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Genesis Release Date Mystery Nursery Cryme

Release Date Mystery (III)

When was Nursery Cryme released?

About the search for the right release date


In our series about release dates, this time we take care of Nursery Cryme, the first album of the classic Genesis lineup.

Wikipedia is again the first place to go - as an interested fan would probably do. Both Wikipedia pages (English and German) state 12 November 1971 and that was indeed a Friday.

Also several books (e.g. Without Frontiers, The Life And Music Of Peter Gabriel by Daryl Easlea) and various articles (e.g. Prog Magazine #122) mention this release date.

So why are we still researching at all and not taking 12 November 1971 as a given?

On the one hand there are almost never sources in the books and articles, on the other hand even Mic Smith has doubts on which day the album was actually released (see here).

During our research we quickly realized that this time it was not enough to search for Nursery Cryme in the music and daily newspapers. Rather, Charisma's advertising campaign, a weekly newspaper, and other albums also played a role.


1971

In early 1971, Tony Stratton-Smith (Strat) had the great idea to send three of the leading charisma acts (Van Der Graaf Generator, Lindisfarne and Genesis) on a package tour across the country: the Six Bob Tour. This allowed Genesis to attract national attention for the first time, and for only 30 new English pennies per concert. Before that, there was only real interest in the band in the home counties (editor's note: counties surrounding London).

Later that year, during a June 19 concert at the Friars Club in Aylesbury, Peter Gabriel jumped off the stage into the audience in the middle of The Knife, and broke his ankle. Due to the singer's injury, the band played only a few concerts in the weeks to follow. So they could use the time to write and rehearse the songs of Nursery Cryme.

In the summer Genesis then moved for a few weeks to Luxford House in Crowborough, an old Tudor house owned by Strat. There Nursery Cryme was finished enough for them to record the album in early August. Again at Trident Studios, with John Anthony as producer (see Richard Macphail: My Book Of Genesis).


Charisma is Blowing a Storm

Some of the Charisma bands released their new albums in the autumn of 1971. Among them Lindisfarne in October. Van Der Graaf Generator (VDGG), Genesis and Bell & Arc followed in November.

For all 4 albums, Charisma released full-page ads and some joint ads with other Charisma bands. The campaign ran under the slogan "Charisma is Blowing a Storm."

Two things stand out in particular. First, there is a "mere" half-page ad for Bell & Arc in Melody Maker dated 13 November 1971 and it is the only ad that includes a release date, 12 November 1971 ("out this Friday"). On the other hand, there are several joint ads with VDGG, Bell & Arc, and Genesis. More about this later.

So regarding the ads from Charisma, there may be one or two more ads for Lindisfarne.

With the album reviews it is actually quite different. Lindisfarne gets much more attention from the music press. And the album sells much better and enters the UK charts in October and also reaches number 1 for 4 weeks from 25 March on. In total it is listed in the official charts for 56 weeks.

The albums of VDGG, Bell & Arc and Genesis don't sell that well for a long time and consequently don't enter the official UK charts at all. Only much later, in 1974, Nursery Cryme reached #39.


Release

Nursery Cryme was released in November 1971, but when exactly? And what evidence is there for it?
No date can be found in the music papers, unlike the above-mentioned 12 November for Bell & Arc. Also the Virgin ads don't have any clear dates this time. And the official charts can't be used to narrow it down this time either.
A first hint to a possible release date on November 19 is given by the ad on 20 November, 1971 in Melody Maker, which has an encouraging text by Keith Emerson (The Nice, ELP).


At the same time, however, the full-page ads for VDGG and Bell & Arc appeared on November 20. But from Bell & Arc we already know the release date, 12 November 1971. And very important, the above ad for Bell & Arc appeared 1 week after the album release.
This suggests that the three albums (VDGG, Bell & Arc and Genesis) may have all been released on the same day, 12 November. This is also supported by the multi-acts ads.

There is also another ad that stands out. In November it appears full-page under the title "For fawkes sake/Get these explosive Nov albums" and promotes three Pegasus albums as well as the three Charisma albums. And then on 4 Dec, they are reviewed together in Record Mirror, on one page.

However, all this together is still not proof.


Proof

When we had almost resigned ourselves to the fact that we had neither a proof for the 12th nor for the 19th Nov 1971, we happened to track down further advertisements during renewed research on the VDGG album.

In the Formby Times, a weekly newspaper published every Wednesday, we finally found our proof in the section "Formby's top ten".

First we discovered the following entry on 17 November 1971: "At last the new Hendrix, Rainbow Bridge, has been released and is available in Formby stores and is worth a listen. Other new albums have been released this week by Genisis*, Van Morrison and Van Der Graaf Generator."

(* very hard to find due to this wrong spelling!).

The interpretation of the phrase "this week" was the subject of a heated debate in our research group.

But then we found the following in the previous week's issue of 10/11: "Hendrix fans will be pleased to note that the new LP featuring his live performance on the Isle of Wight is now available in some record stores in Formby. However, the highly anticipated Rainbow Bridge has not yet been released."

So the Hendrix album Rainbow Bridge had not been released by 10 November, but was then in Formby record stores on 17 November. This means that it was released between these two dates, on Friday, 12 November 1971.

And in the same column on 17 November it said, "Other new albums released this week include Genisis, Van Morrison and Van Der Graaf Generator." So along with the Hendrix album Rainbow Bridge.

This is clear proof that Nursery Cryme was released in the UK on 12 November 1971. And together with it the albums of Van Der Graaf Generator and Bell & Arc.


Epilogue

And if there is still another proof needed what the author has meant by "this week", then we find this also in the Formby Times of 10 November 1971. There is also the reference that in the same week further albums, among other things the album Madman Across The Water by Elton John, was published. According to Record Mirror (16 Ocotber 1971) and Melody Maker (30 October 1971) this was released on 05 November 1971. This proves that the author meant the week before the Formby Times publication date.

And last but not least, an advertisement of Bree's record appeared in the Leicester Daily Mercury of Wednesday, November 17, where the Hendrix album "Rainbow Bridge" is listed as "now in stock". This is another lasting proof that the Hendrix album was indeed released on 12 November 1971.

Authors: Peter Sch├╝tz/Alex Sturm

Special Thanks to Mic Smith and Phil Morris

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