Genesis - did they really sell out?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by manco, Sep 10, 2019.

  1. Psychedelic Good Trip

    Psychedelic Good Trip Senior Member

    New York
    No it's not "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" with that out of the way let me continue. Genesis sold out for a BIG payday, just as BIG as the decade of the 80's. Not like earlier Genesis efforts but a solid big hits album with some experimental tunes thrown in. Invisible Touch reflects the mid 1980's brilliantly. IMHO
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2019
    The Bishop and carlwm like this.
  2. Kinda Krimson

    Kinda Krimson Active Member

    Stumbled upon this thread. Can't help but post being a huge Genesis fan.

    The term sell out definitely has evolved over the years. AFAIK, the current meaning comes from the punk rock ethos. So basically, if you become 'huge' and 'commercial', you're a sell out. To me, that's a very narrow minded view. So many bands are celebrated that were commercial and huge. And you never get big unless you are accessible. Genesis deliberately wanted to break new ground for themselves by 1980. So many posts on here already explaining this notion. They wanted to reinvent themselves, while maintaining certain signature aspects of their sound. They wanted to write more direct songs and appeal to a bigger audience. It's easy to dismiss that as selling out, but I don't see it that way at all. There was an extremely gradual evolution taking place over many albums. You can make a direct parallel to Rush. They did the same thing. Wrote shorter songs with more mass appeal. Ultimately both bands maintained hallmarks of their sound where the music was still uniquely Genesis or Rush. That's not selling out to me. They evolved and changed their way and on their terms.
  3. tennesseeborder

    tennesseeborder Forum Resident

    Chuckey, Tn
    I remember years ago a radio interview with Genesis I think it was promoting the Genesis lp of 1983. He said "do you listen to the same music? Then why the hell should I play the same music?" He also said that he would love to do a whole lp of Jackson 5 songs.
  4. Chemically altered

    Chemically altered Forum Resident

    In your mind
    They must have been interviewing Phil. ;)
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2020
  5. tennesseeborder

    tennesseeborder Forum Resident

    Chuckey, Tn
    Yes it was definitely Phil!!
  6. Thievius

    Thievius This is my sweet custom title, yo

    Moreno Valley, CA
    I find it funny when people use the term selling out unironically.

    And hell - Genesis formed with the sole intention of selling their songs to other artists in the hopes of making pop hits commercially. They failed miserably and had to change course, but making hit records was always something they desired. Even though I personally dislike Invisible Touch, I have never viewed it as a "sell out." Its simply an album I dislike.

    To me, this 'seling out' argument is people basically vaulting a subjective opinion into something more than it really is. Turning it around and blaming an artist for having the gall for creating something they don't like, in an effort to prove their opinion is factually correct. Its a high school mentality and a lazy argument.
  7. anth67

    anth67 Purveyor of Hogwash

    NW USA
    Hmm, I wouldn't think Roger Waters was primarily, if at all, adapting to a new environment if by that you mean punk. He was concentrating his aggression organically. Two of the three big Animals pieces ~ Dogs and Sheep ~ premiered live in 1974. In Spring of that year he was already snarling, "raving and drooling, I fell on his neck with a scream...!" and by Fall he was pointing at the corporate brainwashee who was "fitted with bridal and bit" (original lyric), "ground down in the end" and "dragged down by the stone"....

    The two albums after were a natural progression of him exorcising personal demons, on an emotional roll. One could easily argue, too, that "Careful With That Axe, Eugene" (from the late '60s) was as musically violent in live performance as just about anything in any time.

    Sorry, back to Genesis!
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2020
    realmdemagic likes this.
  8. manco

    manco Forum Resident Thread Starter

    San Jose, CA
    To me it's about artistic integrity. Genesis was always self-contained in terms of the songwriting and playing since 1970. Sure they lost Gabriel and Hackett, but they never brought anyone else into the mix. Since 1977, it was just the Big 3 writing all the material, playing all the instruments except for 'No Reply at All' where they brought in the Phenix Horns.
    Denim Chicken and Instant Dharma like this.
  9. Mirror Image

    Mirror Image Dmitri Shostakovich (1906 - 1975)

    There’s a general misconception amongst these ‘loyal fans’ of the early days that they completely abandoned long-form pieces and this is, of course, completely false. They also never turned their backs completely on progressive music. They were progressive in the truest sense of the word. The truth is Collins, Banks, and Rutherford all enjoyed making music together immensely and each of them wanted to move forward musically. The only way to truly move forward, and have any kind of success, is to find new avenues of musical expression. They always had their fingers on the tip of the future of music or, at least, within a rock context. They somehow intuitively knew that punk rock was nothing more than a fad and while they didn’t take on the style, they did, indeed, start to trim down the durations of their pieces, but they always wrote shorter pieces anyway, but the ‘Genesis elitists’ would rather b**** and moan that they didn’t continue writing music that they wanted to hear. Genesis always did what they wanted to do and, to the boon of these elitists, they became hugely successful commercially. What these early fans who bemoan them ‘selling out’ haven’t done is use their own ears and put away their preconceived notions of what Genesis is. I think Invisible Touch is an incredible album and it’s a work of brilliance from the trio. I also enjoy Abacab and their self-titled album (although I still detest Illegal Alien). Anyway, Genesis are my favorite band and for years I didn’t think much of their forays into pop music (intelligent pop music mind you), but over the past few years, I began to see the error of my ways and I listened to their post-Hackett albums with a clean slate and a non-judgmental attitude. I listened to these albums for what they were and not what I thought they should be and I have to say that I came out on the other side with a greater appreciation for what they achieved that I never had previously.
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2020
    fRa, gja586, Joe McKEe and 5 others like this.
  10. MortSahlFan

    MortSahlFan Forum Resident

    Dead > Selling out
  11. Brother_Rael

    Brother_Rael Forum Resident

    Scottish Borders
    Sold out? No. They evolved as the times demanded.
  12. Mirror Image

    Mirror Image Dmitri Shostakovich (1906 - 1975)

    Amen. Love your avatar, btw. Duke is an incredible album.
    tug_of_war and Brother_Rael like this.
  13. altaeria

    altaeria Forum Resident

    They avoided "selling out" when they made Calling All Stations. How'd that work out for them?
    tug_of_war likes this.
  14. BwanaBob

    BwanaBob Forum Resident

    Maryland, USA
    Bolding mine. I'm reviewing this thread for stuff added since I last posted and came across this. I'm still trying to get the taste of vomit out of my mouth.....
    Maurice and abzach like this.
  15. abzach

    abzach Forum Resident

    Just for the record, I still think they sold out.
    Rufus rag likes this.
  16. MIKEPR

    MIKEPR Forum Resident

    I guess it's all how you look at it.

    I think if a band or artists changes something about their music some are gonna cry that they sold out because it's not a style they like.

    The only pre 1980's song I ever heard on the radio was "The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway" which I never liked but another " I Know What I Like" is good and probably better since I've only heard it on an internet station and sometimes the commonly heard songs can get dull.
  17. BwanaBob

    BwanaBob Forum Resident

    Maryland, USA
    Yeah, I've poured over the back and forth arguments at lunchtime, and something has always gnawed at me about the argument that Genesis "evolved". I would have bought that argument had the band kept changing. But they didn't. IT and WCD are stylistically interchangeable to me. The band wrongly (I think) settled into the pattern of get together, jam, rinse, lather, repeat. Individually, I'd argue they evolved, but as a group I think not. I think they'd have been slightly less successful but more "authentic" if they kept on with the older band algorithm of bringing established tracks to the sessions and let the others "season" them. I know they claimed that they wrote by committee in the old days but I think that's b*llsh*t; PG and TB dominated those early days and as the others got more confident, their "seasonings" became stronger.
    tug_of_war likes this.
  18. MechanicalAnimal6

    MechanicalAnimal6 Forum Resident

    United States
    i would take that album over anything after Abacab easily, and consider it to be actually a quite pleasant album.

    No selling out and still made a good album....We Can't Dance? rubbish, as is Invisible Touch....:hurlleft:
  19. altaeria

    altaeria Forum Resident

    Oh, I actually appreciate that album myself. But counting you and me, that totals around 37 of us altogether.
    carlwm likes this.
  20. mcnpauls

    mcnpauls Well-Known Member

    They never sold out - the Banks/Rutherford/Collins grew up, got into relationships, had kids, stopped being into fantasy, lost the more experimental members of the band and enjoyed their way of working/writing/recording together.
  21. MikeManaic61

    MikeManaic61 Forum Resident

    Indeed. This happens to a lot of artists who go a direction that we didn't like or expected. I admit being guilty of this myself in the pass.
    Diablo Griffin and mcnpauls like this.
  22. Peace N. Love

    Peace N. Love Forum Resident

    It's a very interesting question. Obviously, they wanted to make money to some extent, from the start. And more so after racking up debts in the mid-70s...

    But other factors came into play. Phil wanted to write more simple, straightforward songs. And then they started having success doing that. Tony probably went along a bit reluctantly, but obviously Tony had a fondness for simpler songs, too, even if he had a hard time writing simply sometimes. Rutherford? Who knows? I feel like he checked out, songwriting-wise, sometime around the beginning of the '80s and from then on was just focused on writing commercial songs.

    I think the band and Phil hit a sweet spot circa '80-'82, where they were able to write songs that were both commercial and really good; but not so much after that.
    manco and mcnpauls like this.
  23. The Bishop

    The Bishop Forum Resident

    Dorset, England.
    Just for the record, I still don’t.
  24. Mirror Image

    Mirror Image Dmitri Shostakovich (1906 - 1975)

    I think it worked out incredibly well for all three of them and the fact that it really irritates people that they had reached a considerable amount of success speaks volumes and only illustrates how my theory about how if a listener was really a fan of Genesis, then they would actually listen to Invisible Touch and admit there were some good pieces on the album instead of trashing it just because it doesn’t suit their idealized view of the band.
    carlwm and MicSmith like this.
  25. MicSmith

    MicSmith Forum Resident

    This is a big subject and one I have wrestled with over the years. Either it was all an organic evolution or the biggest sell out in rock history.
    Here are a few facts:
    Genesis did start out with the intention of being writers that provided material for others. An ambitious intention for a bunch of school kids. They were influenced by The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Classic Soul music, The Stones and The Who.
    An early set back was the making of their debut album which didn’t turn out as they expected thanks to a producer who was far too powerful for the lads to withstand any strong influence over and fuelled by their own idealism they soon they became entranced by the changing times of 1968/69 through pioneers such as Family, SRC, The Nice and King Crimson.
    Their musical ability took them into the progressive blues scene which just happened to gel with the cult audience of the day that were distancing themselves from typical ‘60s pop of Dusty Springfield, Lulu, Tom Jones et al.
    Importantly the first business tycoon to come calling was Tony Stratton Smith and through his nurturing they were given room to develop, find better more resilient musicians in Hackett and Collins and the classic Genesis line up was born.
    In the background Gabriel and Collins harboured dreams of writing separately to the band and doing an album of pop music, while Tony Banks admitted to wanting to release singles and have hits. Note this was in 1972-74 at the height of their prog powers. What we heard on their albums was just one side of what they craved doing.
    The bands internal politics and schedule prevented any outside work of any significance (Collins’ session work aside) being undertaken and as progressive trailblazers they made some stunning music. But inside lay a different version of Genesis that needed to free itself from the shackles of 1970s progressive rock.
    As members fled and created space for the three remaining members to dictate their fate what resulted was a simpler style of writing which attracted a bigger fan base, higher financial rewards and a new reputation. Schooled on good quality pop music and featuring high calibre musicians Genesis managed to move into a new area with a new label only too happy to support their new direction. It wasn’t my cup of tea and I turned elsewhere for what I wanted to buy/listen/see but with the distance of several years hindsight they were actually good at commercial tunes and playing to their new audience. In Phil Collins they had a resident class clown - comfortable as a frontman and good value in interviews. In the world of MTV they couldn’t fail.
    So in my opinion they didn’t sell out but were certainly in the right place at the right time and made the most of what they could do with their talent.
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2020

Share This Page