Peter Gabriel firmly recollects exactly what was in his mind when he outlined the story for the album.
“It was intended to be an intense story of a young rebellious Puerto Rican in New York who would face challenges with family, authority, sex, love and self-sacrifice to learn a little more about himself. I wanted to mix his dreams with his reality, in a kind of urban rebel Pilgrim’s Progress.”
He also believes that the band tackled the project in a strong frame of mind. “Musically, there was a confidence and assurance about what we were doing as writers and as players.”
Mike Rutherford was surprised how well the album had held up when listening to it as Genesis prepared their 1998 box set Genesis Archive 1967-75.
“I was impressed with how energetic and alive it sounded. It wasn’t dated, except for one or two bits. The Lamb… was a key album for us.”
Photographer Robert Ellis, who has just published the book The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway – The Ultimate Record (http://www.repfoto.com/indexbookgenesis.php6), feels The Lamb… almost to be a work in progress.
“I think it’s an unfinished masterpiece. They would have liked to spend more time on it. I especially thought the last side could have been better. You hear at some points that they were rushed. They are really proud of their album, really supportive of it, but they feel individually that it should have been better. You won’t get them to admit it, but you feel it.”
However, Steve Hackett is now able to step back and simply enjoy the listening experience.
“I can just enjoy it as a piece of music. And it’s fantastic. It was a clever album. Lots of great keyboard work. Not so many opportunities for the guitar to shine. But where it does, I think it’s interesting.”
Armando Gallo, author of Genesis I Know What I Like (now an interactive app/book for the iPad http://bit.ly/genesis-ipad-app) vividly remembers his reaction when he first heard it.
“When I played the album I immediately felt that this was the New Genesis. The band had been recording and touring for the past four years, leaving behind four great albums where their musicianship and songwriting skills has improved with each LPs. By the time Selling England… came out, it was clear that the band had five songwriters and now, with The Lamb…, these five musicians did cast the line into new rivers of creative imagination.”
Alan Hewitt, author of A Selection Of Shows Genesis & Solo Live Guide 1976-2014, is a little ambivalent.
“I have always found the storyline to be completely obscure and deliberately so. Musically it does contain some of the band’s best work, the title track and In The Cage for starters, but like its counterpart in Yes’ catalogue, Tales From Topographic Oceans, there is a lot of padding in it too. I can appreciate just how far ahead of the game the band were in terms of stage presentation, etc. But even so, it will never sit in my top five Genesis albums.”
But Rutherford still feels there might be more to come from the concept.
“It hangs over us. It’s a piece that would be great to try and develop, to make it a live show on the stage.”
Below: ROBERT ELLIS,REPFOTOS