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The Headley Grange estate, in English Hampshire, in the British countryside, built in 1795, now a private residence, is a legendary place, used first as a hospice, then in the sixties and seventies to try and record not by Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac, Bad Company, The Pretty Things, Peter Frampton, Ozark Mountain Daredevils, Ian Dury, Elvis Costello, Clover.
In particular, albums such as "Led Zeppelin III", "Led Zeppelin IV", "Houses of the Holy" and "Physical Graffiti" were born here, in addition to the Zeppelin's best-known single: "Stairway to Heaven".
Here the Genesis have lived a light-dark experience.
La band he spent the months of June and July 1974 at Headley Grange, to compose and record "The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway". But the surrounding environment and the mood of the components are not exactly ideal.
«Whatever the group that was last there, left it in one
was terrible, and smelly. And mice take advantage of it. They are everywhere, jumping up and down the creaking stairs, rustling among the creepers that
they cover the trees, run up the ivy that covers the house. We count dozens, hundreds. And I speak only of those who are seen. That house is still a
The only positive note of that place for me is the fact that John Bonham recorded his incredible groove for "When the Levee Breaks" in the trumpet
some stairs. I almost seem to smell it. But instead I smell rats. Thousands of mice. I arrive last, and the best bedrooms are already occupied, of course. So I have a shit room, where in addition to water I also have running mice. At night I hear them paddling above and below me. "
«The house was in considerable deterioration; perhaps because of the "hidden" reputation or from his association with Led Zeppelin, Gabriel was disturbed by rumors that the house was haunted (Bright, 1988, p. 60). Steve Hackett agrees that the place had a "haunted house feel". I felt strange scratching sounds at night, "in all likelihood the mice who shared the house with theirs rockstar guests (Platts, 2001, p. 75). "
More Phil Collins:
«We assemble the instruments in the main living area, while Peter settles in front of an old broken-down piano that is picking up dust in
another room. The four of us improvise, he writes down his ideas for the lyrics, and I record everything with my trusty Nakamichi cassette recorder.
We write some great music (In the Cage, Riding the Scree, tons of good stuff) and a lot of it comes out while Peter is in another room, stepping on the piano, writing the lyrics.»
Not long after the band took office in Headley Grange, Gabriel receives a phone call from director William Friedkin, interested in securing Peter's involvement as a writer in his new film project. Friedkin back then had hits like "The French Connection" and "The Exorcist". The offer is therefore tempting and flattering for Gabriel, who had struck the director with his visionary mind.
Peter originally expected to work with Friedkin after finishing "The Lamb", but the huge success of "The Exorcist" it speeded things up.
More Kevin Holm-Hudson:
"Headley Grange he didn't have a phone, so Gabriel should have
cycle to the phone booth at the bottom of the hill and dial the number Friedkin in California with pockets full of coins from 10 (Fielder, 1984, p. 91).
The rest of the group understandably does not shared Gabriel's sudden enthusiasm for a project outside the band. According to Gabriel, his companions "They thought I would use the group as a springboard for my staff happened and I wouldn't even have involved them. But Friedkin didn't want Genesis. He he wanted me for just for my strange ideas, not for music "(Fielder, 1984, p. 91). "
“We haven't had huge, noisy discussions in Headley Grange. From the beginning we realized we had a great one work to do and we knew we couldn't waste much time to discuss.
It also became clear very early that we would only have made the album if Pete worked full time on the lyrics, while the rest of us took care of the music. This bothered Tony more than me, but Pete's mind was elsewhere.
His marriage had had a hard time and Jill was also pregnant with their first child. This meant that Pete came and went often, and when he was
with us there was often the feeling that there was whatsomething unsolved between him and Tony. "
Check out the Genesis photos at Headley Grange(in some of them you can notice the tension between the band members):
So Gabriel leaves Headley Grange for about a week for come up with script ideas with Friedkin. But when Charisma learned of Gabriel's departure, label president Tony Stratton-Smith himself stepped in to convince Gabriel to return.
“When Pete came to talk to us about the offer, we did they were quite tense. As per Ant (Anthony Phillips, the first founding member of Genesis to abandon the band, Editor's note), if this moment were happened later in our career I'm sure we could have finding a way out would have given Pete a few months.
But we still hadn't realized that it was really possible and, moreover, we were busy going on tour in the fall. Pete is the most wonderful clumsy. Often it seemed he would never decide. (...)
In the end, we got a little tired of his indecision and we gave him a ultimatum, and at that point Pete left the band.
So I accompanied Tony to the pay phone in the village to discuss the situation with Strat. He always believed he could talk to anyone
"Pete, dear boy, come talk to me", but Pete wasn't the type to talk to like this. "
At the same time, Friedkin, unwilling to be responsible for the dissolution of the band, brakes on Peter's collaboration.
Continue Kevin Holm-Hudson:
"" So Peter made a definite commitment to finish the album before anything else, "said Banks. "But I think it made us all understand that he was getting tired and that it was only a matter of time before he left" (Fielder, 1984, p. 91). Collins agrees: "Things have returned to normal but, from then on, I think we all felt that this could happen again at any time" (Fielder, 1984, p. 91). »
"For the first time we felt that someone was not going in the same direction, something fundamental had changed. The most pressing issue, however, was that now we were incredibly late. The music it was almost complete and we also had a registration date booked, but Pete's text wasn't ready at all. Things got so bad that in the end Pete had to ask Tony and me to write the text of “The Light Dies Down on Broadway ". (...)
Obviously, it was a symbolic contribution, but aat least we could feel we had written a song because we didn't want to an album that had "All words by Peter Gabriel ”written on.»
«For Pete it's a dream come true: the chance to collaborate with a forward-looking artist who excels in an art form different from his, to work from home, and also to be closer to his wife. He asks us: “Can we pause the disc? Give me time to do this, then I'll be back. "
He doesn't say he's leaving us.
We all reply: “Sorry, Peter, unfortunately not. Either you are inside or you are outside. "
From my point of view, in practice, if Peter gives up on us, it is not necessarily the end of the world. My firmly concrete solution is to reconfigure the Genesis as an instrumental quartet. At least that way you could finally listen to the music properly.
The reaction of the other three to this suggestion can be summarized as follows: “Don't say bullshit. We, without singing, without texts? You said yours, now shut up,
Phil ". And of course they are right.
Before something concrete happens, Friedkin's rumor reaches that his offer could lead to the end of the Genesis. It's the last thing he wants, a lot
more than his science fiction project it is only a vague idea. A couple of weeks after making the offer, he gives it up.
So Peter comes back. But he came back because an occasion that interested him most faded away. These are not the best circumstances to find yourself. We continue to work, forgive him and forget everything,
or at least pretend. "
But while Friedkin proceeds without Peter - he then made the film "Sorcerer" in 1977 with the Tangerine Dream soundtrack and it was a fiasco - on the Genesis in Headley Grange another storm is about to blow.
On July 26, 1974, in the middle of the composition, Gabriel's daughter Anna was born; during childbirth the baby comes into the world with the umbilical cord wrapped around the neck, cyanotic. He also inhaled amniotic fluid during childbirth and doctors also suspect meningitis. He spent two
weeks in an incubator with doctors uncertain about his chances of survival.
“Unfortunately Peter is always overwhelmed, and not just by the workload. Things in the family are going badly: his wife Jill has a difficult pregnancy, not me
know what it is. The result is that sometimes he is absent, which means that we go inside without him. This does not help us think like one man
for such an ambitious project. ", writes Phil Collins.
"Gabriel describes those first two weeks of his daughter's life as" really traumatic "and the bandmates as" incredibly indifferent. They were pissed off because I wasn't taking the album
seriously like a son of mine "(Bright, 1988, pp. 4-5)», he writes Kevin Holm-Hudson.
Listen to i demos and the tests at Headley Grande of Genesis:
During the Headley Grange sessions, the group made a experiment:
"According to Tony Banks," We shut it down all the lights and only made noise. The weather was truly frightening "(Fielder, 1984, p.92) », he says Holm-Hudson. «Collins provides further details:"We were all getting very intense; Peter was blowing his oboe into the microphone, then his was playing flute with ecoplex, when suddenly there was this great thunder e it started raining. We all thought: 'We got in touch with something strong. '
It was about five or six in the morning evening and we made all these strange noises when the storm started and it started raining. Then we all changed gears and went into one a really melodic mood.
At times like this we were truly one what and we worked well together with "The Lamb". And the size of the double album there given the opportunity to do so. "(Fielder, 1984, p.ninety two)."
In August 1974, the group left Headley Grange and moves in Wales to complete the album. Which, despite or thanks to the vicissitudes of which the ancient estate has been silent witness, is the masterpiece we know and also a turning point in the Genesis career.
#NowPlaying, listen "The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway"
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