Genesis – A Trick Of The Tail (1975) – Lp
Genesis are an English rock band formed at Charterhouse School, Godalming, Surrey in 1967. The most commercially successful and long-lasting line-up includes keyboardist Tony Banks, bassist/guitarist Mike Rutherford and drummer/singer Phil Collins. Other important members were the original lead singer Peter Gabriel and guitarist Steve Hackett. The band underwent many changes in musical style over its career, from folk music to progressive rock in the 1970s, before moving towards pop at the end of the decade.
Title: A Trick Of The Tail
Label: Charisma Records
A Trick of the Tail is the seventh studio album by English progressive rock band Genesis. It was released in February 1976 on Charisma Records and was the first album to feature drummer Phil Collins as lead vocalist following the departure of Peter Gabriel. It was a critical and commercial success in the UK and U.S., reaching No. 3 and No. 31 respectively.
Following Gabriel’s decision to leave the band, the remaining members wanted to carry on and show they could still write and record successful material. The group wrote and rehearsed new songs during mid-1975, and listened to around 400 audition tapes for a replacement frontman. They entered Trident Studios in October with producer David Hentschel to record the album without a definitive idea of who was going to perform lead vocals. Eventually, Collins was persuaded to sing “Squonk”, and the performance was so strong, he sang lead on the rest of album.
Upon release, critics were impressed by the improved sound quality and the group’s ability to survive the loss of Gabriel without sacrificing the quality of the music. The group went out on tour with Collins as frontman and Bill Bruford as an additional drummer, and the resulting performances in the US raised Genesis’ profile there.
The opening track, “Dance on a Volcano” was the first song written for the album. Rutherford felt in contrast to the material on The Lamb…, it was easy to write, and was intended to show how Genesis would move forward. “Entangled” was mostly written by Hackett, with help from Banks. Rutherford recalled that Hackett “started writing verses which were very airy-fairy and then he came down with a bang.” “Squonk” is based on the North American tale of the Squonk which, when captured, dissolves in a pool of tears. The song combines a main theme written by Rutherford against a middle section written by Banks, and was designed to sound like Led Zeppelin‘s “Kashmir“.
“Robbery, Assault and Battery” was mostly written by Banks, in an attempt to capture some of the humorous lyrics that Gabriel had written for earlier albums. Collins sang the song in character, inspired by his earlier role as the Artful Dodger in Oliver! before he became a professional musician. “Ripples…” was a combination of a 12-string guitar piece composed by Rutherford and a piano-led middle section written by Banks. The title track was inspired by Banks reading William Golding‘s The Inheritors and described an alien visiting Earth and the reaction to it.
The closing song, “Los Endos”, was written by the whole band. Collins came up with the basic rhythmic structure, inspired by his work in side project Brand X and wanting to take the looser playing style into Genesis, while Banks and Hackett wrote the main themes, including reprises of “Dance on a Volcano” and “Squonk”. The opening piece was recorded for a completely different song, “It’s Yourself”, which was later released as a B-side.
1. Dance On A Volcano (5:54)
2. Entangled (6:26)
3. Squonk (6:29)
4. Mad Man Moon (7:35)
1. Robbery, Assault And Battery (6:16)
2. Ripples (8:06)
3. A Trick Of The Tail (4:34)
4. Los Endos (5:46)