Trespass (album)

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For other uses, see Trespass (disambiguation).
Studio album by Genesis
Released 23 October 1970
Recorded June–July 1970
Studio Trident Studios
Length 42:56
Label Charisma/Virgin (UK)
Impulse!, ABC, MCA, Geffen (USA) Phillips (ARG)
Producer John Anthony
Genesis chronology
From Genesis to Revelation
Nursery Cryme
Singles from Trespass
  1. "The Knife"
    Released: May 1971

Trespass is the second studio album from the English rock band Genesis, released in October 1970 on Charisma Records. Their last with guitarist Anthony Phillips and only record with drummer John Mayhew in the band's line-up, Trespass displayed a folk-flavoured progressive rock sound of the group that was a marked a departure from pop tunes on their first album, From Genesis to Revelation (1969).

Trespass was not a commercial success and it received some mixed reviews upon release. Following the band's growth in popularity in the 1980s, it peaked the UK chart at  No. 98 for one week in 1984. The album is the first Genesis album released in the US. The album reached  No. 1 in Belgium, leading to the band's first overseas concerts there in March 1971. "The Knife" was released as a single in May 1971.


After a year of Genesis playing shows almost nightly in 1969 and 1970 after the band left Decca, Tony Stratton-Smith approached Genesis and signed the band to Charisma. By mid-1970, Genesis had written and performed enough songs to fill over two full-length albums. The songs that the band felt were not strong enough to fit on Trespass, such as "Everywhere is Here", "Grandma", "Little Leaf", "Going out to Get You", "Shepherd", "Moss", "Let Us Now Make Love", and "Pacidy", were discarded by the time lead guitarist Anthony Phillips left the band.[1] Tony Banks mentions in an essay on the Archive 1967–75 boxed set that "Let Us Now Make Love", very much Phillips' song, was not recorded for the album because they thought it had single potential, but with his sudden departure following the album's completion, almost causing the band to fold altogether, and the album's subsequent failure to break through, it was never recorded in the studio. The BBC Nightride version on the boxed set remains the definitive version.

Though most of Genesis's songs were composed by the group as a whole, in a 1985 interview Mike Rutherford said that Trespass was the only Genesis album where every single song was composed by all the band members equally; every other album by Genesis had several songs which were written by one or two individuals, with only minor contributions at most from the rest of the band.[2] The band was unhappy with John Mayhew's drumming skills and replaced him with Phil Collins following Anthony Phillips' departure.[citation needed]


The album cover was painted by Paul Whitehead, who also did the covers for the band's next two albums. Whitehead had finished the cover and then the band added 'The Knife' to the running order. Feeling that the cover no longer fitted the mood of the album, they asked Whitehead to redo it. When Whitehead was reluctant to do so, the band members inspired him to slash the canvas with an actual knife.[3] The whole thing was then photographed, but came out blue when reproduced due to lighting in the room.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 2/5 stars[4]
Rolling Stone (unfavorable)[5]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 3/5 stars[6]

Trespass was largely ignored by the music press at the time of its release. Rolling Stone printed an extremely brief but unambiguously negative review of the 1974 reissue, saying "It's spotty, poorly defined, at times innately boring, and should be avoided by all but the most rabid Genesis fans."[5] AllMusic's later retrospective review was only slightly more forgiving, summarising that the album "is more interesting for what it points toward than what it actually does". They also commented that the guitars are so low in the mix that they are almost inaudible, leaving Banks's keyboard instruments to prominence. They considered this troublesome because Banks having a noticeable role "isn't the Genesis that everyone came to know".[4]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Anthony Phillips, Mike Rutherford, Peter Gabriel and Anthony Banks.

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Looking for Someone"   7:06
2. "White Mountain"   6:45
3. "Visions of Angels"   6:51
Side two
No. Title Length
1. "Stagnation"   8:45
2. "Dusk"   4:15
3. "The Knife"   8:55



  • John Anthony – producer
  • Robin Geoffrey Cable – engineer
  • Nick Davis – mixing (2008 release)
  • Tony Cousins – mastering (2008 release)

Release history[edit]

Trespass was first released in the UK on the Charisma label in October 1970, and reissued on the same label in 1974. In the United States, Trespass was first issued on ABC's jazz label, Impulse!, for unknown reasons. It was reissued by the main ABC Records label in 1974; then, after MCA Records bought out ABC, it was reissued on the MCA label. In 2003, MCA was absorbed by Geffen Records, formerly Gabriel's solo label in North America. Virgin Records, who have ancillary rights to the album and all Genesis output since outside the US and Canada, is now sister to Geffen at Universal, making Trespass the only Genesis album with the same distributor worldwide.

A SACD/DVD double disc set (including new 5.1 and Stereo mixes) was released on 11 November 2008.

UK LP Releases[edit]

  • Charisma Records CAS 1020 (1970): 1st issue, scroll label, gatefold cover with art and credits. Separate lyrics sheet enclosed.
  • Charisma Records CAS 1020 (1974): Reissue, Mad Hatter label, gatefold cover with art and credits. Separate lyrics sheet enclosed.

US LP Releases[edit]

  • ABC/Impulse AS-9205 (1970): 1st issue, gatefold cover with art, lyrics and credits. Black label with red ring and four "i!" logos at 3, 6, 9 and 12 o'clock.
  • ABC ABCX-816 (1974): Reissue, black label, gatefold cover.
  • ABC ABCX-816 (1976): Reissue, rainbow label, gatefold cover.
  • MCA MCA-37151 (1981): Budget reissue. No gatefold cover.

US LP releases of Trespass list incorrect running times of 7:00 for each of the three songs on Side 1.


  1. ^ Negrin, David. "An Interview with Anthony Phillips". Retrieved 21 December 2011. 
  2. ^ Neer, Dan (1985). Mike on Mike [interview LP], Atlantic Recording Corporation.
  3. ^ Will Romano (2010). Mountains Come Out of the Sky: The Complete Illustrated History of Prog Rock. Backbeat Books. p. 72. ISBN 978-0-8793-0991-6. 
  4. ^ a b Eder, Bruce (2011 [last update]). "Trespass – Genesis | AllMusic". Retrieved 10 September 2014.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  5. ^ a b Fletcher, Gordon (1 August 1974). "Genesis: Trespass : Music Reviews". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 2 May 2008. 
  6. ^ 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]