Who wrote what

  • I'm interested in hearing about individual/sub-group writing credits from songs during the phases where group credits were routinely given i.e. PG-era and post-Abacab. Below are ones where non-group credits during these eras have been indicated either in interviews, articles/features, or what I've heard other fans say. Please feel free to correct and/or add to.


    EDIT: I've tweaked it according to others' comments (see posts below) and some other info I since came across


    For Absent Friends - Hackett/Collins

    Harold the Barrel - Gabriel

    Harlequin - music Rutherford, lyrics Banks

    Watcher Of The Skies - lyrics Banks/Rutherford

    Can Utility - first section (and lyrics?) Hackett, remainder mainly Banks/Collins/Rutherford jam, title by PG

    Horizons - Hackett (possibly the only instance of one being just blatantly obvious?!)

    Supper's Ready - first two parts from pieces Banks wrote at university, Willow Farm PG, Apocalypse Banks/Collins/Rutherford jam

    Moonlit Knight - Gabriel/Hackett, coda by Rutherford

    IKWIL - main riff and verses Hackett, chorus Banks, lyric PG

    Firth - Banks, with some lyric contributions from Rutherford

    More Fool Me - Collins/Rutherford

    After The Ordeal - first part Hackett, second part Rutherford, though some fans believe it's all Hackett and wikipedia entry for the album backs this up.

    Cinema Show - instrumental Banks/Collins/Rutherford jam, lyrics Banks/Rutherford with 'Romeo & Juliet' suggested by PG

    (The Lamb - it's well-documented PG wrote all the lyrics apart from The Light Dies Down)

    The Lamb - Banks/Gabriel (TB says it's the last song the two of them wrote together)

    Fly On A Windshield - Banks/Collins/Hackett/Rutherford (the 'pharaohs') jam, possibly Hackett providing the bridge to Broadway Melody

    In The Cage - mainly Banks

    Back In NYC - mainly Rutherford

    Hairless Heart - Hackett

    Carpet Crawlers - PG (in a hurry for once in his career when he realised there was a gap and the others were fed up by this point), finessed by Banks

    Lilywhite Lilith - Collins

    Anaesthetist - Hackett

    The Lamia - Banks

    (it's been suggested the lyrics for the above two were substantially by the named writers)

    Riding The Scree - Banks/Collins/Rutherford jam

    Behind the Lines - lyrics Rutherford

    Turn It On Again - lyrics Rutherford

    Keep It Dark - at this point there were still individual credits but this song has been credited to Banks

    Dodo/Lurker - as above

    Home By The Sea - lyrics Banks

    Silver Rainbow - Banks

    Land of Confusion - lyrics Rutherford

    Domino - lyrics Banks

    The Brazilian - Banks, working from drum pattern by Collins

    Hold On My Heart - mainly Banks

    Fading Lights - Banks


    I think PC got more involved in the lyrics at this later stage.

    Abandon all reason

    Edited 4 times, last by Backdrifter ().

  • "IKWIL - main riff and verses Hackett, chorus Banks - do we know who wrote the lyric? It feels to me like either PG or SH or both."

    Gabriel.


    "Cinema Show - instrumental Banks/Collins/Rutherford jam, lyrics Banks"

    Lyrics are Banks/Rutherford, with Gabriel contributing "Romeo" and "Juliet"


    "Fly On A Windshield - Hackett"

    Banks/Rutherford/Collins jam


    From TRICK on, it's pretty well known who wrote which lyrics, with only a few songs being in any kind of doubt. I could probably name most of them off the top of my head, but it would be too much work.

    "I don't belong here," said old Tessa out loud...

  • ^

    Yes now you've mentioned it I remember re Cinema Show and PG suggesting R&J. Interesting re Fly - that conflicts the most with what I'd heard/read before.

    Abandon all reason

  • Interesting re Fly - that conflicts the most with what I'd heard/read before.

    Well, maybe I don't have it quite right. I was thinking of a quote which I just now had to go find again:


    Tony - “At times things were little more than improvisations on an idea. For instance, Mike would say, ‘Pharaohs going down the Nile’ and he would just play two chords and instantly the rest of us would conjure up that particular mood.”


    Based on that, maybe the 2nd part of "Fly" is more of a Banks/Collins/Hackett/Rutherford jam.

    "I don't belong here," said old Tessa out loud...

  • Well, maybe I don't have it quite right.

    No, I suspect you probably do and that quote indicates as much and I now remember that. Certainly the first part does have that 3-man jam feel to it, but Hackett's typically economical lines suggest it was a 4-man jam. The other thing that had seemed to support the notion it was one of his was that in his pre-Genesis Revisited Every Which Way tours, it was one he did from time to time which made me think maybe it was one of his. Which has made me recall that, similarly, I'd heard Hairless Heart was one of his.

    Abandon all reason

  • On the SEBTP wikipedia page, it says Moonlit Knight was mainly Hackett/Gabriel, and repeats the claim made by others that Ordeal is all Hackett. I know I definitely read years ago it was part 1 SH, part 2 MR, and could have sworn it was a member of the band who said it, probably TB.

    Abandon all reason

  • No, I suspect you probably do and that quote indicates as much and I now remember that. Certainly the first part does have that 3-man jam feel to it, but Hackett's typically economical lines suggest it was a 4-man jam. The other thing that had seemed to support the notion it was one of his was that in his pre-Genesis Revisited Every Which Way tours, it was one he did from time to time which made me think maybe it was one of his. Which has made me recall that, similarly, I'd heard Hairless Heart was one of his.

    I seem to remember reading that Hackett came up with the key change part at the end of Fly to lead into Broadway Melody. But I may be mis-remembering as I don't know where I got that from.


    We had a few discussions like this on the old board (I think I tried to list writers for FGTR-SEBTP and someone else made a Lamb thread) - it would be interesting to see if there was a way to look through the old posts.

    Was it you or was it me? Or was it he, or she?

  • I seem to remember reading that Hackett came up with the key change part at the end of Fly to lead into Broadway Melody. But I may be mis-remembering as I don't know where I got that from.


    We had a few discussions like this on the old board (I think I tried to list writers for FGTR-SEBTP and someone else made a Lamb thread) - it would be interesting to see if there was a way to look through the old posts.

    Thanks - I've incorporated your key-change comment and others' comments into an edited OP. Yeah I recall this discussion on the old board and this thread is my attempt to try recreating that, in the absence of accessing the defunct board.


    Another favourite band of mine is Radiohead and on a fan forum years ago someone posted a comment that they'd seen publishing info which listed individual writers of Radiohead songs even though their albums credit all songs to all, PG-era Genesis style. I wonder if such info exists for the Genesis band-credited material. Other bands adopting a similar approach are U2 and Coldplay who credit all songs to all but by various accounts it seems it's either Bono and The Edge or just Bono in the case of U2, and Chris Martin for Coldplay. Side note to the latter - when Brian Eno produced one of Coldplay's albums, as is his method he initially observed them at work and decided Chris Martin was dominating proceedings too much and physically barred him from the studio for a while, to allow the other three to express themselves a bit more in writing and developing songs. It led to what is in my view by far their best album, Viva La Vida.


    Returning to Genesis credits, I'd be very interested if anyone has any insights into credits for Trespass.

    Abandon all reason

  • I found a list on a thread in a forum called Progressive Ears that has a go at all PG-era credits, but I can't speak for its accuracy and I haven't looked through all the comments to see what else has been suggested:

    Regarding Trespass, I have a feeling that "Looking for Someone" and "The Knife" are Banks/Gabriel compositions rather than whole group ones - as does this guy, who goes through all of Gabriel's contributions, but I don't know where he gets his information from!


    There's also a page on Hackett's website where he talks about each song on Genesis Revisited II, and mentions a few bits of info on composition for a couple of them. Specifically, there is Horizons (solo Hackett of course), The Lamia ("[a] song we co-wrote", he claims - not specifying who is meant by "we"), and Can-Utility ("I was looking for poetical lyrics and the idea of not being deceived by flattery, " says Hackett, suggesting that the lyrics were indeed his).


    There is also an interview out there where Hackett indicates that he used a piece that his brother John had written for a section of "Get 'Em Out by Friday" - sorry I can't find it now, but I think it was the "after all this time they ask us to leave" bit. Other than that, I want to say that the waltz that takes up most of the second half sounds like Banks chords, and Gabriel must have written the lyrics at the very least. Whether Rutherford and Collins contributed anything, though, I couldn't say.


    Aside from those, I'm not sure why the post I quoted gives Hackett a credit for "Apocalypse", but generally there's probably a lot of good guesses going on.

    Was it you or was it me? Or was it he, or she?

  • Side note to the latter - when Brian Eno produced one of Coldplay's albums, as is his method he initially observed them at work and decided Chris Martin was dominating proceedings too much and physically barred him from the studio for a while, to allow the other three to express themselves a bit more in writing and developing songs. It led to what is in my view by far their best album, Viva La Vida.

    Thanks for this bit of info - I totally agree about Viva La Vida being streets ahead of any other Coldplay album, and this is an interesting tidbit! I think there's much more musical ambition on that album - especially with the likes of "42" and "Death and All His Friends".


    Err anyway, sorry for posting about Coldplay in a Genesis thread!

    Was it you or was it me? Or was it he, or she?

  • "I found a list on a thread in a forum called Progressive Ears that has a go at all PG-era credits, but I can't speak for its accuracy and I haven't looked through all the comments to see what else has been suggested:"


    This appears to be mainly guesswork, rather than anything based on definite information.


    Some comments on specific tracks:


    The Musical Box (Phillips-Rutherford-Banks-Gabriel)

    Mick Barnard is said to have contributed as well.


    Seven Stones (Banks) or (Banks-Hackett)

    Steve claimed the quiet instrumental bridge in an interview, so Banks-Hackett is probably close. (I hear Pete's influence in the vocal melody myself.)


    Harold the Barrel (Gabriel)

    Someone in the old forum cited information that Phil contributed to the lyrics.

    Can Utility and the Coastliners (Hackett-Banks)

    In the interview mentioned above, Steve gave Tony & Mike (and possibly Phil) credit for the middle section.


    Firth of Fifth (Banks)

    I believe I've read that Mike helped with the lyrics.


    Cinema Show (Banks-Rutherford-Collins)

    As I mentioned earlier, Pete has been cited as contributing the names "Romeo" and "Juliet."


    Cuckoo Cocoon (Hackett-Gabriel)

    Like "Get' Em Out By Friday," this has been cited as having been contributed to by John Hackett.

    "I don't belong here," said old Tessa out loud...

  • That link is very interesting, thanks for that. I'd often heard Firth referred to as Banks's first full solo composition, bar lyric contributions from MR, so was mildly surprised that Seven Stones and Time Table are suggested as solely his. That said, they do sound Banksy. Certainly I'd be unsurprised that someone who could write songs about mice and dinosaurs would write one about a wooden table.


    I'd heard Phillips contributed to Musical Box, but not Barnard. How likely is it that despite the album credits, AP and MB received any income from sales?

    Abandon all reason

  • "

    The Musical Box (Phillips-Rutherford-Banks-Gabriel)

    Mick Barnard is said to have contributed as well.

    Excuse me, this is one of these myths that shows very nicely what problems we're facing here: if I'm not mistaken, Tony said one singular time in his lifetime in some interview that "Mick Barnard laid out the guitar lines for The Musical Box". Given how vague this statement is and that neither Tony nor anybody else from the band ever mentioned anything close to this ever again I can't understand how this could become such a gospel-like factoid among fans. From all we can know for sure, Mick was only part of the live lineup for a couple months and the song was already worked out when they performed it; if you listen to Ant's "F#" track on his Archive Vol. 1 you can hear he had finished nearly the entire song, all that was missing were some elaborate chord changes in the first half, the vocal lines, the solos and the outro. For whatever Tony was trying to say when he uttered that statement, I doubt we will ever get behind it.

  • Well, here's a quote from Tony regarding Mick Barnard & TMB:


    "I remember when we had already auditioned Steve but were still rehearsing with Mick which wasn't a very nice thing to do, we were doing the end part of 'The Musical Box' and he was playing this little guitar phrase over the top of it and we thought this was really good. So just as we were about to boot him out he did something quite good."


    That could be taken to mean that at least part of Mick's contribution was retained in the final product. But, right, who really knows? Personally, even if that was the case, I'd consider it more of an "arrangement" thing than something worthy of a co-credit.





    "I don't belong here," said old Tessa out loud...

  • Phil wrote the lyrics for "No Son Of Mine", "I Can't Dance" and "Driving The Last Spike". The last one was based on a book he had read and must also be the only Genesis "epic" he wrote the lyrics for.

    I think PC got more involved in the lyrics at this later stage.

    Yes, he arguably got better at lyric writing during the 80s! If I remember correctly he actually wrote the lyrics for six of the songs on "We Can't Dance", but I don't remember where I saw that. The reason for Tony and Mike not contributing that many lyrics may be, I think, that they had recently finished their respective solo albums and may had emptied their lyrical creativity a bit.

  • If I remember correctly he actually wrote the lyrics for six of the songs on "We Can't Dance"

    Someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but I count seven: No Son Of Mine, Jesus He Knows Me, Driving The Last Spike, I Can't Dance, Tell Me Why, Hold On My Heart, Since I Lost You.


    The last one was based on a book he had read and must also be the only Genesis "epic" he wrote the lyrics for.

    I think "Tonight, Tonight, Tonight" would also qualify. But "Spike" is definitely the longest song where he wrote the lyrics.

    "I don't belong here," said old Tessa out loud...

  • Speaking of PC's lyrics, at a Hackett gig last year, introducing Inside & Out SH said Collins wrote the lyrics, "before he started writing songs about ex-wives".

    Abandon all reason

  • By the way, re Spike, it was the actor Denis Waterman who gave PC the book about the building of the railways in Britain. In case anyone's interested.

    Abandon all reason

  • Speaking of PC's lyrics, at a Hackett gig last year, introducing Inside & Out SH said Collins wrote the lyrics, "before he started writing songs about ex-wives".

    He must have been joking. I recall reading that the lyrics to I&O are by Mike, and that there wasn't a Genesis song where Phil wrote all the lyrics until ATTWT.

    "I don't belong here," said old Tessa out loud...