Genesis - Fifty Years in Fifty Images… - A pictoral look at some of the key moments in the band's history compiled by Alan Hewitt. Illustrations: TWR Archive. Photography by Armando Gallo, Joe Bangay, Stephanie Pistel and Stuart Barnes.

August 2017 not only sees the thirtieth anniversary of the creation of TWR but it also marks a much more significant milestone: the fiftieth anniversary of the band’s inception. And so, to mark two such auspicious occasions, I thought I would put this feature together looking back over that illustrious period.

1: Genesis in the beginning.

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The band signed their first publishing and managerial contract with Jonjo Music on 30th August 1967. The contract which would have tied the band to Jonjo for a period of five years was contested by the band’s parents who a subsequently had it amended to a one year contract with the help of the same firm of solicitors who had assisted the Beatles. Here we see the first page of that contract featuring some of the handwritten amendments.

2: From Genesis To Revelation.

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With Jonathan King’s help, the fledgling band were given the unheard of luxury of producing an album before they had even scored any single success. The album was recorded during the summer of 1968 at Regent Studios in London which ironically subsequently became the home of the publishers of your editor’s first book on the band - spooky or what folks? Anyway, this image shows the session sheet for the recordings made on 4th September 1968. The hand writing is Peter Gabriel’s and this item was s found in Anthony Phillips’ attic during the summer of 1995 and the tape subsequently retrieved from the same location , was used as part of the Genesis Archive 1967 -75 box set.

3 and 4: All change…. (Pt1).

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By the time the band were signed to Charisma Records in the spring of 1970, all was not well within the band. Anthony Phillips, already dissatisfied with the direction the band’s first album had taken, was also beginning to experience stage fright which eventually led to his departure in the summer of 1970 prior to the release of the band’s first album for Charisma, Trespass. Drummer John Mayhew also departed at the same time and a promising young drummer by the name of Phil Collins stepped into his shoes. Here we have a ticket stub from the last gig Anthony and John performed with the group on 18th July 1970 and an early promotional shot featuring the four man lineup up prior to the joining of the last member of what fans regard as the “classic” Genesis lineup

5 and 6: What a difference an advert makes…

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It may be hard for some of our younger readers to believe that there was a time before the Internet, but it is true folks and in those days, the music press played a very important part in band’s careers not only through critical support through album reviews etc but also through the media of advertising, and here are two such advertisements which played a pivotal part in the band’s story. The first is Genesis’ advertisement for a drummer which caught Phil Collins’ eye, and the latter is the advertisement which Steve Hackett placed which caught Peter Gabriel’s attention. Without either of these little bits of paper folks the band’s story may well have been VERY different and considerably shorter!

7: Have guitar will travel.

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Thanks to the advertisements mentioned above, by the beginning of 1971 the band were now back to a five piece which now featured Phil Collins and Steve Hackett. Steve’s early gigs were memorable more for what went wrong that what went right but here we have an image of young Mr Hackett at one of those early gigs.

8: Saw it on TV.

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Sadly, as far as we know, the band’s first appearance on TV, the BBC’s Disco Two programme from 1970 has been wiped but by the time the band got to their third album, 1971’s Nursery Cryme, they were sufficiently popular for TV broadcasters in Europe (not the UK sadly) to pick up on them and here we have a well known image from their earliest surviving TV performance on Belgian TV’s Pop Deux programme taken by Genesis’s long time chronicler, Armando Gallo.

9: Well, you foxed me with this one….

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It is well known that it was the frequent breakdowns in equipment that led to the origin of Peter Gabriel’s weird stories which began to become increasingly eccentric as time went on. However, with songs that were increasingly lengthy and which involved several characters, it was not long before young Mr Gabriel decided to augment the stories with an increasingly bizarre array of costumes which over the next few years would grow in strangeness. His first foray into sartorial eccentricity however, was this one, the iconic fox head and red dress….

10 - 12: Supper’s almost ready…

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The release on 20th November 1972 of the band’s Foxtrot album saw their fortunes take a gigantic leap. This was after all, the album which contained the Prog epic by which all others have been measured since Supper’s Ready. Strange to think that the debut of this song took place two days before the album was released without any costumes! Here we have a ticket from that very gig and a selection of Peter’s various costumes from it…

13 - 16 : A settled band making great music….

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The years 1972 - 74 brought Genesis increasing recognition and acclaim at home and abroad and during this period the band was a happy and settled one as these images of the various members show….

17 - 20: All change… again!

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However, all was not quite as it seemed within the Genesis camp and frustrations were building both for the rest of the band and for front man, Peter Gabriel and 1974’s mammoth Lamb Lies Down On Broadway album and subsequent tour was to be the last for Peter with the group. An album which has divided band and fan opinion ever since its release, it resulted in one of the most visual shows ever created as these images demonstrate…

21 - 22: Gabriel out of Genesis…

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Peter’s decision to leave the band had been made during the US leg of the tour in the autumn of 1974 and announced to the band but otherwise kept under wraps while the band considered their options. Peter’s official announcement of his departure was made to the press on 12th July 1975 as the cutting from the NME of that date records. Displaying a great sense of humour, Sounds also placed the other cutting advertising for someone to replace Peter in his now infamous Slipperman costume at approximately the same time!

23: Keeping it in the family…

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The music press and many of the band’s fans were convinced that without Peter, Genesis were over. The band, however, had other ideas, and were already hard at work on new material. Steve Hackett, with an eye to the future if the band didn’t continue, took the opportunity to make a solo venture and the resulting album, Voyage Of The Acolyte was to be the first solo venture by any member of the band but more of that in our accompanying feature on the solo careers of the band members folks. Auditions to replace Peter proved to be problematic until Mr Collins decided to give it a go in the rehearsal room… And the rest as they say is history. The band’s first Gabriel-less album, A Trick Of The Tail was released to great acclaim on 13th February 1976 and here is an image of Mr Collins in all his glory during the subsequent tour…

24 - 29: The end of an era….

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1976 and 1977 were to be pivotal years in Genesis’ career. With Peter gone, the remaining four members not only reconsidered their options but came out fighting with the magisterial A Trick Of Tail and Wind & Wuthering albums, both of which not only consolidated their position at home but drew increasing plaudits from overseas, especially in the USA where their popularity grew enormously. They even found time to finally release a concert film although the end result - Genesis In Concert was not quite what either the band or fans expected! The band also found time to visit South America too, a feat which not many bands had done at the time. However, once again, change was afoot within the band as Steve Hackett’s increasing disenchantment eventually led to his departure at the end of the massive 1977 world tour. Here we have a selection of images which give a flavour of that period….

30 -32: And Then Were Three…

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The band wasted no time in reconvening in the wake of Steve’s departure and released the marvellously ironic And Then There Were Three album in March 1978. Recruiting their second American, guitarist Daryl Stuermer to replace Steve and who joined drummer Chester Thompson who had been recruited the previous year they undertook another massive series of tours and even managed to finally get their elusive hit single with Follow You Follow me which also enabled them to finally appear on Top of The Pops only eleven years after they thought they had cracked it with The Silent Sun!

33 - 40: A Kick up the Eighties….

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By the dawning of the new decade, Genesis had finally cemented their international popularity and by the beginning of 1980 anticipation was keen for their new album and when it arrived, they did not disappoint. Duke, released in March 1980 is, for many fans the last Genesis album cast in the traditional mould and indeed the albums which were to follow it were to take the band in an increasingly commercial direction and divide opinion still further. None more so than the 1981 album Abacab which even saw the band’s new material being booed at gigs in Holland. Their 1982 tour also saw the previously undreamed of reunion with former front man Peter Gabriel for a wet and muddy gig at Milton Keynes on 2nd October 1982 an evening which any fan who was there will tell you was both Shamokin and magical at the same time. Meanwhile the band continued their irresistible march upwards n terms of popularity with each album outselling its predecessor, culminating with the massive success of 1986’s Invisible Touch album which sold over ten million copies and saw the band undertake their most extensive tour since The Lamb… spanning over ten months and finally visiting New Zealand, Australia and Japan as well as the UK Europe and USA. The band had also invested heavily in new technology to improve the visual aspect of their shows, and the newly devised Vari Lite, was subsequently to become a standard of any rock gig…

41 - 44: Watching the fading lights…

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After the culmination of the 1986/87 tour, Genesis withdrew from public view as solo projects too over once again and there were plenty to choose from in the four years before the band re-emerged with the We Can’t Dance album in November 1991. Taking advantage of the now well established CD format, this was their first double album since The Lamb… and included several tracks which have gone on to become classics in fans’ hearts including the iconic Fading Lights which, as events were to prove was to be such a prophetic song. As usual, the band undertook another lengthy tour of Europe the USA and UK playing their first entirely stadium tour with a massive new stage set to bring the Genesis “experience” even to the little people at the back of such venues. The band also took their UK fan by surprise by announcing their first theatre shows in the UK since 1980, and as you can imagine these tickets were very “hot” indeed. The period after the tour saw the first of an increasing range of repackaging of the band’s catalogue as the wait for a new album increased yet again. Little did fans know then the shock that awaited them…

45 - 47: All change yet again…

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Phil Collins had announced his intention to leave the band at a dinner organised by their manager, Tony Smith in 1994 however, once again it was decided to keep the decision quiet whilst Mike and Tony considered their options but by the beginning of 1996 rumours were beginning to circulate that Phil had indeed left the band These were eventually confirmed on 6th June 1996 with a press announcement to that effect. Fans still had almost a year to wait before they knew what (if anything) was happening with the band but the announcement on 29th March 1997 of Ray Wilson formerly of Stiltskin as Phil’s replacement caused furore in the fan base especially in the US where fans voted with their feet and consigned the band’s new album, Calling All Stations to its worst chart position since the early 1070’s. The situation was much better in the UK and Europe where the album gained healthy chart placings and the resulting tour was a qualified success too. But the reaction to the new line up in the US had badly dented the band’s ego and by the end of 1999 Genesis had effectively called it a day. This period also saw the release, after many delays, of two archival box sets finally giving the fans almost all of the vintage material they had been clamouring for for so many years and the promotional activities for the first of these even saw a reunion of almost all of the band for a series of promotional interviews and a reunion dinner but sadly, despite rumours, no concerts!

48 - 50: Together again at last … but only for a selection of shows….

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The new century and Millennium saw Genesis fans effectively bereft of their band. Solo activity continued apace for all of the band members but the longed for reunion seemed to be effectively dead in the water. Not least when in 2004 Phil Collins announced his First Final Farewell Tour and his intention to quit performing due to a mixture of health and personal issues. However, on 6th November 2006 a press conference in London announced the wonderful news that Phil was reuniting with Mike and Tony for as he put it at the conference, “a selection of shows” throughout the summer and autumn of 2007 in Europe, the UK and USA. Sadly no new recording activity accompanied this reunion but the resulting gigs were among the best the bad had performed in years and featuring another massive stage and lighting show. And that is where the Genesis story effectively ends. It has been ten years now since those shows and with Phil’s ongoing health issues and desire to spend more time with his family and no indications of interest from Peter Gabriel in reuniting with his former band mates has left the idea of a reunion out in the cold. Steve Hackett however, is very much keeping the Genesis flame alive with his Genesis Revisited shows which are on the road again this year so Genesis is still very much alive and kicking in one way or another. I hope this small look back at an amazing fifty years of musical activity has been an enjoyable one for you…