IN THE BEGINNING a few classmates got together and formed a band. Over four decades later that band finally received the long overdue recognition that loyal fans always knew they deserved. On March 15, 2010 Genesis was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
I first became a fan, as a teenager, back in the early 80s with the release of Abacab. I actually won that album at a boardwalk game of chance at the
Their music spoke to me – the melodies, the stories – and I just couldn't get enough. They became a hobby of mine. I got all their past albums, interview records, picture books, you name it – if it could be had, I got a hold of it. I spent hours admiring album cover artwork while taking in the lyrics listening to these guys.
Killing time one day back in '87, I jotted down a list of all their albums in the order in which they were released. I then decided to see if I could write down the titles of all the songs on each album – I couldn't do this today, not by a long shot, but I could back then; these were my boys and I loved everything about them. With the list before me, I wondered how many song titles I could use in writing one little story.
What you'll read below is the fruit of my labor, a fictitious letter to a fictitious cousin – song titles italicized in bold…
What's up? Yes, that's right, it is I again. How are you? I'm fine. Have you see any good movies lately? I did. The other night, me and Sarah Jane and Harold the barrel went to the cinema show. There was a double feature – Return of the Giant Hogweed and a mystery called Who Dunnit? After that we stopped at The Fountain of Salmacis for a while. Typically, Harold had many too many drinks and began reciting the Ballad of Big; but at least he didn't sing that Boy Scout fireside song like he usually does. Sarah wasn't much help either. She spent the whole night looking for someone. It wasn't too bad, though, me and Virgil, the bartender, had a nice conversation. Please don't ask me how I get into these situations.
I was sorry to hear that you've been down and out because your girlfriend broke up with you – but don't limit yourself, broaden your horizons. Like it or not, I've got to tell you that acting like the lonely man on the corner isn't going to help matters at all – you're taking it all too hard. It's gonna get better once you realize that the lady lies! Your mama always said that you have your own special way, so stop throwing it all away on everything and anything she does. True, you may be hurting right now, but keep it dark – after all, you're a man of our times. Don't let her keep you in limbo forever. Am I very wrong for telling you this? I hope not. You know one day you'll find the girl of your dreams.
Hey, did you hear we're moving? Now we have to get 'em out by Friday. We bought a home by the sea – it's our second home by the sea, actually. This one is the center house in a cul-de-sac. I still won't go swimming, though, not since that incident with the undertow – you remember. I suppose I don't really mind moving, after all, back in New York City there are constant incidents of robbery, assault and battery – that town is like a land of confusion! But still, I'm sure I'll miss the Broadway melody that you can sometimes hear during twilight as the light dies down on Broadway. Oh, I don't know, I just wish I had a place to call my own. Do you ever miss the city now that you live out in the wilderness?
Oh, remember the illegal alien I wrote you about, you know, the Brazilian? Well, we went out again and he gave me another gift – this time it was a musical box. Do you think I'm getting in too deep? Last week we went to that new club, For Absent Friends, and I felt like I was dancing with a moonlit knight. Then later, while walking home in the glow of the night, I could swear I saw a silver rainbow! You know how it is with me, entangled in romance – more fool me! Oh, did I tell you he calls me Duchess? But I don't know, in the beginning when he asked me about my feelings, I gave him no reply at all. But he's like the conqueror – he's got some sort of invisible touch on me. Yet, I'm just not sure, I mean, I know what I like, but, well, you might recall what happened after the ordeal with the eleventh Earl of Mar. I don't want this relationship to be overcome with stagnation just as the sour turns to sweet. Perhaps I should stop trying to read behind the lines – that type of thing could create a misunderstanding. I just don't know what to do. That's why I'm alone tonight writing to you instead of going out. Forget dating casually, that whole scenario is typically all in a mouse's night, just a job to do, really that's all it is. On the other hand, sometimes I feel as though I'm stuck in the waiting room of some sort of chamber of 32 doors, meandering up and down each aisle of plenty, counting out time, trying to avoid the serpent while looking for that one for the vine. But who am I kidding? What's really out there is nothing more than a grand parade of lifeless packaging – a bunch of dodo/lurker types. Maybe it's all part of some big plan, or maybe it's just a trick of the tail, who knows? But enough of that!
Thanks for those harlequin romance books you sent me. I agree with you – Visions of Angels is definitely better than Scenes from a Night's Dream. Thanks again! Hey, what did you think of Uncle Duke's travels? I can't believe that he actually climbed to the top of
I was listening to Unquiet Slumbers for those Sleepers in that Quiet Earth by Genesis. Have you ever heard of them? Anyway, it just ended so let me go and turn it on again… I'm back. I decided to put another record on instead so now I'm listening to Abacab.
I'm just noticing from looking out my window that it's nearly dusk and amidst the afterglow of the setting silent sun, mad man moon can faintly be seen while the breath from the watcher of the skies gently creates ripples that glide across the sweet, pink water of our pool. Who can deny the evidence of autumn?
Well, Cuz, I've got to go, supper's ready. We're having Domino's pizza. Don't stay in hiding – keep in touch. Talk to you soon,
PS: Did you hear about my new pet? I actually got a squonk! I heard that you got a… wot, gorilla? That's a little hard to believe! Take care. J
That letter used 106 song titles from 14 albums. So, okay, I obviously had a lot of time to kill back then. Plus, as I've been known to say, what's the point of having a disorder if you're not going to be obsessive and compulsive about it?
I'll let some other crazed fan write the returned response using post 1987 song titles and the earlier ones I didn't use – I just don't have that kind of time anymore. But make no mistake, even though the amount of free time I have may have diminished, my fondness for the band has not.
So let me say Congrats to the boys – they've come a long way since playing Upstairs at Ronnie's. Genesis – a musical REVELATION.
I know what I like…