British singer, songwriter and producer Jonathan King, who had a 1965 hit with “Everyone’s Gone to the Moon,” came up with the band name Genesis for a group of students from his alma mater. King attended the Charterhouse boarding school in Surrey, England, and graduated several years before some of the band’s founding members.
All ages 15 to 17 at the time, Charterhouse schoolmates singer Peter Gabriel, keyboardist Tony Banks, bassist Mike Rutherford, guitarist Anthony Phillips and drummer Chris Stewart had formed a band. The group recorded some demos in 1967 but still needed a band name.
At first King, who was working as an independent producer and recording with Decca Records, suggested Gabriel’s Angels as the band name, but the group took his suggestion of Genesis instead, which would mark their beginning, and King’s start as a producer.
The definition of “genesis” is the origin or coming into being of something, and that was exactly what was happening for the band. King would produce their 1969 debut From Genesis to Revelation. Written by Gabriel, Banks, Rutherford, and Phillips, the album came from the collection of demos they recorded while studying at Charterhouse.
The album would be the first and last King would produce, and Genesis would go on to release 15 albums, through their final Calling All Stations in 1997.
By 1970, the band’s revolving door of drummers led to the placement of Phil Collins.
Guitarist Anthony Phillips also left the band at this time, and Gabriel would continue on with the band through 1974, appearing for the last time on Genesis’ sixth album The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.
Collins took over lead vocals for the band from their 1976 release A Trick of the Tail on through the present.
Throughout the 1980s, Genesis hit a more mainstream stride with Collins, Banks and Rutherford writing a majority of their songs.
The band’s 1983 self-titled release gave them several U.K. hits. After taking a break in 1984 to pursue solo work, Genesis reconvened a year later with producer Hugh Padgham for their 13th album Invisible Touch.
A global success, Invisible Touch, birthed hits “Tonight, Tonight, Tonight,” “Land of Confusion,” “Throwing It All Away,” “In Too Deep,” and the title track. The band’s trajectory continued through the 1991 release We Can’t Dance and hit “I Can’t Dance,” which picked up a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal.
The Legacy of Genesis
Throughout their career, the band won countless awards, including a Grammy for Best Concept Music Video in 1988 for Invisible Touch track “Land of Confusion,” and a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012 at the inaugural Progressive Music Awards. In 2010, Genesis was also inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Final Tour: 2021- 2022
Recently reuniting for a final tour together, which started out on Sept. 20, 2021, Collins, Banks, and Rutherford toured one last time through early 2022.
For the band’s final performance at the O2 Arena in London on March 26, 2022, Gabriel, who only played a one-off reunion show with the band in 1982 since his departure, was in the audience.
Photo: Courtesy of Rhino Music