The question “Do you like Genesis?” brings an inevitable follow-up: “Which one?” The band’s early work, recorded under the idiosyncratic Batwing of frontman Peter Gabriel, is the Holy Grail of progressive rock – exemplified by sprawling masterpieces like the 1974 double-LP The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. But after Gabriel left the band in ’75, Genesis carried on with drummer Phil Collins as their de-facto frontman, transitioning from complex, symphonic epics (“Eleventh Earl of Mar”) to concise, polished pop (“Invisible Touch).” For many diehard prog buffs, the Collins era is a travesty; for many pop-rock aficionados, the Gabriel era is, as serial killer Patrick Bateman put it in the 2000 thriller American Psycho, “too artsy, too intellectual.”
The truth, of course, is that Genesis made incredible music in every one of their distinct eras – from the long-form insanity of “Supper’s Ready” to the savvy yacht-pop of “Hold on My Heart.” What other band has covered so much sonic territory?
It’s been a big year for Genesis. The five members of the classic quintet (Gabriel, Collins, Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford and Steve Hackett) recently reunited for the upcoming BBC/Showtime documentary, Genesis – Sum of the Parts, and a career-spanning, three-disc box set, R-Kive, arrived last month. To celebrate, let’s take a look at 20 of the band’s buried treasures.