Duke (album)

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Studio album by Genesis
Released 28 March 1980 (UK)
31 March 1980 (US)
Recorded October–December 1979
Studio Polar Studios, Stockholm, Sweden
Length 55:06
Label Charisma (UK)
Atlantic (US)
Genesis chronology
...And Then There Were Three...
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. The album was recorded after a period of inactivity from the band—Phil Collins needed time to try to save his first marriage, and Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford recorded solo albums in the meantime. Duke represents a change in the band's musical direction from their progressive rock roots to songs more pop-oriented and commercially accessible. However, a sizable portion of its material is still progressive.

Duke was the band's greatest commercial success at the time of its release. It reached number one in the UK[1] and peaked at number 11 in the US.[2] The album is certified Platinum in both countries. The album spawned three singles: "Turn It On Again", "Duchess", and "Misunderstanding". Banks has called Duke his favourite Genesis album.


In December 1978, Genesis wrapped their ten-month world tour supporting ...And Then There Were Three... which began a period of inactivity from the band. Singer and drummer Phil Collins requested time off to try and save his marriage with Andrea Bertorelli who moved to Vancouver, Canada with their two children as touring was affecting their relationship.[3] He 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."[4] When keyboardist Tony Banks and guitarist Mike Rutherford allowed Collins the time he needed, the two started work on their first solo albums, A Curious Feeling and Smallcreep's Day, respectively at Polar Studios in Stockholm, Sweden.[4] In April 1979, Collins returned to the UK after his attempt to salvage his marriage failed. With time to spare before working on the next Genesis album, he returned to Brand X and began on demo tracks for his first solo album Face Value at his home in Shalford, Surrey.[4]

Writing and recording[edit]

[5] In 1979, Banks and Rutherford moved in with Collins in Shalford to start work on Duke. They 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".[4] 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."[4] 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".[4] The three decided that each member contribute two of their own songs for development. 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 idea of placing the band written songs on side one and the solo tracks on the other was dismissed for having the solo tracks in between the group tracks, leaving what Rutherford described as "a very balanced album".[6]

Duke was recorded at Polar Studios from October to December 1979. Production duties were shared by the band and David Hentschel. "Duchess" is the first Genesis song that features a drum machine, specifically a Roland CR-78, which was given to them by Roland during their 1978 Japanese tour.

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 this, 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 from March to July 1980 with Collins introducing it as "The Story of Albert."[7]

The cover art was done by French illustrator Lionel Koechlin.


Duke was released in the UK on 28 March 1980. Its North American released followed 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[8] and peaked at number 11 on the US Billboard 200.[2] 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.[9][10] Duke was certified Platinum by the British Phonographic Industry on 3 July 1980 and by the Recording Industry Association of America on 11 March 1988.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[11]
Blender 3/5 stars[12]
Q 3/5 stars[13]
Rolling Stone (average)[14]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 4/5 stars[15]
Smash Hits 6/10[16]

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."[17] 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".[18] Steve Pond for Los Angeles Times 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".[19]

In a retrospective review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine for AllMusic, he rates Duke with four stars out of five, noting Duke as 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".[11]


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.

Duke was reissued in 2007 as part of the Genesis 1976–1982 box set. This includes the album with 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.[20][21]

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


  • David Hentschel - backing vocals, production, audio engineering
  • Genesis – production


Chart succession and procession[edit]

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


  1. ^ Genesis UK chart history, The Official Charts Company. Retrieved 15 April 2012.
  2. ^ a b Genesis USA chart history, Allmusic. Retrieved 23 August 2012.
  3. ^ Interview for 2007 CD/DVD re-issue of Duke
  4. ^ a b c d e f Fielder, Hugh (27 October 1979). "The return of... Getting it together in the Country". Sounds. 
  5. ^ Banks, Collins, Gabriel, Hackett, and Rutherford, p. 120.
  6. ^ Bowler and Dray, p. 165.
  7. ^ Bluesnaggletooth12.com
  8. ^ "Number 1 Albums – 1980s". The Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on 9 February 2008. Retrieved 27 June 2011. 
  9. ^ "Artist Chart History: Genesis". The Official Charts Company. Retrieved 25 May 2011. 
  10. ^ "Artist Chart History - Genesis". Allmusic. Retrieved 26 July 2007. 
  11. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (2011). "Duke – Genesis | AllMusic". Allmusic.com. Retrieved 25 July 2011. 
  12. ^ Blender magazine[dead link]
  13. ^ Andy Fyfe Q, May 2007, Issue 250.
  14. ^ Fricke, David (4 September 1980). "Genesis: Duke : Music Reviews". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 18 June 2008. Retrieved 8 June 2012. 
  15. ^ 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. 
  16. ^ Starr, Red. "Genesis: Duke". Smash Hits (17–30 April 1980): 30. 
  17. ^ Fricke, David (9 April 1980). "Duke". Rolling Stone. 
  18. ^ Fielder, Hugh (5 April 1980). "Power pomp supremos". Sounds: 34. 
  19. ^ Pond, Steve (25 May 1980). "Genesis puts up its 'Duke'". Los Angeles Times. 
  20. ^ Genesis-news.com
  21. ^ Genesis-news.com
  • Bowler, Dave; Dray, Bryan (1992). Genesis: A Biography. Sidgwick & Jackson Ltd. ISBN 978-0-283-06132-5.