A Trick of the Tail (song)

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"A Trick of the Tail"
Single by Genesis
from the album A Trick of the Tail
B-side Ripples
Released 20 February 1976
Format 7"
Recorded October–November 1975
Genre Progressive rock
Length 4:35
Label Charisma/Virgin (UK)
Atco (US)
Writer(s) Tony Banks
Producer(s) David Hentschel and Genesis
Genesis singles chronology
"The Carpet Crawlers"
"A Trick of the Tail"
Music sample

"A Trick of the Tail" is a song by the progressive rock band Genesis taken from the album of the same name. It was written by the band's keyboard player Tony Banks and was the first Genesis song to be accompanied by a promotional video, which features the band gathered around a piano performing the song and directed by Bruce Gowers and it was the first single of Genesis featuring Phil Collins as the band's lead vocalist (he was previously their drummer).

Music video[edit]

Special effects make Collins appear to walk and dance on the piano and Steve Hackett's guitar. The video concludes with all four of the band miniaturized on the piano keyboard. In a 1994 interview with VH1 for the Phil Collins One on One episode, Collins called the video the most embarrassing and cringe-worthy of his entire career.


The song was released as a single with "Ripples" as the B-side but failed to make any significant chart impact. The majority of the song was written in 1972 and was originally intended for the Foxtrot album. The song's rhythm, according to Banks, is heavily influenced by The Beatles' "Getting Better."

The lyrics are inspired by the book The Inheritors by William Golding. Like much of the album A Trick of the Tail, the song's lyrics focus on a specific character: the "Beast" who leaves his own kingdom and enters the world of humans. He is captured and put on display in a freak show after his captors refuse to believe in his kingdom. The Beast laments his decision to leave his home, describing it as a paradise covered in gold. His captors then release him in exchange for leading them to his world. However, just as they see what appears to be a "spire of gold", they find that the Beast has vanished, though they do hear his voice.

Live performances[edit]

Genesis never performed "A Trick of the Tail" live.

External links[edit]