‘The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway’: Genesis’ Finest Hour?
The 1974 album, seen by many Genesis fans as their finest hour, played a huge part in making the group the progressive rock legends they became.
The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, the album that’s seen by many fans of the classic 1970s Genesis line-up as their finest hour (or hour and a half, to be precise) was released as a double LP on November 18, 1974. It played a huge part in making the group the progressive rock legends they became.
With only six weeks on the UK chart and a No.10 peak, The Lamb, as admirers everywhere know it, was rather short-lived in strictly commercial terms. But it’s the earliest album in the Genesis catalog that’s certified gold in the UK and gave them their highest-charting release to that point at No.41 in America, adding to the band’s growing reputation there. By early 1975, it was also in the Top 10 in Italy.
A complex tale of redemption
With its complex tale of redemption focused on the subterranean character Rael, widely seen as the alter ego of frontman Peter Gabriel, the album established itself as one of the key concept albums of the initial “prog” heyday – even if devotees, to this day, continue to debate its possible meanings.
In making such an ambitious piece, Gabriel himself knew that Genesis were opening themselves up for vilification from the music press. “We’re easy to put down,” he admitted to the NME soon after the album’s release. “You can say the characters are far-fetched, the music over ornate, that we’re riding on my costume success. There – I’ve done it for you.
“However,” Gabriel went on, “in maybe ten years a group will emerge to take what we do a lot further. I look upon us as an early, clumsy prototype.”
Listen to the best of Genesis on Apple Music and Spotify.
Mike Rutherford, talking about The Lamb later in Hugh Fielder’s The Book Of Genesis, was quite matter-of-fact. “It was about a Puerto Rican street punk named Rael!” he said. “For once, we were writing about subject matter which was neither airy-fairy, nor romantic. We finally managed to get away from writing about unearthly things, which I think helped the album.”
Buy or stream The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway.
February 3, 2015 at 11:57 am
One word only…AMAZING
February 3, 2015 at 1:18 pm
It is a masterpiece. Musically, lyrically…..and the story….redemption??? Self-discovery, that’s what it is about…and it captures that process in an amazing and honest way.
February 3, 2015 at 2:37 pm
I’ve seen and read band interviews regarding conflicts over the lyrics for TLLDOB. Tony Banks thought some lyrics could have been “improved”. Gabriel resisted – wanting to be the sole lyricist because “great novels aren’t written by committee”. I’m sorry, but this wasn’t a “great novel”. It was rock and roll (or knock and know-all).
February 3, 2015 at 5:20 pm
…but I like it!
February 3, 2015 at 4:34 pm
The sign of a truly Great pièce of music – it took some getting used to
February 3, 2015 at 8:11 pm
O melhor disco do Genesis ! Eles estavam no auge e tocando muito bem ! Vale mais pelo som do que pelas letras. Ouço de vez em quando e o show registrado na caixa ARCHIVE 1967-75 é impecável !
February 3, 2015 at 8:44 pm
My brother gave me this album before I left for college. Wasn’t a big fan but listened to it anyway. By the sixth listening I was hooked and became a huge fan ever since. My favorite album of theirs, In The Cage my favorite song. I still have sunshine in my stomach.
February 3, 2015 at 9:18 pm
To this day, still my all time Fave album and concert. The live show was incredible. Our band went to see the concert in Pittsburgh, Pa. before the album was released in the U.S. I actually think it was better that way. Peace.& Quiet.
February 3, 2015 at 10:50 pm
best album ever, unsurpassed
February 4, 2015 at 12:02 am
Slightly sickened by what Phil turned this group into…
September 20, 2015 at 12:58 pm
Why put all the blame on Phil? Nobody held a gun to Mike and Tony’s heads. They stayed in the band until the very end and were a part of that change musically. It was a team effort.
November 19, 2020 at 4:10 pm
February 4, 2015 at 12:38 am
Amazing album – saw it performed live a few years ago by The Musical Box tribute band. They’re doing Foxtrot and SEBTP at the moment – but their Lamb tour is well worth seeing if they ever do it again. Have always wondered why the protagonist in the Lamb is called Rael. Is it a play on “real”? Was Gabriel being mystical/philosophical?
February 4, 2015 at 5:26 am
Rael Gab”riel” Alter ego.
February 4, 2015 at 10:15 pm
February 4, 2015 at 2:47 am
in “74” it became my favorite album, and is still to this day…never had the chance to see it live with the band,,,thank God for the band “The Musical Box” who re-creates old school Genesis concerts, step by step, word for word…they have some of the instruments that were given to them by Genesis members and when they did the Lamb show, they had the original slides used in 1974 and the guy who did it in 1974.
February 4, 2015 at 5:24 am
A fully highlightning masterpiece. My always favourite is Foxtrot actually, but this album represented something new in prog rock, preannouncing the punk movement. Greetings from Argentina to my fav band!
February 4, 2015 at 8:23 am
First off, amazing album. Totally expanded what could be done with music.
But which song made it to 41 on the US charts, dammit? 🙂
August 18, 2018 at 7:46 am
I dont know… Counting Out Time, or Carpet Crawlers I guess ?
August 19, 2018 at 3:46 pm
No, the album went to number 41 in the US.
Feasting with Panthers
February 4, 2015 at 8:58 pm
Simply one of the finest performances I have ever seen or heard – at the Shrine in Los Angeles. The lighting effects took the breath away. Genesis at its finest. A great work should leave you discussing your thoughts & observations into the night. Thank you.
February 4, 2015 at 10:25 pm
para mi gusto este disco es uno de los chingones que se han hecho en el genero del progresivo,un excelente final para peter gabriel con la banda,un discazo en toda la palabra.tenerlo en acetato era una experiencia unica,y conseguirlo importado aquii en guadalajara era casi imposible,gracias a la excelente tienda de discos la manzana verde lo podias obtener.
February 4, 2015 at 10:42 pm
Saw them do this in Columbus, Ohio in November, 1974. Peter Gabriel was awesome, and the music captivating. Encore was a stunning “The Misical Box”. Unforgettable.
February 5, 2015 at 3:17 pm
Been listening to this album for 30 years and it still blows my mind,brilliant!
August 18, 2018 at 3:14 am
Una obra maestra, una de las tres mejores de Génesis, de gran complejidad musical y en sus letras, lo que se muestra no es lo que se quiere decir, completamente metafórico, admite dos o tres interpretaciones distintas de su historia. Algunos pasajes musicales van de lo barroco a lo totalmente abstracto y atonal. Muy superior a otras piezas conceptuales como the dark side of the moon o the wall, que tuvieron un manejo comercial más inteligente. Lamentablemente fue el acto final de Gabriel en Genesis, con él los dos álbumes siguientes hubieran sido gloriosos, se fue en el climax creativo.
Martine and Michel Goillard
August 18, 2018 at 11:56 am
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Reggie Montgomery II
November 18, 2019 at 8:43 pm
Thanksgiving night a good friend came over and ask me if I wanted to go see them at masonic temple in Detroit never heard of them at the time. They played the entire album. it blew my mind!!!
November 19, 2020 at 4:13 pm
Phil Tony and Mike. The downfall of a great band. Steve Hackett still produces the magic….Go see him.