GENESIS - Duke's 40th anniversary (28th March 2020)

  • A bit late starting this thread but better late than never. "Duke" is 40 years old today!


    With the exception of "Misunderstanding" which I've never been a fan of, Duke is a wonderful album and its two associated B-sides "Open Door" and "Evidence of Autumn" are also very good tracks.


    Duke marks the point where the progressive rock and pop/art/soft rock eras of the band intersect, and as such almost every fan can agree that it's a great record.

  • Christian

    Changed the title of the thread from “Duke's 40th anniversary” to “GENESIS - Duke's 40th anniversary (28th March 2020)”.
  • An account on Twitter said it was the anniversary yesterday, and if you Google "Duke release date" it comes up as 24th March.

  • An account on Twitter said it was the anniversary yesterday, and if you Google "Duke release date" it comes up as 24th March.

    and that's something you take as genuine? Believe me, it's NOT the 24th!

    Wikipedia can be changed by anybody and "an account on twitter" surely relied on wikipedia.


    Most of release dates there are simply wrong. We have been doing quite some research together with some others to find out the accurate dates.

  • I still love the Duke album. Both sides are balanced well and it was a good thing they didn't make side 1 an entire suite of music. My favorite tracks are Behind the Lines, Misunderstanding, Turn it on Again, Duke's Travels, Duke's End.

  • And here beginneth the second chapter (as far as I'm concerned, at least). There's so much to love about this album. It was the start of the magical musical chemistry between the three remaining members of the band. It saw a more stripped down, dynamic sound from the group with a lot of space, allowing the songs to breathe more easily. What else? Well, it was a hugely important album for Phil, being, by his own admission, the first Genesis album he'd truly had time for in a while. He really stepped up to the plate with this record, both as a writer and as a vocalist.


    Mike sounds much more comfortable in his role as guitarist, developing a style that greatly suits the new direction of the music while Tony is already starting to move towards a less busy style of playing. Of course they'd take this economical style a step further with the next album but everything - the more accessible style, the change in audience, the great commerical success and more frequent radio airplay - begins with Duke.

  • Can't add much more to what has already been said above. Obviously, one of the band's truly great albums, and the first which solidly proved that they had made the right decision to continue as a trio (ATTWT is fine, but one can't help but think that that album would have been a bit better had Steve Hackett still been in the band; no such baggage with "Duke").


    1980-1983 is one of my very favorite eras of the band's entire history; that era began with "Duke".

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

  • A significant album for me as it was the core of my first ever Genesis gigs - I went to two on that tour. The first was just before the album's release so apart from TIOA I didn't know any of it. It was exciting hearing completely new Genesis material at a gig and Duchess in particular made a huge impression on me. It remains the standout track on Duke for me, there is simply nothing else like it in their canon. The layered sound, the beautiful ambience of it - there's so much going on but not in a fussy way, everything comes together in a deceptively simple way.


    There are 3 tracks I don't care for and never play (Heathaze, Alone and Please) but I like everything else, which is pretty good for a fairly long 12-track album.


    I agree with much of the previous comments. While some can't help thinking ATTWT would've been better with Hackett still around, it's a blind alley to go down. I think we'd have got more in the Trick/W&W mould and the band would've had little impetus to go in other directions. Whenever Hackett had left, if it was after the W&W follow-up, we'd still have got a 'difficult' transition album but in 1980, and I somehow feel the timing wouldn't have worked as well as the 78-80 period. I reckon Hackett leaving when he did created for them the optimum moment to start the solo stuff, let PC sort his personal stuff, and have everything fall into place for Duke to be as great as it is.


    I agree you hear MR really stepping up to the role of lead guitarist, TB going down a simpler route and PC's vocals really coming into their own. At this stage his singing emerged from the lighter softer feel of before and gained a pleasingly rougher edge while still being able to go lighter when necessary. He contributes his first full credited songs and has a new surging confidence - and we now know he already had the material for his first album, which no doubt fed into this. Sad though his marriage breakup was, he had some closure and could move on, also a factor.


    His drumming is also the best it had been to that point. It's full of joy and energy, especially on Travels. His work remained solid after this but Duke is the last time it had that happy fluid quality before they did simpler sparser music.


    Duke really needed ATTWT to have happened as it did in order to be Duke.

    Abandon all reason

  • Although a fan of Genesis since 1977, Duke's Tour was my first Concert. I would say that it's the last great Prog Album of theirs.

  • Over the last few months I have been writing an occasional blog about Genesis, based on well-known bootlegs. I don't for a minute claim that the blogs say anything that would be unfamiliar to longtime Genesis fans. The blog about the Duke tour, which I have just uploaded, is a bit different, however. Duke was the first Genesis album to be released when I was actually a fan (I was thirteen at the time). Some of what I have written is therefore a bit more of a personal perspective. Those bits may be of interest to anyone else who was around at the time. I have pasted them below. If you're interested in reading the full thing (as I say, I am not claiming to say anything new), it's here: London 1980: Genesis Bootlegs


    What I thought as a young lad ...


    Forty years on I look back on these years — 1978 to 1980 — as a time of transition, a staging post on the journey to the brave new world of commercial success. Duke continues along the more accessible path mapped out by And Then There Were Three. But both albums also contain more than a few moments for even the most diehard fan of ‘old’ Genesis to savour — extended instrumental passages, soaring choruses, lyrical references to maidens fair and foul. An alluring mixture of familiar fragrance and flavours strange, you might say.


    But it didn’t feel like that at the time — at least, not to this young fan. It actually felt like a huge and hugely unwelcome change of direction. It was as if they were forsaking their roots. Selling out.


    Even the artwork — the cartoon figures, the childlike scrawl of the lyrics — reinforced these thoughts. It was all a bit too lightweight, too direct, too commercial. I avoided the new single (Turn It On Again), unlike my friend and fellow compulsive record-buyer Dave. Also a Genesis fan, he was generally more open-minded about chart music than I was. I probably picked up Duke, belatedly and grudgingly, a few weeks after its release.


    And then, as Genesis transformed themselves during the early-‘80s, I took refuge in Foxtrot, Wind and Wuthering and the rest, leaving my doubts about Duke to fester and grow. To this day Duke strikes me as the weaker of the two ‘transition’ albums, a judgement more to do with the overall sound than with the quality of particular songs. Where Tony’s lush keyboards on And Then There Were Three wrap the listener in a warm embrace, Duke tracks such as Alone Tonight, Cul-de-sac and Heathaze sound colder and thinner to this (untrained) ear.


    On this I am doubtless in a small minority. Genesis fans generally seem to regard Duke with huge affection. It was certainly a big seller at the time. Tony himself describes it in Chapter and Verse as his favourite album. Only relatively recently — perhaps after finally buying a copy of Tony’s A Curious Feeling five or so years ago, perhaps a little earlier — have I really made an effort to listen to Duke with fresh ears.

  • I'm not so convinced you're in a small minority in preferring Three out of the first two trio albums. But personally I do think Duke is superior in every way - better songs, better overall sound. It's interesting isn't it, how people hear things differently - to me Three isn't warm and embracing at all, although the 07 remaster is a huge improvement on the tinny top-end sheen of the original. Whereas I absolutely do find Duke fuller and warmer sounding (your examples are my two least favourite tracks on it).

    Abandon all reason

  • I'm not so convinced you're in a small minority in preferring Three out of the first two trio albums.

    It was a very impressionistic comment that I made. Just a sense I get from hearing and reading stuff over the years. In particular, there's a long thread on this site about ATTWT. I remember reading through the comments and being struck by how many people were critical of the album.


    I absolutely agree with you that we all hear things differently. We also all hear music in different circumstances and contexts. My affection for ATTWT is probably tied up with the fact that it was the first Genesis album that I heard as a young lad. It was music for grown-ups but it was also accessible enough for me to get into. By the time I heard Duke, on the other hand, I was heavily into all that 'classic' '70s stuff, so Duke felt like a let-down.

  • My affection for ATTWT is probably tied up with the fact that it was the first Genesis album that I heard as a young lad.

    I get that, although it was the first new album they released after I became a fan a year or so before and that hasn't ever engendered any affection for it. (W&W wasn't new but was the most recent album when I became a fan, and it too hasn't worn well in my affections). Maybe in that sense it mirrors your experience in that Duke was their first new release for you and it was disappointing.


    After what was to me a very unsatisfying album, Duke felt like they were turning a corner, in a positive way. Perhaps after losing Hackett and trying to regroup while still a bit unsettled, then following the watershed of Banks and Rutherford's first solo work and the resolution of Collins's marriage woes - and who knows, maybe even feeling the start of a new decade - Duke reflects a new energy.


    From what I've read here, despite as you say a number of negative views I think Three for many fans symbolises the fading vestiges of the more whimisical primary-colour progginess of their work - an aspect which thankfully disappeared completely by the time of Abacab, but to which those fans cling and which gives them a certain regard for Three.

    Abandon all reason

  • DUKE was the album that got me into Genesis. I consider it the last great Genesis album and the best album by far from the 3-man lineup. I don't recall what I thought of ABACAB when I first heard it, but in retrospect I consider it and all the albums that follow it (even though I do like them) to be a fairly big step down from DUKE.

    The Seat Bunny!

  • Very interesting discussion. I discovered both albums more or less at the same time, and both oddly on vinyl. I remember loving the big artwork on both, in particular trying to decipher what was going on in the ATTWT artwork, with the little river of light.


    I liked them both, but I'm with Backdrifter in preferring Duke. There were certain tracks on ATTWT I was obsessed with for a while - Down and Out (which is still one of my favorite genesis tracks), Undertow and Snowman. Fairly quickly though, that lush sound Diogenes refers to began to sound more like dull production and a lack of focus. It's all a bit wooly. And I found the lone attempt at an epic in Lady Lies one of their lesser epics... to be polite. I also found over time the album started to sound very unambitious. With Duke there's a sense of something bigger lurking under the surface, no doubt because of the suite which was broken up and runs through the album.


    But if there's one thing I've noticed with being on different genesis groups over the years, it's that there is room for every taste! Wasn't there another poster recently who's favorite track of all was Man on the Corner? I think the capacity of their catalogue to accommodate such varied opinions is a big part of their enduring appeal.

  • Have to say that over the years Duke has possibly become my favourite album and certainly i am guessing the most played. For me it seems to have survived the test of time and every track has something going for it. Also think that Phils vocals were at their best around this time

  • I was 18 and a massive Genesis fan since ATOTT I had all their albums and looking forward greatly to the new release. ATTWT was great , I loved it. It was my birthday about two or three weeks after the release of Duke so so was hoping / expecting to get it as a present, which of course I did. . In the meantime another freind of mine bought it on release day. His words were " it's good but it's not Genesis!" I'd heard TIOA on the radio thought it was ok but a bit too poppy. .When I listened to Duke I had similar thoughts to you but there were bits I loved straight away. Duchess, MOOT , Guide Vocal, BTL intro ,Dukes Travels , Dukes End.. It didnt take long to start really liking TIOA but the album stayed hit and miss with me for a quite a while. Never did and still don't care for Misunderstanding. It was the first G song I didn't really like. I also thought PDA and AT should have stayed on PC album. However for some reason I played it quite a bit and it grew on me more and more. It's not right at the top of my list but is probably my second most played album . Really like PDA and AT now. Cul De Sac and Heathaze are the sort of the thing that I like most but have never gotten into them that much , but nice in context.

    So although the album was initially a bit of a disappointment to me , I now think it's great. I rank it midway amongst the G albums but still ATTWT edge it between the two. In hindsight It would have been very boring for Genesis to.have continued as they were . I can't see how they could have bettered or kept up with the standard they set in their previous style. Duke was a breath of fresh air. Truly great artists change and develop over time ( The Beatles, David Bowie) and in Genesis's case , it worked.

  • I also thought PDA and AT should have stayed on PC album.

    Except that Mike wrote "Alone Tonight," not Phil. ;)


    Songs I liked right away were TIOA, BTL, Duchess, MOOT and even Misunderstanding. I had to warm up to most of the rest over time (especially Tony's songs). Of all Genesis songs, PDA has made one of the longest leaps from my not liking it very much to liking it a lot.

    The Seat Bunny!