Best opening song on a Genesis album?

  • It struck me from very early on as a fan, that Genesis have a lot of really great opening tracks on their albums. Like unusually strong statements of how good they are, what they are capable of, and what's to follow. Sometimes the first track is the best one on the album.


    What's your favorite/which do you think is their best? And why?


    For me, Eleventh Earl of Mar, Mama (obviously) and No Son of Mine stand out. But my favorite is Calling All Stations. Aggressive and cold.

  • good thread - has to be TLLDOB for me. Just perfect scene-setting and their most powerful and catchy song to that point of their career.


    One which is often overlooked is Down and Out, one of their heaviest songs. Love the way it starts off as if it's going be another Earl of Mar but then hits you like Mar on steroids. It always makes me think that Rush were taking notes - the sound they perfected by the time of Moving Pictures

  • Abacab, just gotta love the pounding beat of that one. And it's so different from pretty much anything that had come before.


    Another one would have to Eleventh Earl Of Mar, the intro sets up the magical, autumnal feel of Wind & Wuthering perfectly, great bouncy beat, and the whole band are just one fire, especially Banks & Hackett.

  • Watcher.


    Today. Yesterday. Every day.


    In fact I'd go as far to say it's the best opener on any album, and there is some stiff competition. Not least from Wind and Wuthering ^^

  • Looking For Someone and Down and Out (getting a lot of mentions here) are great examples of what I was thinking. Actually, if I was forced to make a top 20 Genesis songs playlist, I think track 1s would be disproportionately represented.

  • This is a fairly tough question. Most of their albums had great opening songs and songs that opened the albums in different ways. Sometimes the songs would slam right in; sometimes they would gradually build.


    If I had to pick just one, I will have to go with TLLDOB. It is such a great piano part by that itself takes us a bit of a journey before building to the point where the band kicks in. The ritard that happens just before the band kicks in adds some extra dramatic tension. And having the singing start with the refrain is unusual for Genesis - it hooks you in right away.

  • There's a few it's tough to choose from but Behind the Lines probably edges it. The surge of energy it generates right at the start of the album, and something about the sounds and textures, set the tone for what's one of my favourite Genesis albums. It's further boosted by being part of such a good introductory suite, melded with the sublime Duchess and the brief yet atmospheric Guide Vocal. BTL on its own is a great adrenalin rush of an opener, while also being part of a triptych that couldn't introduce the album better. And they made the right decision detaching that whole segment from the rest of the intended longer suite, if it had been more subsumed into a bigger piece it might have lost some of its impact.


    So that gets my vote but I have a really soft spot for -

    Looking For Someone is a perfect acapella Introduction like Whitney's interpretation of Dolly Parton's I Will Always Love You.

    The stark immediacy of it is great (LFS that is, not IWALY). Although, to be Penelope Pernickety for a moment, it's not strictly a capella as it's voice and Hammond together isn't it? Whereas another brilliant opener, DWTMK, absolutely is an a capella opening.


    Watcher is a terrific one, but while I love D&O - it's a top 10 track for me - I think it sounds like a great album (or at least side) closer. It's one of the things that makes Three such a frustrating album for me, as the best track is at the start and the rest of the album not only doesn't regain that peak but also sinks to some deep lows.


    Lamb is a good one, a nice build-up to the epic album and evoking the bustle of NYC streets in its busyness. Volcano is a very good hail to their new phase but as I've droned on about elsewhere it's spoiled by the second half which I dislike very much. Earl is a logical opener but I don't like the track.

    Abandon all reason

  • Suddenly remembered this previous thread. By the way, not intended as a moan about thread repetition - done it myself enough - but just amused to see I haven't changed my mind since then! To the extent of more or less repeating myself verbatim, no doubt to the disapproval of Variations Enigma fans (see Media thread).


    For another kind of variation, see also this live openers thread.


    Next step: best album closers? (if not already done).


    (To get my vote in early for any possible future Best Second Track thread, it's be a tussle between Fly, Entangled, IKWIL, That's All and Tonight)

    Abandon all reason

  • Watcher is a terrific one, but while I love D&O - it's a top 10 track for me - I think it sounds like a great album (or at least side) closer. It's one of the things that makes Three such a frustrating album for me, as the best track is at the start and the rest of the album not only doesn't regain that peak but also sinks to some deep lows.

    To me Down & Out is a decent song that could have been great. The opening synths have a rather cheesy sounding quality to my ear and the song suffers from poor production. Dave Hentschel had the annoying habit of taking the sharp edges off of songs (including live songs such as on Seconds Out). I’m reminded here of a review I read one time of ATTWT in which the reviewer referred to much of the music on the album as sounding like a “muddled pudding.” In the case of D&O I can’t help but wonder how fantastic Phil’s driving drum beat would have sounded with Hugh Padgham at the controls.

  • To me Down & Out is a decent song that could have been great. The opening synths have a rather cheesy sounding quality to my ear and the song suffers from poor production. Dave Hentschel had the annoying habit of taking the sharp edges off of songs (including live songs such as on Seconds Out). I’m reminded here of a review I read one time of ATTWT in which the reviewer referred to much of the music on the album as sounding like a “muddled pudding.” In the case of D&O I can’t help but wonder how fantastic Phil’s driving drum beat would have sounded with Hugh Padgham at the controls.

    That’s looking at it with 20/20 hindsight. You’re picturing D & O with the gated drum sound, which didn’t exist yet. But I agree, ATTWT does have poor sounding production. Actually, so does W and W.

  • That’s looking at it with 20/20 hindsight. You’re picturing D & O with the gated drum sound, which didn’t exist yet. But I agree, ATTWT does have poor sounding production. Actually, so does W and W.

    With all due respect I don’t think a gated drum sound was required. There were plenty of songs by other acts at the time that had a much clearer sound than what was being produced on some of those Hentschel-era Genesis songs. Even a song like Squonk didn’t quite sound like the band intended. As Phil has pointed out, that was supposed to be their Led Zep sounding song but the recording, mixing, and production of the song failed to capture the rock sound they were looking for.

  • With all due respect I don’t think a gated drum sound was required. There were plenty of songs by other acts at the time that had a much clearer sound than what was being produced on some of those Hentschel-era Genesis songs. Even a song like Squonk didn’t quite sound like the band intended. As Phil has pointed out, that was supposed to be their Led Zep sounding song but the recording, mixing, and production of the song failed to capture the rock sound they were looking for.

    I agree with that. And also the loudness of the album is off. I have to turn the volume of these up more, compared to some of the earlier albums.

  • Mea culpa! The earlier thread predates me. I could have searched I suppose but oh well.


    2nd track: Tonight for me, though Duchess very close