Genesis - did they really sell out?

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

  1. intv7

    intv7 Forum Resident

    Boston, MA, USA
    I never really thought about it, but yeah, that song has a lot more going on than your average 1986 pop song. It's definitely more upbeat and bouncy than one would expect from Genesis (if judged against their early '70s output), but there are actually some neat chord changes and interesting rhythms going on underneath it all.

    I have to wonder how we'd view this song if we didn't have the context of Phil Collins, mid-'80s MTV superstar.
    ARK and dubious title like this.
  2. dubious title

    dubious title Forum Resident

    For a thread topic that was kind of uninspired (no offence, I hope), this has been a very good conversation and I'm pleased to see that we have a quite conclusive consensus, the band didn't sell out! Very happy to be among Genesis fans.
  3. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product

    I love Gabriel, solo and with Genesis...
    I just rarely see Peter cop the same horse twaddle as Phil.... The irony being that they are best mates, and respect each other a lot, but so many fans want to try and create some kind of division .... or so it seems.
    With all due respect to Phil, he just worked too hard in the eighties and burnt himself out. artistically, vocally and also his enthusiasm... He was one of the most irrepressible enthusiasts I ever saw, but he burned himself out unfortunately
    So is a beautifully made album, from a writing and production point of view, but I don't see it as being particularly less commercial than any of the Genesis albums folks moan about lol
    OptimisticGoat and dubious title like this.
  4. Neonbeam

    Neonbeam All Art Was Once Contemporary

    Planet Earth
    Not necessarily a fan of Phil Genesis but does a track like "Mama" really qualify as "sell out"? More a case of "How the fok did so many people buy this weird thing?"

    So: No sell out. Just a more (adult) contemporary approach.
    OptimisticGoat likes this.
  5. JeffHunt

    JeffHunt Stray Cat Strutting

    Maryland, USA
    "I Can't Dance" was my introduction to Gensis as a kid. Still my favorite song of theirs, even if just for nostalgic reasons.

    As an aside, I can't stand prog rock, and "Sledgehammer" by Peter Gabriel is one of my most despised songs of all time.
  6. Chemically altered

    Chemically altered Forum Resident

    In your mind
    To answer the OP's question, yes they sold out because they went so commercial. It's time to get over it.
    abzach likes this.
  7. The late 70's / early 80's were hard times for most late 60's / 70's prog and hard rock bands.
    There was not a relevant enough "changing of the guards" regarding followers. Disco, Punk and New Wave were the main forces successfully competing for new audiences. As we all know, Punk in particular was an explicit reaction (either sincere or marketing-wise calculated) against prog et al, and its speech made an impression on a whole new generation.
    There was the beginning of MTV and the video culture, accompanied by a huge change regarding production standards — the very Bob Dylan couldn't make his albums from the era sound like he wanted: according to the record company they had to have the ****ty early 80's sound — promotion and distribution. There were both a huge generational break and a change regarding music and sound tastes.
    Meanwhile, many old bands were exhausted in more than one sense : physically (gigs, tours, writing & recording, sometimes also drugs and alcohol, etc. had taken their toll), and/or creatively-wise (stagnation, lack of inspiration), and/or regarding personal relationships. So most of the best disbanded, lost important members and/or changed radically, maybe by the need of trying to find a new market niche in order to continue in the music business, or maybe just because they were bored, or because they didn't find enough gratifying feedback anymore. Regarding creativity, inspiration and exhaustion, Peter Gabriel, for example, immediately knew that Genesis had reached their absolute, unsurpassable peak with "The Lamb ... " and wisely decided to walk away.
    I was very young then, and I experienced the cases of Genesis, Yes, ELP, Jethro Tull and others like kind of a betrayal from my "heros". In hindsight I find all of it very understandable (and of course forgivable): it was their lives, their circumstances and their decisions, so they had even the right to "selling-out" (even more justified if they really enjoyed playing pop songs).
    dubious title likes this.
  8. kaztor

    kaztor Music is the Best

    Given their messy history I would use the term ‘friends’ loosely here...
  9. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product

    That isn't actually anywhere near what happened. He walked away, but it had nothing to do with believing Genesis reached an artistic peak. Banks and Rutherford got annoyed with him for spending too much time away, on various occasions, and not meeting deadlines
  10. Denim Chicken

    Denim Chicken Dayman, fighter of the Nightman

    Bakersfield, CA
    Listening to Abacab this morning. Such a great and weird album. Me and Sarah Jane and Dodo/Lurker are pure prog.
  11. tkl7

    tkl7 Agent Provocateur

    New York, NY, USA
    Your post is classless.
    SRC likes this.
  12. kaztor

    kaztor Music is the Best

    Complete nonsense.
    OptimisticGoat and intv7 like this.
  13. intv7

    intv7 Forum Resident

    Boston, MA, USA
    "Selling out" and "going commercial" can be two very different things.

    Genesis never gave me any reason to think that they didn't fully believe in what they were doing. If they felt that the direction they took was the proper one for their band to take, then they most certainly didn't sell out.

    Until someone provides evidence that they've stated otherwise, then I am inclined to believe they were doing what they felt was in the best interest of their art.
  14. Rufus rag

    Rufus rag Forum Resident

    Well I disagree, without Phil Collins they would have dive bombed as evidenced by Calling All Stations and it's subsequent tour. It was Collins sold those records and arena seats.
    FACE OF BOE and abzach like this.
  15. Tristero

    Tristero Touching from a distance

    I don't think that anyone is denying that Collins was crucial to their success in the 80s, but he didn't do everything himself, nor was he dominating the band's creative direction at that point. Rutherford and Banks remained key partners throughout the transition. By the time they got around to Calling All Stations, the band was just played out, lacking the hunger of old. The same thing had happened to most of their old prog peers by that point.
    OptimisticGoat likes this.
  16. Not Insane

    Not Insane You talkin' to me?!

    My favorite band of all time is Genesis. I like most of what I hear on almost every single album, the exception being Calling All Stations. I think they had run their course. But it was a LONG run.

    It kinda reminds me of another favorite band, Chicago Transit Authority, renamed to Chicago. They "sold out", but they really changed with the times. That's why they also lasted so long. I don't expect any band to last forever. They all go through phases. The ones that impress me the most are the ones that turn it into a brand and a business. It's what keeps the members in the band (until death). i.e. The Who, Rolling stones, etc. Genesis held together very well, and I much enjoy the direction Peter Gabriel took as well.

    It's all good ('cept calling all stations).
    OptimisticGoat likes this.
  17. Not Insane

    Not Insane You talkin' to me?!

    This. I really like Genesis and Gabriel. I also own way too many documentaries on the band. (Like I said, they are my favorite). The members of the band were not crazy about Lamb. It's got some great stuff, for my tastes. After all, it was my introduction to Genesis and I was blown away. But I can see where they were coming from. Some of their best work was done after Lamb. But it is somewhat different from their earlier work. And I have a hard time deciding which is actually best. It's like comparing a Ford Pickup with a Ford Sedan. Which is better?
    mark winstanley likes this.
  18. NettleBed

    NettleBed Forum Resident

    new york city
    Anybody who thinks Genesis had a future in 1978 without Phil Collins is kidding themselves. No, he didn't write all their hits, but it's not just material that makes for popularity, but performing it. The list of songwriters and session musicians who had more talent than the artists on the marquee is pretty long. Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks plus anybody other than an exceptionally popular singer would not have had the kind of popularity that '80s Genesis did; not close.

    Trio Genesis is a totally different band. Not saying they definitely *should* have changed their name, but they certainly could have and would not have been wrong to do so. They reached their popularity almost solely because of Phil Collins as front-man.
  19. BluesOvertookMe

    BluesOvertookMe Forum Resident

    Houston, TX, USA
    Depends on if they are in it for money and fame or for the art.

    There are many artists in the industry that will continue making the music they want to make and would reject making music that is not artistically fulfilling just for the big paycheck.
  20. supersquonk

    supersquonk Forum Resident

    Genesis IMO always had one eye on trying to go with what was popular and would sell. While simultaneously creating some quality music and satisfying their own tastes.

    - Initially, they had a 60s pop / Bee Gees sound, mainly to please Jonathan King.
    - Then, as King Crimson, Yes, and ELP get big, you can hear that sound take over. Doing "prog" circa 1973 is, in a way, of form of selling out. #1 albums at the time included Tubular Bells, Thick As A Brick, Close to the Edge, Brain Salad Surgery.... Prog = $$$.
    - Even during these prog years, they tried for pop singles with Happy the Man, a short version of Watcher, Counting Out Time... Only really scoring with I Know What I Like.
    - In the 70s, Special Way, Many Too Many, and Follow You are pretty lightweight pop, the latter with a little touch of disco almost.

    I personally find all of it is still good quality and changes well with the times. (With the exception of IT, which goes overboard with 80s excess.) A pop song like No Reply, for example, is accessible and catchy, but has some fairly complex things going on musically. Tony's cross-hand piano and Mike's melodic bass lines are pretty darn impressive IMO.

    They were wise to evolve. Nobody wants to be like ELP or Gentle Giant in the late 70s, irrelevant and forgotten.

    And....there's also always some "proggy" sounding stuff on every album. The live Abacab jam. IT's Brazilian, parts of TTT, parts of Domino. We Can't Dance's Spike and Fading Lights.....
  21. Rufus rag

    Rufus rag Forum Resident

    Correct and Robert Fripp is a living example
  22. Not Insane

    Not Insane You talkin' to me?!

    I firmly agree, but will say that for me, the sound Banks gave so much of their stuff is really what made the "genesis" sound. Sometimes I feel bad for Rutherford. He wasn't bad or anything, but I think pretty much any bass player could have been shoehorned in in his place.

    I do like his solo piece, Living Years, though.
  23. Christian Hill

    Christian Hill It's all in the mind

    The Beatles sold out then.
  24. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product

    I like pretty much all of it. For me it is a case of "What am I in the mood for"
    Prior to the Genesis thread it was almost always
    Nursery Cryme
    And Then There Were Three

    During the thread I gained a much deeper love for
    Selling England
    Wind And Wuthering

    I always liked the self titled album, but I heard it too much in the eighties ...

    I actually was surprised how good I thought Invisible Touch was.
    We Can't Dance has some great stuff, but I think it was just a bit too long for its own good.

    But it really comes down to my mood...
    carlwm likes this.
  25. Chemically altered

    Chemically altered Forum Resident

    In your mind
    Selling out = going commercial. They are one and the same.
    abzach likes this.

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