The journey ends. Time for our Number Ones.
What else could it be? Their masterpiece, the epic Musical Box from Nursery Cryme. A gruesome fairy tale of a girl killing her playmate by whacking his head off with a croquet mallet. The boy returns in spirit and ages instantaneously to an old man, experiencing a lifetime's sexual desire in an instant. Gabriel had an old man mask in which he used to sing the closing portion in character.
Here's a link to a live TV performance which is great for observing each of the band members
Good thing this effete Peter Gabriel went to that posh school. He would have got his head kicked in at my outer London comp. But can we imagine young men of this age having the maturity and the intellectual background to be able to put together pieces of this kind of complexity, to be able to treat sexual desire in this whimsical way, if they were products of a bog standard comp? Maybe I should revisit my political beliefs on state education, just in the hope that every thirty years we might get another Genesis.
Now that I know the track well it sounds even better when I play it. I know those crescendos are coming and can feel the excitement building as they approach. It reminds me of a white water rafting experience: floating down a calm river, slowly becoming aware of the rising noise of the next rapids and you know you are about to face another raging torrent.
I still find Nursery Cryme a disappointing album after such an opener. Only Seven Stones I would choose for a general playlist. Hogweed and Salmacis have a kind of epic quality, and fanlore affection to match, but for me there is a lack of musicality which lets them down. Perhaps it doesn't matter. I should be grateful enough for the delivery of this gemstone and not mind it comes wrapped in such a tatty box. If I were to do a top twenty from my entire music collection The Musical Box would be in there. Do I have twenty songs I prefer to this one? Certainly not. Do I have ten?
One of my favourite parts, among so many, is the very last bar, a symphonic flourish which Beethoven would be proud of. Fantastic way to close.
Here's my overall list again, as posted and which I stand by for the final tallies:
1. Musical Box
2. Firth of Fifth
3. Blood on the Rooftops
4. Cinema Show
5. Mad Man Moon
6. Moonlit Knight
8. Many Too Many
9. Home by the Sea
10. White Mountain