TotW 02/15/2020 - 02/21/2020: GENESIS - The Return Of The Giant Hogweed

  • What do you think about "The Return Of The Giant Hogweed"? 19

    1. 15 points - outstanding (2) 11%
    2. 14 points - very good (6) 32%
    3. 13 points - very good (-) (6) 32%
    4. 12 points - good (+) (3) 16%
    5. 11 points - good (1) 5%
    6. 10 points - good (-) (0) 0%
    7. 09 points - satisfactory (+) (1) 5%
    8. 08 points - satisfactory (0) 0%
    9. 07 points - satisfactory (-) (0) 0%
    10. 06 points - sufficient (+) (0) 0%
    11. 05 points - sufficient (0) 0%
    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 - The Return Of The Giant Hogweed

    Year: 1971
    Album: Nursery Cryme
    Working title: unknown
    Credits: Banks, Collins, Gabriel, Hackett, Rutherford
    Lyrics: Yes
    Length: 08:09
    Musicians: Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, Steve Hackett, Mike Rutherford
    Played Live: 1971, 1972
    Cover versions: (?)

    Notes: This track features some Hackett tapping and was an early live favorite. It never was played live in later years and somehow remains a dream of the past - but how do you like it?
  • (Might want to check the running time, I'm sure it's over 8 minutes)


    This is firmly in the category of Genesis tracks I liked as a teenager still exploring and discovering their music, but which I abandoned once I'd settled into my fandom, if that makes sense. I reckon I probably haven't listened to it since the 80s, except for when I got the 08 remaster.


    Don't get me wrong, I don't think it's especially bad or anything, it's just not what I choose to listen to when I want to hear Genesis. There's stuff in it I like, such as the intro with its lovely deftly intertwined guitar and keyboard lines. Along with the confident drumming, the track does show how the arrival of Collins and Hackett had lifted the band to a new level. There's also the thunderous chords at the end, which along with the big exultant ones at the end of Salmacis marked a big step in the development of the Genesis sound.


    I always liked Gabriel's rasping delivery of the line "They all need the sun to photosensitize their venom!" *


    I have some affection for it but, as I say, it's just not on my radar.


    Broadcaster Danny Baker loves early Genesis and especially this track, and when interviewing Rutherford in about 2004 he asked if they toured again would they play it. MR laughed and said "God, no!"


    (* photosensitize goes on my list of words I love in Genesis songs along with undinal, unifaun, garlic and capsule)

    Abandon all reason

    Edited once, last by Backdrifter ().

  • Yowza, Genesis goes heavy metal! That's certainly what I thought when I first heard it back in the day. Steve Hackett is all over this song like beans on toast, the duel between keyboards and guitar at the start of the song becoming something of a signature sound for the band. And the tapping technique that Steve pioneers on this song would go on to be a staple of heavy metal in years to come.


    How about that? You're only just joined the band and aready you're an innovator!


    The bass and the drums lock in and, musically, this is one of the most together pieces of music the band ever wrote. It all ends with Tony's doomy and dramatc chords and the listener has to take a few deep breaths before turning the record over.


    I gave it a '13' simply because Gabriel's vocals tend to ruin the thing for me. Like Watcher Of The Skies, it's just got far too many words, giving the song a claustrophobic sound that doesn't really appeal.

  • I love it, it’s among my favourites.

    Hogweed matches the power of the Knife and then exceeds it by keeping me captivated right to the end, unlike the Knife which, for me, loses momentum shortly after its intro.


    The solos are interesting. Steve produces some unique sounds – I detect Fripp’s influence here. It’s one of Steve’s best showcase moments within the band.

    I also really like the interplay between the guitar and keyboards throughout.


    Thoroughly enjoyable.

    I don't think it's among my Top 10 Genesis tracks but it is almost certainly in my Top 15.

  • Steve produces some unique sounds – I detect Fripp’s influence here

    He definitely modelled his look on Robert Fripp: beard, glasses et al. I remember Phil saying that his sound was similar to Fripp's but, as Genesis couldn't afford Fripp, they made do with Steve!


  • Musicians: Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford

    Last time I checked I thought I could make out Steve and Peter too though you have to listen carefully. They're buried somewhere in the mix, it's hard to track them... ;)


    I love this song. I didn't like it when I heard it for the first time as a kid but it grew immensely on me, it has become one of my all-time Genesis favourites. Regarding song writing this has to be one of the rare songs I cannot make out any of the five as predominant, they all contributed their share.

  • I want to add that I like the jaunty flute line, and the lovely scansion, shape and sound of "They are immune to all our herbicidal battering". (To briefly jump bands, see also - and I think foxfeeder will appreciate this - XTC's "portable Sony entertainment centres").


    Though I have to chuckle at the emphasis-mangling of "bo-ta-ni-cal"

    Abandon all reason

  • A nicely oddball track that has really grown on me (no pun intended). The amusing wordiness of the verses is a plus to me, especially given how Pete manages to put two whole verses' worth of smoothly-sung lyrics to that downright insane melody. The instrumental mid-section is amazing as well... it truly evokes a sense of some toxic, noxious weed.


    The live version is actually even better in some ways, particularly with Pete's yell at the end -- GIANT HOGWEED LIIIIIIIIIIIVES!!

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

  • one of the rare songs I cannot make out any of the five as predominant, they all contributed their share.

    That's true of most of the stuff on the underrated Nursery Cryme album, IMO, especially the three longtracks. A tight band with the egos firmly under control yet. Hogweed may be more repetitive than Musical Box and Salmacis, but the "dance" section and the great, great ending more than compensate. I like all three versions of the track, studio, live and revisited.

  • I want to add that I like the jaunty flute line, and the lovely scansion, shape and sound of "They are immune to all our herbicidal battering". (To briefly jump bands, see also - and I think foxfeeder will appreciate this - XTC's "portable Sony entertainment centres").


    Though I have to chuckle at the emphasis-mangling of "bo-ta-ni-cal"

    Indeed I do! ;)


    14 from me, this track, along with musical box, fountain, and For absent friends, make this, to my ears, a better album overall than Foxtrot.

    Ian


    There is a church bell

    That rings on the hour

    Filling the streets

    Stopping the world awhile

  • You see, we've argued over Steve and his contribution, but after all that, it seems, you DO get it. And the same is true of Phil, he certainly lifted the drumming within the band over past efforts, not a huge ask, I know, but also did so for rock, and prog, in general. Writing is not the be-all and end-all of a bands output, particularly if you concede that the border between composition and arrangement can be a very blurry line.

    Ian


    There is a church bell

    That rings on the hour

    Filling the streets

    Stopping the world awhile

  • The arrival of Collins and Hackett made such a difference, especially Collins but it's clear from NC that Hackett, however marginal he may have been portrayed (including occasionally by himself), did make an immediate impact. But for me the biggest change came with Collins's arrival. John Mayhew entered the band as a sole outsider and did his best. But PC's innate talent and flexibility made huge inroads from the start and Hogweed is a good example of that.

    Abandon all reason

  • 12 points. One of the stronger of their early days, but still there are far better tracks on Trespass, Nursery Cryme and Foxtrot. So 12 points are accurate, I think.

  • Love this one, especially the Genesis Live version. It creates a strong atmosphere, superb musicianship, without being too clever and a powerful vocal performance. Nice bit of humour, loads of drama in a little bit of Victoriana - what's not to like?

  • You see, we've argued over Steve and his contribution, but after all that, it seems, you DO get it

    I believe the disagreement stems from my stance on Steve being very much a marginal contributor versus the opinion that he was an integral part of the writing team. I have, however, always acknowledged his pioneering of two techniques of playing in Genesis (and music in general) and what a major achievement that is.

  • 13 from me - hugely enjoyable atmospheric Victorian melodrama with suitably wacky lyrics (leaning somewhat towards The Day Of The Triffids) and excellent interplay between keys and guitar, powerhouse drums, great rasping vocals from Gabriel - add to that their powerful and energetic live version with Gabriel's microphone stand abuse at the end and what's not to like?