|"Watcher of the Skies"|
|Single by Genesis|
|from the album Foxtrot|
|Released||6 October 1972|
3:42 (single version)
|Label|| Charisma/Phonogram (UK)|
|Songwriter(s)||Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, Steve Hackett, Mike Rutherford|
|Producer(s)||David Hitchcock of Gruggy Woof|
|Genesis singles chronology|
"Watcher of the Skies" is the first track on Genesis' 1972 album Foxtrot . It was also released as the album's only single.
The title is borrowed from John Keats' 1817 poem "On First Looking into Chapman's Homer":
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;
The song was frequently used to open the group's live performances and features as the first track on their 1973 live album Genesis Live . The song opens with a Mellotron intro. According to Tony Banks, the introductory section was intended to take advantage of idiosyncrasies in the tuning of the Mellotron model he was using at the time:
It was intentionally melodramatic to conjure up an impression of incredible size. It was an extraordinary sound. On the old Mellotron Mark 2 there were these two chords that sounded really good on that instrument. There are some chords you can't play on that instrument because they'd be so out of tune. These chords created an incredible atmosphere. That's why it's just an incredible intro number. It never sounded so good on the later Mellotron.
The two chords in question are Bmaj7/F# and C#/F#. [ citation needed ] played over a pattern of sustained organ chords. Following the vocal sections of the song, there is an unusual polyrhythm part, where the staccato riff changes to 8/4 time, played against a Mellotron/organ chord part in 6/4.The long keyboard introduction crossfades into the main ensemble section, which features a prominent single-note staccato pattern in a 6/4 time signature (reminiscent of the 5/4 rhythmic pattern from "Mars" in Gustav Holst's The Planets suite)
The lyrics were written by Banks and Mike Rutherford during a soundcheck for a gig in Naples. While they were surveying the deserted landscape of the airfield where they were rehearsing, they wondered what an empty Earth would look like in this state if surveyed by an alien visitor. The lyrics were influenced by the Arthur C. Clarke 1953 science fiction novel Childhood's End (as were Pink Floyd's 1972 "Childhood's End" and Van der Graaf Generator's 1976 "Childlike Faith in Childhood's End"). The science fiction characters Watchers also influenced the lyrics.
It opened the band's shows during 1972–74 and (in abridged form) remained a staple in the band's live set into the 1980s. In later years, it has been played in a medley following the track "It" (from 1974 The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway ), as can be heard on Three Sides Live (1982). The song was never performed with lyrics after Peter Gabriel's departure.
During performances, Peter Gabriel wore bat wings on the side of his head, glowing UV make-up around his eyes, and a multicoloured cape.
The song was re-recorded in 1972 in a radically altered and shortened single version. This version was re-released in 1998 as part of the Genesis Archive 1967–75 box set.
The song title was used in naming of the tribute album Watcher of the Skies: Genesis Revisited (1996) by ex-Genesis member Steve Hackett. On the album, the lead vocal was provided by John Wetton. In the liner notes to the album, Steve Hackett wrote:
I remember pushing the band to acquire a Mellotron back in the '70s and, luckily, King Crimson had one to spare at the time – the 'Black Bitch' I think they called it on account of it always breaking down ... This song alone was a strong reason for re-approaching the early material – from Phil's inventive morse code rhythm to Tony's momentous introduction which always sounded best in Italy's Palasports – an aircraft hangar type of rumble ideally suited to spacecraft impersonation.
The song was played live during the Foxtrot, Selling England by the Pound, The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway , A Trick of the Tail , and Three Sides Live tour encores.
The song was performed live by Phish at the 2010 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony on 15 March 2010 at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York City. The band also performed "No Reply at All" after Trey Anastasio's induction speech.
Genesis are an English rock band formed at Charterhouse School, Godalming, Surrey, in 1967. The band's most commercially successful line-up consists of keyboardist Tony Banks, bassist/guitarist Mike Rutherford and drummer/singer Phil Collins. The 1970s line-up featuring singer Peter Gabriel and guitarist Steve Hackett was among the pioneers of progressive rock.
The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway is the sixth studio album by the English progressive rock band Genesis. It was released as a double album on 18 November 1974 by Charisma Records and is their last to feature original frontman Peter Gabriel. It peaked at No. 10 on the UK Albums Chart and No. 41 on the Billboard 200 in the US.
Anthony George Banks is an English musician, songwriter and film composer primarily known as the keyboardist and founding member of the rock band Genesis. Banks is also a prolific solo artist, releasing six solo albums that range through progressive rock, pop, and classical music.
Nursery Cryme is the third studio album by the English rock band Genesis, released in November 1971 on Charisma Records. It was their first to feature drummer/vocalist Phil Collins and guitarist Steve Hackett. The album received a mixed response from critics and was not initially a commercial success; it did not enter the UK chart until 1974, when it reached its peak at No. 39. However, the album was successful in Continental Europe, particularly Italy. At approximately 39 minutes long, it is the shortest studio album by the band to date.
Foxtrot is the fourth studio album by the English progressive rock band Genesis, released on 6 October 1972 on Charisma Records. It features their longest recorded song, the 23-minute track "Supper's Ready".
Genesis Live is the first live album from the English rock band Genesis, released in July 1973 on Charisma Records. Initially recorded for radio broadcast on the American rock program King Biscuit Flower Hour, the album is formed from the recordings of shows at Free Trade Hall, Manchester and De Montfort Hall, Leicester in February 1973 during the band's tour supporting their fourth studio album Foxtrot (1972).
Selling England by the Pound is the fifth studio album by the English progressive rock band Genesis, released in October 1973 on Charisma Records. It reached No. 3 in the UK and No. 70 in the U.S. A single from the album, "I Know What I Like ", was released in February 1974 and became the band's first top 30 hit in the UK.
A Trick of the Tail is the seventh studio album by English progressive rock band Genesis. It was released in February 1976 on Charisma Records and was the first album to feature drummer Phil Collins as lead vocalist following the departure of Peter Gabriel. It was a critical and commercial success in the UK and U.S., reaching No. 3 and No. 31 respectively.
"Supper's Ready" is a song by the band Genesis. A recorded version appeared on their 1972 album Foxtrot, and the band performed the song regularly on stage for several years following this. Live versions appear on the albums Live at the Rainbow recorded in 1973, Seconds Out recorded in 1977, the compilation Genesis Archive 1967–75, and the box set Genesis Live 1973–2007. A reworked version also appears on Steve Hackett's 2012 album Genesis Revisited II and its accompanying live albums Genesis Revisited: Live at Hammersmith and Genesis Revisited: Live at Royal Albert Hall.
Please Don't Touch! is the second studio album by English guitarist and songwriter Steve Hackett. It was released in April 1978 on Charisma Records, and it is his first album released after leaving the progressive rock band Genesis in 1977. Hackett had released Voyage of the Acolyte (1975) during his time in Genesis. For his next solo release he recorded in the United States and hired various guest artists, including singers Randy Crawford, Richie Havens, and Steve Walsh, drummers Phil Ehart and Chester Thompson, bassist Tom Fowler, with Van der Graaf Generator violinist Graham Smith.
The Musical Box are a Canadian tribute band formed in Montreal, Quebec in 1993 who recreate performances by the English rock band Genesis during the 1970s. The current line-up is formed of singer and performer Denis Gagné, guitarist François Gagnon, bassist Sébastien Lamothe, keyboardist Ian Benhamou, and drummer Bob St-Laurent.
"I Know What I Like " was the first charting single by the rock band Genesis. It was drawn from their 1973 album Selling England by the Pound. The single was released in the UK in February 1974, and became a minor hit in April 1974, when it reached number 21 in the UK Singles Chart.
"Dancing with the Moonlit Knight" is a song by the progressive rock band Genesis. It was released on their 1973 album Selling England by the Pound. The song was originally going to be titled "Disney".
"Firth of Fifth" is a song by the British progressive rock band Genesis. It first appeared as the third track on the 1973 album Selling England by the Pound, and was performed as a live piece either in whole or in part throughout the band's career.
"The Knife" is a song by progressive rock band Genesis from their second album, Trespass (1970).
"Get 'Em Out by Friday" is a rock epic on the 1972 album Foxtrot by British progressive rock band Genesis, lasting eight and a half minutes. It also appears on their 1973 live album. The lyrics were written by lead singer Peter Gabriel.
"A Trick of the Tail" is a song by the progressive rock band Genesis taken from the 1976 album of the same name. It was written by the band's keyboard player Tony Banks.
"The Musical Box" is a song by English progressive rock band Genesis, which was originally released on their third studio album Nursery Cryme in 1971. The song is written in the key of F# major. This song is the longest song on the album at 10 minutes long.
"Can-Utility and the Coastliners" is the fourth song on Genesis' fourth album, Foxtrot, released in 1972. "Can-Utility and the Coastliners", written mostly by guitarist Steve Hackett, is based on the legend of King Canute, who supposedly ordered the seas to retreat to mock the sycophancy of his followers. An early, longer version of the song found its way into pre-album live sets ; known as "Bye Bye Johnny" or "Rock My Baby", it featured an extended instrumental section in which the Mellotron string sound dominated.
The A Trick of the Tail Tour was a concert tour of the United States, Canada and European countries by English rock band Genesis. This was the first tour after Peter Gabriel left the band, and the only one with Bill Bruford on drums.