on January 4, 2003
Lamb Lies Down on Broadway is an incredible achievement of artistic ambition and serious musicianship led on the heals of five very talented head strong men all thinking that they knew what direction the band should go in. The end result is something so confusing to follow yet strangely exciting that people will be listening to it for many years to come wondering about it's mystery just as one wonders about the Mona Lisa's smile. Of course the musicians involved have no answers themselves. The new blend of musical ideas such as Eno-esque soundscapes (Brian Eno actually worked on this album), incredibly inventive drumming by Phil Collins; Peter Gabriel pushing his voice to new arenas of sound (he never sounded better before or since) making each character and emotion have it's own voice; Tony Banks creating amazing keyboard passages that rank with anything that Keith Emerson had ever done; Steve Hackett, always under used but always finding just the right phrase to add to put a song to the top; and Mike Rutherford played great bass throughout the album (check out: In the Cage). The theme of Lamb Lies Down on Broadway itself seems to be too much of an enigma but the bottom line is that it is about the inner turmoil of a young NY punk trying to get it together. There are liner notes in the CD further explaining the story, but you need a magnifying glass to read them and even if you do have good eye sight you still may not see what the hell is going on. But since when in art are you supposed to figure it all out at once. The music is more the focal point anyway- the songs work well individually and as well as collectively baring (at times)the theme. For me the first disc has always captured my attention a bit more than the second. We start out with a manic piano diddle that swirls around until it comes down at hits you "and the lamb... lies down... on broa-wo-adway.." Guitar riffs tripping down Rael's voice is heard- he's a kid that hears all the sounds sees all the sights and is working towards sensory overload. The song works almost like a Bob Dylan type observational song. You get that through this he becomes alienated from his surrounding. As the songs continue the alienation and confusion take more of a hold and they are expressed with such eloquence both in the clarity of the phrasing and the utter babble of the lyrics. The irony is that as degenerately abstract as the first disc gets the second disc is complete madness. The music is all over the place (the chamber was most definitely in confusion), yet there is a sense of cohesion here as well as passage. The songs lend to each other a complementary feeling making the music feel like a '67 Coltrane solo without sounding like one. Which all leads to what Coltrane was trying to talk about, "what is "it"?". In summation Lamb Lies Down on Broadway is better than anything that has been done in the last 30 years (of course that's my opinion), the album is all about alienation and they didn't have to say the word once (take note radiohead). The music is still extremely vibrant and vivid sounding like it was created today- and explains the turmoil of dealing with modern times very well. Genesis never made an album like this before or after. Peter Gabriel left the band after this and made some terrific solo albums but never captured what made Lamb Lies Down on Broadway so alluring and ambitious. Genesis moved on to make some very beautiful albums (that made it sound like L.L.D.o.B. never happened) basically Trick of the Tail sounds like a follow up to Selling England by the Pound. I recommend this to anyone regardless of musical preference who wants a good intellectual challenge and to be highly entertained.
To coincide with the Genesis tour, EMI Records will be re-issuing 14 Genesis studio albums in three stages during 2007. All the releases will be SACD/DVD double disc sets featuring newly re-mastered 5.1 surround sound and stereo mixes. The release schedule is as follows:
March 2007: A Trick Of The Tail (1976), Wind & Wuthering (1977), ...And Then There Were Three...(1978), Duke (1980) Abacab (1981)
June/July 2007: Genesis(1983), Invisible Touch(1986), We Can't Dance (1991), Calling All Stations(1997)
Late 2007/Early 2008: Trespass (1970), Nursery Cryme (1971), Foxtrot (1972 ), Selling England By The Pound (1973), The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway(1974)
on July 2, 2001
A curious one, this. A mass of contradictions. A sprawling, pompous prog-rock concept album packed with taught, snappy tunes. A showcase for the virtuoso musicianship of this most British of progressive bands, but featuring some of the most awesomely tight ensemble playing you will hear this side of a Bartok string quartet. This was the sort of music that punk rock was invented as an antidote for, and yet its obession with the phenomenology of inner city street life was two decades ahead of its time (rap is still going down the same graffiti-strewn alley today).
The story behind the stylish, surrealistic lyrics is that of Rael, a young Puerto Rican graffiti artist on the streets of New York, who finds himself catapulted into a symbolic underworld (a sort of Jungian Hades) where the meaning or possibly the meaningless of his former street life is played out in a series of surreal cameos involving a cloning (The Grand Parade of Lifeless Packaging), religion (Carpet Crawlers), various sexual urges and anxieties (The Lamia, The Colony of Slippermen, The Doktor, etc.), disorientation (The Chamber of 32 Doors), and death (Anyway, The Supernatural Anaesthetist). The final message about saving one's own self through self-sacrifice is almost but not quite religious, and its curiously cautious optimism does not at all clash with the rest.
This was the last album Genesis made with Peter Gabriel as principal lyricist and vocalist, and the last but two featuring the astonishing Steve Hackett (now a successful solo artist in his own right) on lead guitar. Provided you can cope with the odd few minutes of self-indulgence it ranks as one the band's best albums. It certainly contains some of the best playing and one of the best studio productions of their career. In fact many would see it as the high point of Genesis' career as a real rock band (i.e. before it became a matching accessory for Phil Collins' solo career).
A particularly interesting feature of "The Lamb" is how modern it still sounds. Apart from a few cheesy moog noises that clearly date the work to the days when synths were an exciting novelty, it is all tasteful and clean. The rhythm section of Collins and Rutherford shows an almost uncanny rapport - they seem to work better together than on some much later cuts, while Gabriel's vocals and lyrics are a good advert for the stellar solo career that was about to be launched.
As usual it is Banks who provides the matrix that holds everything together - one of the enduring mysteries of rock is why his solo projects never quite gelled with the record-buying public. The classically trained keyboard virtuoso provided much of the unique quality that set Genesis apart from other progressive bands in the seventies, and that keeps their early material sounding fresh and challenging today, viz. a grasp of musical architecture. They knew how to use space, different instrumental textures and compositional structure in a way that no other rock band ever equalled let alone surpassed.
To me and to many others, the band's subsequent inch-by-inch descent into the swamps of adult-orientated radio rock is one of the great musical tragedies of the late 20th century. "The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway" is not perfect and is arguably not their best album. Nevertheless, in this mixture of good and average, punk and classicism, indulgence and discipline, experimentation and pop, "The Lamb" captures everything that almost made Genesis the greatest rock band ever. And as with all true classics, much of sounds even better now, nearly 30 years on, than it did on first release.
Released in 1974, The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway is THE magnum opus in the Genesis catalog. A sprawling and impenetrably dense concept work, this double album saw Peter Gabriel pulling out all of the stops in the concept department. Interestingly enough, the album was an attempt to move away from fantasy matter and take on a more modern subject which, in this case, involved a Puerto Rican juvenile delinquent named Rael who had a split personality. As an aside, Mike Rutherford initially suggested that the band use the story of The Little Prince as the concept for the album, but Peter felt it was too much like "prancing around in fantasyland". I for one am glad they went in the direction that they did.
Peter's story mixes Rael's recollections of his home in New York with images of a nightmarish world populated by colonies of hideously deformed Slippermen; the deceptive and wily Lamia that are part female/part snake; blind "seers"; factories where people are "made"; and most importantly, Rael's alter ego "brother" John. Ultimately, the differences in Rael's split personality are reconciled at the end of the album, as he saves John (Rael) from certain death in the raging rapids of a large river. Rael is surprised as he pulls John from the river only to find himself staring at his own face. Peter referred to the Lamb Lies Down on Broadway in interviews as his version of a "Pilgrim's Progress", and was ultimately a "transformation" story. Sound intense? Trust me, it is.
The music itself is proportionally intense and features classic Genesis workouts with pieces like In the Cage; The Colony of Slippermen; and the mind-numbing complexity of Riding the Scree. In addition, Genesis wrote very experimental tracks such as the Waiting Room (which was alternately titled "Evil-jam"). Although there are some tracks that may seem like filler, I feel that every single note on this album is absolutely essential. In general, the performances by Steve Hackett (guitar); Tony Banks (Hammond Organ, piano, mellotron, ARP Pro-soloist and 2600); Mike Rutherford (bass, 12 string acoustic); and Phil Collins (drums, backing vocals) are simply breathtaking.
The sheer length of the album stemmed from the length of the lyrics themselves. In fact, it got to the point where the band would finish recording the music, only to have Peter ask them to write more to fit with his additional lyrics. When Peter was finally done writing, he went into the studio and recorded his vocals over all of the music - much to the shock of the band. Based on what I have read, it was assumed that a number of sections were going to be instrumental, so when lyrics appeared everywhere, they were a little irritated. I admit that I have to agree with them. In fact, the medley of the album performed during the 1976-1977 tours (entitled "Lamb Stew") included instrumental versions of certain tracks and the vocal-less tracks were very powerful, especially Fly on a Windshield.
When the album was released, Genesis played it in its entirety to an audience that was expecting concert favorites like Watcher of the Skies and Firth of Fifth - as you can imagine they were completely baffled. To make matters worse, Peter's vocals were sometimes unintelligible, especially when he was wearing the Slipperman costume - apparently he could not get the microphone close enough.
Sadly though, this album was to be Peter's last performance with Genesis and also marked the end of the classic Genesis period.
This album is very highly recommended along with Nursery Cryme (1971); Foxtrot (1972), Selling England by the Pound (1973); and the 1967-1975 box set, which includes a live version of the Lamb recorded at the Shrine Auditorium.
on March 14, 1999
The Lamb was simply the ultimate piece of work for the art rock generation of music that was written in the late '60s and early '70s and should rate about 10 stars. It belongs in a category all its own. As a former professional keyboardist who could copy virtually anyone, I found many of Tony Bank's riffs and solos way beyond my own capabilities (especially the intro to the title cut), although I could follow all the changes in time signatures that were always an old Genesis trademark. ( A real true credit to Mike Rutherford and Phil Collins and their extraordinary talents.) The only music you can really compare this CD to are the prior Genesis albums from Trespass through Selling England by the Pound since their style was so unique. Each of these outstanding works got significantly better & better with each release -- and then there was the Lamb. This experience completely blew away everything they did before, and was released right at the end of the art rock era that began with the Beatles Sgt. Pepper. In 1973/74, the technology was still relatively new and artists were free to experiment, experiment & experiment more. This particular piece of work was the perfect culmination of art and technology at a time when experimentation was still encouraged. As you listen to each of the songs with a keen ear, you can feel that the music perfectly follows the detailed story and lyric lines. The synthesizer solo in The Raven sounds exactly like a bird flying. In the next measure after Peter Gabriel sings "and I'm hovering like a fly -- waiting for the windshield on a freeway," you can't help but to feel that SPLAT at about 60 MPH followed by Rael's next transformation -- visions of such people as "Howard Hughes in blue suede shoes, smiling at the majorettes smoking Winston cigarettes." The solo in The Lamia -- you can visulize those beautiful creatures in that enticing pool. You can see Rael riding that scree based on the musical composition & arrangement of instrumentation. The Grand Parade of Lifeless Packaging? Well listen to it -- it sounds like you are on a factory floor -- and you just need a fuse! I could go on & on with similar examples. After over 20 years, this is still unquestionably my favorite album/CD, and I immediately go into a trance state whenever I hear any part of it. I just cannot see how anyone will ever put anything out that is better from an artistic standpoint. The story -- the lyrics -- the music -- the technology. It was perfect. Too bad it was not a commercial success because the band was very good in those early days, and emphasized their complex classical influence. No other band could come close in regard to this classical influence. The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway is unquestionably their best work -- they matured at that point in time -- and sometimes I believe that Peter Gabriel left after this album was completed because he knew there was no way it could get any better creatively. All of them were absolutely phenominal musicians and artists, and Phil Collins was the perfect backup singer for Peter. I just wish I would have known about Genesis when they did the concert tour for The Lamb. I would have BEEN THERE -- in every city!!
on April 29, 2009
English art rockers Genesis released their seventh (and lone double studio) album entitled The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway in November of 1974.
The album was created at a time where tensions in the band were astronomically high. Lead singer Peter Gabriel was going through some personal and professional problems while this album was being created (his daughter was born prematurely and uncertainty if his daughter would live (luckily she survived), his failed attempt at a filmscript and his bandmates were angered that Peter was more concerned about his family than the band (in later years, all the members would become parents)).
Despite the on-going tensions in the group, Gabriel created one final masterpiece with Genesis before he left the band in May of 1975 after the tour in support of The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway where the band did the WHOLE DOUBLE ALBUM live start to finish (only The Who and Pink Floyd were other bands of the era that played whole albums start to finish in their set, let's see Britney Spears or any pop fool try it).
The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway was a concept album about a Puerto Rican kid named Rael whom falls into a netherworld known as New York and struggles to find himself throughout the course of the album. Some of the many standouts on this album are the title cut, "In the Cage" (arguably the best song on the album and was resurrected for the 2007 tour), "Back in NYC", "Counting Out Time" (released as a single but flopped), "The Carpet Crawlers" (a concert staple for many years and resurrected for the 2007 reunion tour), "The Chamber of 32 Doors", "The Lamia", "The Colony of Slippermen" and the closing track "It".
The album's other tracks "Fly On a Windshield", "Broadway Melody of 1974", "Cuckoo Cocoon", "The Grand Parade of Lifeless Packaging", "Hairless Heart", "Lilywhite Lilith", "The Waiting Room" (a great instrumental from the same band who would later write "I Can't Dance" and "Hold On My Heart"), "Anyway" (whose roots go back to pre-Hackett and Collins era Genesis musically), "Here Come the Supernatural Anaesthetist", "Silent Sorrow in Empty Boats", "Ravine", "The Light Dies Down On Broadway", "Riding The Scree" and "In The Rapids" are no filler as well and are great songs though some fairweather Genesis fans may think these tracks stink.
I first discovered this album in early September of 1997, when I picked up a used cassette copy (would buy the remastered CD two months later), and I was shocked on how excellent it really is and is today one of my Top 20 favorite rock albums of all time.
Unfortunately Peter Gabriel left after the tour in support of this album and eventually guitarist Steve Hackett would quit as well in late 1977.
The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway peaked at #41 in early 1975 and would eventually go Gold in the US over time proving that people were willing to give pre-1980s Genesis a chance after discovering the band in the 1980s.
In November of 2008, Rhino/Atlantic re-released the album as a 2-CD/1-DVD set. The album was painstakingly remixed by engineer Nick Davis in stereo for excellent sound (kind of like what was done to The Who catalog in the 1990s). The new mixes are AMAZING and I hear things in the new mixes that I have not ever heard before. The DVD was in 5.1 and had an excellent slide show with the album and interviews with band members and an appearance on French television in 1974. In March, 2009, Virgin/EMI re-released the 2008 mix of the album as a 2-CD set. Those who have the box and get annoyed with sliding the CDs in and out of sleeves should get a backup copy in case the discs were badly destroyed from sliding in and out of sleeves.
This new mix of Lamb is recommended!
on February 17, 2000
When this album was realesed in 1974, an authoritative italian magazine called it 'elefante bianco', white elephant, inside the number of albums released that year. This means a real gem in confront with the average quality of the music of that period. Progressive rock was ending its era, punk was beginning to impose, old rockers (rolling stones, van morrison, who) weren't at the top of their creativity, Bruce Springsteen hadn't released 'Born to Run' yet. In this scenario 'The Lamb...' exploded like a unusual, modern, creative piece of music. Call it progressive, or simply rock, this is one of the best albums of the last 30 years. All from the band were at the top, particularly Peter Gabriel, who wrote all the words. Only one sad thought about this. It's the last Genesis album with the strongest line-up. The progressive rock schemes were too rigid for the two distinct sides of the group, Gabriel and Collins. The first moved to create a personal and artistical succesful style, Collins imposed himself as a money machine drifting to more easy-listening pop songs. Genesis released another dozen of albums after this one, but they never reached the same level.
on October 20, 1998
This was singer/flute player Peter Gabriel's final album with Genesis, and boy did he go out on a strong note! The lyrics are almost all his, while the wonderful, brilliant music was a group effort by keyboardist Tony Banks, bassist/guitarist Mike Rutherford, guitarist Steve Hacket, percussionaist/back-up singer Phil Collins, and Pete. The lyrics tell a surrealistic urban adventure story, and Pete's synopsis is printed in the notes. Not only is this Genesis' only all-studio double album, but it is an opera and it was performed as such when on tour. While it did not sell as many copies as Pink Floyd's _The Wall_ (also a double disc rock opera, performed as such on tour), it is as great a musical achievement, and just as much a classic. Like other great Genesis albums, there is a full range of sounds, moods, styles, tempos, rhythms, vocals, and instrumental passages. Tony sounds like Rubinstein on the Steinway grand piano, and like Rick Wakeman (Yes) on the ARP synthesizer, but really he sounds like Tony Banks throughout -- a truly gifted composer/arranger and keyboard wizard of the 20th century. On "The Waiting Room," an instrumental piece, you might easily mistake Genesis for Chinese folk musicians; you sometimes get the idea that there's no limit to their musical abilities. There are exciting rock anthems (title track, "Back in NYC," "It") which get your blood pumping, your spine tingling, and your spirit soaring. There are soothing melodies which can bring you to tears ("Hairless Heart"). Even if you don't understand the lyrics and the story that they tell, they still work together with the music to provide you with a thrilling, entertaining, spiritual experience. If you are in the mood to hear something different and interesting, then listen to this album.
on October 13, 2003
"The Lamb", Peter Gabriel's last album with Genesis, is a progressive rock classic, a (slightly padded) surrealist concept album telling the story of New York street punk Rael and his journeys in the underworld. This is one of those albums that at first listen has you going "what's so great about this?", but with repeated listenings, becomes a favorite. Genesis' playing isn't as showy as prog-rock peers like Yes and ELP (the only virtuoso musician is drummer Phil Collins) -- and as a result early Genesis takes a few listens to get accustomed to -- but the songs are just as original and musical.
The album ranges from great singles like the title cut and "The Carpet Crawlers" to the menacing "Back in N.Y.C." (which foreshadowed the rage of punk, but in 7/8 time), the teen-lust "Counting Out Time" (compare the lyric with Richard Thompson's "Read About Love", written 15 years later), a soulful "The Chamber of 32 Doors", and great instrumentals like "Fly on a Windshield", "Hairless Heart", and "Riding the Scree". "In the Cage" became a highlight of Genesis' live show for years to come. Steve Hackett contributes some nice guitar solos on "Fly on a Windshield", "The Supernatural Anaesthetist", and "The Lamia", while Tony Banks provides some of his best keyboard solos on "In the Cage", "The Colony of Slippermen", and "Riding the Scree". The band didn't really have enough material for a two-record set, and so the second half is padded with instrumental filler ("The Ravine", "Silent Sorrow in Empty Boats", the openings of "The Waiting Room" and "The Colony of Slipperman"). "Lilywhite Lilith" is a reworked excerpt from the early Genesis piece "The Light".
(1=poor 2=mediocre 3=pretty good 4=very good 5=phenomenal)
on November 28, 1999
I suppose that only someone who truly loves or hates a C.D. would take the time to write one of these reviews. I bought my first copy of The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway in 1975. After wearing out two double-sided LPs, one eight track and a recorded cassette copy of the Lamb, what a joy it has been to listen once again to this remastered edition on C.D. It has been over 10 years since I have last listed to this music and I thought that I may have grown tired of music that could be classified as "70s electronic keyboard with over complicated lyrics." I have rediscovered that this music is a refreshing today as it was back in the mid 70s. Gabriel's vocals are truly magnificent and Tony Bank's keyboards are phenomenal. Like people, bands grow and change and so was the case of Genesis. However, it is this album that I consider to be their finest. Back in NYC, Anyway, The Carpet Crawlers, The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, Riding the Scree .... It's all here in peak form. My family has recently undergone a sort of a Genesis revival as my 7 and 9-year old sons have come to enjoy many of the early Genesis CDs. Is there a genetic component to musical preference? Who knows, but I can think of no better way to celebrate the 25th year anniversary of the Lamb than to literally bring the Lamb to Broadway in the form of a Broadway performance. But I think that I will have to sit back and dream about such a performance. Unless Peter, Tony, Steve, Mike or Phil read reviews of their former albums and become inspired. Because there is only one group of musicians who could perform the story of Rael.
on December 17, 2007
This is my absolute favorite album of all time. It is the ultimate "Stranded on a desert Island" album because every time I listen to it, I hear something new. I can't wait for the 2008 Remix of it!!!!
Most reviews I see here try to explain this album and re-tell the story of the album over and over again...We all know the general idea. Let's face it, only Peter Gabriel knows what the album is truly about, and he is not here to back me up, SO I WILL NOT ANALYSE IT! I will just explain why I love it!
The average listener of rock music often overlooks Genesis...I don't know why? Maybe it is because they got so popular in the 80s and 90s? It really depresses me. I feel I have been put on this earth to spread the "good word of Genesis" and remind (if not INTRODUCE) people to the earlier Genesis albums and how brilliant they were. One friend of mine bought this album on a whim after hearing me mention it in passing and fell in love with it!
This is music to provoke thought. It is NOT SPOONFED to you. You have to think about it, which is why most people probably overlook Prog rock in the fist place. Mike Nesmith from the Monkees made a very intelligent statement once..."People just want to dance to music anymore," they don't really care about musicianship and awe-inspiring playing!
I feel that Genesis always get slighted when Prog Rock is mentioned. YES and Crimson and ELP always get most of the credit. Though, they are great bands that all have their own style and respective creativity, Genesis, I always thought, were the standouts! The playing, the drama, and the incredible personalities of this group are what make them the BEST> I love (Bill Bruford era) YES and early King Crimson, but I don't think they can hold a candle to GENESIS. Every Yes album sounds the same, until they went poppier, too. I felt as though they never moved on...Close to the Edge sounds a lot like Fragile and The Yes Album; Time and a Word sounds a lot like "YES" and so on...
Each Genesis album progressed to the next level..."Trespass" sounds gothic, Nursery Cryme sounds Victorian, Foxtrot sounds majestic, Selling England sounds very classical, The Lamb is dark and brooding..., Wind and Wuthering is romantic, Abacab is stark and rough, and so on....
Each song sounds like it is placed perfectly within each Genesis album. A track like "Whodunnit" can be compared to something like "The Waiting Room" because they are experiments in atmoshpere and sounds. Being a musician, Genesis always have fascinated me with their writing.
This album is the apex of their creativity!
As far as I am concerned, everyone should own this album and LOVE IT! I know that is a little far fetched, but it truly is incredible music...NOT FOR THE CASUAL LISTENER> TRUE MUSIC HEADS ONLY!!!!!
A MASTERPIECE THAT SHOULD BE PUT IN A TIME CAPSULE AND DUG UP IN 2000 YEARS and STUDIED!!!!!!!
Thanks to Genesis (Then and now - because I love EVERY ERA of Genesis, not just the Gabriel period)for making consistantly great music....I will always worship you guys!!!