On December 17, 1976 "Genesis" released their eighth album "Wind & Wuthering".
This is the second "Genesis" album released in 1976, after "A Trick of the Tail" and it's last with Steve Hackett, who felt that he was not getting enough expression in the band. Hackett said that after releasing his excellent solo album "Voyage of the Acolyte" in 1975, he felt like a faucet had turned on and he immediately realized that he just couldn't turn it off. He wrote a lot of material at that time, some of which he kept for his next solo album, thinking that they would not suit the band's musical direction, the others he offered to his friends in "Genesis". One of these pieces was "Please Don't Touch!", which the band started working on. But then he saw how this excellent piece was tossed aside in favor of the improvisational, instrumental "Wot Gorilla?", Just because Phil Collins felt he couldn't connect to the song. Other songs he wrote were also rejected in favor of songs written by others, especially Tony Banks. He thought that some of the songs the band chose for the album were not as good as the material he had written and that the band was leaning in a musical direction that he was not interested in continuing with. He felt that as he wrote more and more the band wanted less of him and therefore made the painful decision to leave "Genesis" after the tour supporting the album.
Under these circumstances, it is no wonder that this is the favorite Tony Banks album, as he was involved in writing 6 of the 9 drum tracks on the album. In this context, it should be noted that during the album sessions, the band recorded three additional tracks that were not included in it, but were released about a year later as part of the band's first EP "Spot the Pigeon".
This album sits exactly on the "Genesis" timeline, on which the band moved starting the second half of the seventies, which includes the gradual transition from the complex Progressive of the Peter Gabriel era to the "Poppy" Phil Collins hits. This timeline of "Genesis" parallels the changes in the world music market, the rise of Disco and Punk in the second half of the seventies, and the electronic revolution of the eighties. It's still a complex album that includes some great compositions, but on the other hand, it includes songs like "Your Own Special Way", which became the band's first single in the US and opened the band to a new audience.
Compared to "A Trick of the Tail" this is a less consistent and perfect album. Don't get us wrong, there are no weak parts here, this is still "Genesis" at its best and even if there are mediocre parts compared to what the band has released in the past, they are definitely worth listening to and should not be missed.
The album opens with the mini-epic "Eleventh Earl of Mar" to Steve Hackett's guitar sounds accompanied by Tony Banks' ARP 2600 synthesizer, which later also plays the Hammond organ for the first time in "Genesis". The dynamic and complex composition was written by Banks, Rutherford, and Hackett who wrote the music and lyrics for the song's bridge, which was originally a section from another song. The rest of the lyrics were written by Rutherford, who was inspired by the character of the Scottish John Erskine - the 11th Earl of Mar. Rutherford got the idea after reading a history book about a failed Scottish rebellion in 1715 and it's about medieval knights, fathers and sons, and their bravery in battle.
It is followed by the magnificent "One for the Vine" written in its entirety by Phil Collins. This is one of the best tracks on the album. It is dynamic, challenging, and exciting at the same time. Undoubtedly one of the most complex tracks that Banks wrote. It stretches over 10 minutes and is composed of less than 10 different pieces of music - different musical variations, some of which repeat themselves during the song. The lyrics tell the story of a man who leaves his community because he does not believe in its spiritual leader.
From here we move into the folk-pop ballad "Your Own Special Way" written by Mike Rutherford. This is the band's second "hit", after "I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)" from the album "Selling England By The Pound" from the Peter Gabriel era, released in 1973. For its release as a single, the instrumental bridge in the middle was omitted (starting at minute 3:44 ), to turn it into a pure pop song. Even the devout progressives among us must admit that thanks to such songs "Genesis" managed to survive the "progressive winter" and remain relevant throughout the years.
The track that closes the first side of the album "Wot Gorilla?" is an improvisational instrumental piece written by Phil Collins and Phil Collins. It is basically a variation on the melody of the song "One for the Vine". Banks took the first five notes of the song's melody and developed it in a completely different direction. The name of the song refers to the band's hired drummer Chester Thompson, whose nickname during his time with Frank Zappa in 1973-1974 was "Gorilla". This segment, as mentioned above, made Steve Hackett to recalculate and eventually leave the band. Just imagine "Please Don't Touch!" replacing this track on the album and you will understand the frustration of Hackett, which at the end of the day included it as the album title and opening track of his second solo album from 1978.
Copyright: Lee & Leeeser photographics 1977, Dallas, Texas… 1975 to 1981
The second side of the vinyl opens up with "All In A Mouse's Night" - another piece written by keyboardist Tony Banks which, believe it or not, was influenced by the cartoon characters of "Tom and Jerry". A humorous and witty text about a mouse trying to escape from a cat, just like in the mythological cartoon series. On the other hand, the composition is excellent, very dynamic, and includes frequent rhythm changes that alternate to illustrate the storyline, with an excellent guitar solo by Steve Hackett. Make sure not to miss Phil Collins's vocals here, who follows in the footsteps of his mentor Peter Gabriel and changes his voice according to the characters in the song. Just priceless...
It is followed by "Blood on the Rooftops", one of the most moving songs on the album, written by Steve Hackett and Phil Collins. It starts quiet and instrumental, with Steve Hackett's classic "Baroqueish" guitar playing, and builds dynamically with a simply "melting" chorus. The words refer to the average Englishman who sits at home in front of the television and tries to ignore the harsh reality and the news. The text refers to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with the words "The Arabs and Jews boy (too much for me)". This is one of "Genesis" songs that Steve Hackett tends to perform quite a bit in his shows like here.
From here we move to two consecutive instrumental sections, connected with each other, complementing each other, that includes a mention of the motif that opens the album. The quieter first of the two, "Unquiet Slumbers For The Sleepers..." was written by Mike Rutherford and Steve Hackett, while the second, more up-tempo, with the crazy Phil Collins drumming, "...In That Quiet Earth" was written by all four members of the band. The names of the two instrumental pieces are taken from the last sentence in Emily Brontë's" novel, "Wuthering Heights".
The two connected instrumental pieces connect to the album's closing song "Afterglow". This is the third piece on the album written solely by Tony Banks. Rutherford's bass is reinforced here with a bass pedal, the guitar work here is monotonous and hypnotic and the melody is very catchy. Although this is another ballad that was apparently meant to "flirt" with mainstream, it is one of the biggest and best-known songs on the album, which was included in a large part of the band's performances.