It seems inconceivable now that Genesis ever made albums that missed the UK charts when they were first released. But as their audience grew gradually in their early days, such was the case with both Trespass in 1970 and Nursery Cryme the following year.
Both showed up in the listings after the band had established themselves, although Trespass has, to this day, only spent one week on the chart, at No. 98, fully 14 years after it came out, in 1984. Nursery Cryme, too, made only a belated and brief showing, but it’s one of the most revered albums in the Genesis canon by their diehard fans.
The top three success of Selling England By The Pound, which was on the charts in autumn 1973 and again for three months the following spring, aroused new interest in the Genesis catalogue. Simultaneously, so did the band’s first-ever appearance in the singles chart with ‘I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe),’ which was edited from the album as a 45 and reached No. 21 in the UK.
On 11 May 1974, Cryme nudged into the chart for precisely seven days at No. 39. Simultaneously, Selling England stayed strong in the top 20, with an 18-17 rise in its 16th chart week. Cryme popped up again all of ten years later, at No. 68 for a week, in 1984.
Bold and imaginative
The boldly imaginative Nursery Cryme is home to some of the signature pieces of the early progressive years of Genesis, such as ‘The Musical Box’ and ‘The Return Of The Giant Hogweed.’ The LP marked the arrival of Phil Collins on drums (and for his first lead vocal, on ‘For Absent Friends’) and of guitarist Steve Hackett, thus establishing the classic band line-up of the early and mid-1970s.
Late in 2014, Stereogum’s rankings of the entire Genesis output placed Nursery Cryme at No. 11 in their catalogue. They wrote: “‘The Musical Box’ (co-written by original guitarist Anthony Phillips before his departure) opens the album with ten minutes of lunatic genius, building from feathery 12-strings to a propulsive, proggy climax; both ‘The Fountain Of Salmacis’ and ‘The Return Of The Giant Hogweed’ mine similarly expansive territory, pointing toward the long-form majesty of Foxtrot’s ‘Supper’s Ready.’”