Although Genesis is among the most commercially recording acts of all time, with approximately 150 million albums sold worldwide, the group's colorful four-decade history is actually the story of two very different bands with two very different bodies of work.
After being formed by a group of classmates at England's posh Charterhouse school in the late '60s, Genesis emerged in the early 70s as a Progressive Rock powerhouse, distinguished by complex compositions, elaborate instrumental arrangements and frontman Peter Gabriel's imaginative lyrical flights and flamboyant onstage theatricality. Such albums as Nursery Cryme, Foxtrot, Selling England by the Pound and the elaborate 1974 rock opera The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway were commercially successful overseas, though the band was still limited to a cult following in America.
The successive departures of Gabriel and guitarist Steve Hackett in 1975 and 1977, respectively, led many observers to predict the band's demise. But drummer Phil Collins took over lead-vocal duties, and he and founding members Tony Banks (keyboards) and Mike Rutherford (bass/guitar) successfully reorganized as a trio, achieving unprecedented commercial success with a simpler, increasingly Pop-oriented sound on such 80s albums as Duke, Abacab, Genesis and Invisible Touch. Despite that, Collins' enormously successful parallel solo career often threatened to overshadow the band. Banks and Rutherford also worked outside of the group, with Rutherford scoring some hits as leader of Mike and the Mechanics.
After years of resisting the temptation to leave the band, Collins finally existed Genesis after 1991's We Can't Dance. Banks and Rutherford briefly attempted to continue the group with new singer Ray Wilson on 1997's Calling All Stations. Two years later, the early-70s lineup of Gabriel, Hackett, Banks, Rutherford and Collins gathered in the studio to record a track for the compilation Turn It On Again: The Hits. In 2007, Banks, Collins and Rutherford reunited for a 20-city tour of Europe and North America.