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The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway Release Date Mystery

Release Date Mystery (II)

When was The Lamb released?

About the search for the right release date


After our article about the release date of Foxtrot, we dedicated ourselves to another challenge - this time it's about the release dates of The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway for both, the UK and North America!

Wikipedia and many other sources mention 18 November 1974 - but as we all know, this should not be relied upon. The 18th was a Monday. And at the time, the usual publication date in England was Friday. So the 18th can't be right ...

And so we plunged back into research, pored over newspaper archives and books, searched the internet and contacted contemporary witnesses. In the course of the research, it quickly became apparent that the publication date also played a major role for the USA. But one thing after the other.

1 The Lamb in the UK

In May/June 1974, various magazines in England and the USA reported that Genesis would be recording a new album at Headley Grange between June and August. A release was planned for October. The tour of England was announced in early September and the first shows were to take place at the end of October. At the same time, their new album was to be "released to coincide with the tour" (NME, 07.09.1974).

Then Steve Hackett injured his hand so badly that the tour in England had to be postponed - the new dates were then only to take place in April/May of the following year. Along with the tour cancellation, a single (Counting Out Time) was announced for 01.11.1974 (Melody Maker and New Musical Express (NME) of 26.10.1974). But obviously the release of both the single and the album was delayed.

In the Musik Week of 09 November both the new "double album" are listed under "Pop Listing" and the single Counting Out Time under "Releases" (08.11.1974). At the sam time, however, Sounds Magazine of the same date asks for the release date. The answer is: "soon."

The Record Mirror (Popswop) of 16 November 1974 then lists The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway as one of that week's new releases in an advertisement from Comet Discount Records. This probably indicates that the album was due for release on 15 November at some point.

The Counting Out Time single was finally released 14 days late on 15.11.1974, according to The Hogweed Youth Movement newsletter. But in the same newsletter nothing can be found about the new album being released on the same day.

But when was the album actually released?

Music Week Ad The LambAlready on 02 November an advertisement appeared on the front page of Music Week with 22 November as the release date (see picture) *. Furthermore, the chart entry was on 07 December, i.e. 14 days after the 22nd. There are reviews in the Record Mirror, Melody Maker and Sounds (all from 23 November 1974) and finally an article in The North Wales Weekly News from 28 November 1974 proves that the album was released on Friday, 22 November 1974. There, the article "High-price Genesis" deals with the new album and says it has been "released last week on the Charisma label".

The latter date is also mentioned in the books by Jon Kirkman* and Steve Aldous, but in both cases unfortunately without references.


2 The Lamb in North America

At this point we come back to 18 November - that is, the date that circulated on the internet for a very long time and is still mentioned on many websites today. But where does it come from?

The explanation most likely is in a press release from Atlantic Records, dated 07 May 1990. There, it is reported that four Genesis albums have reached gold status for 500,000 copies sold. Among others was The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway (wrongly titled as The Lamb Lies Down In Broadway), "released 18 November 1974". This now provides the link to 18 November, but this is for the release schedules in the USA and not for the UK, as erroneously assumed.

Now our interest was aroused and we wanted to know whether the 18th is actually correct for North America. And we'll say it right away, the research turned out to be even more time-consuming and difficult than for England.

The first thing we discovered in the Catalog of Copyright Entries 1974 was the entry / data for The Lamb. There it is noted as copyright: 18Nov74. The catalogue, which is published by the US Copyright Office, contains a list of all copyright entries received, but unfortunately not the actual release date. But it can be assumed that the album was supposed to be released in the USA on 18 November 1974, as the entry in the catalogue and the press release from 1990 suggest.

In various music papers (Billboard, Cash Box, Record World), however, it was still "due to be released shortly" until 16 November 1974.

Then The Sunday Record, Hackensack, New Jersey (dated 24 November 1974) reports that the new albums by Yes (Relayer) and Genesis, which were to be released this weekend, have been postponed by two weeks. And in fact Relayer was not released until 05 December.

For The Lamb, however, things are different. The tour had already started on 20 November in Chicago and the visitors of the show did not know the new album. The record company was therefore under pressure to change this at short notice. On the one hand through the now quick release of the album and on the other hand via a four-page handout given away at the concerts, which contained the story of Real on the inside pages, corresponding to the double LP inside pages.

The Lamb BillboardOn 30 November, things become concrete. Reviews of the new album appear in the magazines Billboard, Cash Box and Record World. This can only mean that the album must have been released shortly before.

As a further indication, we have analysed the airplay statistics of the magazines. There are no entries for the week before 22 November, but only for the week up to 30 November. The album charts and the retail reports also only show data from 7 December onwards. On 07 December (Billboard) and on 14 December (Cash Box) full-page ads are published promoting the new album (see image).

Finally, there are the testimonies of contemporary witnesses. The most prominent are Genesis themselves. For example, Phil Collins has repeatedly reported that the album came out after the tour began, as quotes from 1991 (Genesis: A History) and 1998 (Genesis Archive Interview Disc) show.

Via the internet we got a very nice and highly informative contact to Kevin from Portland. He saw the Friday show on 22 November in Indianapolis and on 29 November in Fort Wayne. His comment: "I had not heard the album at the time of the first show but had the album at least a couple of days before the second show". So he bought the album around 25 November (a Monday). Also, it's definitely the American pressing he purchased. Another piece in our puzzle.

Also, a Chicago Sun-Times article by Al Rudis, which appeared as a reprint in the Indianapolis News on 28 November 1974, indicates that The Lamb was released shortly before: "after having seen the live presentation, [...], and listening to the album, [...]."

Our following conclusion is shared by Steve Aldous in his book The Songs of Genesis (2020). He concludes the US release date was 25 November. Unfortunately, however, he again cites no sources. (See also above for UK).

Our conclusion after considering all the evidence currently available: The double LP The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway was not released in the USA on 18 November. That is as good as certain. Unfortunately, there is no definitive proof of an exact date either, but it is most likely to have been released during the week of 25-29 November 1974.

If any other evidence can be found in the future, or Atlantic Records confirms an appropriate date, we will update this article.

Research: Alexander Sturm und Peter Sch├╝tz.

* this ad was first discovered by Mic Smith around 2019, who then informed Kirkman and later also updated his Genesis Release Dates essay accordingly. Mic also came up first with the conclusion that the album was released on 22 November in the UK - and we basically found the same evidence as Mic did (with the addition of the above mentioned North Wales Weekly News item).
Further references and help: various Magazines, Serge Morissette, Mino Profumo, Martin Klinkhardt und Kevin Krieg

 

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