Since 1981, I’ve been proselytizing about how great Genesis is, which was no easy task during the Invisible Touch years. For those who never realized how funny, witty, musically complex, and intelligent this progressive/classic/pop-rock group was, Genesis: Chapter and Verse, a large-format softback book filled with photos, underscores what I’ve been preaching for more than 25 years.
Comprised of interviews with Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, Steve Hackett, Mike Rutherford, and others who have participated in the world of Genesis, Chapter and Verse traces the story from 1963, when 13-year-olds Banks, Gabriel, and Rutherford enter an elite English boarding school. Their first album, the decidedly Bee Gees-esque From Genesis to Revelation, was released in ‘69. In 1970, Collins joined the band as the drummer, and the following year guitarist Hackett joined, forming what is known now as the classic Genesis line-up.
In 1975, Gabriel left to focus on a solo career and Collins took over the lead vocals. Two years later Hackett split. In 1996, Collins moved on, and the following year Ray Wilson became the vocalist for one album. In 2007, Collins, Banks, and Rutherford reunited for a world tour—the second-highest-grossing tour of the year.
With hundreds of photos—from the early high-school years to the late 1970s and on to 2007—Chapter and Verse is a treasure trove for Genesis fans. The interviews are often funny—Banks recalls that when he met Gabriel, the future “Sledgehammer” singer was “a slightly tubby, friendly guy”—but they also detail a group of songwriters trying to achieve success on their own terms. While some fans thought Genesis sold out in the 1980s, Chapter and Verse reminds us they have always been serious musicians.
Closing in on 60, and on the heels of the highly-regarded 2007 tour, Banks, Collins, and Rutherford still have much to give their fans. Talk of a full reunion with Gabriel and Hackett is even more enticing. And Chapter and Verse has all of their fans asking them to “Turn It On Again.”