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Alternative History

When and Why Did Peter Gabriel Leave Genesis?

genesis band photo

Peter Gabriel’s new album “i/o” has been received with great fan and critical support. It’s been hailed as a return to form, a musical exploration and, even a closing of the circle on Gabriel’s impressive career. And while the artist has always strived to move forward, there are many who still fondly look upon his formative years fronting Genesis. But just why did Peter Gabriel opt to leave one of the most exciting 1970s groups at the height of its success?

Peter Gabriel Helped Found Genesis

For dedicated fans of the band, Genesis‘ story is nearly as famous as the music the group created. It all started with five young friends who were all attending the prestigious and highly conservative public school Charterhouse.

While rock music was actively discouraged inside of the prestigious institutions’ walls, it caught the ears of Peter Gabriel, Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford, Anthony Phillips and Chris Stewart. In 1967, they formed Genesis together after previously having played music together in other short-lived groups.

While initially a drummer, Peter Gabriel had become the band’s singer and focal point by the time the group released its 1969 debut “From Genesis to Revelation.” It was upon graduating that the young men opted to become professional musicians, going against the advice of their parents and teachers.

peter gabriel as a flower costume

Genesis’ Stature Grows

Genesis patiently and painstakingly built their musical chops and their stage presentation. The latter was just as important for the band’s growth in popularity and had most to do with Peter Gabriel’s vision.

By the 1970s, Gabriel’s elaborate stage costumes which included a fox’s head, a flower mask, or a British soldier, were near-permanent fixtures in the music press.

Furthermore, while all members of Genesis contributed songwriting duties, it was erroneously assumed that masterpiece albums such as “Selling England By The Pound” were nearly exclusively the work of Peter Gabriel. This, together with the band’s arduous touring schedule, helped to create tension.

Furthermore, Peter Gabriel had begun taking an interest in other media. He wrote the short story that would form the basis of the album “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway,” and took an interest in surrealist cinema such as the works of Alexandro Jodorowski.

A desire to help develop movie projects wasn’t greeted enthusiastically by the band who was not as successful and as busy as it had ever been.

Genesis Albums Ranked

Why and When Did Peter Gabriel Left Genesis

Peter Gabriel departed Genesis in 1975 at the end of their tour in support of “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway,” an album seen by many as a progressive-rock masterpiece. The singer had informed his bandmates of his decision during the earlier part of the year.

Peter Gabriel issued a report a statement in 1975 discussing the split. In typical Genesis fashion, it was titled “Out, Angels Out” and discussed his reasons for wanting to step away from the music industry for a while. “I believe the use of sound and visual images can be developed to do much more than we have done.

Richard Macphail, a frequent collaborator of the band, later said that Gabriel’s responsibility as a new father, together with a growing desire to make artistic decisions outside of a democratic partnership, contributed to the decision. In Macphail’s words, it was a sad but natural choice.

While many fans are nostalgic for Genesis’ classic line-up, which also included Steve Hackett and Phil Collins, neither the band’s profile nor that of Peter Gabriel suffered. With Phil Collins as singer, Genesis transitioned to being one of the most successful pop groups of the 1980s.

Meanwhile, Gabriel’s eccentric brand of prog-pop and world music made him an enormously successful musician in his own right. His 2023 album “i/o” has been received extremely positively. It is indeed a return to form and proof that the principles which drove the creative process in Genesis are still with him.

About author

Eduard Banulescu is a writer, blogger, and musician. As a content writer, Eduard has contributed to numerous websites and publications, including FootballCoin, Play2Earn, BeIN Crypto, Business2Community, NapoliSerieA, Extra Time Talk, Nitrogen Sports, Bavarian FootballWorks, etc. He has written a book about Nirvana, hosts a music podcasts, and writes weekly content about some of the best, new and old, alternative musicians. Eduard also runs and acts as editor-in-chief of the alternative rock music website www.alt77.com. Mr. Banulescu is also a musician, having played and recorded in various bands and as a solo artist.
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