GENESIS – ” Nursery Cryme ” Released 45 Years Ago

Posted: November 20, 2016 in MUSIC
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Nursery Cryme 1971

Genesis before touring their new album, found themselves looking once more for a drummer – and also a new guitarist. After seeing their advert in Melody Maker, Phil Collins travelled to Peter Gabriel’s parents’ house to audition for the role of drummer, snagging the gig by virtue of his playing and singing skills, and having a personality that fitted the band.

A brief stint as a four-piece followed, before the group found an advert that prospective guitarist in Steve Hackett  who had himself placed in Melody Maker, seeking a band that was “determined to drive beyond existing stagnant music forms”. Duly hired, Hackett joined the new-look Genesis on the road in early 1971, before the group settled in to record their third LP, Nursery Cryme, in August. Genesis transitional Nursery Cryme served more as a signpost for future breakthroughs than a stand-alone accomplishment. The album actually became the bands first U.K. Top 40 album, but that was only after it became clear how important the then-recent additions to the band.

They brought a wealth of new musical ideas and energy to the group, which had released two largely ignored albums before Nursery Cryme arrived on November. 12th, 1971.

“Something definitely changed when Phil joined the band,” singer Peter Gabriel has said. “He was a real drummer – something I had never been too convinced of with [previous members] Chris Stewart and John Mayhew.”

For his part, Hackett eventually found a creative spark as a guitar-playing collaborator especially with keyboardist Tony Banks. “I will say, being in the band with Steve, who is also very masterful with the guitar and could get lots of different sounds with it, the combination of the two of us produced some combinations that were kind of unusual,

Genesis circa Nursery Cryme

The Musical Box, by Genesis is a wonderful track that opens the album “Nursery Cryme“, released this month in 1971 on Charisma Records. The first album with the classic line-up that lasted until after the tour for “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway” in 1975. Here are few nuggets about this song and album:

Peter Gabriel described the lyrics of the song: We have a number called ‘Musical Box’, that is composed in this way. It’s quite a complicated story about a spirit that returns to bodily form and meets a Victorian girl. He has the appearance of an old man and the relations with the young lady are somewhat perverted, so he gets bumped off into the never-never.” Steve Hackett said about his tapping technique: “I came upon the tapping technique when I was trying to play Bach’s famous Toccata and Fugue. I realized that I couldn’t play it the way I wanted to hear it using standard technique, so I started tapping onto the fretboard with my right hand. I used that technique all over Nursery Cryme including parts of ‘The Musical Box’ and ‘The Return of the Giant Hogweed.’”

Artist Paul Whitehead about the album cover: We wanted an Alice in Wonderland look, but with menace. The idea was this girl who is haunted by a Musical Box but we took it a bit farther and we had her playing croquet with her brother’s head.” It was the first time the band’s name logo appeared on an album cover. The band wanted an older look for the painting. Whitehead: “I did the varnish and I put it out to dry. Insects decided to commit suicide on the wet varnish. If you look at the cover you can see real insects.” Spot the flies on the bottom and top left of the gatefold.

Album credits: Tony Banks – Hammond organ, Mellotron, piano, electric piano, 12-string guitar, backing vocals Mike Rutherford – bass, bass pedals, 12-string guitar, backing vocals Peter Gabriel – lead voice, flute, oboe, bass drum, tambourine Steve Hackett – electric guitar, 12-string guitar Phil Collins – drums, voices, percussion, lead vocals

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