Do you know which Genesis release had them singing about the programme that’s just been named the longest-running TV football show in the world? Or, on another song from it, about the birds that took pot shots at the tourists in Trafalgar Square? The answer is the EP that gave them their first UK top 20 singles appearance.
The three-track release Spot The Pigeon made its debut on the UK countdown on 28 May 1977. The answer to our first question lies in the lead track, ‘Match Of The Day,’ the band’s salute to the great Saturday night football institution (which at that stage was 13 years into its epic run, and is now 52 years old). “Match Of The Day’s the only way to spend your Saturday,” enthused Phil Collins, with a video filmed at London side Queen’s Park Rangers’ Loftus Road ground.
The one about the anti-social birds — who also left their mark on the Foreign Office roof, and made their beds from “paper clips and bus tickets” — was ‘Pigeons’; the third track, a near seven-minute piece occupying the whole of side two, was the often-underrated ‘Inside and Out,’ notable as the effective farewell to Genesis of Steve Hackett.
The three songs were leftovers from the sessions for Wind & Wuthering, the current Genesis album of the time, released the previous December. The band felt that they didn’t really fit the mood of the LP, and while there’s a case for saying that ‘Inside and Out’ — co-written by Hackett and with a brilliant synthesiser solo by Tony Banks — would have been a worthy addition to it, the poppy feel of ‘Match Of The Day’ and the whimsical nature of ‘Pigeons’ were perhaps better served by the EP format.
At this time, Genesis had only one previous UK top 40 single to their name, 1974’s ‘I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe).’ The ‘Spot The Pigeon’ EP entered the chart at No. 41 and made an impressive second-week leap to No. 14, its highest position in a seven-week run.
Purchase ‘Inside and Out’ and ‘Pigeons’ on the Archive #2 (1976-1992) compilation here.