White Mountain (song)
|Song by Genesis from the album Trespass|
|Released||23 October 1970|
|Genre||Progressive rock, progressive folk|
|Writer||Tony Banks, Peter Gabriel, Anthony Phillips, Mike Rutherford|
|Trespass track listing|
Lyrically, the song tells a fable of a wolf named Fang, who seeks to usurp the authority of the pack leader (an old undefeated hero known as One-Eye) by learning of the crown and sceptre known only to the king. The sentence for Fang's sin is death. As the song progresses, Fang is chased by a pack of wolves led by One-Eye, before falling before the king in an epic final battle between the two. One-Eye then hides the crown and returns to his pack in peace.
The lyrics initially describe the characters as wolves, but later refer to One Eye performing actions which appear to mark him out as a human (e.g. raising a sceptre). This may be an attempt in the song to blur the race of the characters between human and animal, or may be meant to refer to a possibly anthropomorphic aspect of One Eye or indeed the entire pack.
The song was performed live during 1976, on the A Trick of the Tail tour, with Phil Collins singing the lead as Peter Gabriel had by this time left the band. Live versions did not include significant drum parts, but rather an accompaniment using a hi-hat. John Mayhew, the drummer who recorded the song, had been dismissed after the recording of the album, with Collins replacing him shortly thereafter.
The album takes its name from the song as Fang is said to have "trespassed where no wolf may tread," save the king himself. During the 1976 Trick of the Tail tour, on several occasions, Phil Collins would mistakenly replaced the word tread with "go", even though the word "Go" doesn't rhyme with the word "dead" in the line that follows in the song (e.g. "The last sacred haunt of the dead").
The names of Fang and One Eye are borrowed from Jack London's novel White Fang. In the story, Fang has the first name of White, and One Eye is Fang's father. The song and the story differ in every other respect.
The song title is mentioned only once in the song, in the line "Dawn saw the white mountain tinted with red" from its final chorus.