Origin of “Rael”?

  • Hello all.


    I was wondering if anyone knows if Peter has ever gone on record to say how he thought up the name of the protagonist on “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway”.


    I had always just assumed that it derived from the word “real” with the vowels reversed, thus reinforcing the altered reality of the Lamb world just from the rearranged spelling. However, by accident, I just discovered that there could be another explanation.


    In the 3rd season of “Star Trek”, there is an episode called “Wink Of An Eye”. In it, there is a race called the Scalosians (who live on a planet called Scalos, quite logically); the chief male Scalosian is named Rael. I seem to remember reading somewhere that Peter and the band used to watch Star Trek. Has such a connection been suggested before and/or has Peter ever said that this was the place he got the name from?


    If this is old news to some fans, it’s news to me (if true). If he did get the name from there, that’s all he took from the episode: the plots for each are quite different. So, does anyone know one way or another? Thanks in advance.

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

  • I recall reading that he chose it partially because it didn't indicate any particular ethnicity... which seems strange since Rael is specifically supposed to be Puerto Rican.

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

  • Rael also sounds similar to the second syllable of Peter`s family name.

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  • I had always just assumed that it derived from the word “real” with the vowels reversed, thus reinforcing the altered reality of the Lamb world just from the rearranged spelling.

    I think you answered your own question. I'm sure this is the reason, succinctly put. The only other thing I'd add is that, given the name needed to scan nicely in lyrics, a one-syllable name with vocally 'safe' sound was required and Rael served that purpose.


    Even if they were Trek viewers I find it highly unlikely he'd remember a detail like that let alone seize on it for the central role in his rock opus.


    Re Shakespeare - it's certainly entertaining to imagine professional obsessives mentally contorting themselves and coming up with some rickety Lear connection. Lear carrying Cordelia's corpse becomes Rael carrying John from the river?! Maybe that's a rubber bone for them to chew on.

    Abandon all reason

  • I recall reading that he chose it partially because it didn't indicate any particular ethnicity... which seems strange since Rael is specifically supposed to be Puerto Rican.

    I remember reading that before and also noticing the same irony.


    And "Rael" is "Lear" backwards, so you can make whatever you want of a possible Shakespeare connection...

    That I have heard someone say before, but didn't know what to think of it. (Backdrifter kind of catches my thoughts on the issue below.)


    Rael also sounds similar to the second syllable of Peter`s family name.

    Now that I hadn't heard before. It could be a clipped form of "Gabriel" (w/ adapted spelling).


    I thought maybe it was the Spanish equivalent of the name Ralph, but that seems unlikely.

    That I haven't heard before and I am equally uncertain about it. ^^


    I think you answered your own question. I'm sure this is the reason, succinctly put. The only other thing I'd add is that, given the name needed to scan nicely in lyrics, a one-syllable name with vocally 'safe' sound was required and Rael served that purpose.


    Even if they were Trek viewers I find it highly unlikely he'd remember a detail like that let alone seize on it for the central role in his rock opus.


    Re Shakespeare - it's certainly entertaining to imagine professional obsessives mentally contorting themselves and coming up with some rickety Lear connection. Lear carrying Cordelia's corpse becomes Rael carrying John from the river?! Maybe that's a rubber bone for them to chew on.

    Well, in the part you quoted, I was pretty confident that was the reason for the name. It was only upon seeing the character with the identical spelling in the Star Trek episode that caused me to wonder. Then I wondered if anyone at any time had heard any kind of explanation for the name. People remembered everything I have ever heard above, in addition to the theory that I assumed was correct. I guess Peter has never given an exact accounting for his choice of name.


    Thanks to everyone for your posts! If anyone has additional insight, please feel free to offer it!

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

  • Whilst I recognised that Reel is Lear spelled backwards, the Shakespearean connection never occurred. Rather, it made me think of Edward Lear, a man known for his nonsense poems.

  • Back in the early 1980's a much older Genesis fan than myself told me that Peter had removed the first two letters from 'Israel' to come up with the name Rael.


    I don't know where he got that info from or if anyone here has heard that before??

    "She looks at me and gently smiles, as if she knew I'd ask her all the time..."

  • Whilst I recognised that Reel is Lear spelled backwards, the Shakespearean connection never occurred. Rather, it made me think of Edward Lear, a man known for his nonsense poems.


    Back in the early 1980's a much older Genesis fan than myself told me that Peter had removed the first two letters from 'Israel' to come up with the name Rael.


    I don't know where he got that info from or if anyone here has heard that before??


    Not sure if this has any connection, I've always wondered if there was, but there was a song called 'Rael' on The Who's 'The Who Sell Out' album released in 1967.


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5VnrLRo3Luo

    All this is amazing...who knew there were so many potential connections? ^^


    This just suggests to me yet again that Peter had never definitively clarified the origin. Well, maybe someday he will (or already has, but we haven't found the solid proof yet).

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