TITLE: Selling England by the Pound
YEAR RELEASED: 1973
CHART ACTION: #70 US, #3 UK
SINGLES: I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe) (#21 UK)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Dancing with the Moonlight Knight
LINEUP: Peter Gabriel, Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford, Steve Hackett, Phil Collins
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Pop chart breakthrough for Genesis doesn’t mean they’ve gone pop.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: After staging successful tours for Foxtrot in both the US and UK, and improved record sales, Genesis was ready to take the next step commercially. After a few months of working some ideas to death, they settled on the tracks and created this album, which contained longer suites with an actual honest-to-goodness pop song (well, proggy pop song).
“I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)” was destined to be a hit in 1974, and it was deserving. It had enough progressive elements to keep fans from crying sellout, but had hooks enough for chart success. “Dancing with the Moonlight Knight” and “Firth of Fifth” are also strong instrumentally.
The star of this record to my ears is guitarist Steve Hackett, whose inventive use of distortion and tapping added some fire to the somewhat placid epics and his instrumental piece is top notch. Tony Banks’ keyboards overwhelm some of the songs at times, and the two longer songs on the second side are just overly complicated lyrically.
Overall, except for the pop success, this doesn’t break new ground. Good enough for prog fans.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Phil Collins sang “More Fool Me”, which hearkens to the softness of his solo career a decade later.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No
GRADE: B+: A great first three tracks, and some interesting bits and pieces later on.