A Trick of the Tail is the seventh studio album by British progressive rock band Genesis and the first to feature drummer Phil Collins as full-time lead vocalist following the departure of original vocalist Peter Gabriel. It was released in February 1976.


  [hide*1 Post-Gabriel Genesis

Post-Gabriel Genesis[edit]Edit

After Peter Gabriel left Genesis, the remaining members held auditions for a permanent lead singer, although some members (most notably Banks) considered continuing as an instrumental act, as most songs were written without knowledge as to how they would be sung.[1] Initially, Phil Collins did not wish to take over for Gabriel, opting instead to teach the potential lead singers the songs. One of the 400 auditioners, Mick Strickland, came close to being chosen, but the band and Mick decided in the end against working together. According to the band members, the backing tracks for A Trick of the Tail had already been recorded and were in a key in which Mick was not comfortable singing. When the auditions failed to produce a suitable vocalist, Collins reluctantly went in the studio to sing "Squonk" and the band decided that Collins should be the new vocalist.[1]


The album was recorded and mixed at Trident Studios in October/November 1975. It also marked the first album that the band would co-produce with David Hentschel. They would work with Hentschel for the next four years.


For the first time in their career, Genesis filmed promotional videos for their songs. Three videos were filmed. Banks' "A Trick of the Tail" was the first, which featured the band playing to the track together around a piano. A miniature Phil Collins can be seen hopping around on a piano and a guitar (Collins later revealed that this video was the most embarrassing of his career). The second video was for the song "Ripples," which was a performance clip. The third was for "Robbery, Assault and Battery" which depicted Collins as a bank robber who shoots an elderly man (played by Mike Rutherford) after holding him up and is then pursued by cops (played by Banks, Hackett and Rutherford), shooting Banks in the process.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic [2]
Q [3]
Uncut [4]
Rolling Stone (average)[5]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide [6]

A Trick of the Tail reached No.3 in the UK, remaining on the charts for 39 weeks, and No.31 in the US. Additionally, the album was certified Gold in the US by the RIAA in March 1990. Also according to Tony Banks in the essay that comes with Platinum Collection, the album doubled the band's previous albums' sales. This success was also financially crucial for Genesis who were $400,000 in debt by the time Peter Gabriel left.


"Squonk" is based on the North American tale of the squonk which, when captured, dissolves in a pool of tears. The song features many different sections and was a live favourite at Genesis concerts between 1976 and 1980. It was also performed as part of a medley during the 1983 part of the Mama tour and was rehearsed for both the 1986/87 Invisible Touch tour and the 2007 Turn It On Again tour. It forms a significant part of the album's closing song, "Los Endos," which continued to be played live through the 2007 Turn It On Again tour. According to Collins, in the interviews on the DVD release, this song was intended to be the closest thing Genesis ever got to Led Zeppelin (who were signed to Atlantic Records, the US label for Genesis). The working title of the song was "Indians". In March 2014, Steve Hackett added the song to the playlist of his extended "Genesis Revisited II" tour.

Track listing[edit]Edit

This album is the first to depart from the practice of crediting all members of Genesis for writing each song.

Original release[edit]Edit

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Dance on a Volcano"   Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Steve Hackett, Mike Rutherford 5:53
2. "Entangled"   Banks, Hackett 6:28
3. "Squonk"   Banks, Rutherford 6:27
4. "Mad Man Moon"   Banks 7:35
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Robbery, Assault & Battery"   Banks, Collins 6:15
2. "Ripples"   Banks, Rutherford 8:03
3. "A Trick of the Tail"   Banks 4:34
4. "Los Endos"   Banks, Collins, Hackett, Rutherford 5:46
Total length: 51:11

B Side[edit]Edit

Extra Track
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "It's Yourself*"   Banks, Collins, Hackett, Rutherford 5:46

* "It's Yourself" is the B-side to "Ripples" as well as "Your Own Special Way" from the Wind & Wuthering album. The song ends in the same notes that open "Mad Man Moon". "Los Endos" retains part of "It's Yourself" in its introduction.


The remastered version of the album had slightly different track timings
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Dance on a Volcano"   Banks, Collins, Hackett, Rutherford 5:57
2. "Entangled"   Banks, Hackett 6:27
3. "Squonk"   Banks, Rutherford 6:30
4. "Mad Man Moon"   Banks 7:35
5. "Robbery, Assault and Battery"   Banks, Collins 6:18
6. "Ripples..."   Banks, Rutherford 8:05
7. "A Trick of the Tail"   Banks 4:35
8. "Los Endos"   Banks, Collins, Hackett, Rutherford 5:52
Total length: 51:29

2007 SACD/CD/DVD Release[edit]Edit

A new version of A Trick of the Tail was released in the UK and Japan on 2 April 2007. It was released in the US and Canada as part of the Genesis 1976–1982 box set on 15 May 2007. This includes the entire album in remixed stereo, the entire album in surround sound, and related video tracks.

  • Disc 1, in the European and Japanese releases, is a hybrid SACD/CD. The stereo layer includes the remixed tracks, and the SACD layer is a multichannel surround sound remix.
  • Disc 1, in the Canadian and US releases, is a standard CD, containing the stereo remixes. No SACD layer is included.[7]
  • Disc 2, in all releases, is a DVD containing both audio and video tracks. This includes three audio mixes of the album: DTS 5.1 surround soundDolby Digital 5.1 surround sound and Dolby Digitalstereo.[8] The DTS surround sound is a slightly compressed version of the surround sound on the SACD,[7] and the Dolby surround sound is of slightly inferior quality to the DTS.[9]
  • Disc 2 also includes the following video tracks:
  1. Band interview about this album (2007).
  2. Promotional videos: "Robbery, Assault and Battery", "Ripples" and "A Trick of the Tail".
  3. Genesis: In Concert (1977 concert movie filmed during 1976 tour). Songs include "I Know What I Like", "Fly on a Windshield", "The Carpet Crawlers", "The Cinema Show", "Entangled", "Supper's Ready" and "Los Endos".
  4. White Rock premiere program, from 1977 show (8-page gallery).



"Mad Man Moon" MENU   0:00 A sample of "Mad Man Moon"----
Problems playing this file? See media help.

Original album

  • Arranged By Genesis
  • Produced By Genesis & David Hentschel
  • Recorded & Engineered By Nick "Haddock" Bradford & David Hentschel

2007 reissue

  • 5.1 surround sound mix and stereo mix by Nick Davis
  • Mixed at The Farm, Surrey in 2006
  • Remastered by Tony Cousins at Metropolis Mastering
  • DVD authoring by Ray Shulman (for isonics)


The tour of 1976 was the first to feature Phil Collins as the band's lead vocalist. To facilitate Collins' move from drums to sing lead up front, Bill Bruford was brought in on the tour after he suggested that they might use him to fill in for a bit. Collins approved of this suggestion and the subsequent tour is documented on the film "Genesis in Concert" - it is included on the 2007 re-issue of A Trick of the Tail. Collins, however, continued to play drums on tour for extended instrumental sections and often played percussion on stage.

Set List[edit]Edit

  • "Dance on a Volcano"
  • "Lamb Stew Medley" – "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway"/"Fly on a Windshield"/"The Carpet Crawlers"
  • "The Cinema Show"
  • "Robbery, Assault and Battery"
  • "White Mountain"
  • "Firth of Fifth"
  • "Entangled"
  • "Squonk"
  • "Supper's Ready"
  • "I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)"
  • "Los Endos"


  • "It" / "Watcher of the Skies"


  • Tony Banks – organ, synthesisers, pianos, background vocals, twelve-string guitar, mellotron
  • Phil Collins – vocals, percussion, drums
  • Steve Hackett – electric guitar, twelve-string guitars
  • Mike Rutherford – bass guitar, twelve-string guitar, bass pedals, background vocals


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