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Genesis In Pictures: 1970-1975

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Genesis Circa Nursery Cryme

In the early 70s, Genesis blossomed from explorers working at the further reaches of art-rock, into progressive innovators with an all-encompassing command of both sound and vision. A string of albums, from 1970’s Trespass to 1974’s The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, traced their development in the studio, but the group also underwent multiple revolutions in appearance during this period, from the more bucolic-looking outfit that recorded their earliest outings, to the dazzlingly theatrical group that took to the stage during their 1974-75 live shows.

Having been generously granted access to the Genesis archive, uDiscover traces this key stage in the band’s career through a series of stunning, seldom-seen photographs…

After an early line-up featuring founding members Tony Banks (keyboards, piano, organs and vocals), Peter Gabriel (vocals and flute), Anthony Phillips (guitars and vocals) and Mike Rutherford (guitars and vocals), along with second drummer, John Silver, released From Genesis To Revelation in 1969, the group took a hiatus, during which time most of the band members caught up on their university education. 

The Beatles - Now And Then
The Beatles - Now And Then
The Beatles - Now And Then

Reconvening in spring 1970, with John Mayhew replacing Silver, they set about recording Trespass, their first album for their new label, Charisma. After helping found the band back in 1967, Anthony Phillips made his last appearance with the group during a gig at Sussex Hall, Haywards Heath, on 18 July 1970, just three months before Trespass’ release.

Genesis circa Trespass
Peter and Anthony, Genesis, circa Trespass
Anthony, Genesis, circa Trespass
Peter, Genesis, circa Trespass
Genesis, circa Trespass
Anthony, Genesis, circa Trespass
Trespass, 1970

Genesis continued but, before touring their new album, found themselves looking once more for a drummer – and also a new guitarist. After seeing their advert in Melody Maker, Phil Collins travelled to Peter Gabriel’s parents’ house to audition for the role of drummer, snagging the gig by virtue of his playing and singing skills, and having a personality that fitted the band. 

A brief stint as a four-piece followed, before the group found an advert that prospective guitarist Steve Hackett had himself placed in Melody Maker, seeking a band that was “determined to drive beyond existing stagnant music forms”. Duly hired, Hackett joined the new-look Genesis on the road in early 1971, before the group settled in to record their third LP, Nursery Cryme, in August.

Genesis circa Nursery Cryme
Genesis circa Nursery Cryme
Genesis circa Nursery Cryme
Nursery Cryme 1971
Genesis, leading into Foxtrot

Recorded in 1972, almost exactly a year after the Nursery Cryme sessions, Foxtrot saw the group take a huge leap forward – both sonically and visually. Having already performed in Europe, Genesis booked dates in the US for the first time, and worked up a suitably ambitious live show – a key development of which was Peter Gabriel’s adopting of stage costumes. 

A surprise to the rest of the band, Gabriel donned his wife’s red dress and a fox mask during their performance of Nursery Cryme’s ‘The Musical Box’ at Dublin’s National Stadium, on 28 September 1972. Further costumes were unveiled as the tour progressed (among them an “old man” costume that came into its own during performances of ‘The Musical Box’), while songs from Foxtrot were marked out by some of Gabriel’s most defining on-stage characters, including Batwing (a cape accessorised with wings, adorned during Foxtrot opener ‘Watcher Of The Skies’) and a large flower-headed guise, visualising the reference to Narcissus in Foxtrot’s epic closer, ‘Supper’s Ready’.

Foxtrot, 1972
Gabriel, Genesis, Foxtrot Era
Genesis, Foxtrot era stage masks
Genesis Gabriel and Hackett, Foxtrot
Gabriel, Genesis live, Foxtrot
Genesis, Post-Foxtrot, pre-Selling

Morphing seamlessly into their Selling England By The Pound phase, the group continued to provide audiences with a meticulously thought-out live show. Gabriel introduced his Britannia outfit during performances of Selling…’s opener, ‘Dancing With The Moonlit Knight’, while the band reached ever greater heights as a live act.

Their album covers, too, reached a new level of sophistication. For Selling England By The Pound, the group used a painting titled The Dream, created by Betty Swanwick, a one-time designer of London Underground posters, but had it modified to include, in the bottom-left, a lawnmower, in reference to lyrics from the album’s single, ‘I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)’: “Me, I’m just a lawnmower/You can tell me by the way I walk.”

Genesis, Peter and Phil, circa 1973
Genesis, circa 1973
Selling England By The Pound, 1973
Genesis, live circa 1973-74
Genesis, circa 1973-74

With an overarching narrative concept, input from Brian Eno and an album cover by groundbreaking designers Hipgnosis, Genesis released The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway in November 1974. Fittingly, the live show that they took on the road was as much theatre as it was rock concert, bringing the story of the album’s protagonist, Rael, to life on stage. Closing out this period in Genesis’ history, album characters such as the Lamia and a Slipperman made up part of Gabriel’s visual arsenal, while the group themselves were firing on all cylinders, performing their new album in its entirety every night.

The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, 1974
Peter Gabriel, Lamb Lies Down
Genesis, Lamb Lies Down
Genesis, Lamb Lies Down
Genesis, Lamb Lies Down

But by the time the tour came to a close, the band felt they had progressed as far as they could in this direction. Gabriel left the fold, issuing a press statement entitled ‘Out, Angels Out’ in August 1975. 

Genesis would undergo yet another transformation in the months that followed, and by the time A Trick Of The Tail was released, in 1976, the baton had been passed to Phil Collins. 

Gabriel clearly approved, inviting Collins on stage to duet with him at a 1979 Reading Festival appearance…

Gabriel and Collins, Reading 1979

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Photos courtesy of the Genesis Archive.

Format: Union Jack flagUK English


  1. flyontheturnpike

    February 11, 2016 at 11:06 am

    Who is the extra fellow on photo no 12 (just under the Nursery Cryme album photo)?

    • stéphane

      February 11, 2016 at 1:03 pm

      richard mcphail, friend and roadie

    • Ian Danton

      February 11, 2016 at 9:27 pm

      it is indeed Richard Macphail … friend, roadie and I think, tour manager in the early days ……

    • Skippy

      February 12, 2016 at 1:00 am

      It’s Phil Collins

    • Armando Gallo

      February 29, 2016 at 3:37 am

      Richard MacPhail – Charterhouse friends and faithful roady and sound guy on live shows until 1973…

  2. Andy

    February 11, 2016 at 11:18 am

    The person is Richard Mcphail who was a roadie and friend in the early days- see the info of the album foxtrot

  3. Musical Brick

    February 11, 2016 at 12:42 pm

    Great article, and some wonderful pictures. We love this group. Peter Gabriel’s visual creativity is out of this world!

    Thanks for sharing. Please check out some Lego versions of this amazing era.

    • Jb21

      October 2, 2017 at 6:22 pm

      Superb idea and superb models. Congrats

  4. Ake

    February 11, 2016 at 2:52 pm

    Wonderful narrative and gallery of my favourite band of all times during the most important period of my life – after 40+ years I still enjoy the music from these five albums almost daily (I wake up to the Cinema show intro every morning). Thx a lot!

  5. Lance Wilson Ellis

    February 11, 2016 at 8:47 pm

    First Genesis album I bought was ‘ The Lamb Lie’s Down On Broadway ‘ 1974 ( the same week my youngest son was born , who is now 41 ! ) Then I went backwards buying , every album Genesis made .
    Still play these great albums all the time along with , Yes , Rush , Led Zep ,
    I have no interest in today’s music , mind you I am 64 !!

  6. John Grieco

    February 12, 2016 at 6:03 pm

    Thanks for the great article and photos. I remember seeing Peter coming down a wire onto the stage with that mask on back in the ’70’s in Buffalo, NY. An album I don’t hear much about from their early history is called “In the Beginning.” I’d like to learn more about the background surrounding the group and this album. Anyone have any info? Would love a digital copy.

    • Greg

      February 12, 2016 at 9:48 pm

      “In the Beginning” is one of many reissues of their fisrt album “From Genesis to Revelation.” You should be able to listen to samples and / or buy a copy from, but don’t expect it to sound anything like “Trespass” or anything thereafter. They were still in school when it was recorded and so Phil and Steve had not yet joined. If you Google it, somewhere you can find more history from those days which includes Phillips and Rutherford writing songs together, Banks and Gabriel writing songs together, their making demo tapes together, their seeking the help of Jonathon King (a graduate from Charterhouse where they were attending school, and someone who had a bit pop chart history) recording some singles, and recording the album.

  7. nicks1963

    February 12, 2016 at 6:22 pm

    Interesting group of pictures – wonder why Ant thought the pith helmet was a good look. However… on a point of fact with your comment about the last picture. While it’s correct that Peter and Phil duetted at Reading Festival in ’79 (the Lamb Lies Down as an encore and Mother of Violence earlier in the set), Phil actually played drums throughout the set; I know this because I saw the warm up show at Friars Aylesbury the previous evening, and it was definitely Phil on drums through the show that was mainly composed of songs from PG3 which was, I believe, being recorded at the time – hence the unfinished feel of some songs. I believe I witnessed the first public airing of Biko that night.

  8. Larry

    February 14, 2016 at 4:54 pm

    Saw the Lamb show in Philadelphia December 1974. Awesome show from my all-time favorite band.

  9. David Kaufman

    February 15, 2016 at 2:17 am

    Great pictures. The first one I have 8×11 signed by Peter and Steve. Looking forward to both of their shows in April and July.

  10. armando gallo

    November 7, 2016 at 1:34 am

    This is Armando Gallo. You are not allowed to use my images without them being marked and at least giving me credit @armandogallo. Not Cool!

    We are writing to notify you that your unlawful copying of Armando Gallo/ARGA Images Inc. Photographs infringes upon our exclusive copyrights. Accordingly, you are hereby directed to:
    My Lawyer and /or my Agency’s may seek monetary damages and equitable relief for your copyright infringement.

  11. NeilGC

    March 1, 2017 at 8:12 am

    The mystery 6th person is indeed Richard Macphail, friend and road manager. And he spends his life correcting misspellings of his name. He is not McPhail, MacPhail or Mcphail; he is Macphail. And he will let you know, if you transgress!

  12. Alrych

    July 12, 2017 at 10:15 pm

    Best Genesis lineup…ever!

  13. john sidney mcleay

    October 22, 2017 at 9:32 am

    the old man henry mask that peter wears in the music box performance was made by a French mask & costume company called César he would cut the mouth & chin out so he could sing and to give a more visual appeal

  14. Armando Gallo

    November 28, 2017 at 6:20 am

    Who gave you permission to use these photos and not even give credit to the photographers or where you got them from for use or the artists. Many of these are @Armando Gallo not the author of this article.

    • Jason Draper

      January 16, 2018 at 4:57 pm

      Hi Armando. The pictures you refer to in this piece were supplied to us by Genesis Management. We’ve checked again and they’ve confirmed that they belong to the Genesis Archive. They’ve also said that if you have any concerns over this to contact them.

  15. David

    January 1, 2018 at 1:29 am

    Armando rightly getting pished off!
    Sue their asses off kidda.
    Met Peter Gabriel back stage at Six of the Best gig at Milton Keynes.
    Gave him a hand to empty his motor into his changing room of mask’s etc.
    We spent some time chatting and went up the ramp to look over the crowd.
    Signed my ticket “To Dave on a wet and windy day, all the best Pete”
    So chuffed.
    Met him out the back of Hammersmith Apollo days before on the Genesis tour. They used the daytime to practice the set list for the weekend gig at Milton Keynes. They played most of the Lamb but decided to just play select tracks.
    Gabriel kept forgetting lyrics on most songs.
    Such a joy to hear the harmony on Carpet Crawler with Phil over and over again, trying to get it right.
    Great memories.

  16. David Eveson

    February 23, 2018 at 4:31 pm

    Saw genesis 1973 at bham hippodrome..the place was only a third was really good.

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