June 24 – Fans Followed Genesis To Hit Radio

And then there were three…hitmakers! Genesis, after losing guitarist Steve Hackett (who decided to try and follow in Peter Gabriel’s footsteps and go solo) were reduced to the “core trio” of Phil Collins, Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford.

The resulting album, 1978‘s And Then There Were Three, their ninth, hit #3 in the UK where it was their seventh-straight gold release, but also got them some notice on this side of the ocean, largely due to the great single, “Follow You, Follow Me.” It hit a peak #23 on Billboard on this day; their first top 40 single in North America. Back home in Britain it got to #7, also their best-showing to that point. Up to then they had been looked at as a sort of “albums” band, similar to Pink Floyd, without much radio exposure on “top 40” format stations. Needless to say, that would quickly change as they would end up charting 16 more top 40 hits in the U.S., plus a large number more featuring either Phil Collins or Mike Rutherford themselves.

The song was a deliberate shift from their previous epic, prog-rock sound as the band had noticed their fanbase was almost entirely male and wanted to expand to more female listeners. Tony Banks says it was at the time “our only truly group-written number” and that it was a chore as it is “much easier to write long stories than simple love songs.” Mike Rutherford wrote the lyrics and says it took him “only ten minutes” and they all were pleased with the result – a “lovely little song, catchy without being sappy.” Circus magazine agreed, calling the album in general “magical (and) mystical” superior to most other art or prog-rock acts out there summing it up by suggesting they’d shed two members without “sacrifice” of “direction nor quality.”

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10 thoughts on “June 24 – Fans Followed Genesis To Hit Radio

  1. badfinger20 (Max)

    I know I harp on this but the change in this band amazes me still. It would be like Pink Floyd or Yes suddenly becoming a singles band. Yes both of those bands had a hit single every now and then but not like Genesis…also what progressive band has a drummer who can not only sing but write top 40 singles?

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    1. they are a pretty unique story in rock – a couple of weeks back Casey Kasem pointed out (in reruns obviously enough) that one week in ’86, there were 5 Genesis-tied acts in the top 40: the band itself, Phil, Peter Gabriel, Mike & the Mechanics and some band (GTR?) with Steve Hackett. That’s impressive. And only parallel , or close, I can think of with Collins is Dave Grohl coming to the forefront post-Nirvana.

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    1. It’s one of Genesis’ best, I think, also the first record of theirs I bought.
      I love those old 70s Canucks jerseys, and quite like the modern killer whale ones. In between, that rainbow on yellow “V” design… well, SOMETHING’S gotta be worst N.American sports jersey ever, doesn’t it?

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      1. distinctive it was… that cannot be denied. As I think I already said, as a kid I was a Rangers fan, but I always thought their jerseys back then were boring… I liked the “shield” logo but instead they just had Rangers written down the front. Didn’t like that. And somehow I ended up getting a Canadiens red sweater about that time… it was a gift (I was probably six or seven) but never liked the Habs!

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    1. Good, assuming it’s safe to do so again. Good to know they’re back together…I’ve heard for over a year that they probably would but hadn’t heard any confirmation yet. I think they’ve long been fond of Canada … good sales for their records , and seems like Phil lived in Vancouver at least briefly (which might explain the Canucks jersey on Tony in the video)

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