Duke (album)

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Duke
Studio album by Genesis
Released 28 March 1980 (UK)
31 March 1980 (US)
Recorded November–December 1979
Studio Polar Studios, Stockholm, Sweden
Genre
Length 55:06
Label Charisma (UK)
Atlantic (US)
Producer
Genesis chronology
...And Then There Were Three...
(1978)
Duke
(1980)
Abacab
(1981)
Singles from Duke
  1. "Turn It On Again"
    Released: 8 March 1980
  2. "Duchess"
    Released: 9 May 1980
  3. "Misunderstanding"
    Released: 10 May 1980

Duke is the tenth studio album from the English rock band Genesis, released in March 1980 on Charisma Records. It was the first album by the group to reach No. 1 in the UK charts and featured the singles "Turn It On Again", "Duchess", and "Misunderstanding".

The album followed a period of inactivity for the band in early 1979. Phil Collins moved to Vancouver, Canada, to try to save his first marriage, while Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford recorded solo albums. Collins returned to the UK after his marriage failed and wrote a significant amount of material, some of which was used for Duke and some was later reworked for his first solo album, Face Value. The album contained a mix of individually-written songs and tracks that evolved from jam sessions in mid-1979, while recording took place at the end of the year.

The break in activity rejuvenated the band, and they found the album an easy one to work on. The album contained the first use of a drum machine by Genesis on "Duchess", and as well as the hit singles included more experimental pieces such as the closing ten-minute "Duke's Travels"/"Duke's End" suite. The album has since been certified Platinum in both the UK and the US.

Background[edit]

By 1978, Genesis were a trio of Phil Collins, Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford. They had survived the loss of original frontman Peter Gabriel and guitarist Steve Hackett and released the album ...And Then There Were Three..., which included the top ten single "Follow You Follow Me".[1] The group were still touring successfully, and enjoyed the songwriting collaborations between the three of them. They decided to take a break before writing and recording a new album, which would be largely group-written in a rehearsal room, without many pre-conceived ideas.[2]

The group's touring schedule had put particular pressure on Collins, whose marriage was at risk of collapse due to him being away from home frequently. His wife, Andrea, had warned him that if he committed himself to the full ...And Then There Were Three... tour, she would not be there when he returned.[3] Collins, however, was convinced that Genesis were on the verge of an international breakthrough and that his work with the band would pay dividends in the future.[4] By the end of 1978, Andrea had decided to move to Vancouver, Canada with their children. Realising that his marriage was more important than the band, Collins held a meeting with Banks, Rutherford and manager Tony Smith. He said he was moving to Vancouver and try and re-build the family, and that the group would have to accommodate this.[5] In an interview for Sounds, Collins said, "I went off for two months to try and sort things out ... I was never going to leave the band. It was just that if I was going to be living in Vancouver then we'd have had to organise ourselves differently."[6] He also noted that the individual members of his side project Brand X were geographically dispersed.[6]

Banks and Rutherford suggested the band took an extended hiatus, hoping Collins would save his marriage and that the band could work with him in Vancouver.[5] Banks recorded a solo album A Curious Feeling in Polar Studios, Stockholm with Genesis touring drummer Chester Thompson and singer Kim Beacon,[7] while Rutherford also recorded his first solo album at Polar, Smallcreep's Day.[6] In April 1979, Collins returned to the UK after the attempt to salvage his marriage failed. With time to spare before working on the next Genesis album, he gigged with Brand X, and began on demo tracks for what became his first solo album Face Value at his home in Shalford, Surrey. As well as playing piano and synthesizers, he had recently picked up a Roland drum machine and become interested in the possibilities of electronic drums.[6][8][a]

Writing and recording[edit]

In autumn 1979, Banks and Rutherford moved in with Collins in Shalford to start rehearsals on Duke. Collins had written a large number of songs, but he felt many of them would not suit Genesis, while Banks and Rutherford were short of material having just recorded their solo albums.[9] The three decided that each member should contribute two of their own songs for the band to work on. Banks put forward "Heathaze" and "Cul-de-Sac", Rutherford used "Man of Our Times" and "Alone Tonight", and Collins had "Misunderstanding" and "Please Don't Ask". The remainder of the songs were written together in rehearsals.[10] Banks later regretted not choosing Collins' "In The Air Tonight" for the album.[11]

The group found the writing process easier and more enjoyable with less complications compared to ...And Then There Were Three.... Rutherford summarised his time writing songs for Duke as "getting back to the basic stage of ideas being worked on jointly".[6] Banks reasoned much of the band's refreshed attitude was "down to not having worked together in a while" which resulted in "good ideas" being put forward, something that he said had not "happened for some time."[6] Collins felt the band interacted "as a group much better ... there's definitely a side to us coming out which wasn't on the last album; the playing side".[6] In contrast to earlier Genesis albums, most tracks were short with the exception of the ten-minute "Duke's Travels" / "Duke's End" suite that closed the album.[12]

In its original form, "Behind The Lines", "Duchess", "Guide Vocal", "Turn It On Again", "Duke's Travels", and "Duke's End" were one 30-minute track that told a story of the fictional character "Albert". The band decided against sequencing the tracks this way on the album, partly to avoid comparisons to their 23-minute track "Supper's Ready" from Foxtrot. A "Duke Suite" was performed live on the album's supporting tour with Collins introducing it as "The Story of Albert."[13] "Turn It On Again" was originally a short connecting piece in the middle of this medley, but the band enjoyed playing it so much, they decided to double its length and make it more of a standout track.[11] The group considered placing the band written songs on side one and the individually written tracks on the other, but this was rejected. Rutherford described the final running order as "a very balanced album".[14]

The group went to Polar Studios to record the album, starting on 12 November 1979, and recording up to the end of the year.[15][6] As with several earlier albums, production duties were shared by the band and David Hentschel.[14] "Duchess" is the first Genesis song that features a drum machine, a Roland CR-78.[12][16]

The cover art was drawn by French illustrator Lionel Koechlin, featuring the character Albert. Koechlin's artwork came from the book L'Alphabet d'Albert.[17][18]

Release[edit]

Duke was released in the UK on 28 March 1980 and in the US on 31 March. It was the band's greatest commercial success at the time of its release; it reached number one on the UK Albums Chart for two weeks[19] and peaked at number 11 on the US Billboard 200.[20] The album spawned three singles; "Turn It On Again" reached number 8 in the UK and number 58 in the US; "Duchess" reached number 46 in the UK; "Misunderstanding" reached number 42 in the UK and number 14 in the US.[21] Duke was certified Platinum by the British Phonographic Industry on 3 July 1980[22] and by the Recording Industry Association of America on 11 March 1988.[23]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[24]
Q 3/5 stars[25]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 4/5 stars[26]
Smash Hits 6/10[27]

Duke received a mostly positive reception from music critics. In his review for Rolling Stone, David Fricke noted that "Turn It On Again" is "vibrant rock & roll" and praised "Man of Our Times", "Duchess", "Duke's Travels", and "Duke's End" "possess a refreshing urgency". Fricke points out the band's losses without Gabriel and Hackett in the line-up, yet summarised Duke as "comforting: a reassurance that Genesis aren't for an exodus yet."[28] Hugh Fielder in Sounds magazine gave the album four stars out of five. He noted the band's positivity in the opening of "Behind the Lines" and throughout the record Collins's vocals were "more convincing than ... before". Side one is described as a "bright opening" whereas the band "clings to safer ground" on side two. Fielder wished for "more sparkle" on the second side and for the band to "sharpen up their lyrics" but pointed out that "no Genesis fan could be disappointed with Duke".[29] The Los Angeles Times‍‍ '​‍s Steve Pond described the album's music as "identifiably Genesis, but it is toned-down ... with little of the grandiose conceits and bombastic music that made epics like ... "Supper's Ready" so impressive". He continued, calling Duke "a more confident and successful album" than ...And Then There Were Three...". He criticised the album as inconsistent with a lack of "melodic invention" on side one, but thought "Duke's Travels" and "Duke's End" is "one of the best and most consistent pieces of music that band has made in some time".[30]

In a retrospective review, AllMusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine felt Duke was the Genesis album that "leaped into the fray" of pop music but retained "a heavy dose" of progressive rock with the "Duke" suite. Erlewine thought the album comes off "a little bombastic" at times, "Misunderstanding" and "Turn It On Again" were the two tracks that "showcase the new version of Genesis at its absolute best".[24]

Reissues[edit]

A digitally remastered version of Duke was released on CD in 1994 on Virgin in Europe and Atlantic in the US and Canada. The CD included the album's original booklet, artwork and lyrics.[31] It was reissued again in 2007 as part of the Genesis 1976–1982 box set, which included a new stereo and 5.1 surround sound mix and a DVD of bonus features including band interviews, music videos, live performances and tour programs.[32]

Track listing[edit]

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Behind the Lines"   Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford 5:31
2. "Duchess"   Banks, Collins, Rutherford 6:40
3. "Guide Vocal"   Banks 1:18
4. "Man of Our Times"   Rutherford 5:35
5. "Misunderstanding"   Collins 3:11
6. "Heathaze"   Banks 5:00
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Turn It On Again"   Banks, Collins, Rutherford 3:50
2. "Alone Tonight"   Rutherford 3:54
3. "Cul-de-sac"   Banks 5:02
4. "Please Don't Ask"   Collins 4:00
5. "Duke's Travels"   Banks, Collins, Rutherford 8:41
6. "Duke's End"   Banks, Collins, Rutherford 2:04

Personnel[edit]

Genesis
Production
  • David Hentschel - backing vocals, production, audio engineering
  • Genesis – production
  • Dave Bascombe - assistant engineering
  • Ray Staff - mastering
  • Lionel Koechlin – cover
  • Bill Smith – art direction

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ Collins later said he had approached Pete Townshend, asking if he could replace Keith Moon, who had died a few months earlier, in the Who, but the group had already recruited Kenney Jones.[8]
Citations
  1. ^ Bowler & Dray 1992, p. 148.
  2. ^ Bowler & Dray 1992, pp. 152–153.
  3. ^ Bowler & Dray 1992, p. 151.
  4. ^ Bowler & Dray 1992, p. 154.
  5. ^ a b Bowler & Dray 1992, p. 155.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Fielder, Hugh (27 October 1979). "The return of... Getting it together in the Country". Sounds. Retrieved 12 April 2015. 
  7. ^ Bowler & Dray 1992, pp. 156–157.
  8. ^ a b Bowler & Dray 1992, p. 160.
  9. ^ Bowler & Dray 1992, p. 162.
  10. ^ Bowler & Dray 1992, pp. 162–163.
  11. ^ a b Welch 2011, p. 94.
  12. ^ a b Bowler & Dray 1992, p. 164.
  13. ^ Gett, Steve. "Genesis : Civil Hall, Guildford". Retrieved 17 April 2015. 
  14. ^ a b Bowler & Dray 1992, p. 165.
  15. ^ Welch 2011, p. 93.
  16. ^ Dean, Matt (2011). The Drum: A History. Scarecrow Press. p. 258. ISBN 978-0-810-88171-6. 
  17. ^ a b Duke (Media notes). Charisma Records. 1980. CBR 101. 
  18. ^ Koechlin, Lionel (1979). L'Alphabet d'Albert. Jannick. ISBN 978-2-902-46204-9. 
  19. ^ "Number 1 Albums – 1980s". The Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on 9 February 2008. Retrieved 27 June 2011. 
  20. ^ Welch 2011, p. 95.
  21. ^ Welch 2011, pp. 95–97.
  22. ^ "Certified Awards". BPI. Select keyword "Genesis", By award : Gold, By Format : Album, navigate to page 2. Retrieved 17 April 2015. 
  23. ^ "RIAA Gold and Platinum Search for albums by Genesis". Recording Industry Association of America. Page 3. Retrieved 17 April 2015. 
  24. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Duke – Genesis | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 12 April 2015. 
  25. ^ Fyfe, Andy (May 2007). "Genesis : Duke". Q (250). 
  26. ^ 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. 
  27. ^ Starr, Red. "Genesis: Duke". Smash Hits (17–30 April 1980): 30. 
  28. ^ Fricke, David (9 April 1980). "Duke". Rolling Stone. 
  29. ^ Fielder, Hugh (5 April 1980). "Power pomp supremos". Sounds: 34. 
  30. ^ Pond, Steve (25 May 1980). "Genesis puts up its 'Duke'". Los Angeles Times. 
  31. ^ "Duke – Genesis : Releases". AllMusic. Retrieved 12 April 2015. 
  32. ^ "Duke [UK Bonus DVD]". AllMusic. Retrieved 12 April 2015. 
Bibliography
  • Bowler, Dave; Dray, Bryan (1992). Genesis: A Biography. Sidgwick & Jackson Ltd. ISBN 978-0-283-06132-5. 
  • Welch, Chris (2011). Genesis: The Complete Guide to Their Music. Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-0-857-12739-6. 
Preceded by
Tears and Laughter by Johnny Mathis
UK Albums Chart number one album
5 April 1980 – 18 April 1980
Succeeded by
Greatest Hits by Rose Royce