Genesis Live

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Genesis Live
Genesis - Live.jpg
Live album by Genesis
Released 20 July 1973
Spring 1974 (U.S.)
Recorded 24–25 February 1973
Length 46:44
Label Charisma
Producer John Burns, Genesis (Mastered By Zal Schreiber)
Genesis chronology
Genesis Live
Selling England by the Pound

Genesis Live is the first live album released by rock group Genesis in 1973. It was the band's first top 10 hit in the UK, reaching No. 9 and remaining on the charts for 10 weeks. It also reached No. 105 in the U.S. charts in June 1974. It is the last U.S. release to be distributed by Buddah Records as their next album, Selling England By The Pound, was distribution by Atlantic.


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 North American distributor, Buddah Records, may also have been a factor, as Charisma would move its distribution to Atlantic Records shortly before Selling England's release).[original research?]

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in Manchester, England on the previous day, when the band was touring in support of Foxtrot.[1] These recordings were originally made for the U.S. radio show King Biscuit Flower Hour, although they were never broadcast.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 by Philips/ Phonogram Int. B.V. (actually PolyGram at the time) were created which included a 23-minute version of "Supper's Ready" from the Leicester show. This pressing'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 reportedly was part of Gabriel's departure from the band two years later. After the release, Gabriel had a side project in mind to shoot a film based on the story, but a label-set deadline forced the band back into the studio to write and record Selling England by the Pound, and if Gabriel ever shot the film, it has never been released. The following year they would release the concept double album The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, which would prove to be Gabriel's final Genesis album.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3.5/5 stars[2]
Rolling Stone (favourable)[3]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 3/5 stars[4]

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.'"[3]

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.[2]

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.

Side one
No. Title Length
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
No. Title Length
1. "The Musical Box"   10:56
2. "The Knife"   9:47


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. ^ "Genesis Live". Retrieved 19 January 2008. 
  2. ^ a b Eder, Bruce. "Live – Genesis | AllMusic". Retrieved 8 June 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Fletcher, Gordon (1 August 1974). Rolling Stone review
  4. ^ 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]