Genesis Live

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Genesis Live
Genesis - Live.jpg
Live album by
Released20 July 1973
Recorded24 February 1973 at Free Trade Hall, Manchester ("Return of the Giant Hogweed") and 25 February 1973 at De Montfort Hall, Leicester
ProducerJohn Burns and Genesis
Genesis chronology
Genesis Live
Selling England by the Pound

Genesis Live is the first live album from the English rock band Genesis, released in July 1973 on Charisma Records. Initially recorded for radio broadcast on the American rock program King Biscuit Flower Hour, the album is formed from the recordings of shows at Free Trade Hall, Manchester and De Montfort Hall, Leicester in February 1973 during the band's tour supporting their fourth studio album Foxtrot (1972).

Genesis Live is the band's first album to enter the top 10 in the UK, reaching No. 9. Following its US release in 1974, it peaked at No. 105.


Genesis were persuaded by their label, Charisma Records, to release Genesis Live as a budget-priced title to mark time while the band recorded Selling England by the Pound in mid-1973. Contractual obligations to Charisma's United States distributor, Buddah Records, may also have been a factor, as Charisma would move its distribution to Atlantic Records by the time Selling England by the Pound was released later in 1973.[original research?] Genesis Live saw an imported release in the US in early 1974 which upset Gabriel as it included songs from their old live sets and that it was quickly recorded with little care given to the quality of the recordings. When Gabriel reluctantly agreed to have the album released, part of the deal was that it was never meant to be put out in the US.[1]

The tracks on the album were recorded at De Montfort Hall, Leicester, England by the Pye Mobile Recording Unit, engineer Alan Perkins, on 25 February 1973 (1973-02-25) except for "Return of the Giant Hogweed", which was recorded at the Free Trade Hall in Manchester, England on the previous day, when the band was touring in support of Foxtrot.[2] These recordings were originally made for the U.S. radio show King Biscuit Flower Hour, although they were never broadcast.

A handful of early radio promotional double-LP test pressings were created which included a 23-minute version of "Supper's Ready" from the Leicester show. This album's running order was "Watcher of the Skies", "The Musical Box", "Get 'Em Out by Friday", "Supper's Ready", "The Return of the Giant Hogweed", "The Knife", and included between-song patter by Gabriel. Whether this test pressing was intended to be released as the actual album is unknown. "Supper's Ready" was not included in the officially released version, even though the front cover photograph was taken during a live performance of the song (with Gabriel donning the "Magog" mask). A live recording of "Supper's Ready" from the same year's tour was released on 1998's 4-CD boxed set, Genesis Archive 1967–75. However, Gabriel re-recorded some vocals before allowing release.

A remastered version was released on CD in 1994 by Virgin in Europe and Atlantic in the US and Canada. A remixed version was included in 2009's Genesis Live 1973–2007 set, also released by Virgin in Europe and Atlantic in the U.S. and Canada.

A short story was printed on the back cover of the album, which was the initial part of the reason for Gabriel's departure from the band two years later. William Friedkin, director of "The Exorcist" had read the story, and thought Gabriel had an "interesting mind". He and Gabriel were in talks about making a film, which took him away from the recording of the Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. In the end, Gabriel decided Friedkin wasn't interested in a full partnership, and returned to the recordings, though relations with the band were now strained. The following year they would release the concept double album The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (1974), which would prove to be Gabriel's final Genesis album.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic3.5/5 stars[3]
Rolling Stone(favourable)[4]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide3/5 stars[5]

Rolling Stone gave the album a brief but positive review, commenting that "this album goes a long way toward capturing the gripping power and mysticism that has many fans acclaiming Genesis as 'the greatest live band ever.'"[4]

A retrospective review by AllMusic was also resoundingly positive. They remarked "it's doubtful that anyone ever got a richer sound out of a Mellotron on-stage than Tony Banks does on this album, and Steve Hackett, Mike Rutherford, and Phil Collins' playing is all quite amazing as a whole unit, holding together some very complex music in a live setting." They judged all the recordings to be far superior to their studio originals.[3]

Track listing[edit]

All songs by Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, Steve Hackett and Mike Rutherford, except "The Knife", by Banks, Gabriel, Anthony Phillips and Rutherford.

Original LP[edit]

Side one
1."Watcher of the Skies"8:34
2."Get 'Em Out by Friday"9:14
3."The Return of the Giant Hogweed"8:14
Side two
1."The Musical Box"10:56
2."The Knife"9:47

2007 re-issue[edit]

Original album tracks:

  1. "Watcher of the Skies"
  2. "Get 'Em Out by Friday"
  3. "The Return of the Giant Hogweed"
  4. "The Musical Box"
  5. "The Knife"

Additional tracks recorded live, 1975:

  1. "Back in N.Y.C."
  2. "Fly on a Windshield"
  3. "Broadway Melody of 1974"
  4. "Anyway"
  5. "The Chamber of 32 Doors"


Release history[edit]

All releases of Genesis Live on Charisma Records in the U.S. were distributed by Buddah Records.

U.S. LP releases[edit]

  • Charisma CAS-1666 (1973): first issue with large Mad Hatter label.
  • Charisma CAS-1666 (1973): second issue with pink scroll label.
  • Charisma CAS-1666 (1974): third issue with small Mad Hatter label.
  • Atlantic 81855-1 (1982): Reissue.

US CD releases[edit]

  • Atlantic 81855-2 (1988): First U.S. CD release.
  • Atlantic 82676-2 (1994): Definitive Edition Remaster.


  1. ^ Atkinson, Rick (2 December 1973). "Glitter rock shows prove uneven". The Record. p. 47. Retrieved 15 December 2018 – via (Subscription required (help)).
  2. ^ "Genesis Live". Archived from the original on 4 December 2007. Retrieved 19 January 2008.
  3. ^ a b Eder, Bruce. "Live – Genesis | AllMusic". Retrieved 8 June 2012.
  4. ^ a b Fletcher, Gordon (1 August 1974). Rolling Stone review
  5. ^ Nathan Brackett; Christian David Hoard (2004). The new Rolling Stone album guide. New York: Simon & Schuster. p. 327. ISBN 978-0-7432-0169-8.

External links[edit]