Clockwise from left: Banks, Collins, Hackett, Rutherford, Gabriel
Genesis is a winning formed in . The band's notable former members include and , both of whom achieved additional success as solo artists and in other ventures. With approximately 150 million albums sold worldwide, Genesis is one of the top 30 highest selling recording artists of all time. The band is widely known for two distinctly different musical phases. Early on in their career, their complex song structures, elaborate instrumentation, and theatrical made them one of the most revered bands of the 1970s progressive rock movement. Hallmarks of the band's music during this period included the 23-minute long "" and the 1974 , . In the 1980s and beyond, their music took a distinct turn towards , becoming considerably more -oriented and more accessible to the . This change of musical direction gave them their first #1 album, , as well as their only #1 single, "".
Initially fronted by Peter Gabriel, Genesis has experienced several personnel changes over the years. Collins took over from Gabriel after the latter's departure from the group in 1975. After nearly two decades of being the band's frontman, Collins left the group in 1996 and was replaced by former singer for the 1997 album . Wilson was released from the group in 1998 following the disappointing sales of the new album. After three decades of activity, the band announced that it was on an indefinite .
The beginning: 1967-1969
The original Genesis lineup in 1967, with , , , and .
The band's origin lies in the late 1960s, when founding members and were students at . The original line-up consisted of Peter Gabriel (vocals), (guitar), Tony Banks (keyboards), (bass & guitar), and (drums). Genesis recorded its first album, , after striking a deal with , an alum of their school and a songwriter and who had a hit single at the time called "Everyone's Gone to the Moon". King supposedly dubbed the band Genesis because it was the first serious band he had worked with, or the genesis of his career. As he recalled later — "I named them Genesis because I thought it was a good name...it suggested the beginning of a new sound and a new feeling".
The album was released by . During the sessions, drummer Stewart left the band and was replaced by . The band recorded a series of songs reflecting the light pop style of the , of whom King was very fond, and King assembled these tracks into a pseudo-, layering on into the music during production. The band's first single, "The Silent Sun" ( (·)) was released in February 1968. The album sold poorly, and the band, feeling manipulated by King, told him they had broken up in order to get out of their contract with him. To this day, King asserts his responsibility for the band's subsequent success. He holds the rights to the songs on the From Genesis to Revelation album and has attempted to sell the rights for their re-recording.
Genesis recruited a new drummer, , playing occasional gigs until landing a new deal with founder . Through live performances the band became known for hypnotic melodies that were often dark and haunting. Phillips left the band in after the release of because of ill health and . The departure of Phillips traumatised both Banks and Rutherford, as Phillips had been a founding member and a primary force behind the band turning professional. There was also doubt over whether Genesis could go on without him.
Eventually, the remaining members renewed their commitment to Genesis, also deciding to fire drummer in the bargain. (1970) set the format for Genesis albums throughout the '70s. The album consisted of lengthy, sometimes operatic pieces and occasional very short, humorous numbers that typified the style of progressive rock of , , and .