In 1974 the British progressive rock group Genesis released their double concept album The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. The story was described by Genesis's then front-man Peter Gabriel as a 'moral fable' about Rael, a half-Puerto-Rican New York City street tough who is engulfed by a solid cloud into a series of strange adventures in a metaphysical realm. The album is a surreal allegory drawing its material from religious, literary and psychological themes. More than thirty years after its release, The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway still enthralls listeners, earning the distinction of being Genesis's most consistently selling back-catalogue release.
Kevin Holm-Hudson analyses The Lamb within the context of Genesis's recorded output, within the progressive rock genre as a whole, and within the context of social and political changes of the mid 1970s. The Lamb marked a conscious shift in their story setting to America, and for the first time the songs were oriented to the present rather than the past or future. Significantly, while 1974 marked the peak of music industry growth and consolidation through corporate mergers, it was also the year in which America was confronted with its limits: through the first of the OPEC energy crises, the resignation of Richard Nixon, the withdrawal from Vietnam, and the effects of runaway inflation. Genesis's native Britain was also to feel the effects of the energy crisis, intensified by a period of economic slowdown that ultimately led to the rise of Thatcherism. The Lamb is set in New York City during this time of uncertainty. Within a few years the economic constraints would affect the industry as a whole and as a result progressive rock would suffer a precipitous drop in industry support. The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway thus makes a particularly rich subject for detailed study, providing compelling intersections between the musical, textual and socioeconomic aspects of an album.
Contents: Introduction:'This is the story of Rael'; 'It's the last great adventure left to mankind': situating The Lamb: 'There's something solid forming in the air': recording The Lamb; 'Counting out time': The Lamb, song by song; 'The Lamb seems right out of place': in the press and on tour; 'it': interpreting The Lamb; 'And the light dies down on Broadway': Genesis and Gabriel after The Lamb and The Lamb after Genesis; Appendix: 'Once again the stage is set for you': The Lamb tour itinerary; Bibliography: 'searching printed word'; Index.
About the Author: Dr Kevin Holm-Hudson, Associate Professor of Theory, School of Music, University of Kentucky, USA.
Reviews: 'With Genesis and The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, Kevin Holm-Hudson makes a significant contribution to progressive rock scholarship. His discussion of the progressive rock concert as theater is valuable and overdue, and his examination of The Lamb Lies Down in Broadway in the context of the cultural and economic currents of the 1970s is illuminating. His Jungian reading of the album's mythic storyline offers plausible interpretations of some of its more obscure episodes, and his discussion of its religious symbolism, its allusions to American pop culture, and its use of unifying musical elements is similarly enlightening. This is a book that no Peter Gabriel-era Genesis fan will want to be without.'Edward Macan, Author, Rocking the Classics: English Progressive Rock and the Counterculture and Endless Enigma: A Musical Biography of Emerson, Lake and Palmer'Genesis And The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway is a scholarly publication [and] is therefore a more demanding read than [other] book[s]. If you take up the challenge you will discover many new aspects about Genesis' concept album and perhaps see some songs and lyrics in a different light. Perhaps the biggest attraction of this musical gem is that you will keep finding intriguing new facets on this diamond - particularly when the very light of its own origin shines on it. ' Genesis-News.com
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