Nursery Cryme

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Nursery Cryme
Studio album by Genesis
Released 12 November 1971
Recorded August 1971
Studio Trident Studios, London
Genre Progressive rock
Length 39:29
Label Charisma
Producer John Anthony
Genesis chronology
Nursery Cryme

Nursery Cryme is the third studio album from the English rock band Genesis, released in November 1971 on Charisma Records. The album is the first with drummer Phil Collins and guitarist Steve Hackett in the band's line-up. It was recorded in August 1971 following their 1970–71 tour supporting their previous album, Trespass.

Nursery Cryme was not a commercial success upon its release. It did not enter the UK chart until 1974, when it peaked at number 39. The band toured in the UK and abroad for a year to promote the album, and the tour included a successful Italian leg in April 1972.


Genesis returned to a five-member formation after the addition of guitarist Steve Hackett in January 1971. For a few months prior, the group performed live as a four piece with singer Peter Gabriel, keyboardist Tony Banks, bassist Mike Rutherford, and drummer Phil Collins who had joined in 1970. As a four-man formation, Banks played guitar and keyboard parts which he credits in improving his keyboard technique as it required him to play two keyboards simultaneously. Genesis toured the UK on their Trespass tour before its conclusion in July 1971 so work on the next album could begin. The band wrote and rehearsed at a country home in Crowborough in East Sussex owned by Tony Stratton-Smith.[1]


Nursery Cryme was recorded in August 1971 at Trident Studios in London with John Anthony as producer.[2] The album sleeve, painted by Paul Whitehead who also did the artwork on the previous and next Genesis albums, Trespass and Foxtrot,[3] depicts scenes from "The Musical Box" and Coxhill, the manor house with a croquet lawn, where Gabriel grew up.[4][5]

"The Musical Box" originated as an instrumental written by former Genesis guitarist Anthony Phillips[6] called "F#" which was later re-recorded as "Manipulation" on the Jackson Tapes and released on the box set Genesis 1970–1975. The guitar solo was written by lead guitarist Mick Barnard, who replaced Phillips in 1970 prior to Hackett joining the band. The Genesis tribute band The Musical Box named themselves after the song. "For Absent Friends" is the first Genesis song with Phil Collins as lead vocalist. "The Return of the Giant Hogweed" warns of the spread of the toxic plant Heracleum mantegazzianum after it was "captured" in Russia and brought to England by a Victorian explorer.[7]


Nursery Cryme was released in November 1971. The album would not chart in the UK until May 1974, when it peaked at number 39, and would go on to chart there again in March 1984, reaching number 68. In Italy, the album reached number 4.[8]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[9]
Robert Christgau C−[10]
Rolling Stone (mixed)[11]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 2/5 stars[12]

Critical response to the album was mixed. Richard Cromelin of Rolling Stone summarised that "Nursery Cryme's main problem lies not in Genesis' concepts, which are, if nothing else, outrageously imaginative and lovably eccentric, nor with their musical structures—long, involved, multi-movemented frameworks on which they hang their narratives—nor even with their playing, which does get pretty lethargic at points. It's the godawful production, a murky, distant stew that at best bubbles quietly when what is desperately needed are the explosions of drums and guitars, the screaming of the organ, the abrasive rasp of vocal cords." He nonetheless took the time to remark positively on some of the songs, and note that he saw promise in the band.[11]

Retrospective reviews have been mildly positive. BBC Music praised the two new members of the band as fundamental to Genesis's artistic success, remarking "Collins' snappy drums were augmented by his uncanny ability to sound not unlike Gabriel[...] Hackett's armoury of tapping and swell techniques really broadened the palette of the band, giving Tony Banks more room for his Delius-lite organ filigrees, not to mention their newly purchased Mellotron", and gushed that "Genesis had virtually invented their own genre, Edwardian rock."[13] Although Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic deemed the album highly uneven, he considered "The Musical Box" and "The Return of the Giant Hogweed" to be "genuine masterpieces", and concluded that even if the rest of the album "isn't quite as compelling or quite as structured, it doesn't quite matter because these are the songs that showed what Genesis could do, and they still stand as pinnacles of what the band could achieve."[9] Robert Christgau's brief review consisted entirely of sarcastic exclamations.[10] Geddy Lee of Rush included this album among his favourites in a list from an interview with The Quietus.[14]

Track listing[edit]

All songs composed, arranged, and performed by Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, Steve Hackett, and Mike Rutherford.[2]

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "The Musical Box"   10:27
2. "For Absent Friends"   1:44
3. "The Return of the Giant Hogweed"   8:10
Side two
No. Title Length
1. "Seven Stones"   5:08
2. "Harold the Barrel"   2:58
3. "Harlequin"   2:53
4. "The Fountain of Salmacis"   7:47




  1. ^ Genesis 2007, p. 105–106.
  2. ^ a b c d Nursery Cryme (Media notes). Charisma Records. 1971. CAS 1052. 
  3. ^ Kevin Holm-Hudson (2008). Genesis and The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. p. 15. 
  4. ^ Edward Macan (1997). Rocking the Classics: English Progressive Rock and the Counterculture. Oxford University Press. pp. 60–61. 
  5. ^ Daryl Easlea (11 Oct 2013). Without Frontiers: The Life & Music of Peter Gabriel. Music Sales Limited. p. 22. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ Austin, Jon (18 July 2015). "WATCH: Did Genesis bizarrely predict Britain's Giant Hogweed nightmare 44 years ago?". Daily Express (Northern and Shell Media Publications.). Retrieved 6 August 2015. 
  8. ^ Gallo, A: 'Genesis From One Fan to Another, page 20. Omnibus Press, 1984
  9. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (2011). "Nursery Cryme – Genesis | AllMusic". Retrieved 25 July 2011. 
  10. ^ a b Christgau, Robert. "CG: Genesis". Retrieved 7 June 2012. 
  11. ^ a b Cromelin, Richard (26 October 1972). "Genesis: Nursery Cryme : Music Reviews : Rolling Stone". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 30 April 2008. Retrieved 7 June 2012. 
  12. ^ Nathan Brackett; Christian David Hoard (2004). The new Rolling Stone album guide. New York: Simon & Schuster. p. 327. ISBN 978-0-7432-0169-8. 
  13. ^ Jones, Chris (18 April 2007). "BBC – Music – Review of Genesis – Nursery Cryme". BBC. Retrieved 25 July 2011. 
  14. ^ "In The Mood: The Favourite Albums Of Rush's Geddy Lee". 29 June 2012. 
  • Banks, Tony; Collins, Phil; Gabriel, Peter; Hackett, Steve; Rutherford, Mike (2007). Dodd, Philipp, ed. Genesis. Chapter and Verse. Weidenfeld and Nicholson. ISBN 978-0-297-84434-1. 

External links[edit]