Spot the Pigeon

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Spot the Pigeon
EP by
Released20 May 1977
RecordedSeptember–October 1976
StudioRelight Studios, Hilvarenbeek, Netherlands
Genre Progressive rock, pop rock [1]
Label Charisma
Genesis chronology
Wind & Wuthering
Spot the Pigeon
Seconds Out

Spot the Pigeon is an extended play (EP) from the English progressive rock band Genesis, released in May 1977 [2] on Charisma Records. Its three songs were originally written for the group's eighth studio album Wind & Wuthering (1976), but were not included in the final track selection. It was the final studio release to feature guitarist Steve Hackett prior to his departure from Genesis.


Spot the Pigeon was not released in the United States as the market for EPs never took off there, but a Canadian release was issued by Atlantic Records (the band's overseas distributor) and was imported into the US and easily available at shops that sold imports. Spot the Pigeon reached No. 14 in the UK Singles Chart. It was released on CD in 1988 but has not been reissued since; "Pigeons" and "Inside and Out" were included in the Genesis Archive 2: 1976-1992 (2000) and Turn It On Again: The Hits – The Tour Edition (2007) sets, and "Match of the Day" on Genesis 1976–1982 (2007) and on the label sampler Refugees: A Charisma Records Anthology 1969-1978 (2009). [3]


The title is a variation on the football-themed spot the ball (the cover resembles a spot the ball competition photo), replacing the word "ball" with "pigeon" so that the title links the themes of the first two songs.

Drummer-singer Phil Collins expressed his disdain for "Match of the Day" in 2004, saying, "It was also not our finest hour looking back at it now. I wrote the embarrassing lyrics and the track featured an attempt to bring some of the hipper grooves of the day into Genesis, with very suspect results." [4]

The lightweight "Pigeons" is driven by a one-note banjolele line that parodies English musician George Formby. Steve Hackett commented in 2009 that "the thing about ‘Pigeons’ was that it was possible for the band to play a whole note for a whole thing: ding-ding-ding-ding. And that was unvarying whilst the keyboard changed and [Banks] tried to do as many different chords as possible." [5]

Per bassist-rhythm guitarist Mike Rutherford, the band felt that the omission of both songs from Wind & Wuthering was detrimental, which led to attempts at making songs with shorter lengths on their next album, ...And Then There Were Three... . [6]

"Inside and Out" combines images of folk and progressive pop for what would be the last time in the band's career with Hackett as an active member. Since its 1977 release, Hackett remained adamant that the song exemplified the band’s multi-layered sound and should have been included on the Wind & Wuthering LP released in December 1976. “I think it is one of the stronger tracks that didn’t make it onto the album,” he told Vintage Rock in 2017. “I think it should have been because it has a very beautiful sound to it. Right from the word ‘go,’ it’s got that Genesis multi-jangle thing where it sounds like one guitar, but it’s a whole bunch of guitars all playing the same thing.” [5] The song was performed several times on the Wind & Wuthering tour in 1977. The first section, "Inside", concerns a man who is wrongfully imprisoned for rape. The second section "Out", is an instrumental passage that represents the man's freedom. [7]

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg [1]

AllMusic's retrospective review praised the songwriting on the EP for returning to the sound of early Genesis album Trespass , but concluded their review with: "Spot the Pigeon has never been a popular or even very accessible release in the U.S. Of course, there's a reason for this: It simply isn't very exciting." [1] The blog site commented in 2011 about "Match of the Day," stating "It's a ludicrously naff attempt at conveying the passion and commitment of a football match...There have been an abundance of terrible football songs over the years, but this has an earnest quality to it that makes it all the more offensive. How cheap does that keyboard riff sound?" [4]


The EP was reissued on vinyl for Record Store Day 2012 by Audio Fidelity again on blue vinyl playing at 33 1/3 rpm on Side A and 45 rpm on Side B. [8]

Track listing

All songs written and composed by Tony Banks, Phil Collins and Mike Rutherford, except where noted.

Side one

  1. "Match of the Day" – 3:24
  2. "Pigeons" – 3:12

Side two

  1. "Inside and Out" (Banks, Collins, Steve Hackett, Rutherford) – 6:45



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  1. 1 2 3 AllMusic review
  2. "Genesis - Spot The Pigeon". Discogs. Retrieved 31 January 2017.
  3. "Various - Refugees: A Charisma Records Anthology 1969-1978". Discogs. Retrieved 31 January 2017.
  4. 1 2 "Phil Collins and the Genesis 'Match Of The Day' song he'd rather you forgot all about". Retrieved 28 February 2011.
  5. 1 2 Reed, Ryan (20 May 2017). "40 Years Ago: Genesis' 'Pure Prog' Era Ends With 'Spot the Pigeon' EP". Retrieved 21 May 2017.
  6. Young, Jon (March 1982). "The Genesis Autodiscography". Trouser Press. Vol. 71. p. 20. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  7. Easlea, Daryl (22 April 2017). "Wind & Wuthering: Genesis look back on their boldest prog statement". Proge. Retrieved 28 January 2019.
  8. "Record Store Day 2012 releases". Retrieved 12 April 2012.