“Songs From The Cinema Show” - Genesis and solo members’ involvement in music for films examined by Ted Sayers.
Over the past decade music has played an increasing part in the cinema , and in particular rock music has gained wider acceptance within this field. In those ten or so years, Genesis (past and present) have been at the forefront of these developments. In truth, their participation goes slightly beyond that.
It was quite fitting that Genesis’ involvement with the cinema began with the film of two of their 1976 UK concerts, released a year later. The film was only forty minutes long and the soundtrack has never had an official release but from that beginning Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks went on to compose the soundtrack to the 1979 film The Shout. Again, the soundtrack was never given a release on vinyl but some of the music surfaced on Tony’s subsequent solo album: A Curious Feeling in the shape of the instrumental: From The Undertow.
So as the 1980;’s came along more and more film writers demanded a more commercial soundtrack than the usual orchestrated background music. In some case, the orchestral theme was merely developed into instrumental rock, but we have also witnessed the use of rock/pop songs which are used not just as background music but as an item to sell the film itself. In some cases, songs have been specifically written for the film itself. Some films have used songs that have already been recorded and in some cases, quite well known songs ie In Too Deep being used as the theme to the film Mona Lisa.
Genesis have been involved in all these types of film soundtrack. Rather oddly, for a singer, none has been more so than Peter Gabriel. He has written two entire soundtracks (of the instrumental type) for Birdy (using instrumental versions of some of his old material), and the superb Passion, which was the music for the film by Martin Scorsese: The Last Temptation Of Christ.
Peter has contributed many single songs to films including Out, Out (Gremlins) and Walk Through The Fire (Against All Odds). This film also provided Phil Collins with a huge hit song for the title track was recorded during a day off while Genesis were on tour in the USA in 1984. This single’s B side wasn’t by Collins but came from Mike Rutherford: Making A Big Mistake. The soundtrack was a classic example of the album selling the film with many other big names aside from the above appearing on it.
Phil has been a prolific provider of single tracks for films which duly turn into hits as well. His other major success thus far was his duet with Marilyn Martin on Separate Lives for the White Nights film in 1986. More recently still, Phil has contributed two songs to the soundtrack of Buster, apart form starring in the film himself. The tracks A Groovy Kind Of Love and Two Hearts both of which were big hits here and in Europe and the USA.
Tony’s style lends itself more to the “orchestrated” rock soundtrack. His contributions include: The Wicked Lady, Quicksilver and Lorca And The Outlaws. The latter film also includes a two minute section of Peter Gabriel performing San Jacinto as a hologram image.
In the end, these things provide a further outlet for the band’s material but sadly some items are only used in the films for which they were written and don’t receive a subsequent vinyl release or, as is the case of the Gremlins soundtrack, have since become very hard to find.