The Genesis Story Part Twelve: Duke. By Peter Morton. Photographs by Alan Perry. Memorabilia: TWR Archive.
After a hectic year of touring in 1978, the band took most of the following year off to work on various other individual projects as well as having well deserved holidays.
Tony and Mike went off and write their debut solo albums : A Curious Feeling (1979) and Smallcreep’s Day (1980) respectively, while Phil did an album and some concerts with Brand X and tried unsuccessfully to sort out his marriage problems.
However, during the autumn of 1979, the band were back in the studio again (the Phil Collins bedroom studio) where they spent the next couple of months writing material, some of which would end up on their new album, to be called Duke and some songs which would later appear on Phil’s first solo album Face Value in 1981.
On 9th January 1980 NME announced that Genesis were to embark on a massive UK tour where they would be playing to much smaller audiences in venues that they hadn’t played for at least five years. During mid March to early May Genesis played at the following venues…
The UK tour was a tremendous success with all 106,000 tickets for the 38 date tour selling out in an incredible TWO HOURS! However, the tour itself didn’t quite go as smoothly as planned because after les than a week of concerts, Phil contracted laryngitis and both shows in Portsmouth and Bournemouth had to be cancelled and re-arranged later in the tour.
The first single from the new album was released on March 3rd and was Turn It On Again with the B side Behind The Lines (pt2) released on Charisma CB356. The single proved to be successful around the world and it reached number eight in the UK chart and led to a studio appearance on Top Of The Pops - a first for the band . For some strange reason the UK issue of the single did not have a picture sleeve although overseas editions did.
The album Duke was finally released on 28th March and went immediately to number one in all the major UK album charts and was received, on the whole, with very god reviews.
Duchess, the second single released from the album came out in May including as its B side an unreleased track written by Mike Rutherford called Open Door. Variations of note on this single include Irish copies on a purple label. The promotional video for the single was filmed at the Empire Theatre in Liverpool on 2nd May. The single reached number 46 in the charts.
During the tour Genesis played the following tracks: Back In NYC (replaced by Deep In The Motherlode after the first few shows)/Dancing With The Moonlit Knight/Carpet Crawlers/Squonk/One For The Vine/Behind The Lines/Duchess/Guide Vocal/Turn It On Again/Duke’s Travels- Duke’s End/Say It’s Alright, Joe/The Lady Lies/Ripples/In The Cage-Raven-Afterglow/Follow You Follow Me/Dance On A Volcano/Los Endos/I Know What I Like/The Knife (played at some shows but not all).
The set changed slightly as the band began the second leg of the tour in America with the inclusion of the latest hit over there: Misunderstanding and Back In NYC which was played ass the first encore at the Madison Square Garden show in New York. Interestingly enough, The Knife was only rarely played on the US tour, which ran through late May and up to the end of June. Once again the band were augmented on stage by Chester Thompson on drums and Daryl Stuermer on guitars.
During the Duke tour there was very little film shot of the band performing. In America it was almost non-existent but at least here in the UK, Granada TV ran an interesting documentary feature on the band filmed at the Liverpool Empire Theatre on 2nd May and broadcast locally the following night. Also the BBC showed forty minutes of the bands gig at the Lyceum Ballroom on 7th May, the whole of which was broadcast on BBC Radio One. More recently a complete video from either Drury Lane or the Lyceum has appeared (minus The Knife) from the BBC vaults.
In the UK the final single from the album was Misunderstanding released in August and coupled once again with a non-album track: Evidence Of Autumn written by Tony Banks. It was released on Charisma CB369 and reached number 42 in the charts. After a hugely successful year for the band, Tony, Phil and Mike took the summer off. Phil however was soon back in his studio writing further material for his debut album Face Value and a proposed European tour by Genesis planned for the last part of 1980 was cancelled.
In Part Thirteen of The Genesis Story, the new Genesis studio: The Farm is built and a new studio album is released which reaches new musical boundaries for the band.