|Studio album by Genesis|
|Released||14 September 1981|
|Studio||The Farm, Chiddingfold, Surrey|
Vertigo (South America)
|Singles from Abacab|
Abacab is the eleventh studio album from the English rock band Genesis, released in September 1981 on Charisma Records in the United Kingdom and Atlantic Records in the United States. The sound is more synth-oriented but sparingly arranged, with less of a dense texture than previous albums.
Abacab became the band's second consecutive UK No. 1 album. It reached No. 7 in the U.S. where it was certified double Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America for over 2 million copies sold.
Background and recording
Genesis initially wrote an album's worth of material which they subsequently discarded because they saw themselves as becoming, in Mike Rutherford's words, "a caricature of ourselves". In what he saw as a major turning point for the group, they made a decision to throw out any songs which sounded like anything they had done before.
The album takes its name from an early arrangement of the title track. Rutherford said on the U.S. radio show In the Studio with Redbeard (which spotlighted Duke and Abacab in one episode): "There were three bits of music in 'Abacab', and we referred to them as 'section a', 'section b', and 'section c'... and at different times, they were in different order. We'd start with 'section a' and then have 'section c'... and at one point in time, it spelled Abacab. On the final version, it's not that at all, it's like 'Accaabbaac'."
Three songs from the Abacab sessions — "Paperlate", "You Might Recall", and "Me & Virgil" — were issued on the 3X3 EP. They were also issued on the non-UK releases of 1982's Three Sides Live. Two other songs from the sessions, "Naminanu" and "Submarine", appeared as B-sides on the "Abacab" singles, but were originally intended to be part of "Dodo/Lurker", where the order would have been either "Naminanu/Dodo/Lurker/Submarine" or "Dodo/Lurker/Submarine/Naminanu".
The keyboard sound on "Who Dunnit?" is the result of Banks changing the presets on his Prophet synthesizer as he plays. Live performances of this song featured the novelty of Rutherford playing drums alongside Chester Thompson (although Collins played drums on the studio version).
The album was released with four different embossed covers simultaneously across the country, all depicting the same collage but with the paper shapes in different colours. The four different cover variants are usually identified by the colour of the largest upper shape adjacent to the title lettering; this shape being coloured navy blue, red, peach, and yellow.
Rolling Stone praised the album for shedding the "ivory-tower artistry" of their previous albums, turning to sparse arrangements and "highly rhythmic interplay" and drawing inspiration from popular contemporaries such as XTC and The Police. AllMusic's retrospective review echoed this sentiment with greater emphasis, declaring "Duke showcased a new Genesis... but Abacab was where this new incarnation of the band came into its own." They also argued that although the album is far richer in pop hooks and accessibility than the band's previous works, at its heart Abacab "is truly modern art rock, their last album that could bear that tag comfortably."
Genesis toured in support of Abacab during September–December 1981, covering Europe and North America. Shows in New York City and Birmingham, England comprised the Three Sides Live album released the following year. The tour also marked the first appearance of the Vari-Lite automated lighting system, the development of which had been paid for by the band.
A new version of Abacab was released in the UK and Japan on 2 April 2007. It was released in the U.S. and Canada as part of the Genesis 1976-1982 box set on 15 May 2007. This includes the album in remixed stereo and surround sound, plus related video tracks.
|2.||"No Reply at All"||4:41|
|3.||"Me and Sarah Jane"||Banks||6:00|
|4.||"Keep It Dark"||4:34|
|3.||"Man on the Corner"||Collins||4:27|
|4.||"Like It or Not"||Rutherford||4:58|
- Genesis – production
- Tony Banks – keyboards
- Phil Collins – drums, vocals, drum machine, percussion
- Mike Rutherford – basses, guitars
- Additional personnel
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|UK Albums Chart number one album
26 September 1981 – 9 October 1981
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