“Don’t judge a book by its cover” - The recent Genesis discographies by Max Demont and Mario Giammetti put under the spotlight by Alan Hewitt.

It isn’t easy to write a magazine about Genesis as the writers of TWR can tell you, but to try and write a detailed book about them or any facet of their work is even more difficult and both the authors mentioned above have done just that. How did they fare? Well, we shall see…

Max Demont has been a collector of all things Genesis now for almost seventeen years and in that time he has amassed the most astonishing library of information about Genesis’ recording history that I for one have ever seen. Over five years in preparation and only Volume One, Max’s recent book; Counting Out Time, has fulfilled one wish of mine at least; an illustrated history of the band’s records and the book only covers 7” records! The book is an absolute gold mine of information and covers not only Genesis but also the entire catalogue of Genesis’ solo members with over a thousand illustrations of record sleeves from places as far apart as Russia and Peru! It covers release dates and sleeves with as much detail as the most fanatical Genesis nut could wish for, and he even gives details of where there is more than one pressing of the record with details of where any noticeable differences appear to help you spot the originals from the re-issues.

The only criticism I have of the book is that, despite all the research, there are a few details that I personally am dubious about, and several omissions that I am surprised by in view of the otherwise immaculate detail of the book but I am really nit picking here, and I can thoroughly recommend it to anyone who has any interest in Genesis records. It certainly won’t be beaten for a great many years, if ever and I for one can’t wait for Volume Two!

More recently I have received from my good friend Mario Giammetti, a copy of his latest book on Genesis. Mario has previously written at least two books on the band which have been published in Italy. The latest is titled Genesis Discografia 1968 -1993 and although the title would suggest that this is another version of Max’s book, Mario has taken a slightly different approach to the subject. Before I go any further, I must point out two drawbacks to this edition; firstly it is in Italian and secondly, there are no illustrations. However, the book makes up for this with a wealth of detail in addition to the basic discography of the title. In fact, Mario has drawn together a few of the other threads of the Genesis web together by including details of available bootlegs (shock, horror!) as well as a great deal of information about video/TV appearances and official video material which has never been done before in a book about Genesis. Like Max, Mario covers all of the solo artists as well as the band themselves and the additional details on bootlegs etc more than compensate for the lack of illustrations. The book represents a great deal of work on Mario’s part and it deserves success which I am sure it will achieve.