Day 54. The song that got you hooked on your favorite band/artist.

“Home By The Sea” – Genesis

Home By The Sea SingleI don’t have a lot of time for today’s post. So if it sucks, tough.

Sorry about the back-to-back Genesis entries. Now you know why I was holding off on others a week or so ago. While I love Genesis (and would love to convert every single one of you), I know they’re not for everyone.

That said, I could make a case that “Home By The Sea” (with its uncredited second half, “Second Home By The Sea”) is for everyone. I say that because, as the challenge states, it’s the song that really turned me on to Genesis.

It’s another suite (this time a two-piece) that runs well over 10 minutes. But unlike something like “Supper’s Ready” where you have to do some work to get into it, “Home By The Sea” is from Genesis’ 80s period, when their music was more accessible (even the longer songs). So, like “Domino” that followed, “Home By The Sea” is more rock- and pop-based than the older, 70s-era suites. Heck, they even released the first part standalone as a single (in a couple of countries, countries that were not the US or the UK).


Not familiar with a song I’ve mentioned?
Click the > button above to hear samples.

Now, I certainly knew about Genesis before I heard this song. I was familiar with Invisible Touch (it was 1986/87 how could you not be?) and at the point, was all about “The Brazilian.” But, although released in 1983 on the Genesis album, I didn’t hear “Home By The Sea” until 1987, and on first listen, it didn’t register much. (I have to admit that initial listen was as I was acquiring a huge batch of music all at once, so I wasn’t paying close attention, either. And no, it wasn’t illegally copied! How dare you? The fact that I purchased two 10 packs of blank tapes just prior has no relation whatsoever.)

Then in 1988, I was reintroduced. I have my friend Justin, (a.k.a. Woody) to blame… er… thank for that (as well as the addiction and copious purchasing that followed; and no, there is no 12 step program for Genesis addicts).

As I mentioned in my “Rockford Files” post (I will find a way to include links to every post I’ve ever done), sometimes it’s a sound that grabs me. And to some extent, that’s the case here. At about 1:40 (and multiple times throughout), after Phil Collins sings “So many years ago/before the time when we first heard ‘welcome to the home by the sea’,” Tony Banks begins playing some arpeggios (which you unfortunately don’t get to hear in the preview). The combination of the arpeggios and the keyboard voice he chose grabbed my attention, and somehow it was magical. I’d never heard anything quite like it.

I was hooked.

“Home By The Sea” instantly became my favorite Genesis song and one of my favorites overall. It’s become less magical over the subsequent 25+ years and dozens of plays, but I still get a little shiver on those rare occasions when I get to do nothing but listen.

At its core, it’s a ghost story, something described pretty well here (although I don’t agree with the first two paragraphs). Someone enters the house, the ghosts trap them, and they force them to listen to their stories. Over and over and over.

Sit down Sit down
cos you won’t get away
no with us you will stay
for the rest of your days – Sit down
As we relive our lives in what we tell you
Let us relive our lives in what we tell you

Creepy, huh?

Then, things change. The song moves into the second half of the suite, which is all instrumental (save for a few lines at the end.) This section has a heavy, almost oppressive feel to it at times. My “other mom” once said it sounded like a death march, and while I was offended by that at the time, in retrospect, she was right. And I actually think that was the intention. Mission accomplished.

You know how it is when you discover something really cool: I had to hear more. In the end, the infamous tape (a la Woody), with Abacab on one side and Genesis on the other, got played 18 gajillion times. I literally wore it out.

Alas, “Home By The Sea” is no longer my favorite Genesis song. Discovering the remaining 16 albums has a way of shifting your favorites around just a little. But it’s still quite high on the list. And I suspect it will stay that way.

Now, it literally just occurred to me that in essence, with this blog I’m reliving my life with what I tell you. How’s that for a creepy little circle…

So, please: sit down. Sit down…