Nursery Cryme

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Nursery Cryme
Studio album by Genesis
Released 12 November 1971
Recorded August 1971
Studio Trident Studios, London, England
Length 39:29
Label Charisma
Producer John Anthony
Genesis chronology
Nursery Cryme
Singles from Nursery Cryme
  1. "Happy the Man / Seven Stones"
    Released: 12 May 1972

Nursery Cryme is the third studio album from the English rock band Genesis, released in November 1971 on Charisma Records. Following the additions of drummer Phil Collins and guitarist Steve Hackett and completion of their 1970–71 tour in support of their previous album, the band began writing and rehearsing for Nursery Cryme. This album saw the band move away from their folk-oriented sound into progressive rock with a more aggressive direction with electric guitars and keyboards.

Nursery Cryme received a mixed response from critics and was not a commercial success; it did not enter the UK chart until 1974, when it reached its peak at No. 39. The band toured the UK and Europe for one year to promote the album, which raised their profile in both territories. The tour included a successful Italian leg in April 1972, where the group played to enthusiastic crowds. Nursery Cryme was certified Silver by the British Phonographic Industry in 2013.


Background and recording[edit]

In January 1971, during their 1970–71 tour in support of their second studio album Trespass (1970), Genesis returned to a five-member formation when guitarist Steve Hackett joined the group after a lengthy search to replace their previous guitarist, founding member Anthony Phillips, who left in July 1970.[1][2] In the six months prior, the group performed live as a four-piece consisting of singer Peter Gabriel, keyboardist Tony Banks, bassist Mike Rutherford, and drummer Phil Collins, who had joined in August 1970.[3] The four-man band got through shows by Rutherford playing the bass and bass pedals and Banks playing lead guitar lines on a Pianet through a distorted fuzz box amplifier in addition to his keyboard parts, a technique that he credited in improving his performance as it required him to play two keyboards simultaneously.[4] After shows in the UK and Belgium, their first overseas concerts,[5] Genesis played their first of three consecutive appearances at the annual Reading Festival.[6] They took a break from touring in July 1971 to make their next album. Tony Stratton-Smith, the owner of their label, Charisma Records, suggested they write and rehearse at Luxford House, a 16th-century Grade II listed building he owned in Crowborough, East Sussex.[7]

Following rehearsals, Genesis relocated to London in August 1971 to record Nursery Cryme at Trident Studios in London with producer John Anthony. Joining Anthony was David Hentschel as their assistant engineer, who, like Anthony, also worked the same role on Trespass.[8] The album's sleeve was designed and illustrated by Paul Whitehead who also did the artwork on Trespass and the band's next album, Foxtrot (1972).[9] The cover depicts characters and scenes from "The Musical Box" and Coxhill, the manor house with a croquet lawn, which is based on the building Gabriel grew up in.[10]


"The Musical Box" originated as a piece by Phillips called "F#", pronounced "F Sharp".[11] The piece was later re-recorded as "Manipulation" that was released on the band's box set Genesis 1970–1975. The guitar solo was developed by Mick Barnard, a guitarist who toured with Genesis from November to December 1970.[12] Hackett kept both guitar parts from Phillips and Barnard, while modifying them and adding his own parts to the song.[13] "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.[14] "The Return of the Giant Hogweed" features Hackett's first use of guitar tapping, a technique whereby the index finger of the plucking hand is applied directly to the guitar fret board.[15] The technique did not attract mainstream attention until Eddie Van Halen demonstrated it in his instrumental "Eruption" in 1978.[16]


Nursery Cryme was released in November 1971. The album did not chart in the UK until May 1974, when it peaked at number 39,[17] and charted there again in March 1984, reaching number 68. Though the group still had a minor cult following at home, they started to achieve commercial and critical success in mainland Europe, with the album reaching No. 4 on the Italian charts.[18] The album continued to sell, and reached Silver certification by the British Phonographic Industry on 22 July 2013 for sales in excess of 60,000 copies.[19]

From November 1971 to August 1972, Genesis toured to support the album which included further visits to Belgium, and Italy for the first time where they played to enthusiastic crowds.[17] During the tour Genesis recorded "Happy the Man", a non-album single, with "Seven Stones" from Nursery Cryme on its B-side.[20]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3.5/5 stars[21]
Robert Christgau C−[22]
Rolling Stone (mixed)[23]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 2/5 stars[24]

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 remarked positively on some of the songs, and noted that he saw promise in the band.[23]

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".[25] 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".[21] Robert Christgau's brief review consisted entirely of sarcastic exclamations.[22] Geddy Lee of Rush included this album among his favourites in a list from an interview with The Quietus.[26]

Track listing[edit]

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

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




Chart Peak
UK Albums (OCC)[27] 39


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[28] Silver 60,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ Bowler & Dray 1992, p. 43.
  2. ^ Bowler & Dray 1992, p. 44.
  3. ^ Genesis 2007, p. 94.
  4. ^ Genesis 2007, p. 96.
  5. ^ Hewitt 2001, p. 32.
  6. ^ Platts 2001, p. 42.
  7. ^ Genesis 2007, pp. 105–106.
  8. ^ a b Nursery Cryme (Media notes). Charisma Records. 1971. CAS 1052. 
  9. ^ Kevin Holm-Hudson (2008). Genesis and The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. p. 15. 
  10. ^ Macan 1997, pp. 60–61.
  11. ^
  12. ^ Bowler & Dray 1992, p. 41.
  13. ^ Bowler & Dray 1992, p. 53.
  14. ^ 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. 
  15. ^ Hackett, Steve. Nursery Cryme Interviews 2007 (31:02–31:33)
  16. ^
  17. ^ a b Genesis 2007, p. 349.
  18. ^ Bowler & Dray 1992, p. 59.
  19. ^ "Certified Awards: Enter "Nursery Cryme" in the search field and select "Title" and "Exact Match".". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 30 April 2016. 
  20. ^ Bowler & Dray 1992, pp. 61,249.
  21. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (2011). "Nursery Cryme – Genesis | AllMusic". Retrieved 25 July 2011. 
  22. ^ a b Christgau, Robert. "CG: Genesis". Retrieved 7 June 2012. 
  23. ^ 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. 
  24. ^ Nathan Brackett; Christian David Hoard (2004). The new Rolling Stone album guide. New York: Simon & Schuster. p. 327. ISBN 978-0-7432-0169-8. 
  25. ^ Jones, Chris (18 April 2007). "BBC – Music – Review of Genesis – Nursery Cryme". BBC. Retrieved 25 July 2011. 
  26. ^ "In The Mood: The Favourite Albums Of Rush's Geddy Lee". 29 June 2012. 
  27. ^ "Genesis | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart
  28. ^ "British album certifications – Genesis – Nursery Cryme". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Nursery Cryme in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Silver in the field By Award. Click Search
  • Bowler, Dave; Dray, Bryan (1992). Genesis – A Biography. Sidgwick & Jackson. ISBN 978-0-283-06132-5. 
  • 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. 
  • Hewitt, Alan (2001). Opening the Musical Box – A Genesis Chronicle. Firefly Publishing. ISBN 978-0-946-71930-3. 
  • Macan, Edward (1997). Rocking the Classics: English Progressive Rock and the Counterculture. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-195-09887-7. 
  • Platts, Robin (2001). Genesis: Inside & Out (1967–2000). Collector's Guide Publishing. ISBN 978-1-896-52271-5. 
DVD media
  • Banks, Tony; Collins, Phil; Gabriel, Peter; Hackett, Steve; Rutherford, Mike (10 November 2008). Genesis 1970–1975: Nursery Cryme (DVD). Virgin Records. UPC 5099951968328. 

External links[edit]