TotW 12/19/2022 - 01/01/2023: GENESIS - Pigeons

  • Your rating for "Pigeons" by GENESIS 25

    1. 15 points - outstanding (0) 0%
    2. 14 points - very good (2) 8%
    3. 13 points - very good - (2) 8%
    4. 12 points - good + (2) 8%
    5. 11 points - good (7) 28%
    6. 10 points - good - (3) 12%
    7. 09 points - satisfactory + (2) 8%
    8. 08 points - satisfactory (2) 8%
    9. 07 points - satisfactory - (0) 0%
    10. 06 points - sufficient + (0) 0%
    11. 05 points - sufficient (0) 0%
    12. 04 points - sufficient - (1) 4%
    13. 03 points - poor + (2) 8%
    14. 02 points - poor (1) 4%
    15. 01 points - poor - (0) 0%
    16. 00 points - abysmal (1) 4%

    We invite you to share interesting facts and tidbits about this track. Let's look at the track in the context of the band's / the artist's history, at the music, the songwriting and all other aspects that are relevant for this track. Please do stick to the discussion of the track above. Comparisons to other tracks are okay, but remember that the other track you may be keen to talk about has or will have its own Track Of The Week thread. If you spot a mistake or if you can close a gap in the fact sheet above please feel free to contact martinus or Christian about it; we will gladly add and improve!

    GENESIS - Pigeons
    Year: 1977
    Album: Spot The Pigeon (EP)
    Working title: ?
    Credits: Banks, Collins, Rutherford
    Lyrics: Yes
    Length: 3:12
    Musicians: Phil Collins, Tony Banks, Steve Hackett, Mike Rutherford
    Played live: never
    Cover versions: ?

    Notes: With typical British humor, Genesis marked the transition to And Then There Were Three. Steve Hackett was still involved in the songs of the EP, but especially Pigeons showed that Genesis could write a snappy 3-minute song. For some fans the piece enjoys cult status, the writer of these lines enjoys the 5.1 version.




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  • Surprising, but good. To me there is some lineage with songs like Harold The Barrel, Counting Out Time... Those "funny" songs, you know.

    And I really like Phil's voice at the time.

  • I'm anticipating mainly lukewarm/negative responses in this thread but I've always liked this track. However, I don't quite see it as being part of that Genesis-trying-to-be-funny theme although I get why it seems so.

    It's certainly an oddity, no question. Banks said he started off trying to see if he could "write a song with only one note in" which obviously didn't happen but the idea survived in his one-note motif that runs through the song and is one of my favourite features. I gather the lyric is by Rutherford. I like its obsessive tone and how it conveys the notion of this guy becoming fixated on these feathered nuisances. The reason I don't place it on the same line as those more obvious thumbs-in-braces songs is that it's humorous in more of an Alan Bennett way than a sitcom way, if that makes sense.

    I love that they came up with this during the W&W sessions as it's such an outlier. That alone shows what a great band they were. And I'll take this over sodding Vine any day.

    Abandon all reason

  • An interesting oddity, which definitely would not have fit in with W&W.

    Trivia: The incorrect transcribing of "narcotize" in the printed lyrics gave us the fictitious word "knockatize"!

    We can all sleep easy at night knowing that somewhere at any given time, the Foo Fighters are out there fighting Foo.

    -- David Letterman

  • An interesting oddity, which definitely would not have fit in with W&W.

    Trivia: The incorrect transcribing of "narcotize" in the printed lyrics gave us the fictitious word "knockatize"!

    A fortuitous error which adds to the general oddness.

    Abandon all reason

  • I like it. I agree that Knocatise is at happy accident. I was disappointed when I found out that the line in Abacab was ‘There’s a hole in there somewhere’ when I’d heard it as ‘there’s a hole in the somewhere’ which seems much more esoteric to me. Anyway, nice track,

    Like the comments about the relentless note adding to the obsessive nature of the lyrics, over a jaunty, almost trad jazz rhythm.

  • Really enjoy it. It's very leftfield for Genesis, particularly of the time, which adds to the enjoyment for all the reasons everyone else mentioned. I think Phil's vocals melody is quite strong and the repeated note gives it a driving quality, though the tempo and jangly rhythm is laid back. All in all an enjoyable mix of ingredients and all the better for feeling like Genesis were pushing themselves to do something a bit different.

  • There’s a nice version recorded live at Capitol Radio on YouTube. Phil does a great job.

    I need to listen to it again and work out who is harmonising

    Thanks for the tipoff on that, i assume you mean this. It's from 1978 apparently, (Nicky Horne perhaps?) although that seems late for this song to be featuring. It's PC performing to a backing track which has the harmonies and the 'everywheeeerrre' overlaps on, using ADT on his live vocal. Yes he sounds great and so assured, it was that period when his live voice was maturing between the light angelic phase heard on Seconds Out to the fuller, gutsier (and in my view, better) form.

    The backing track seems to be the studio version, but possibly a tad slower on playback?

    Abandon all reason

  • ....and on the subject of which, this could be better placed in the Bits You Always Mull Over thread but as we're discussing this track:

    Under the final "they're everywhere" refrain and during the run-out, there are hi-hat doublets mixed very prominently differently and far over in the right channel, with a final single clash during one of the final drum fills. I only mention it as it's always really stood out to my ears and I often wondered why such a specific decision was taken to emphasise those touches in that way. They have a sort of one-man-band feel and I suppose they kind of fit the sound picture but the way they're mixed to sound a bit like an old 78 always intrigued me.

    Abandon all reason

  • Thanks Backdrifter, I was posting in a hurry yesterday and didn’t have chance to listen properly but will do later. I’ve always liked the drumming on Pigeons and could also imagine Phil sticking thimbles on to play a washboard on that one, with Rutherford wearing an orange and white striped blazer and playing a banjo. Bit of a hidden gem really, very understated.

    Whereas Match of the Day couldn’t be understated enough- but that’s also for another thread….

  • Right, just had another listen, the version I heard yesterday was edited and didn’t have the chat either side. Yes I think that bit of hi-hat is emphasised to bring out that trad jazz (Kind of Kenny Ball and his Jazz Men if anyone remembers them) feel. There is also a nod to the tiny cymbal a one man band could hit to emphasise a beat. It all adds to the juxtaposition of the jaunty background, laid back vocal sound, one note refrain and obsessive, odd subject matter. Incidentally, I’ve always thought Phil’s hi-hat technique further stands him apart from a lot of drummers, amongst his other superb talents. He has a way of using the hi hat to really syncopate a beat at times, I think especially in that Foxtrot to Wuthering era. Thinking of the little hi hat fill from The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway just a before ‘nighttime’s flyers..’ which he then adapts on the Band Aid record during the little keyboard solo. Simple, clever stuff.