The Knife (song)
|Single by Genesis|
|from the album Trespass|
|Genre||Progressive rock, hard rock, heavy metal, psychedelic rock|
8:573:14 (single A-side)
|Writer(s)||Tony Banks, Peter Gabriel, Anthony Phillips, Mike Rutherford|
|Genesis singles chronology|
"The Knife" is a song by progressive rock band Genesis from their second album Trespass from 1970. It was performed live often in the band's early days (a live version appears on the Genesis Live album from 1973) and has appeared sporadically in the band's setlists all the way up through 1982 (after 1975, however, they performed an edited four-minute version). The first half of the song was released as a single in May 1971 (with the second half as the B-side), but it did not chart.
The song was unusually aggressive for Genesis at the time, as most of their work consisted of soft, pastoral acoustic textures and poetic lyrics. It features a bouncy, march-like organ riff, heavily distorted guitars and bass, and chaotic drumming. (Peter Gabriel said he wanted to write something that had the excitement of "Rondo" by The Nice.) In the lyrics of the song, Gabriel, influenced by a book on Gandhi, "wanted to try and show how all violent revolutions inevitably end up with a dictator in power".
"The Knife" was usually performed as an encore. During one performance in June 1971, Peter Gabriel became so carried away at the end of the song that he jumped off the stage into the audience, breaking his ankle as a result.
The cover artwork for the single features (clockwise from top left) Gabriel, Phil Collins, Rutherford, Banks and Steve Hackett. Collins and Hackett did not perform on the track but joined the group shortly after the album was recorded, replacing John Mayhew and Anthony Phillips respectively.
The song was the last encore played at the "Six of the Best" one-off reunion concert in 1982.
- Tony Banks – organ
- Peter Gabriel – lead vocals, flute, percussion
- John Mayhew – drums
- Anthony Phillips – guitar
- Mike Rutherford – bass
- Michael Ostrich: Genesis Frequently Asked Questions List Version 2.6: 5.06 - What was the inspiration that created The Knife? October 31, 1999 (Internet Archive)