Genesis interviewed on The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway

Front cover

The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway is a double concept album recorded and released in 1974 by the British prog rock band Genesis. It was their sixth studio album and the last to include frontman Peter Gabriel. In the Q & Mojo Classic Special Edition Pink Floyd & The Story of Prog Rock, the album came No.14 in its list of "40 Cosmic Rock Albums". It came 9th in Uncut's "10 best concept albums", where it was described as an "impressionistic, intense album" and "Gabriel's best work". In 2012, The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway ranked fifth in Rolling Stone's "Readers' Poll: Your Favorite Prog Rock Albums of All Time". The album's dense lyrical and musical complexity is the subject of a book authored by Kevin Holm-Hudson, a professor of music theory. Holm-Hudson writes, "...The Lamb emerges as one of the richest creative works of the 1970s."


The album tells the surreal story of a half Puerto Rican named Rael living in New York City, who is swept underground to face bizarre creatures and nightmarish dangers in order to rescue his brother John. Several of the story's occurrences and places were derived from Peter Gabriel's dreams, and the protagonist's name is a play on his surname (Rael=Gabriel). In reference to the live performance of "It" (where Gabriel appears onstage with an identically dressed mannequin), Phil Collins remarked that the entire concept was about split personality. In this context, Rael would believe he is looking for John but is actually looking for a missing part of himself. The individual songs also make satirical allusions to mythology, advertising, and consumerism. The title track, "The Carpet Crawlers", and "In the Cage" are live favourites for the band. The album's artwork was designed by the art design group Hipgnosis.

Back cover

Following their Selling England by the Pound tour, the band went on retreat to Headley Grange to write and develop their next album. Used previously by Bad Company and Led Zeppelin, the band hoped living together away from other distractions would help inspire creativity and develop unity between the members. The house, however, was in poor condition and several band members had difficulty sleeping. Peter Gabriel was absent from the album's writing and rehearsal sessions due to personal problems; his first wife was having difficulties with her first pregnancy. For this reason, most of the music was written by Tony Banks, Phil Collins, and Mike Rutherford, with some contribution from Steve Hackett. Gabriel, for his part, insisted on writing the story and all the lyrics himself, which caused friction, in particular because Rutherford had originally suggested another project for the band, an album based on Antoine de Saint Exupéry's The Little Prince. Banks and Rutherford composed lyrics for "The Light Dies Down on Broadway", as Gabriel could not come up with a linking piece between "Ravine" and "Riding the Scree". In addition, when Gabriel put lyrics to a piece of music written by one of the other band members (such as Banks' "The Lamia" and Hackett's "Here Comes the Supernatural Anaesthetist") the composer would often insist on adjusting the lyrics to better fit the music, an action Gabriel did not take kindly to. "Fly on a Windshield" originally came about through a band improvisation, sparked by an idea from Mike Rutherford. Tracks like "Anyway" and "Lilywhite Lilith" were developed from earlier unused 1969 compositions ("Frustration" and "The Light" respectively) which were likely to have been group efforts. During pre-production, Gabriel was contacted by filmmaker William Friedkin (at the time enjoying success with The Exorcist), about a possible film project after Friedkin read Gabriel's short story on the sleeve of the Genesis Live album. Despite his bandmates' disapproval, Gabriel left them to work on some early script drafts. However, the project came to nothing (Friedkin instead working with Tangerine Dream to score his next film, Sorcerer), and Gabriel returned to the band.

Track listing:

Disc 1
1. The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway
2. Fly on a Windshield
3. Broadway Melody of 1974
4. Cuckoo Cocoon
5. In the Cage
6. The Grand Parade of Lifeless Packaging
7. Back in N.Y.C.
8. Hairless Heart
9. Counting Out Time
10. The Carpet Crawlers
11. The Chamber of 32 Doors

Disc 2
1. Lilywhite Lilith
2. The Waiting Room
3. Anyway
4. Here Comes the Supernatural Anaesthetist
5. The Lamia
6. Silent Sorrow in Empty Boats
7. The Colony of Slippermen
a)  The Arrival
b)  A Visit to the Doktor
c)  Raven
8. Ravine
9. The Light Dies Down on Broadway
10. Riding the Scree
11. In the Rapids
12. It

Back in N.Y.C.

The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway reached number 10 in the UK, while nearly cracking the U.S. Top 40, reaching number 41 and eventually going Gold, although it met with mixed reviews. Upon its release, Genesis went on a world concert tour, performing the album in its entirety 102 times. Opening night for the tour commenced at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago, Illinois on 20 November 1974. The final show on was 22 May 1975 at the Palais des Sports in Besançon, France. Early into the tour, Gabriel decided he would leave Genesis, and made the decision clear to his band mates, although he finished the tour amicably with the band and did not announce his severance in public until August 1975. The tour became the high point of Peter Gabriel's interest in theatrical presentation, masks and costumes, which had initially been introduced into the stage act to help his shyness and to give the band a distinctive stage feature. In addition to Gabriel's theatrics, three screens above the band showed slides to accompany the story. For the first half of the show, Gabriel dressed as Rael in a leather jacket, T-shirt and jeans, while relying on lighting and dramatic expression without the use of props or costumes. In the second half, the costumes and other visuals became much more elaborate. During "The Lamia", for instance, Gabriel was surrounded by a spinning cone-like structure decorated with images of snakes. For the last verse of the song, the cone would collapse to reveal Gabriel wearing a body suit that glowed under the stage's dark lights. 

However, the most notorious of Gabriel's costumes was the Slipperman, a naked monster covered in lumps. At the intro to the final song, "It", a huge explosion set off twin strobes, and the audience was faced with both Gabriel and a dummy dressed identically, clueless as to which was real. "It" also featured an alternate ending with Gabriel vanishing from the stage in a flash of light and a puff of smoke. Although these visuals were meant to enhance the experience, the band became frustrated with the press focusing only on the theatrical side of the show and not the musicianship. Another problem was that many fans reacted as if Gabriel was the star and the rest of the group merely his backing band. No complete performance of The Lamb was recorded, although several pieces were filmed, including some bootleg footage taken by audience members. The 5.1 DVD edition of The Lamb, released in November 2008, features a visual reconstruction of the concert, utilising all of the band's original slides from the show, some bootleg footage, and photographs. There is also a nearly-complete audio recording of the performance from 24 January 1975 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles that is available on the box set, Genesis Archive 1967–75, although it has some re-recorded vocals and guitar parts by Gabriel and Hackett. In addition, the band used a re-mixed studio version of "It", also with re-recorded vocals by Gabriel, instead of the live version of the song.

Peter Gabriel–vocals, flute, oboe
Tony Banks–keyboards (Hammond T-102 organ, RMI Electrapiano, Mellotron M400, Elka Rhapsody and ARP Pro Soloist), piano
Steve Hackett–guitars
Mike Rutherford–bass, twelve-string guitar, bass pedals
Phil Collins–drums, percussion, vibraphone, backing vocals

The Carpet Crawlers

This is the 2007 Reissues Interview with all Genesis' members on The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway album, contained in the Genesis 1970–1975 box set which was released in 2008.