As both the last Genesis album featuring Peter Gabriel as the lead singer as well as a double-sized concept album, The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway has long been feted as the best Genesis album.
This is where I admit that even during my proggiest of prog days, I never fully loved any Genesis album from start to finish, even this one, which isn’t to say that I don’t totally love the Drifters-quoting title track.
One of the most muscular songs in their repertoire, “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway,” starts with an instantly catchy Tony Banks keyboard riff which slowly builds into a stop-time part where Gabriel dramatically sings:
And the lamb
Since I’m a sucker for 1) songs that start with the word “and,” 2) songs that start with their chorus and 3) songs that knowingly reference other songs, “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway” instantly pushes three of my buttons before it even really gets going.
With Steve Hackett playing an almost hard-rock guitar riff throughout, Banks sticking to a relatively straightforward keyboard part and Michael Rutherford & Phil Collins staying steady, “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway” gives Peter Gabriel plenty of space to set up the rest of the album.
Which is fine. But for me, it’s really more about how weird it felt back in the late 70s that English art-rockers would so explicitly reference an old 1960s soul song. They were supposed to refer to classical, or maybe jazz. But The Drifters? That was actually weirder than Mussorgsky.
“The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway”
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