Top 10 Genesis Songs

Genesis Songs

Photo: By tony morelli (genesis 11/20/74) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Our Top 10 Genesis Songs list looks at a band that was one of the leading bands of the Progressive Rock Movement during the first part of their career. However, with the departure of Peter Gabriel in 1975, the band began a transformation that would eventually lead to a group that sounded remarkably different, with Phil Collins singing lead. It was not as sudden a change as people often write. A Trick of the Tail was the band’s first album after Peter Gabriel left. The band’s follow-up album to The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway still maintained the progressive rock roots that characterized the band. However, there was still a different touch to the A Trick of the Tail album than on all the previous albums featuring Peter Gabriel. Nonetheless, with Steve Hackett still on board, it was a progressive rock Genis album to treasure.

Genesis released one more album, entitled Wind and Wuthering, that still festered progressiveness.  With the departure of Steve Hackett the following year, the band’s sound changed dramatically with their next album …And Then There Were Three, although the complete metamorphosis had not yet been completed. The 1980s saw the band celebrating on a mass cultural level not seen while Peter Gabriel was in the band. Phil Collins was a hit-making machine. Looking back, those songs were well-written and fabulously produced. Nonetheless, there were no longer the progressive rock band that fans of that genre had fallen in love with a decade earlier.

While we won’t ignore the Phil Collins years entirely, most of the Genesis songs on this list stem from the Peter Gabriel and Steve Hackett years. Those are the years we felt when Genesis contributed to the art of Progressive Rock in the same fashion as bands like Pink Floyd, Yes and Renaissance. Of course, it’s just subjective, and we don’t mean any disrespect to the 1980’s Genesis. We would be interested to know what you think.

# 10 – Your Own Special Way

Opening up our Top 10 Genesis Songs list is the excellent track “Your Own Special Way.” Wind and Wuthering was the second album Genesis had released since the departure of Peter Gabriel. It was also the final album that guitarist Steve Hackett would appear on. The song “Your Own Special Way Way” was written by Mike Rutherford. When the album was released, the band Genesis consisted of Phil Collins on vocals and drums, Steve Hackett on guitars, Mike Rutherford on bass and guitars, and Tony Banks on keyboards.

# 9 – Mama

Even though this was at the beginning of the height of Genesis’s commercial popularity, the track “Mama” was a pretty cool song, for lack of a better description. Maybe the sinister laugh Phil Collins laid out in the song’s midsection made this one grow on us. The album that featured “Mama” was released in 1983. It was titled Genesis. By 1983, Genesis had become just a three-piece band, a very successful three-piece band. In 1983, Genesis consisted of  Phil Collins on vocals and drums,  Mike Rutherford on bass and guitars, and Tony Banks on keyboards.

# 8 – Squonk

The outstanding track “Squonk” was released on the A Trick of the Tail LP. Hey, doesn’t everyone love songs about mythical creatures? More importantly for Phil Collins fans, the drummer’s vocal performance on the song secured his position as the band’s new lead singer in the wake of Peter Gabriel’s departure. With Peter gone, this was the first album to feature the quartet of Phil Collins on vocals and drums, Mike Rutherford on bass and guitars, Steve Hackett on guitars, and Tony Banks on keyboards.

# 7 – The Musical Box

We dedicated the first three songs on this Top 10 Genesis songs list to the best of the Phil Collins era. From npw on, it’s all Steve Hackett and Peter Gabriel era Genesis. The mesmerizing selection “The Musical Box” from the Nursery Cryme LP starts us out. The classic Nursery Cryme album was released in 1971. This was the Genesis album that featured Phil Collins and Steve Hackett for the first time. The lineup on Nursery Cryme consisted of Peter Gabriel on lead vocals, Phil Collins on drums, Steve Hackett on guitars, Mike Rutherford on bass and guitars, and Tony Banks on keyboards.

# 6 – I Know What I Like

The track “I Know What I like,” was the band’s first hit song in the United Kingdom. For that reason alone, it warranted a spot on our top 10 Genesis songs list, at least in our humble opinion. The song was released on the Selling England by the Pound album. The record was released in 1973.

# 5 – The Knife

Now, this was progressive rock. Genesis’s classic piece, “The Knife,” was released on the band’s Trespass album. Just listen to that keyboard and guitar lick opening up the track. For the opening line, the intensity of the music hits you in the face, drops your jaw and lays you out on a sea of progressive rock bliss. This was a very different band for the group who would later have tremendous commercial success. The musicians on the band’s second album consisted of Peter Gabriel on lead vocals and various orchestral instruments, Anthony Phillips and Mike Rutherford on guitars, John Mayhew on drums, and Tony Banks on keyboards.

# 4 – Watcher of the Skies

The Genesis song “Watcher of the Skies,” was released on The Foxtrot album. The classic Genesis album Foxtrot was issued in 1972. There was a time in rock music when musical artists were well versed in literature. Peter Gabriel took a line from a 19th century sonnet written by John Keats entitled On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer, to title his Genesis song. Progressive Rock music was not just about complex musical structures and virtuoso playing, it included lyrics of substance and meaning. Peter Gabriel defined the meaning of progressive rock every time he put his pen to paper.

# 3 – Counting Out Time

Our last two tracks on this Top 10 Genesis songs list both stem from the legendary The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway two record set. Most hardcore Genesis fans and critics alike would argue that The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway  was the peak moment in the band’s career.  The two record set was released on November 18th, 1974. The song “Counting Out Time,” was the first single released from the album.

# 2 – Firth of Fifth

As we start to wrap up our top 10 Genesis songs, we turn to an all-time Fan favorite. The track “Firth Of Fift” stands as one of the most exceptional progressive rock masterpieces in the Genesis catalog and the entire Progressive rock genre. It’s a defining moment. It is also highlighted by one of the greatest guitar solos ever placed on vinyl. Steve Hackett delivered big time on this one. We also can’t ignore all the other members’ contributions to this icon price. Tony Bank’s keyboard work is mesmerizing. It is so emotional. As always, Rutherford and Collins are locked in sync in the rhythm session, playing immense complex stuff that is just awe-inspiring. Rounding it all out is Peter Gabriel on flute and breathtaking vocals

# 1 – The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway

Would anyone argue that “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway” was not the band’s most crucial career recording? The song’s melody, chord progression, and deep meaning were simply an example of a band achieving artistic Zen. The track “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway” was never released as a single. Peter Gabriel and Steve Hackett’s Genesis was not a singles band. They defined the ideals of progressive rock and music of integrity and art. This was their moment. As soon as the moment came, it went away as Peter Gabriel walked out the door and began his own incredible solo career.

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