In 1973 I was 13 years old.
I had casually invested with a love for “committed” music just a short time ago. I am curious and listen to everything. In 1973 it meant that when you discover an artist, you have to recover the previous years of the same artist.
Everything comes upon me like a wave in the stormy sea of my youth.
I want to know everything about everyone, but there is school, friends to meet, there doesn’t seem to be time, and yet, when I found myself at home “selling England by the Pound” by Genesis, I found all the time I needed.
The year before I had made acquaintance with the Genesis. “Foxtrot” had bewitched me, but in particular, it was only one song I listened to from that album: “Supper’s Ready”.
Its structure, its continuous changes of harmony, and the words spoken magnetically by Peter Gabriel had led me for the first time to confront a language that I made harmonic but of which I did not understand a single word.
Let’s say it was the beginning of my “study” of English.
My curiosity to learn English many started like this. The interest in discovering what those beautiful melodies inside the songs were talking about.
The release of “Selling England by the Pounds” was a real discovery for me.
Because ‘it allowed me not only to become much more curious’ in trying to understand the English language but because’ the lyrics of the songs also led me to discover the life of that Island.
I was already in love with English music, and England was mythical in some ways inside my mind. In the same time also very distant for the means of communication and family economics of those years.
I got excited when I crossed the Swiss or French borders (about an hour from my home by train), so a visit to England was only part of a fantasy that I saw unattainable at the time.
Yet I feel like saying that this record, as well as another handful of 5/6 records by other artists, was responsible for my innocent adolescent dream that “one day I would go to live in England”.
Wasn’t the economy or the living conditions of England that attract me, and in reality, I didn’t have any clue at the time about those issues.
What was attracted me was the songs. I was in love with the atmospheres of them.
Songs that created in my mind an idealization of a distant place that I wanted to be mine as soon as possible.
For example when the record was playing “The Battle of Epping Forest“, I wanted to know where Epping Forest was, and I looked at the map that I had bought from my English parents, and I dreamed what it was like.
Since there was no Google at the time, maybe my dreams were better than reality ‘, and this contributed to wanting to visit England as soon as possible.
I did ten years later.
Selling England by the Pound was any way the fifth studio album from them and released in October 1973 on Charisma Records.
It reached number 3 in the U.K. and number 70 in the U.S.
A single from the album, “I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)” was released in February 1974 and became the band’s first top 30 hits in the U.K.
The album was recorded in August 1973 following the tour supporting the previous album, Foxtrot that still another one of my favourites recond from them.
Critics and the band have given mixed opinions of the album, though guitarist Steve Hackett has said it is his favourite Genesis record
The album has continued to sell and has reached Gold certification by the British Phonographic Industry.
Several of the album tracks became fan favourites and featured as a regular part of the band’s live setlist into the 1980s…
I love all the tracks but listened again last week I must to confess that “Dancing with the moonlit knight” and “More Fool Me” and the way Peter Gabriel sing the words inside the two songs, make me again to have goose bumps all around my body.