"It’s almost like Benny Hill put to music": Steve Hackett reveals which song on Genesis' classic 1974 album The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway he considers "a joke"

The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway cover art with Benny Hell inserted
(Image credit: Charisma Records / TV Times)

Ex-Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett may be undertaking an autumn tour of the UK to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his former band's classic 1974 album The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, but he doesn't rate every song on the album as essential listening.

In fact, in a new interview with Vulture, Hackett admits he has always viewed the album's first single, Counting Out Time, as "a novelty single".

Though the song is officially credited to all five members of Genesis, both its music and lyrics were the work of Peter Gabriel, who had already declared his desire to exit the group. Talking to Vulture's Devon Ivie, Hackett suggests that presenting an image of a united band involved making concessions to Gabriel, their most high-profile 'face', and that he personally didn't rate the album's eagerly-anticipated first release.

"Counting Out Time was about a first sexual encounter and all that comes with that," Hackett says, "doing it by the book as if there was a manual for that sort of thing. I think the song was very much a one-trick horse".

The guitarist goes on to dismiss the song as "very much a joke or a novelty single."

"It’s almost like [of-its-time TV comedy] Benny Hill put to music," he states. "It didn’t quite make it as a single, and nobody was surprised, least of all me. I couldn’t see it becoming a hit. It didn’t have the depth of Stairway to Heaven or even any of the Tommy songs from the Who.

"It was an adolescent song or a song about an adolescent, and that’s very difficult to find an audience for, because the adolescent isn’t going to understand it and those who are grown-up are either going to get the joke or not."

Don't expect to hear the single on Hackett's upcoming tour, which kicks off at the Friars at Aylesbury Waterside on October 2 and concludes at London's Royal Albert Hall on October 23.

Steve Hackett - Genesis Greats, Lamb Highlights & Solo tour dates:

Oct 02: Aylesbury Friars Waterside
Oct 03: Portsmouth Guildhall 
Oct 05: Bristol Beacon 
Oct 06: Cambridge Corn Exchange 
Oct 07: Birmingham Symphony Hall
Oct 09: Liverpool Philharmonic
Oct 10: Cardiff St David's Hall
Oct 12: Guildford G Live
Oct 13: Stoke Victoria Hall
Oct 15: York Barbican 
Oct 16: Nottingham Royal Concert Hall 
Oct 18: Glasgow Royal Concert Hall 
Oct 19: Gateshead Glasshouse
Oct 20: Manchester Bridgewater Hall
Oct 22: Reading Hexagon
Oct 23:  London Royal Albert Hall

Tickets are available now.

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.