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Tony Banks

He's one of the most talented and influential keyboardists we know, he composes with supreme grace, and "Genesis" probably would not have sounded as they are without his genius.


Let's tell you a few facts about Tony Banks' the all-too-talented musician:

1. He was born Anthony George Banks in East Sussex England, on March 27, 1950.

2. He was the youngest of five children.

3. His mother was a pianist and exposed him to classical music from the age of six.

4. His older brother exposed him to modern music.

5. His parents encouraged him to study piano. The first lessons were given to him at school, already at the age of 8. At first, he did not like it.

6. His two favorite composers as a child were Maurice Ravel and Sergei Rachmaninoff.

7. At the age of 13 he continued his piano studies with a privet teacher who exposed him to other genres and styles beyond classical music. At this point, he began playing songs by ear, after listening to them on the radio.

8. At the same time he continued his piano lessons as part of his enrichment studies at the private school "Charterhouse School", where he also met Peter Gabriel.

9. Banks also taught himself to play the guitar.

10. In 1965 he co-founded a band called "Garden Wall", with his classmates Peter Gabriel and Chris Stewart.

11. In 1967 the band disbanded and Gabriel, Banks, and Stewart teamed up with Anthony Phillips and Mike Rutherford and began working on new songs.

12. The first song he co-wrote with Gabriel for the new band was "She Is Beautiful".

13. The demo tape of the song was sent to their friend Jonathan King who was so pleased with the result that he rushed to have the band sign a recording contract.

14. King suggested the name "Gabriel's Angels" for the band, but the rest of the members were not enthusiastic so they compromised on King's alternative offer - "Genesis".

15. Following King's recommendation, the band worked on Pop songs with an emphasis on the "Bee Gees" sound, a band that King liked. Indeed, one of the first songs Banks co-wrote with Gabriel was "The Silent Sun", in which the "Bee Gees" sound of the '60s can be heard. The song became the first single the band released.

16. On March 7, 1969, the band released their first album, "From Genesis to Revelation", which went in the same direction as King recommended, but failed commercially.

17. Following the commercial failure of the album, the band members moved on to other pursuits.

18. During 1970 Banks and his friends returned to work together and in June that year began recording their next album "Trespass". Banks' contribution to this album was great, from writing a large portion of the songs to singing and adding additional instruments like organ, acoustic guitar, and 12-string guitar.

19. In 1971, the band backed by Phil Collins and Steve Hackett released the masterpiece album "Nursery Cryme". Hackett who was constantly looking for new sounds advised Banks to use the mellotron and the band did purchase one. Banks' use of the wondrous instrument enriched the sound of "Genesis" and substantially greatly influenced the result.

20. In 1972, "Genesis" released another masterpiece album - "Foxtrot". Banks' influence on the sound and style is felt from the mellotron sound in the opening song "Watcher of the Skies" to the solos in the final musical piece "Supper's Ready".

21. Banks continued to be a key player who greatly influenced the band's sound and style on subsequent albums as well, with his contribution being particularly prominent in parts such as the instrumental opening in the song "Firth of Fifth", the instrumental section in the song "The Cinema Show", both from the album "Selling England By The Pound", the amazing solo in the song "In The Cage" from the album "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" and more.

22. Banks' dominance continued even after the departure of Peter Gabriel, starting with the album "A Trick of the Tail" to the album "Duke", and can be heard in songs such as "Afterglow", "Mad Man Moon", "One for the Vine".

23. Even when the band entered their Pop era of the 1980s, Tony knew how to lead and shape its sound, as in the case of using the technique that connected the MIDI to a drum machine to turn the keys on and off and thus produce the vibrating sound as in the 1983 song "Mama".

24. Even during this period Banks knew how to wrap the simple Pop pieces in more complex compositions as he did in songs like "Home By The Sea/Second Home By The Sea" or "Domino".

25. Along with his significant contribution to the band on keyboards, Banks also played guitar on songs such as "The Musical Box", "The Cinema Show", "Entangled" and the opening of "Supper's Ready".

26. In addition, Banks served as a background vocalist to Gabriel and later to Collins in "Genesis". In the band's outtake song "Shepherd" from 1970, he serves as the lead singer along with Gabriel.

27. Banks is one of the only two constant members of "Genesis", who was part of all of their albums.

28. Banks is considered one of the greatest and most influential keyboardists and is ranked 11th on the "Music Radar" list of the greatest keyboardists of all time.

29. In 2015, Banks received the title of "Prog God", as part of the "Progressive Music Awards".

30. Banks has released 15 studio albums along with "Genesis" and another 6 as part of his solo career.

31. In addition, Banks released two soundtracks for movies and two more albums as part of the bands "Bankstatement" and "Strictly Inc".

32. Banks has several interesting collaborations, including the song "Shortcut to Somewhere" with former Marillion frontman Fish and "I Wanna Change the Score" with Nik Kershaw.

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