A Trick of the Tail

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A Trick of the Tail
Studio album by Genesis
Released 2 February 1976 (UK)
20 February 1976 (US)
Recorded October–November 1975
Studio Trident Studios in London
Length 51:01
Label Charisma, Atco
Producer David Hentschel and Genesis
Genesis chronology
The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway
A Trick of the Tail
Wind & Wuthering
Singles from A Trick of the Tail
  1. "A Trick of the Tail"
    Released: 20 February 1976
  2. "Entangled"
    Released: 20 February 1976

A Trick of the Tail is the seventh studio album from the English progressive rock band Genesis, released in February 1976 on Charisma Records. It is the first album to feature drummer Phil Collins as lead vocalist following the departure of Peter Gabriel in 1975 after the The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway Tour.

A Trick of the Tail was released to commercial and critical success. The album peaked at No. 3 in the UK and No. 31 in the U.S. The album was reissued with a new stereo and 5.1 surround sound mix in 2007.

Post-Gabriel Genesis[edit]

After Peter Gabriel left Genesis, the remaining members held auditions for a permanent lead singer, although some members (most notably Phil Collins) considered continuing as an instrumental act.[1] Initially, Phil Collins did not wish to take over for Gabriel, opting instead to teach the potential lead singers the songs; some songs, such as "Ripples" and "Mad Man Moon" were written during this point with the intention that he would sing them, similar to "More Fool Me" on Selling England by the Pound.[1] One of the 400 auditioners, Mick Stickland, came close to being chosen, but the band and Stickland decided in the end against working together. According to the band members, the backing tracks for A Trick of the Tail had already been recorded and were in a key in which Stickland was not comfortable singing. When the auditions failed to produce a suitable vocalist, Collins reluctantly went in the studio to sing "Squonk" and the band decided that Collins should be their new lead vocalist.[1]


A sample of "Mad Man Moon"

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The album was recorded and mixed at Trident Studios in October and November 1975. It was the first Genesis album co-produced with David Hentschel who stayed with until 1980.

"Squonk" is based on the North American tale of the squonk which, when captured, dissolves in a pool of tears. The song features many different sections and was a live favourite at Genesis concerts between 1976 and 1980. It was also performed as part of a medley during the 1983 part of the Mama tour and was rehearsed for both the 1986/87 Invisible Touch tour and the 2007 Turn It On Again tour. It forms a significant part of the album's closing song, "Los Endos," which continued to be played live through the 2007 Turn It On Again tour. According to Collins, in the interviews on the DVD release, this song was intended to be the closest thing Genesis ever got to Led Zeppelin (who were signed to Atlantic Records, the U.S. label for Genesis). The working title of the song was "Indians". In March 2014, Steve Hackett added the song to the playlist of his extended Genesis Revisited II tour.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[2]
Q 2/5 stars[3]
Uncut 3/5 stars[4]
Rolling Stone (average)[5]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 4/5 stars[6]

A Trick of the Tail was met with universal acclaim from music critics and reached No. 3 in the UK, remaining on the charts for 39 weeks, and No. 31 in the U.S. Additionally, the album was certified Gold in the U.S. by the RIAA in March 1990. According to Tony Banks in the essay that accompanies the Platinum Collection, the album doubled the band's previous albums' sales. This success was also financially crucial for Genesis who were $400,000 in debt by the time Peter Gabriel left.

For the first time in their career, Genesis filmed promotional videos for their songs. Three videos were filmed. Tony Banks' "A Trick of the Tail" was the first,[citation needed] which features the band playing to the track together around a piano. A miniature Phil Collins can be seen hopping around on a piano and a guitar (Collins later revealed that this video was the most embarrassing of his career[citation needed]). The second video was "Ripples," which was a performance clip. The third, for "Robbery, Assault and Battery", depicts Collins as a bank robber who shoots an elderly man (played by Mike Rutherford) after holding him up and is then pursued by cops (played by Steve Hackett, Banks, and Rutherford), shooting Banks in the process.

Track listing[edit]

This album is the first to depart from the practice of crediting all members of Genesis for writing each song.

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Dance on a Volcano"   Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Steve Hackett, Mike Rutherford 5:53
2. "Entangled"   Banks, Hackett 6:28
3. "Squonk"   Banks, Rutherford 6:27
4. "Mad Man Moon"   Banks 7:35
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Robbery, Assault and Battery"   Banks, Collins 6:15
2. "Ripples..."   Banks, Rutherford 8:03
3. "A Trick of the Tail"   Banks 4:34
4. "Los Endos"   Banks, Collins, Hackett, Rutherford 5:46
Total length:

2007 SACD/CD/DVD release[edit]

A new version of A Trick of the Tail was released in the UK and Japan on 2 April 2007. It was released in the U.S. and Canada as part of the Genesis 1976–1982 box set on 15 May 2007. This includes the entire album in remixed stereo, the entire album in surround sound, and related video tracks.

  • Disc 1, in the European and Japanese releases, is a hybrid SACD/CD. The stereo layer includes the remixed tracks, and the SACD layer is a multichannel surround sound remix.
  • Disc 1, in the Canadian and US releases, is a standard CD, containing the stereo remixes. No SACD layer is included.[7]
  • Disc 2, in all releases, is a DVD containing both audio and video tracks. This includes three audio mixes of the album: DTS 5.1 surround sound, Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound and Dolby Digital stereo.[8] The DTS surround sound is a slightly compressed version of the surround sound on the SACD,[7] and the Dolby surround sound is of slightly inferior quality to the DTS.[9]
  • Disc 2 also includes the following video tracks:
  1. Band interview about this album (2007).
  2. Promotional videos: "Robbery, Assault and Battery", "Ripples" and "A Trick of the Tail".
  3. Genesis: In Concert (1977 concert movie filmed during 1976 tour). Songs include "I Know What I Like", "Fly on a Windshield", "The Carpet Crawlers", "The Cinema Show", "Entangled", "Supper's Ready" and "Los Endos".
  4. White Rock premiere program, from 1977 show (8-page gallery).


Extra track
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "It's Yourself"   Banks, Collins, Hackett, Rutherford 5:45
  • "It's Yourself" is the B-side to "Ripples" in Italy, and later appeared as the B-side to "Your Own Special Way" from the Wind & Wuthering album in the UK. The song ends in the same notes that open "Mad Man Moon". "Los Endos" retains part of "It's Yourself" in its introduction. This full unedited version fades out early on the Archive 2 box set.


  • Genesis – production
  • David Hentschel – production
  • Nick "Haddock" Bradford – engineer
  • David Hentschel – engineer


  1. ^ a b c DVD Interview http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nErUmembqdg
  2. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (2011). "A Trick of the Tail – Genesis | AllMusic". allmusic.com. Retrieved 25 July 2011. 
  3. ^ Andy Fyfe Q, May 2007, Issue 250.
  4. ^ Mick Houghton Uncut, May 2007, Issue 120.
  5. ^ Nicholson, Kris (20 May 1976). "Genesis: Trick Of The Tail : Music Reviews". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 20 June 2008. Retrieved 7 June 2012. 
  6. ^ Nathan Brackett; Christian David Hoard (2004). The new Rolling Stone album guide. New York: Simon & Schuster. pp. 327–328. ISBN 978-0-7432-0169-8. 
  7. ^ a b Gerhardts, Christian (2006). Nick Davis interview: His Own Special Way, Genesis News Com [it].
  8. ^ The DVD interface has two audio choices: Dolby 5.1 and DTS 5.1. If the Dolby 5.1 option is chosen on a system that does not support surround sound, the Dolby stereo mix is played.
  9. ^ Comparison from Sound and Vision magazine article online at http://www.soundandvisionmag.com/musicreviews/2285/genesis-in-surround.html[dead link]