Genesis - Turn It On Again - The Hits

Year of Release: 1999
Label: Atlantic Records
Catalog Number: 83244-2
Format: CD
Total Time: 75:17:00

What's the selling point for a collection of hits by mega-hit band Genesis? What's the selling point for any greatest hits package for any band? Well, most will add a few new tracks to make the product attractive; others will include rare or extended versions. In the case of Turn It On Again it is a re-recorded version of "Carpet Crawlers," which originally appeared on The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway.

This wasn't a necessary release, and though I haven't read anything, one wonders if the album was released to support the new "Carpet Crawlers" or if that track was added to sell this release. The track was originally planned for The Genesis Archive 1967-75, as I understand it (see the interview clip with Steve Hackett on the Genesis website). A greatest hits package often signals the end of a band's career (though there are exceptions, of course; Fish, for but one recent example). Certainly, Genesis don't have to put together a package to sell themselves - even if they "can't dance, can't sing," they can fashion hits. So, the biggest question is why.

Most of the hits come from the post-Gabriel, post-progressive era of Genesis, which shouldn't surprise too many fans. Gabriel is represented by the classic "I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)" and that redo of "Carpet Crawlers." New vocalist Wilson is also only represented by a single track, "Congo" (again, not surprising). So, if you hated the post-'80 Collins era, then this isn't for you.

Some of the more annoying hits are here; "I Can't Dance," for example. But fortunately no "Illegal Alien." But, some of my personal favourites from the Collins era are here - "Turn It On Again," "Follow You, Follow Me," "Misunderstanding," "Abacab." I'm finding more appreciation for "No Son Of Mine" in listening to it here.

So how does that new version of "Carpet Crawlers" compare to the original? Well, the arrangement is more lively, more 90s - closer to the Peter Gabriel of today than the Gabriel of '74. But, also sounding distinctly like Genesis without the pop trappings. The production is clearer, but then the hardware has advanced in the intervening 25 years. It hasn't changed so much that diehards are going to complain about fiddling. All the elements that were there in the original are enhanced, making the recording more dynamic. The added sonic effects enhance the atmosphere of the track. This is the highlight track of the album and makes it worth hearing - unlikely that they'll release this as a separate single, as it would kill the album's sales.

If you are just discovering Genesis via Calling All Stations, this would provide a good overview of the recent past, but don't stop going back further into the catalog. There may not have been "hits" from this period ('68-'73), but some of Genesis' best progressive material is there. My personal favourite is Nursery Crime.

[June 2007: A limited tour edition has been released by EMI to coincide with the band's 2007 European tour. This special edition is 2CDs and includes the following tracks not on the version reviewed here: Tell Me Why, Illegal Alien, No Reply At All, Keep It Dark, Man On The Corner, Duchess, Many Too Many, Your Own Special Way, Afterglow, Pigeons, Inside And Out, A Trick Of The Tail, Counting Out Time, Happy The Man, and The Knife (Part 1). Plus, you'll find a different track order; and new artwork, as well. -ed.

Turn It On Again (3:48) / Invisible Touch (3:26) / Mama (5:18) / Land Of Confusion (4:45) / I Can't Dance (3:59) / Follow You, Follow Me (3:58) / Hold On My Heart (4:37) / Abacab (4:12) / I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe) (4:04) / No Son Of Mine (5:44) / Tonight Tonight Tonight (4:28) / In Too Deep (4:58) / Congo (4:02) / Jesus He Knows Me (4:16) / That's All (4:24) / Misunderstanding (3:11) / Throwing It All Away (3:49) / The Carpet Crawlers (5:38)

Tony Banks - keyboards
Phil Collins - drums, vocals
Peter Gabriel - vocals, flute (9, 18)
Steve Hackett - guitars (9, 18)
Mike Rutherford - bass, guitars
Ray Wilson - vocals (13)

From Genesis To Revelation (1969)+
Trespass (1970)
Nursery Crime (1971)
Foxtrot (1972)
Live (1973)
Selling England By The Pound (1973)
Lamb Lies Down On Broadway (1974)
Wind And Wuthering (1976)
Trick Of The Tail (1976)
Seconds Out (1977)
And Then There Were Three (1978)
Duke (1980)
Abacab (1981)
Three Sides Live (1982)
Genesis (1983)
Invisible Touch (1986)
We Can't Dance (1991)
The Way We Walk: The Shorts (1992)
The Way We Walk: The Longs (1993)
Calling All Stations (1997)
Turn It On Again - The Hits (1999)
Archive #1 (1999)
Archive #2 (2000)

The Genesis Songbook (2001) (DVD/VID)
Live At Wembley Stadium (2003) (DVD)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin UK

Added: February 1st 2000
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 1663
Language: english


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