Gabriel/Genesis writing sample submitted

I just submitted a five-page writing sample for “Experiencing Peter Gabriel: A Listener’s Companion.” I really wanted to give them something from his lengthy solo career (e.g., “Games without Frontiers” or “Come Talk to Me”), but the editor at the press was pretty keen on the complex, long, early Genesis song: “The Musical Box” (1971). So, that (from what will be Chapter 1) is what I gave them!

I used live videos on YouTube to help me practise “forensic musicology” to figure out who played what on that song. Actually, though, some significant parts of the song were composed (1969-71) by two guitarists (Anthony Phillips and Mick Barnard) who were not in the band at the same time and were no longer in it when the album was recorded (as were none of the band’s early drummers, either)! Other parts were written when the band briefly had no guitarist and instead used Tony Banks’ electric piano through fuzz effects, whereas the final version of the song has three guitarists (different from the first two!): Mike Rutherford starting on 12-string acoustic but also playing an electric bass pedal unit part of the time (before switching to electric bass), Steve Hackett on electric (initially pedally/pseudo-steel, but later very heavy), and Banks sometimes temporarily moonlighting on a 12-string acoustic rhythm instead of playing his usual keyboards. I also tracked down the related instrumental piece called “Manipulation” that was done as a demo for part of the score for a never-aired, 1969 television documentary, but not released until appearing as part of a boxed set in 2008. Oh yes, and lead singer Peter Gabriel plays a lot of flute and tambourine, and drummer/backup-singer Phil Collins has a lot of hair!

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