The Genesis Story - Part Seven: Selling England By The Pound. By Peter Morton. Memorabilia: TWR Archive/M Profumo.
During the summer months of 1973, the band members took time off from their constant schedule of touring to begin work on their next album: Selling England By The Pound. As can often be the case during an intense writing period, many song ideas were simply shelved or filed away to be used at some future date. This period was no exception, as a couple of ideas surfaced the following year as part of The Lamb… project.
During this period Mike Rutherford took a break from recording to get back together with his old friend, and original Genesis guitarist; Anthony Phillips, to work on a couple of Ant’s songs. One of which was around during his days with Genesis - Silver Song (see feature elsewhere in this edition). The other song being Only Your Love. The reason for recording the songs as Ant recently told The Waiting Room was; “everyone once in a while gets sentimental for a friend and I just decided to write this song for Genesis’ second drummer; John Silver” There was a problem, however, in that they couldn’t get the vocals right for the songs, so they decided it would be best to ask Phil Collins to sing them. So, Phil joined Mike and Ant down at Ant’s parents’ house and pout down the demos to both of them, Soon after Charisma Records booked them to record the songs in the studio. These recordings are literally one take versions. Having heard both these songs in both demo and finished state one finds it hard to understand why Charisma never released the single as the original intention was to have it released as a Phil Collins solo single. Perhaps one reason was that they didn’t feel that Phil was famous enough to make the single a hit in 1973?
The recordings for the album took place at Island Studios in London during August 1973 and with its release in October, the band took to the road for what would be a lengthy tour of England followed by Europe and the USA. The first show on the tour was to have been at Green’s Playhouse in Glasgow a gig which ended up being a complete fiasco due to electrical problems. The show was eventually cancelled at the last minute and rescheduled for 9th October.
It was at this point that Tony Smith saw the band and decided that Genesis, who were already an enormous amount of money in debt, needed someone to manage them and their affairs correctly, and to help them out with the problems they were encountering.
The Selling England By The Pound album and tour were hugely successful for the band, not just with the fans but also with the critics. This tour gave the chance for Phil Collins to come to the fore and out from behind the drum kit and show what a superb vocalist he really was by singing the song More Fool Me - one that he co-wrote with Mike for the album.