Just like the article on The Who’s Tommy was a ‘trip down memory lane’, the same applies to this article as well. The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway was one of my father’s (and his friends) favorites, which was often played at home. And, just like The Who’s Tommy, it was a concept album (with an equally ‘over the top’ story). This is the tale about the creation of the album The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway and the consequences for the careers of both Genesis and Peter Gabriel.
One of the major symphonic rock bands of the early 1970’s, that was a lot less popular than I had imagined: Genesis. The band was founded by singer Peter Gabriel, keyboard player Tony Banks, guitar player Anthony Phillips, bass and guitar player Mike Rutherford and drummer Chris Stewart, when they all went to school at Charterhouse School. They recorded a demo which found its way to old-student Jonathan King. He got the band, which at the time consisted of all minors, to sign a one-year deal with Decca Records. During recording some potential singles, the band name Genesis was chosen.
Following the release of two unsuccessful singles the album From Genesis To Revelation was recorded during the summer break in August 1968. After the band finished recording, additional recordings were made, unbeknownst to the band. The record cover displayed the album title to a black background, prompting many record stores to label it as a religious album (as both Genesis and (Book Of) Revelations are titles from the Old Testament). The album was released in March 1969 and “after a year or so, had sold 649 copies”. The band said goodbye to King and Decca Records.
After a temporary break, the band, with a different line-up, went to work on new songs and made a demo, which sparked no interest whatsoever. Nonetheless, the band persevered and started practicing seriously, sometimes up to 11 hours a day. At a show a representative of Charisma Records saw the band play, which eventually led to the offer of a contract allowing the band to record their second album.
In October 1974 Trespass was released and became an instant success in Belgium (number 1 position in the album chart). Anthony Phillips’ health and stage fright made him leave the band. Because of doubts surrounding their drummer, the band went to look for replacements. In January 1971 the band was completed with drummer Phil Collins and guitar player Steve Hackett. This line-up would record the next four studio albums, which would contain the best work Genesis would ever make.
In August 1971 recordings for album number three, Nursery Cryme, commenced; it contains the superb The Musical Box. The album was released in November 1971, which was slightly better received in England, and mainland Europe embracing it (again). During the following tour the shows in various European countries were highly successful.
In August and September 1972 the successor was recorded, Foxtrot, which was released in October 1972. With the 23 minutes Supper’s Ready the album contained another classic Genesis song. The album was well received, even in their home country England.
The subsequent tour through Europe and America lasted almost a year. During the tour singer Peter Gabriel started experimenting with costumes on stage, without consulting the other, bewildered, band members. Midway through the show he appeared in a red dress (his wife’s) with a fox’s head. It immediately generated lots of press coverage and enabled them to double their fee. Gabriel would wear costumes more and more, as it presented him a way of coping with his shyness.
Next to attention and money, it also gave way to some envy. Gabriel received a lot of personal attention, almost downplaying the rest of the band to the role of a backing band to ‘star’ Gabriel.
To fill the gap between albums and to tap into the new found popularity Genesis Live was released in July 1973. In August new album Selling England By The Pound was recorded and released two months later. It contains two classics in the band’s body of work, Firth Of Fifth and the (modest) hit I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe). The following tour was successful and ended in May 1974.
And, as was usual at the time, time had come to work on yet another album. It was going to be a double album.
The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway
Starting in June 1974, Headley Grange was rented for a period of three months. Other bands like Led Zeppelin and Bad Company recorded albums there too, partly because of the great acoustics. When Genesis arrived it was filthy and infested with rats (and their trash). Steve Hackett: “If anything was a haunted house, that was. You’d hear extraordinary noises at night – it was almost impossible to sleep”. Peter Gabriel: “We were working at Headley Grange which I felt was partly haunted by Jimmy Page’s black magic experiments…”.
The recording process differed from the way the band usually worked. Before any writing of music and/or lyrics was even contemplated, the decision had been made that the next album was going to be a double album. The proposal to use the novel The Little Prince as inspiration was discarded by Peter Gabriel. He proposed a complex story about Rael, a Puerto Rican boy who goes on a spiritual journey. During his travels he encounters bizarre experiences and characters. Gabriel insisted on writing all the lyrics, which led to him working apart from the band who concentrated on the music.
The seclusion didn’t exactly help maintaining a band feel. On top of that, Gabriel said goodbye to the band to work on a movie project, but returned when the project fell apart. The move proved that Gabriel was growingly receptive for other possibilities, separate from the band. When Gabriel consequentially had to spend much time at home, because his wife was going through a dangerous and possibly life threatening pregnancy and delivery in July 1974, upon which his new born daughter had major complications as well, the band was insensitive to Gabriel’s ordeal. Rutherford later remarked that he and Banks responded “horribly unsupportive” to Gabriel: “We were not good at change. We were very unsympathetic towards him. That was a big part of the problem, really”.
In 2014, 40 years after the album’s release, Tony Banks was still bitter about the undertaking: “It’s okay, but it’s not the greatest piece we’ve ever done”, with Gabriel responding “[Tony] just didn’t like me getting away with too much, or getting into a controlling position. He wanted to keep check on my power.”. Gabriel also said “If you really want to define a world, you have to let one person paint it. There weren’t many novels created by committee”.
When the three month lease expired the band hadn’t even recorded a single note. Work relocated to Wales: Glaspant Manor, where, using the mobile recording unit equipment of London’s Island Studios, all music recordings were done. Within a period of approxiamtely two weeks all music had been put to tape, with the band playing live in the studio.
But Gabriel was still writing. He requested extra music for some of his lyrics (inspiring great new songs like The Carpet Crawlers and The Grand Parade Of Lifeless Packaging). Once again seperate from his band members, Gabriel recorded his vocals at Island Studios in London. Upon Gabriel’s request Brian Eno added some effects to his vocals on two songs.
Later than originally planned, with the band completely exhausted by the preceding process, The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway was released on November 18th, 1974.
The album, the music and the way it all came about weren’t the only things that changed, the cover of the new album was new as well. Earlier albums were accompanied by painted fantasy scenes, this time the band opted to use designer team Hipgnosis. It resulted in a black and white cover, a new logo and a tighter image. The photographs on the front and back side of the cover represent interpretations of the tale Peter Gabriel wanted to convey. Because the album was a double album, the cover was a gatefold sleeve. The inside contained the complete story of Rael, accompanied by black and white photographs meant to enhance the story.
And then on to the story… I really understand very little to nothing. Peter Gabriel in 2012: “I’m not sure if the story made much sense to most people, but it did mean something to me, in essence, it was about an awakening. He [Rael] was on a journey to find himself, in a seductive, magical place”. For all those interested, I have included the complete story of Rael, as printed on the gatefold inside sleeve.
Keep your fingers out of my eye. While I write I like to glance at the butterflies in glass that are all around the walls. The people in memory are pinned to events I can’t recall too well, but I’m putting one down to watch him break up, decompose and feed another sort of life. The one in question is all fully biodegradable material and categorised as ‘Rael’. Rael hates me, I like Rael, – yes, even ostriches have feelings, but our relationship is something both of us are learning to live with. Rael likes a good time, I like a good rhyme, but you won’t see me directly anymore – he hates my being around. So if his story doesn’t stand, I might lend a hand, you understand? (ie. the rhyme is planned, dummies).
The flickering needle jumps into red. New York crawls out of its bed. The weary guests are asked to leave the warmth of the all-night theater, having slept on pictures others only dream on. The un-paid extras disturb the Sleeping Broadway. WALK to the left DON’T WALK to the right: on Broadway, directions don’t look so bright. Autoghosts keep the pace for the cabman’s early mobile race.
Enough of this – our hero is moving up the subway stairs into day- light. Beneath his leather jacket he holds a spray gun which has left the message R-A-E-L in big letters on the wall leading underground. It may not mean much to you but to Rael it is part of the process going towards ‘making a name for yourself.’ When you’re not even a pure-bred Puerto Rican the going gets tough and the tough gets going.
With casual sideways glances along the wet street, he checks the motion in the steam to look for potential obstruction. Seeing none, he strides along the sidewalk, past the drugstore with iron guard being removed to reveal the smile of the toothpaste girl, past the nightladies and past Patrolman Frank Leonowich (48, married, two kids) who stands in the doorway of the wig-store. Patrolman Leonowich looks at Rael in much the same way that other Patrolmen look at him, and Rael only just hides that he is hiding something. Meanwhile from out of the steam a lamb lies down. This lamb has nothing whatsoever to do with Rael, or any other lamb – it just lies down on Broadway.
The sky is overcast and as Rael looks back a dark cloud is descending like a balloon into Times Square. It rests on the ground and shapes itself into a hard edged flat surface, which solidifies and extends itself all the way East and West along 47th Street and reaching up to the dark sky. As the wall takes up its tension it becomes a screen showing what had existed in three dimensions, on the other side just a moment before. The image flickers and then cracks like painted clay and the wall silently moves forward, absorbing everything in its path. The unsuspecting New Yorkers are apparently blind to what is going on.
Rael starts to run away towards Columbus Circle. Each time he dares to take a look, the wall has moved another block. At the moment when he thinks he’s maintaining his distance from the wall, the wind blows hard and cold slowing down his speed. The wind increases, dries the wet street and picks up the dust off the surface, throwing it into Rael’s face. More and more dirt is blown up and it begins to settle on Rael’s skin and clothes, making a solid layered coat that brings him gradually to a terrified stillness. A sitting duck.
The moment of impact bursts through the silence and in a roar of sound, the final second is prolonged in a world of echoes as if the concrete and clay of Broadway itself was reliving its memories. The last great march past. Newsman stands limp as a whimper as audience and event are locked as one. Bing Crosby coos “You don’t have to feel pain to sing the blues, you don’t have to holla – you don’t feel a thing in your dollar collar.” Martin Luther King cries “Everybody Sing!” and rings the grand old liberty bell. Leary, weary of his prison cell, walks on heaven, talks on hell. J.F.K. gives the O.K. to shoot us, sipping Orange Julius and Lemon Brutus. Bare breasted cowboy double decks the triple champion. Who needs Medicare and the 35c flat rate fare, when Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers are dancing through the air? From Broadway Melody stereotypes the band returns to ‘Stars and Stripes’ bringing a tear to the moonshiner, who’s been pouring out his spirit from the illegal still. The pawn broker clears the noisy till and clutches his lucky dollar bill. Then the blackout.
Rael regains consciousness in some musky half-light. He is warmly wrapped in some sort of cocoon. The only sound he can hear is dripping water which appears to be the source of a pale flickering light. He guesses he must be in some sort of cave – or kooky tomb, or catacomb, or eggshell waiting to drop from the bone of the womb. Whatever it is, he feels serene, very clean, and content as a well kept dummy with hot water in his tummy, so why worry what it means? Resigning himself to the unknown he drifts off into sleep.
He wakes in a cold sweat with a strong urge to vomit. There’s no sign of the cocoon and he can see more of the cave about him. There is much more of the glowing water dripping from the roof and stalactites and stalagmites are forming and decomposing at an alarming rate all around him. As fear and shock register, he assures himself that self-control will provide some security, but this thought is abandoned as the stalactites and stalagmites lock into a fixed position, forming a cage whose bars are moving in towards him. At one moment there is a flash of light and he sees an infinite network of cages all strung together by a ropelike material. As the rocky bars press in on Rael’s body, he sees his brother John outside, looking in. John’s face is motionless despite screams for help, but in his vacant expression a tear of blood forms and trickles down his cheek. Then he calmly walks away leaving Rael to face the pains which are beginning to sweep through his body. However, just as John walks out of sight, the cage dissolves and Rael is left spinning like a top.
When all this revolution is over, he sits down on a highly polished floor while his dizziness fades away. It is an empty modern hallway and the dreamdoll saleslady sits at the reception desk. Without prompting she goes into her rap: “This is the Grand Parade of Lifeless Packaging, those you are about to see are all in for servicing, except for a small quantity of our new product, in the second gallery. It is all the stock required to cover the existing arrangements of the enterprise. Different batches are distributed to area operators, and there are plenty of opportunities for the large investor. They stretch from the costly care-conditioned to the most reasonable mal-nutritioned. We find here that everyone’s looks become them. Except for the low market mal-nutritioned, each is provided with a guarantee for a successful birth and trouble free infancy. There is however only a small amount of variable choice potential – not too far from the mean differential. You see, the roof has predetermined the limits of action of any group of packages, but individuals may move off the path if their diversions are counter-balanced by others.”
As he wanders along the line of packages, Rael notices a familiarity in some of their faces. He finally comes upon some of the members of his old gang and worries about his own safety. Running out through the factory floor, he catches sight of his brother John with a number 9 stamped on his forehead.
No-one seems to take up the chase, and with the familiar faces fresh in his mind he moves into a reconstruction of his old life, above ground – Too much time was one thing he didn’t need, so he used to cut through it with a little speed. He was better off dead, than slow in the head. His momma and poppa had taken a ride on his back, so he left very quickly to join The Pack. Only after a spell in Pontiac reformatory was he given any respect in the gang. Now, walking back home after a raid, he was cuddling a sleeping porcupine. That night he pictured the removal of his hairy heart and to the accompaniment of very romantic music he watched it being shaved smooth by an anonymous stainless steel razor. The palpitating cherry-red organ was returned to its rightful place and began to beat faster as it led our hero, counting out time, through his first romantic encounter.
He returns from his mixed-up memories to the passage he was previously stuck in. This time he discovers a long carpeted corridor. The walls are painted in red ochre and are marked by strange insignia, some looking like a bulls-eye, others of birds and boats. Further down the corridor, he can see some people; all kneeling. With broken sighs and murmurs they struggle, in their slow motion to move towards a wooden door at the end. Having seen only the inanimate bodies in the Grand Parade of Lifeless Packaging, Rael rushes to talk to them.
“What’s going on?” he cries to a muttering monk, who conceals a yawn and replies “It’s a long time yet before the dawn.” A sphinx-like crawler calls his name saying “Don’t ask him, the monk is drunk. Each one of us is trying to reach the top of the stairs, a way out will await us there.” Not asking how he can move freely, our hero goes boldly through the door. Behind a table loaded with food, is a spiral staircase going up into the ceiling.
At the top of the stairs he finds a chamber. It is almost a hemisphere with a great many doors all the way round its circumference. There is a large crowd, huddled in various groups. From the shouting, Rael learns that there are 32 doors, but only one that leads out. Their voices get louder and louder until Rael screams “Shut up!” There is a momentary silence and then Rael finds himself the focus as they direct their advice and commands to their new found recruit. Bred on trash, fed on ash the jigsaw master has got to move faster. Rael sees a quiet corner and rushes to it. He stands by a middle-aged woman, with a very pale skin who is quietly talking to herself. He discovers she is blind and asking for a guide. “What’s the use of a guide if you got nowhere to go” asks Rael. “I’ve got somewhere to go,” she replies “if you take me through the noise, I’ll show you. I’m a creature of the caves and I follow the way the breezes blow.”
He leads her across the room and they leave the crowd, who dismiss their departure as certain to fail. When through the door, the woman leads Rael down the tunnel. The light of the chamber soon fades and despite her confident step Rael often stumbles in the darkness.
After a long walk they arrive in what Rael judges to be a big round cave, and she speaks a second time asking him to sit down. It feels like a cold stone throne.
“Rael, sit here. They will come for you soon. Don’t be afraid.” And failing to explain any more she walks off. He faces his fear once again.
A tunnel is lit up to the left of him, and he begins to shake. As it grows brighter, he hears a non-metallic whirring sound. The light is getting painfully bright, reflecting as white off the walls until his vision is lost in a sort of snow blindness. He panics, feels around for a stone and hurls it at the brightest point. The sound of breaking glass echoes around the cave.
As his vision is restored he catches sight of two golden gloves about one foot in diameter hovering away down the tunnel. When they disappear a resounding crack sears across the roof, and it collapses all around him. Our hero is trapped once again.
“This is it” he thinks, failing to move any of the fallen rocks. There’s not much spectacle for an underground creole as he walks through the gates of Sheol. “I would have preferred to have been jettisoned into a thousand pieces in space, or filled with helium and floated above a mausoleum. This is no way to pay my last subterranean homesick dues. Anyway I’m out of the hands of any pervert embalmer doing his interpretation of what I should look like, stuffing his cotton wool in my cheeks.”
Exhausted by all this conjecture, our hero gets the chance in a lifetime to meet his hero: Death. Death is wearing a light disguise, he made the outfit himself. He calls it the “Supernatural Anaesthetist.” Death likes meeting people and wants to travel. Death approaches Rael with his special cannister, releases a puff, and appears to walk away content into the wall.
Rael touches his face to confirm that he is still alive. He writes Death off as an illusion, but notices a thick musky scent hanging in the air. He moves to the corner where the scent is stronger, discovering a crack in the rubble through which it is entering. He tries to shift the stones and eventually clears a hole large enough to crawl out of. The perfume is even stronger on the other side and he sets off to find its source, with a new-found energy.
He finally reaches a very ornate pink-water pool. It is lavishly decorated with gold fittings. The walls around the pool are covered with a maroon velvet up which honeysuckle is growing. From out of the mist on the water comes a series of ripples. Three snakelike creatures are swimming towards Rael. Each reptilian creature has the diminutive head and breasts of a beautiful woman. His horror gives way to infatuation as their soft green eyes show their welcome. The Lamia invite him to taste the sweet water and he is quick to enter the pool. As soon as he swallows some liquid, a pale blue luminescence drips off from his skin. The Lamia lick the liquid; very gently as they begin, with each new touch, he feels the need to give more and more. They knead his flesh until his bones appear to melt, and at a point at which he feels he cannot go beyond, they nibble at his body. Taking in the first drops of his blood, their eyes blacken and their bodies are shaken. Distraught with helpless passion he watches as his lovers die. In a desperate attempt to bring what is left of them into his being, he takes and eats their bodies, and struggles to leave his lovers’ nest.
Leaving by the same door from which he had come in, he finds some sort of freaks ghetto on the other side. When they catch sight of him, the entire street of distorted figures burst into laughter. One of the colony approaches him. He is grotesque in every feature, a mixture of ugly lumps and stumps. His lips slip across his chin as he smiles in welcome and offers his slippery handshake. Rael is a little disillusioned, when the Slipperman reveals that the entire colony have one-by-one been through the same glorious romantic tragedy with the same three Lamia, who regenerate themselves every time, and that now Rael shares their physical appearance and shadowy fate.
Amongst the contorted faces of the Slippermen, Rael recognises what is left of his brother John. They hug each other. John bitterly explains that the entire life of the Slipperman is devoted to satisfying the never-ending hunger of the senses, which has been inherited from the Lamia. There is only one escape route; a dreaded visit to the notorious Doktor Dyper who will remove the source of the problems, or to put it less politely, castrate.
They discuss the deceptively-named escape for a long time and decide to go together to visit the Doktor. They survive the ordeal and are presented with the offensive weapons in sterile yellow plastic tubes, with gold chains. “People usually wear them around their necks,” said the Doktor handing them over. “The operation does not necessarily exclude use of the facility again, for short periods, but of course when you want it you must provide us with considerable advance warning.” As the brothers talk themselves through their new predicament, a big black raven flies into the cave, swoops down, grabs Rael’s tube right out of his hands and carries it up into the air in his beak. Rael calls for John to go with him.
And he replies “I will not chase a black raven. Down here you must read and obey the omens. There’s disaster where the raven flies.” So once more John deserts his brother. The bird leads Rael down a narrow tunnel, he seems to be allowing him to keep at a closed distance. But as Rael thinks he might almost catch hold of the bird, the tunnel opens and finishes at an enormous subterranean ravine. Casually, the raven drops his precious load into the rushing waters at the bottom. It’s enough to drive a poor boy ravin’ mad.
Seeing the dangers of the steep cliff, our courageous hero stands impotent and glowers. He follows a small path running along the top, and watches the tube bobbing up and down in the water as the fast current carries it away. However, as he walks around a corner Rael sees a sky-light above him, apparently built into the bank. Through it he can see the green grass of home, well not exactly; he can see Broadway. His heart, now a little bristly, is shaken by a surge of joy and he starts to run, arms wide open, to the way out. At this precise point in time his ears pick up a voice screaming for help. Someone is struggling in the rapids below. It’s John. He pauses for a moment remembering how his brother had abandoned him. Then the window begins to fade – it’s time for action.
He rushes to the cliff and scrambles down the rocks. It takes him a long time to get down to the water, trying to keep up with the current at the same time. As he nears the water’s edge he sees John losing strength. He dives down into the cold water. At first he is thrown onto the rocks, and pulled under the water by a fast moving channel, which takes him right past John, down river. Rael manages to grab a rock, pull himself to the surface and catch his breath. As John is carried past, Rael throws himself in again and catches hold of his arm. He knocks John unconscious and then locking themselves together, he rides the rapids into the slow running water, where he can swim to safety.
But as he hauls his brother’s limp body onto the bank he lies him out and looks hopefully into his eyes for a sign of life. He staggers back in recoil, for staring at him with eyes wide open is not John’s face – but his own. Rael cannot look away from those eyes, mesmerized by his own image. In a quick movement, his consciousness darts from one face to the other, then back again, until his presence is no longer solidly contained in one or the other. In this fluid state he observes both bodies outlined in yellow and the surrounding scenery melting into a purple haze. With a sudden rush of energy up both spinal columns, their bodies, as well, finally dissolve into the haze. All this takes place without a single sunset, without a single bell ringing and without a single blossom falling from the sky. Yet it fills everything with its mysterious intoxicating presence. It’s over to you.
© Peter Gabriel 1974
All songs written by Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, Steve Hackett and Mike Rutherford.
|A||The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway||
|Fly On A Windshield|
|Broadway Melody Of 1974|
|In The Cage|
|The Grand Parade Of Lifeless Packaging|
|B||Back In N.Y.C.||
|Counting Out Time|
|The Chamber Of 32 Doors|
|The Waiting Room|
|Here Comes The Supernatural Anaesthetist|
|Silent Sorrow In Empty Boats|
|D||The Colony Of Slippermen
|The Light Dies Down On Broadway|
|Riding The Scree|
|In The Rapids|
The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway contains a little piece of On Broadway (written by Cynthia Weil, Barry Mann, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller).
- Tony Banks – keyboards
- Phil Collins – drums, percussion, background vocals, vocals on The Colony Of Slippermen and Counting Out Time
- Peter Gabriel – vocals, flute
- Steve Hackett – guitar
- Mike Rutherford – bass, guitar
With help from Brian Eno – Enossification (vocal editing) on In The Cage and The Grand Parade Of Lifeless Packaging.
Two singles were culled from the album:
- Counting Out Time
(released in November 1974)
- The Carper Crawlers
(released in April 1975)
In the United States the album’s title song, The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, was also released as a single (without cover).
It is somewhat unclear how The Carpet Crawlers is called. The song is known, and even released (!), using four different titles: Carpet Crawl, The Carpet Crawl, Carpet Crawlers and The Carpet Crawlers.
And what do I think about it all? As stated above, I know a lot of sentiment is connected to this album, but the first disc in particular really doesn’t contain any weak moment at all. The highlight has to be The Carpet Crawlers, a song that can still reduce me to tears.
Disc 2 is (considerably) less, yet still contains some highlights, like Lilywhite Lilith, The Lamia and it.
Even though I really don’t like symphonic rock, a genre that seems to be cherished by reactionary, pedantic old white men and hipsters, this album by Genesis is a true masterpiece, due to its audacity, vision, performance, warmth, humanity and finesse. Does this album never succumb to symphonic rock’s pitfalls? Hardly, well maybe the ‘over the top’ story on Rael.
The musicianship on the album is of an unprecedented level. It’s the album that makes Phil Collins shine, his drumming is superb, all the way through. Peter Gabriel’s singing is spine tingling. But, to be fair, every member gives it their all, resulting in Genesis’ best album ever.
Ok then, how do I rate this album?
|The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, disc 1/side A and B|
|The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, disc 2/side C and D|
Around the time The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway was finally finished, the band didn’t really have enough time to prepare for the upcoming, already booked and sold, tour, which consisted of over 100 concerts.
The band was saved by an accident, as Steve Hackett caught glass in his hand, nearly severing his thumb. The start of the tour had to be postponed until the wounds had healed.
Just like the album and its cover, the tour would also be something different entirely. The band would play the entire new album from start to finish and do one or two classics as an encore. The tour finally started on November 20th, 1974 in the United States, a mere two days after the album’s release (in Europe). Many audience members weren’t familiar with the new music yet and were treated to a nearly two hour show with completely unknown music.
The band went on tour with the largest instrumentarium they had ever used before and a huge stage that contained three huge screens onto which some 1450 different slides were projected throughout the show, matching the development of the story. A fantastic unique feature that gained the band a lot of praise.
Gabriel changed a lot and appeared in one of his most infamous costumes, the Slipperman. The lighting was spot on, subtle and impressive.
A big disadvantage of course was that the show was tightly directed, leaving little room for improvisation. Many reviews focused on the visual side of the concerts and all attention was aimed at Gabriel. Phil Collins later remarked: “People would steam straight past Tony, Mike, Steve and I, go straight up to Peter and say, ‘You’re fantastic, we really enjoyed the show’. It was becoming a one-man show to the audience”. It irritated the rest of the band, but Gabriel felt increasingly uncomfortable with it, as he didn’t want any of it.
All in all, the tour was a huge success, both musically and visually. A groundbreaking tour, that once again put Genesis on the map as an exciting live-act.
|11/20/1974||Auditorium Theatre||Chicago||United States|
|11/21/1974||Auditorium Theatre||Chicago||United States|
|11/22/1974||Indiana Convention Centre||Indianapolis||United States|
|11/23/1974||Ambassador Theatre||St Louis||United States|
|11/25/1974||Cleveland Music Hall||Cleveland||United States|
|11/26/1974||Cleveland Music Hall||Cleveland||United States|
|11/27/1974||Ohio Theatre||Columbus||United States|
|11/28/1974||Detroit Masonic Temple||Detroit||United States|
|11/29/1974||National Guard Armory||Fort Wayne||United States|
|11/30/1974||Syria Mosque||Pittsburgh||United States|
|12/01/1974||Lyric Theatre||Baltimore||United States|
|12/03/1974||Warner Theater||Washington||United States|
|12/04/1974||Mosque Theater||Richmond||United States|
|12/05/1974||Philadelphia Convention Hall And Civic Centre||Philadelphia||United States|
|12/06/1974||Academy Of Music||New York||United States|
|12/07/1974||Academy Of Music||New York||United States|
|12/08/1974||Palace Concert Theatre||Providence||United States|
|12/09/1974||Music Hall||Boston||United States|
|12/11/1974||Palace Theatre||Albany||United States|
|12/12/1974||Palace Theatre||Waterbury||United States|
|12/13/1974||Capitol Theatre||Passaic||United States|
|12/16/1974||TMaple Leaf Gardens||Toronto||Canada|
|12/17/1974||Auditorium Theatre||Rochester||United States|
|12/18/1974||Century Theatre||Buffalo||United States|
|01/09/1975||West Palm Beach Convention Hall||Florida||United States|
|01/10/1975||West Palm Beach Convention Hall||Florida||United States|
|01/11/1975||Lakeland Civic Center||Lakeland||United States|
|01/13/1975||Municipal Auditorium||Atlanta||United States|
|01/15/1975||New Orleans Music Hall||New Orleans||United States|
|01/17/1975||Houston Music Hall||Houston||United States|
|01/19/1975||Center Music Hall||Oklahoma City||United States|
|01/20/1975||Phoenix Civic Centre||Phoenix||United States|
|01/21/1975||Macky Auditorium||Boulder||United States|
|01/22/1975||Berkeley Community Theatre||Berkeley||United States|
|01/24/1975||Shrine Auditorium||Los Angeles||United States|
|01/25/1975||Golden Hall||San Diego||United States|
|01/28/1975||Civic Plaza Assembly Hall||Phoenix||United States|
|02/01/1975||Kansas Memorial Hall||Kansas City||United States|
|02/02/1975||Grand Valley State University||Grand Rapids||United States|
|02/03/1975||Allen County Memorial Coliseum||Fort Wayne||United States|
|02/04/1975||Arie Crown Theatre||Chicago||United States|
|02/24/1975||Koninklijk Theater Carré||Amsterdam||The Netherlands|
|02/25/1975||Koninklijk Theater Carré||Amsterdam||The Netherlands|
|02/26/1975||Palais des Grottes||Cambrai||France|
|02/28/1975||Théâtre du Parc des Expositions||Colmar||France|
|03/01/1975||Palais des Sports||Dijon||France|
|03/02/1975||Palais des Sports||St Etienne||France|
|03/03/1975||Palais des Sports||Paris||France|
|03/06/1975||Pavilhao dos Desportos||Cascais||Portugal|
|03/07/1975||Pavilhao dos Desportos||Cascais||Portugal|
|03/09/1975||Nuevo Pabellón Club Juventud||Badalona||Spain|
|03/10/1975||Nuevo Pabellón Club Juventud||Badalona||Spain|
|03/11/1975||Pabellón del Real Madrid||Madrid||Spain|
|03/17/1975||Palais des Sports||Paris||France|
|03/24/1975||Palasport Parco Rufion||Turin||Italy|
|04/01/1975||Friedrich Ebert Halle||Ludwigshafen||Germany|
|05/12/1975||Rhein am Main Halle||Wiesbaden||Germany|
|05/18/1975||Velódromo de San Sebastián||San Sebastián||Spain|
|05/20/1975||Palais des Sports||Paris||France|
|05/21/1975||The Palais des Grottes||Cambri||France|
|05/22/1975||Palais des Sports||Besançon||France|
Peter Gabriel leaves
Only five shows into the tour, Peter Gabriel told the band he was leaving after the tour. Three months after the last show of The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway Tour it was announced that Peter Gabriel had left Genesis. On September 6th, 1975, a personal letter by Peter Gabriel was published in the English magazine Melody Maker.
I had a dream, eye’s dream. Then I had another dream with the body and soul of a rock star. When it didn’t feel good I packed it in. Looking back for the musical and non-musical reasons, this is what I came up with:
OUT, ANGELS OUT – an investigation.
The vehicle we had built as a co-op to serve our songwriting became our master and had cooped us up inside the success we had wanted. It affected the attitudes and the spirit of the whole band. the music had not dried up and I still respect the other musicians, but our roles had set in hard. To get an idea through “Genesis the Big” meant shifting a lot more concrete than before. For any band, transferring the heart from idealistic enthusiasm to professionalism is a difficult operation.
I believe the use of sound and visual images can be developed to do much more than we have done. But on a large scale t needs one clear and coherent direction, which our pseudo-democratic committee system could not provide.
As an artist, I need to absorb a wide variety of experiences. It is difficult to respond to intuition and impulse within the long-term planning that the band needed. I felt I should look at/learn about/develop myself, my creative bits and pieces and pick up on a lot of work going on outside music. Even the hidden delights of vegetable growing and community living are beginning to reveal their secrets. I could not expect the band to tie in their schedules with my bondage to cabbages. The increase in money and power, if I had stayed, would have anchored me to the spotlights. It was important to me to give space to my family, which I wanted to hold together, and to liberate the daddy in me.
Although I have seen and learnt a great deal in the last seven years, I found I had begun to look at things as the famous Gabriel, despite hiding my occupation whenever possible, hitching lifts, etc. I had begun to think in business terms; very useful for an often bitten once shy musician, but treating records and audiences as money was taking me away from them. When performing, there were less shivers up and down the spine.
I believe the world has soon to go through a difficult period of changes.
I’m excited by some of the areas coming through to the surface which seem to have been hidden away in people’s minds. I want to explore and be prepared to be open and flexible enough to respond, not tied in to the old hierarchy.
Much of my psyche’s ambitions as “Gabriel archetypal rock star” have been fulfilled – a lot of the ego-gratification and the need to attract young ladies, perhaps the result of frequent rejection as “Gabriel acne-struck public school boy”. However, I can still get off playing the star game once in a while.
My future within music, if it exists, will be in as many situations as possible. It’s good to see a growing number of artists breaking down the pigeonholes.
This is the difference between the profitable, compartmentalized, battery chicken and the free-range. Why did the chicken cross the road anyway?
There is no animosity between myself and the band or management. The decision had been made some time ago and we have talked about our new direction. The reason why my leaving was not announced earlier was because I had been asked to delay until they had found a replacement to plug up the hole. It is not impossible that some of them might work with me on other projects.
The following guesswork has little in common with truth:
Gabriel left Genesis
- To work in theatre.
- To make more money as a solo artist.
- To do a “Bowie”.
- To do a “Ferry”.
- To do a “Furry Boa round my neck and hang myself with it”.
- To go see an institution.
- To go senile in the sticks.
I do not express myself adequately in interviews and I felt I owed it to the people who have put a lot of love and energy supporting the band to give an accurate picture of my reasons. So I ask that you print all or none of this.
The band reacted:
They are now looking for a new singer. They have a few ideas but nobody has been fixed. The group are all currently writing material and rehearsing for their new album, and they will go into the studios shortly to record. The album will be released at Christmas and Genesis will go on the road in the New Year.
Tony Banks later remarked “Pete was also getting too big for the group. He was being portrayed as if he was ‘the man’ and it really wasn’t like that. It was a very difficult thing to accommodate. So it was actually a bit of a relief”. In the 1991 documentary Genesis: A History Gabriel explains: “There was all this big time stuff happening with long tours being planned way in the future, and I just felt I was getting to be part of a machine. I felt I was becoming a sort of stereotype, sort of ‘rock star,’ or falling into wanting that ego gratification. I didn’t like myself, I didn’t like the situation, and I didn’t feel free” and adds “For me there was no question about priorities, that I think pissed off the band too. I was the first to have a baby, and they didn’t have any understanding how it changes the way you feel”. Tony Banks: “He grew up perhaps quicker than the rest of us, really, at that time, and he wanted a bit more time than we felt we could give. So he felt he had to leave”.
After The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway
What next? Could the band survive without its font man? The press seriously entertained the thought that Genesis was done. After a long period of wondering, thinking and many auditions, Phil Collins reluctantly took Gabriel’s advice (“You could make it as a singer if you wanted”) to heart and took on the role as singer.
It turned out to be a blessing in disguise for the band’s popularity. After a couple of albums in the same vein (which were much lesser quality wise), the band moved into the direction of ‘regular’ pop music. It would never become as interesting as The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway ever again.
When I was 16 years old, I bought the 1977 double live album Seconds Out and I do like the 1983 album Genesis. Sometime later I bought the 1993 Volume 2: The Longs of the live albums The Way We Walk.
It didn’t take Peter Gabriel very long to start a solo career. That career was much more interesting than the one of his former band mates. When Plays Live was released in 1983 I was very, very impressed. It was one of the first albums I bought that my father would buy after advising him to do so. I still listen to the great performances of beautiful songs like Family Snapshot, I Go Swimming, San Jacinto, Shock The Monkey and the goose bump inducing Biko.
His career exploded when he released So in 1986 and he, with the help from a ingenious video clip, scored a worldwide hit with the song Sledgehammer. He remained successful for quite some time and still managed to release some interesting records, including my personal Gabriel favorite Up, released in 2002.
Maybe, more on Gabriel at a later time.
Genesis Archive 1967-75
On June 22nd, 1998, the album Genesis Archive 1967-75 was released. Discs 1 and 2 contained recordings of the concert on January 24th, 1975, in Los Angeles when The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway Tour was in full swing. Beautiful recordings that show just how ridiculously good the band really was at that time.
What do you think of The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway? Let me know!
This story contains an accompanying video. Click on the following link to see it: Video: In 1974 Genesis releases the masterful The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway. The A Pop Life playlist on Spotify has been updated as well.
Genesis in 1974 at Headley Grange and Genesis – Peter Gabriel with fox’s head images: pinterest.com
Genesis – Alle album hoes images: spotify.com
Glaspant Manor and Island Studios Mobile Recording Unit en Genesis – The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway – Dutch ad images: thegenesisarchive.co.uk
Genesis – The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway – Cover photography image: recoveryourlife.com
Genesis – The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway – Gatefold inside sleeve image: progzilla.com
Genesis – The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway – Inner sleeves 1 to 4 images: hipgnosiscovers.com
Genesis – The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway – Singles image: genius.com
Genesis – The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway – Tour 1 to 4 images: jeffreyshawcompendium.com
Peter Gabriel – Plays Live image: discogs.com
Genesis – Archive 1967-75 image: genesis-news.com