Selling England By The Pound - 45th Anniversary

  • Last friday (12 Oct), Selling England By The Pound celebrated its 45th release anniversary




    What do you think about that album? Do you have memories from 1973, when it came out?


    This is our review:

    https://www.genesis-news.com/c…Pound-CD-review-s288.html

  • I remember a local record shop, which I walked past daily on the way home from school, having a huge poster of the cover in the window.

    Ian


    There is a church bell

    That rings on the hour

    Filling the streets

    Stopping the world awhile

  • I wasn't born yet but nonetheless, my dad played it a lot when I was little so the Firth of Fifth solo became the first recorded music I could ever remember in my life and the whole album carries a lot of earliest childhood memories for me. I was fascinated as early as being only 5 years old and throughout this fascination never faded, it kept growing. It is my all-time favourite album and it has literally (sic!) accompanied me for my whole life.

  • As with most other pre-1980 Genesis albums, I first heard SELLING after buying a full collection of past Genesis albums in one day in 1982. (The exceptions were NURSERY CRYME & FOXTROT, which I'd already heard.) And like most Gabriel-era albums, it really didn't click with me right away.


    I've now come to appreciate it as being (IMO) the best Gabriel-era Genesis album.


    BTW, I'm much easier on a couple of its songs than the linked-to review is.

    "Epping Forest" is probably my least favorite song on the album, but I still have a higher opinion of it than the reviewer does.

    And while "After The Ordeal" is unavoidably a minor Genesis song, I still consider it a nice -- even essential -- bridge between "Epping" and "Cinema." I'm glad it made the album.


    "Tony in particular called the album 'ridiculously long'. A playtime of 53:42 minutes is not impressive anymore in the CD age, but at the time it was very long."

    Odd that he would say that. Actually, SELLING wasn't much longer than FOXTROT. And Genesis continued to make studio LPs over 50 minutes all the way through DUKE. (And I'm glad they did too!) That includes Tony and Mike's first solo albums as well. And that's not even mentioning the length of LAMB...

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

  • The first album I ever bought (for £3 I think, with a birthday voucher), but a few years after its release.


    What was originally side one on vinyl is for me possibly the most perfect bit of track sequencing they ever did. And what an opener. As hinted at in the above review, DWTMK is in itself like every kind of texture and dynamic of a whole album, all in one song. The move from a capella voice to folkiness to surging articulate rock is a sheer joy. It's kind of the essence of the 5-man line-up. It does sound like the coda was a fragment looking for a home but I really like it, and enjoy how it emerges from the jazzy breakdown section. One of my favourite Genesis moments is in this song, early on. First there's a really nice, slight build-up of tension, and a great bit of vocal from PG, "wear WELLLL!" And then after "You don't give a damn", in the ghostly distance comes what I think is the first appearance of the mellotron choir, then with the "The captain leads..." a drum roll and the choir swells into full glorious effect. As a piece of rock music, it's hard to beat. The choir became something of a Banks trademark, but not in the sense that he used it a lot, in fact he was very sparing in its use but that's what made it so effective. Modern prog bands who slap it on thick all over the place can learn from that.


    That, followed by the Firth of Fifth sandwich between I Know What I Like and More Fool Me, shows why I think Genesis were leagues apart from most of their progressive rock contemporaries. No other band could come up with that mix of bite-sized catchy pop-rock, symphonic epic and gentle 3-minute acoustic lost-love ballad. Casual listeners and critics of prog always think long keyboard and guitar solos are one of the great tropes of this genre but this is another respect in which Genesis were never that sort of band, as the presence of a showpiece solo each from Banks and Hackett on the whole album emphasises that this wasn't usually their style. Hackett's FoF solo is another key Genesis moment for me, a thing of graceful economy that sounds almost like a voice. Banks's Cinema Show piece equally gives lie to the idea this was just another indulgent prog band - okay it's a long solo but like Hackett's playing it sounds like it's telling a story rather than showing off for the sake of it. When it ends, it feels like you've arrived somewhere different from where you started. I've occasionally thought the bolting-together of parts 1 and 2 of Cinema Show felt too much like a shotgun marriage but it does seem to work, and is no less jarring than some of the transitions in Supper's Ready.


    I take issue with the above review where it asserts that the mid-point of the album comprises three "weak" tracks, and in particular I can never get over how After The Ordeal is so often dismissed, in this review to the extent the reviewer thinks the track shouldn't even have been included. I've always liked the track very much and never been able to see why so many fans seem to have such a problem with it. By the way, can anyone tell me - in part 1 of ATO, does Rutherford briefly resurrect his fleeting history as a cellist? There's a cello-like texture at one point.


    Battle... hmmmm, I do think it's too long, too wordy and fiddly and it's my least listened-to track on the album. It's partly rescued by the fact I really like the 'Reverend' section, which sounds like it was a clear stand-alone piece before being stuck into the middle of a longer song. It's so good, and very different from their usual style, that I'd have loved to hear it as a piece in its own right. Battle as a whole has some amusing lyrics and character names, and underlines their knack of being able to tell a story, but it's a shame it's such a slog to get through.


    Obviously as my first ever album purchase SEBTP has a special significance for me but even aside from that it's a great album and a real sign of how they were developing. Hackett starts to establish himself and make more of a mark, everyone produces some of their best work. Given they were struggling to write it, the freshness of it and the ground they cover are remarkable. Even then, it doesn't hint much at the very different and divisive album they produced just a year later. The two albums together are for me a band hitting the peak of their game, a high point I don't think they ever reached again.


    A couple of footnotes: Neil Peart said the album was a big influence on him, and John Lennon name-checked it as one of his favourite albums of the year. Also, this thing of it having an English 'theme' tends to be a bit overstated, in my view. It's strongest in DWTMK, and there are hints of it here and there, I suppose.

    Abandon all reason

  • Well, the band in general, Peter and Tony in particular didn't want After the ordeal on the album, the only reason it made the final cut is they couldn't agree amongst themselves, particularly because Peter didn't want the instrumental bit of the Cinema Show....Go figure!

    I find the song really, really weak actually, it doesn't grate me, I don't have to skip it but I don't really feel it add something to the album. I learned to love Battle, even with all its flaws which are broadly known by the fans and acknowledged by the band it has moments of sheer brilliance. I can't be too picky with that album though, no matter what, I just love it too much and it meant a lot to me.

  • Yes I knew about the politics behind ATO's inclusion. I believe it stemmed from the usual 'factions' being PG supported by SH, and TB supported by MR, and thus TB securing SH's support for the Cinema solo by saying he'd vote for ATO (although disliking it very much and calling his own piano playing on it 'atrocious'). Gabriel must have changed his view of the solo as he said in a post-Genesis interview that two pieces he was very proud of in Genesis, even though he had nothing to do with creating them, were the Apocalypse and Cinema instrumentals.

    Abandon all reason

  • Yes I knew about the politics behind ATO's inclusion. I believe it stemmed from the usual 'factions' being PG supported by SH, and TB supported by MR, and thus TB securing SH's support for the Cinema solo by saying he'd vote for ATO (although disliking it very much and calling his own piano playing on it 'atrocious'). Gabriel must have changed his view of the solo as he said in a post-Genesis interview that two pieces he was very proud of in Genesis, even though he had nothing to do with creating them, were the Apocalypse and Cinema instrumentals.

    Cinema show solo was supported by everyone, even Steve who had little to do with it, except Peter. It was mainly a Phil, Tony, Mike jam but Steve had no problem with it. Peter was apparently getting fed up with the instrumentals. Tough break! It is arguably one of the most brilliant things the band ever produced.

    As for ATO, I find it really anonymous: the acoustic part sounds to me like a bridge in a song, something between verses and chorus, it doesn't really stand out and the second part is supposed to be soaring and beautiful, in FoF solo or Spectral Mornings fashion but falls really short but again, it doesn't irk me as much as other things they have done.

    Edited 2 times, last by Fabrizio ().

  • ATO and Battle are high spots for me, certainly compared to IKWIL and MFM.

    Ian


    There is a church bell

    That rings on the hour

    Filling the streets

    Stopping the world awhile

  • the second part is supposed to be soaring and beautiful, in FoF solo or Spectral Mornings fashion

    How do we know that? Even if Hackett himself has said that, I personally don't place any such expectation on it. It's just a nice pleasing bit of music. I do prefer part 1 though. I'm reading your critique of it and not getting it but if you don't like it, you don't like it; that much I do get.

    Abandon all reason

  • How do we know that? Even if Hackett himself has said that, I personally don't place any such expectation on it. It's just a nice pleasing bit of music. I do prefer part 1 though. I'm reading your critique of it and not getting it but if you don't like it, you don't like it; that much I do get

    Well, I don't think it's about one's expectations, you are allowed to compare it though, it's just the electric guitar carrying the tune, like in Spectral Morning or FoF in a sense. These are celebrated, whereas ATO not so much, imo rightly. Mine wasn't a critique, rather an apparently failed attempt to explain what doesn't work for me. It's not that I loathe it, I just find it sappy, nor really memorable and let's face it, it isn't what SEBTP is remembered by.

    Edited once, last by Fabrizio ().

  • My favorite album of the 5-man versions of the band. I like the whole album, even "After The Ordeal" and "More Fool Me" (the two songs I've seen the most criticism directed towards).


    I'm happy that Steve is honoring it on his next tour. 8)

    Stepping out the back way, hoping nobody sees...

  • Selling England is among my favorite albums by the band. Nevertheless, there are time when I don't listen to it at all. Sometimes it feels a bit "old", then again some ideas and tracks don't match with the standard of the others. I always thought that The Battle Of Epping Forest was awful, but I learned to accept this one as well (thanks to The Musical Box).

    Firth Of Fifth and The Cinema Show are one of two top 5 all time Genesis classics.

  • It is my favourite Genesis album, but I didn't get to know it until 1983. I have vivid memories of the time, when it came out, though. I was ten years old then and had just started my first term at grammar school. It was an intense time, because I got to know a lot of new friends and mates. I had a girl in my class, who was half Italian and who had moved from Berlin to her grandmother, because her parents couldn't take care of her for some reason. We had a very close relationship for the three years, she was there. It was something like what Steven Wilson describes in his song Perfect Life. She moved back to Berlin in 1976 and I lost touch and never heard of her again.

    First we learned to walk on water.

    Then we tried something harder.

    - Red Seven -

    Edited once, last by slowdancer ().

  • Yes, but without success. She probably got married and changed her name.

    First we learned to walk on water.

    Then we tried something harder.

    - Red Seven -