TotW 05/29/2023 - 06/04/2023: GENESIS - Driving The Last Spike

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    Your rating for "Driving The Last Spike" by GENESIS 26

    1. 15 points - outstanding (9) 35%
    2. 14 points - very good (8) 31%
    3. 13 points - very good - (5) 19%
    4. 12 points - good + (2) 8%
    5. 11 points - good (1) 4%
    6. 10 points - good - (0) 0%
    7. 09 points - satisfactory + (0) 0%
    8. 08 points - satisfactory (0) 0%
    9. 07 points - satisfactory - (0) 0%
    10. 06 points - sufficient + (0) 0%
    11. 05 points - sufficient (1) 4%
    12. 04 points - sufficient - (0) 0%
    13. 03 points - poor + (0) 0%
    14. 02 points - poor (0) 0%
    15. 01 points - poor - (0) 0%
    16. 00 points - abysmal (0) 0%

    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 - Driving The Last Spike
    Year: 1991
    Album: We Can't Dance
    Working title: Irish
    Credits: Banks, Collins, Rutherford
    Lyrics: Yes
    Length: 10:08
    Musicians: Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford
    Played live: 1992
    Cover versions: ?

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    Notes: Driving The Last Spike - this is a rather unusual long song by Genesis standards. It tells a story based on hostoral lore of the building of the English railway. But unlike many other 10-minute songs, Driving The Last Spike does not contain an instrumental passage - it is a long song, roughly paraphrased, consisting of two similar songs.




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  • Definitely one of the better later tracks, and approximately my favorite piece from WCD. I rank it far above other popular tracks from the album like "No Son of Mine," "I Can't Dance," "Jesus He Knows Me," "Dreaming While You Sleep" and "Fading Lights." The way it starts taking off around the 6 minute mark is a favorite Genesis moment of mine.

    “When the waitress asked if I wanted my pizza cut into four or eight slices, I said, ‘Four. I don’t think I can eat eight.’” -- Yogi Berra

    A soldier survived mustard gas in combat, and then pepper spray from the police. He's now a seasoned veteran.

  • For me, by far, it's one of the two best songs on the album, both musically and lyrically — the other being Fading Lights.

    I agree, it stands out on that album and yes, those two are the best ones. NSOM is also not bad and I can listen to Dreaming while you sleep, the rest ranges IMO from forgettable to cringeworthy. 13 for me.

  • One of the best tracks off, for my money, a weak album. Great drumming and story telling drive this along and make it one of a trio of great tracks from this last Collins album (along with Fading Lights and No Son). The rest of the album is too bland for me and sounds a bit like the Mechanics, but this, I like.

  • I rarely do 15 here, it's got to be exceptional. I think this fits the bill. It feels much shorter than it is, it is so emotionally impactful and well-executed, and moves through the gears so smoothly that it feels like one of those songs that was excavated whole (like carpet crawlers, mama or home by the sea) rather than laboriously written bit by bit (like Epping Forest or Slippermen).

    The wistfulness at the start with the interplay between Mike's guitar and Tony's keyboard is perfect, and complements the lyrics and vocal delivery excellently. Better again, the crescendo parts where Phil sings "I can hear my children's cries, I can see the tears in their eyes... I'll never forget that night, when they waved goodbye to their fatherrrrr... We followed the rail, we slept UNder the stars" etc and the band each belting out their parts at maximum intensity. It's so powerful, about as powerful as any band could get. Overwhelming really. if they were 20 year olds making music for teenagers it would be music for the ages but they weren't, they were later career loathed-by-the-press working men doing their best and we got this diamond for the fans instead of an enduring classic. I'm so, so glad im a fan.

  • seems that I’m the only one who doesn’t love this song. I’ve tried, but it just doesn’t work for me. Quite honestly, the entire album leaves me cold. I don’t dislike it, it just does nothing for me.

    I understand how you feel about the album in general, I find it quite ''flat'' and even if Phil hadn't decided to leave, it was probably time for them to end it there, they sounded on autopilot mode. Still, I believe, it's a good song, in an album context and particularly in that album context it stands out, generally speaking, of course Genesis had much stronger moments.