Happy 45th: Genesis, FOXTROT
45 years ago today, Genesis released their fourth studio album, an effort which was the band’s most substantial commercial and critical UK success up to that point.
Naturally, it didn’t even chart in America.
Recorded at Island Studios in London under the watchful ear of producer Dave Hitchcock, who co-helmed the sessions with the band members themselves, FOXTROT featured Genesis’s classic prog-era lineup: Peter Gabriel, Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford, and Steve Hackett. When the band was originally working up the material, they had a wealth of songs under consideration, including several which ended up on Hackett’s debut solo album, VOYAGE OF THE ACOLYTE, but initial efforts to record FOXTROT with producer John Anthony fell apart due to squabbles between Anthony and the label. This was followed by further failed attempts in the studio with Bob Potter and Tony Platt, but when Hitchcock entered the picture with John Burns serving as engineer, they realized that they’d found the right combination. (This is further evidenced by the fact that Hitchcock subsequently worked on three further Genesis albums.)
When FOXTROT was released, the reviews were – as previously noted – highly positive, with Melody Maker going so far as to describe it as “an important point of development in British group music” and “a milestone in the group’s career.” Lest you feel as though it’s past its sell date, though, you’ll note that Stephen Thomas Erlewine wrote of the album for AllMusic, “This is the rare art-rock album that excels at both the art and the rock, and it's a pinnacle of the genre (and decade) because of it."
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