Between 1980 and 1986, the British trio Genesis released a series of four consecutive hit albums, each more successful than its predecessor by as many as five times! Two of those Genesis albums, 1981’s Abacab and 1986’s Invisible Touch , recently have significant 35th and 30th anniversaries, respectively. Because drummer/singer/songwriter Phil Collins had a parallel solo career take off during that time, revisiting the critical reviews from many respected music writers in this period assumed that Genesis guitarist Mike Rutherford and keyboardist Tony Banks unwittingly ( if not unwillingly) were somehow led by Collins in a more mainstream pop direction. However, the simple facts just don’t bear out that inference, as all three members explain below.
The title song “Abacab” ( named nonsensically after the three musical sections “a”, ‘b”, and “c” ) was nowhere near the pop mainstream. “Man on the Corner “ was indeed a hit, but in it Collins addresses the issue of homeless people and society’s reluctance to acknowledge them or, in many cases, feel any responsibility for finding solutions… not exactly your typical pop banality. “Land of Confusion” going Top Five as a single says a lot more about the changing mainstream tastes in 1986 rather than any musical agenda by the band, and the #3 hit “Tonight,Tonight,Tonight” from the astonishing 15 million-seller Invisible Touch effectively silenced any silly debate about pop vs. rock by running over nine minutes long !
Moreover , it wasn’t just Collins who was branching out: by the time his 1985 third solo album No Jacket Required made Phil deservedly a star in his own right, Rutherford and Banks had each done no less than two solo efforts apiece. Instead of siphoning off creativity and diluting Genesis of strong material, the respective solo albums clearly inspired the group to lift any self-imposed restrictions to the Genesis sound, as you will hear in this classic rock interview In The Studio. – Redbeard