Genesis: Every album, every song (On Track) By Stuart MacFarlane


Many years ago (late 1990s) I bought a CD wallet sized book called 'The Complete Guide to the music of Genesis' by Chris Welch (still available through ). Welch described the album 'The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway' variously as 'a convoluted mess' and 'lamentable', celebrating the final track 'It' with the words 'Hallelujah, the end is in sight'. In Stuart Macfarlane's book here, however, he sings The Lamb's praises and describes it as 'probably [his] favourite of all progressive rock albums'. I am inclined toward Welch's opinion of the album, though I certainly don't feel so strongly about it, but this example serves to show how subjective this type of book can be, where rather than a neutral analysis of the songs and albums, the reviews tend only to reflect the author's tastes and opinions. I would therefore advise, 'approach with caution'. Both books have their merits, but I wouldn't take either of them too seriously. Communication This is the third book in the On Track series I`ve bought, the previous two being Yes and Jethro Tull, and it exceeded my expectations. It is extremely well researched and provides a truly interesting and educational review of all of the Genesis tracks and also the extra numbers that were left off albums such as Twilight Alehouse and the Spot the Pigeon and 3x3 EP`s. The writer is obviously a lifelong fan ( so am I ) and has a very easy going writing style. It has me digging out all the old albums and enjoying them again. Highly recommended. Communication Macfarlane's leaden prose might be bearable if he had anything insightful to write. Sadly, he is way out of his depth with this trainspotter's account of some of the finest music ever written. It simple won't do to write 'this is the longest track on the album', or 'This short, easy listening song is about a girl leaving her parents home.' As Genesis fans, we already know that that's why we bought the book. Extremely Disappointing. Communication A rather interesting read.
Let's go straight for the throat of The Lamb. Each track has a very brief synopsis which doesn't really add anything to what is in Gabriel's lyrics.
I have deliberately cropped Afterglow, but this will show you what is discussed in the songs.
One star is knocked off because some descriptions are too basic and are obvious to the listening ear.

A slightly larger than the standard paperback. Loads of information and it's nicely laid out chronologically. Communication This book is a mostly thorough treatment of all of the songs of Genesis, as well as an excellent overview of each album. While I understand that this book is written from a personal, almost fan ish, point of view, the author takes his personal bias too far in some cases.

He is not a fan of ABACAB, and flirts with the idea of saying he hated it at the time it came out (primarily because it was NOT progressive rock). While I can understand this, I approach Genesis from the opposite end of the musical spectrum. I honestly can't say I like much of Genesis prior to Selling England by The Pound. Mind you I own all of their studio albums and have listened to the pre SEBTP records multiple times.

Another problem I had with the book is that some of the entries get skimpy treatment (e.g., The Open Door). I'm not sure if the publisher limited the authors word count, but that might explain this strange neglect of some of the material. When the author does give a song the 'full treatment', it gives the reader a deeper appreciation of that material.

Overall, I have to say that this book was enjoyable and I'm glad I bought it. It gives insight into the albums of Genesis, no matter what part of the catalog you are interested in. Communication

I bought this book as a diehard Genesis fan and was not disappointed as it gave an excellent overview of the band and their music.

My wife, who is not a fan but an avid reader picked it up and then read it cover to cover. She enjoyed it as a well written commentary and the soundtrack to our youth.

So an enjoyable, well researched book for both Genesis fans and also for those of a certain age who just want to reminisce and enjoy a really good read. Communication

Stuart MacFarlane ¹ 3 characters

From schoolboy band to sold out stadium tours and worldwide album sales of over 100 million, Genesis were one of the defining progressive rock bands of the seventies, playing a huge part in shaping the genre. Over a career spanning forty years from formation to the world reunion tour of 2007, they developed and adapted through many changes, some of which polarized their existing fans but attracted countless new ones. While Foxtrot and The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway helped define progressive rock, it was the three piece line up of Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford and Phil Collins that became the real hit makers, with albums like Invisible Touch and We Cant Dance and massive hit singles like No Son of Mine and Land of Confusion. Fifteen studio and six live albums later, including five consecutive number ones and five consecutive top tens in the USA, fans still live in the hope of yet another reunion tour which so far hasnt been ruled out. This book takes the reader on a journey through their entire catalogue, taking each album in turn and examining every track. It is compiled from the viewpoint of a lifelong fan, and it is hoped that the book stirs many old memories, as it has done for the author, as well as providing some insight for recent fans of the band. Genesis: Every album, every song (On Track)