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.”