On this day 42 years ago, Decca Records released a single, “Silent Sun,” by a new band, Genesis. It was the first single off From Genesis to Revelation, an album that would not be released until nearly a year later. Neither the single nor any material from that first album would resemble anything near the forms of Genesis we know and love today. The sound was less prog and more psychedelia, and the teenaged band members – lead vocalist Peter Gabriel, keyboardist Tony Banks, guitarist Anthony Phillips and bassist Mike Rutherford (there was no full-time drummer at the outset) – had much musical development to experience.
Of course, after a few years and lineup changes (Steve Hackett replaced Phillips as a guitarist, and short-lived drummer John Mayhew was replaced by Phil Collins), Genesis became a prog-rock tour de force. And then, for better or worse, they became a lean, mean pop band after Gabriel and Hackett left the fold and Collins took double duty on drums and vocals (alongside Rutherford’s balancing of bass and guitar). No matter which version of Genesis you prefer, there’s no denying that the band left a long musical legacy, one that’s nabbed them induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame next month.
The brash youngster in me first gravitated toward the MTV-ready Genesis of the ’80s, but over time I’ve come to appreciate the kind of wacky genius Peter Gabriel bought to the fore. And that genius kept shining throughout his solo career, whether he was recording screwy New Wave-esque records with worldbeat influences or orchestra-backed covers of indie-rock (that would be his most recent record, the recently-released Scratch My Back).
The oddest entries in the Gabriel catalogue, however, have got to be a pair of records released in the early ’80s and more or less unheard in America. After his 1980 and 1982 records (known either as Peter Gabriel and Peter Gabriel or Melt and Security, depending on who you ask), he released a special version of each of them in German. That’s right – there exist German versions of “Biko,” “Shock the Monkey,” “Family Snapshot,” and all the rest of the songs from those two albums. And they’ve never been released Stateside, left out of his 2002 series of remasters.
And these LPs – titled Ein deutsches album and Deutsches album, respectively – aren’t merely Melt and Security in German. There are some subtle differences throughout in the mixes, overdubs and running time of the records. So, for collector’s purposes, it may seem odd that they’ve never seen an American release (they were available on CD in Europe, and Ein deutsches album got a release in Canada as well).
So to honor the beginning of Gabriel’s music career, which began 42 years ago today, here’s a special Reissue Theory look at a hypothetical double-disc version of the pair, which I’ve simply titled Deutsches:
- Eindringling (Intruder)
- Keine Selbskontrolle (No Self-Control)
- Vorsprung* (Start)
- Frag mich nicht immer (I Don’t Remember)
- Schnappschuß (ein Familienfoto) (Family Snapshot)
- Und durch den Draht (And Through the Wire)
- Speil ohne Grenzen (Games without Frontiers)
- Du bist nicht wie wir (Not One of Us)
- Ein normales Leben (Lead a Normal Life)
- Der Rhythmus der Hitze (The Rhythm of the Heat)
- Das Fischernetz (The Family and the Fishernet)**
- Kon-Takt! (I Have the Touch)
- San Jacinto**
- Schock den Affen (Shock the Monkey)
- Handauflegen (Lay Your Hands on Me)
- Nich die Erde hat dich verschluckt (Wallflower)
- Mundzumundbeatmung (Kiss of Life)
* Original pressings of Ein deutsches album combined “Start” and “I Don’t Remember.” In this hypothetical tracklist they’re split up. German translation of “Start” is a best guess.
** These tracks switch places from their original U.S. order