide at an early stage whether they like something or not. What I would like is a reassessment. A lot of people have preconceived ideas of what Genesis is about. I’d like them to give albums a listen and they might be very surprised.“

And who doesn’t like a nice surprise? As the album peaked in the UK at No.3, the band’s highest charting album since Selling England By The Pound, and the their best performing album on the US album chart to date, it was clear that the genesis of the new Genesis bode well for the future.

Buy or stream A Trick Of The Tail.



  1. ian

    February 4, 2017 at 12:14 pm

    This was the first genesis album I bought.couldn’t believe people could make such beautiful music.

  2. M. Rogers

    February 4, 2017 at 1:56 pm

    It’s Dance ON A Volcano…editing?

  3. Anthony Williams

    February 4, 2017 at 4:50 pm

    My all time favourite band, and this was one of the very best albums they ever produced.
    I saw them way back many many years ago at Knebworth.
    Such talented musicians , and Phil Collins certainly stepped up to the plate when he took on lead vocals.
    Not many bands as good as Genesis
    Pink Floyd ….. maybe !

  4. Steve

    February 5, 2017 at 1:45 am

    I saw Genesis in 1975, my first concert & the first tour without Peter Gabriel. I was a huge Genesis fan, but was concerned about PG’s absence. I needn’t have fretted, it was Superb….Collins Doing Robbery, Assault & Battery was one of the highlights. They played Suppers Ready with all of Wembley joining in …”a Flower” ….Then Firth of Fifth, and ending(of course with Los Endos…Magnificent.
    Still one of the best concerts I’ve been to.

  5. Carlos

    February 5, 2017 at 2:23 am

    Ok everybody don t lie us Genesis after Peter Gabriel was another good group but with Gabriel was the begining of a succesfull rock ers

  6. Villu

    February 5, 2017 at 10:13 am

    When I first heard this album I believed the singer was Gabriel. Out of all Genesis songs Squonk is one of my favourites.

  7. Martin Beatt

    February 5, 2017 at 1:56 pm

    My all time favorite band!

  8. duncanisland

    February 19, 2017 at 11:50 pm

    My all-time favorite album. Entangled and Ripples are gems. Two very big thumbs up!

  9. cheat

    February 26, 2017 at 7:24 am

    I blog quite often and I really appreciate your content.
    The article has really peaked my interest. I will book mark your
    site and keep checking for new details about once per week.
    I subscribed to your RSS feed too.

  10. simon janis

    March 1, 2017 at 6:10 am

    so UNIVERSAL–where oh where are the High Fidelity Pure Audio BluRays of this album plus ‘Wind & Wuthering’ that were scheduled to be released after Selling England By The Pound???? i had them on order some years back and not a trace……I love the Supertramp and Rush and several others in this format—WHAT’S IT GONNA TAKE TO GET THEM RELEASED????please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. david

    March 2, 2017 at 9:02 am

    I have to confess, I hated Genesis at that time, I was more into ‘hard rock’ Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin etc.
    My mate played me Trick Of The Tale (he was a big fan) I thought it was a bit ‘tame’, but I kept the song Dance On A Volcano in the back of my mind.
    When the album was remastered on cd I bought a copy, prpobably for nostalgic reasons, I loved it, must be maturity setting in !

  12. Piergiuseppe

    March 2, 2017 at 6:32 pm

    Great Album!! The second LP that I bought when I was 14 y.o., after Pink Floyd “Wish you were here”! After 40 years I like it as first time!!

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