MAY 1971 (41 YEARS AGO)
Genesis: “The Knife” b/w “The Knife (Part 2)” (Charisma CB 152) 45 single is released in the UK.
“The Knife” is a song by Genesis from their second album Trespass from 1970. It was performed live often in the band’s early days (a live version appears on the Genesis Live album from 1973) and has appeared sporadically in the band’s setlists all the way up through 1982 (after 1975, however, they performed an edited four-minute version). The first half of the song was released as a single in May 1971 (with the second half as the B-side), but it did not chart.
The song was unusually aggressive for Genesis at the time, as most of their work consisted of soft, pastoral acoustic textures and poetic lyrics. It features a bouncy, march-like organ riff, heavily distorted guitars and bass, and chaotic drumming. (Peter Gabriel said he wanted to write something that had the excitement of “Rondo” by The Nice.) In the lyrics of the song Gabriel, influenced by a book on Gandhi, “wanted to try and show how all violent revolutions inevitably end up with a dictator in power”.
“The Knife” was usually performed as an encore. During one performance in June 1971, Peter Gabriel became so carried away at the end of the song that he jumped off the stage into the audience, breaking his ankle as a result.