Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Watcher Observes From A Distance

Gabriel Bows Out of RRHOF Genesis Induction

To be snubbed or not to be snubbed. This is the conundrum facing the former members of Genesis, as they ponder the band’s upcoming induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – assuming their rightful position amongst recent or upcoming inductees/rock ‘n roll legends Abba, Madonna and The Dave Clark Five. Prog fans worldwide have groused over the years, complaining about the obvious lack of a progressive rock presence, as if bands like Genesis, King Crimson, Yes, ELP, etc., had never existed or didn’t really sell all those millions of albums and influence millions of musicians back in the glory days of 1969 through 1975. The Hall of Fame snub wasn’t really surprising, considering the American rock ‘n roll “intelligentsia” (if such a thing is even possible) led by Rolling Stone magazine founder Jann Wenner never really got Progressive Rock in the first place – thus, consigning it to illegitimate bastard/stepchild status among musical genres through predominantly negative reviews in his magazine. Until now. As Prog fanatics rejoice, merrily donning capes and prancing around their mellotrons in a fit of celebratory intoxication, there is still one snub yet to be snubbed. Seems former Genesis lead vocalist Peter Gabriel, lead singer – now a portly, white-haired and goateed gent – has decided to skip the induction ceremony, claiming he’s too busy planning his upcoming tour. For those not familiar with the history of Genesis, Gabriel left the band in 1975…a time when many claim the band had reached an artistic peak with their immense concept masterwork The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. Gabriel then jumped ship, embarking on a long (and extremely slow-moving) yet highly respected solo career. This forced the band to morph, mutate and eventually become the polar opposite of its earlier quirky, groundbreaking, Gabriel-led incarnation – a slick, MTV-friendly ‘80s hit-making machine. Ironically, Gabriel himself scored a huge hit right around the same time with So…an album that itself contained several chart-topping hits. But along the way, Gabriel seems to have distanced himself from his old band mates. It's as if he’s protecting his artistic “street cred” by disassociating himself with the band he once fronted whilst donning bat wings, old man masks, and red dresses among other dramatic special effects – all to reinforce the unique fractured fairy tales put to classical rock music that Genesis had created in the early-‘70s. Now, nothing pisses of Prog fanatics more than an artist becoming an apologist for his former work…as if admitting, “Yeah, the critics were right and it was all just a bunch of crap back then…” Not that this is necessarily Gabriel’s intent with his Hall of Fame snub. When all is said and done, he was only with the band for about seven of its 20-something years of existence. And let’s face it – the casual fan on the street probably remembers Genesis more for Invisible Touch than for Nursery Cryme anyway. So, come time for the big induction ceremony, band mainstays Phil Collins, Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford will most likely be joined by former members/guitarists Anthony Phillips and Steve Hackett for the big bash. Prog will finally be represented in these hallowed halls, gaining at least some critical respect, albeit a bit late in the game…but respect nonetheless. Yet, the guy who really helped lead Genesis to its historic progressive heights – the singer whom most fans fondly remember as fronting Genesis at its legendary creative peak – is passing on the party. The 800-pound gorilla in the room, conspicuous by his absence. Seems the Watcher would prefer to observe these festivities from the sidelines.

2010 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees: ABBA, Genesis, Jimmy Cliff, The Hollies and The Stooges. Also being inducted this year as individual recipients of the Ahmet Ertegun Award will be David Geffen and songwriters Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil, Ellie Greenwich, Jeff Barry, Jesse Stone, Mort Shuman and Otis Blackwell. The ceremony will take place on March 15, 2010 at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City.


  1. Two bands I would love to see get in ....
    Yes and XTC ........ both have influenced so many musicians....and both well deserved

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  3. Totally agree...just wonder which Yes would show up!