Day 104: A song by your favorite band/artist whose name begins with “B”.
“Another Murder Of A Day” – Tony Banks
Today happens to be the 22nd anniversary of the release of Tony Banks’ last solo rock album, Still (or at least it would be if I wasn’t days behind).
And since one of my favorite Tony Banks songs (solo), “Another Murder Of A Day” is found on Still, I decided it was a good fit.
(“Another Murder Of A Day” is a long song. You should start listening to it now.)
There are some qualifications, though. This is the anniversary of the release in the US. The album was released in the UK in March of 1991. Tony’s last true solo album was in 1995 when he released Strictly Inc. as “Strictly Inc.” with Jack Hues (of Wang Chung fame) but it was essentially a solo album with Hues providing vocals only.
Not familiar with a song I’ve mentioned?
Click above to hear samples
and purchase songs.
For those that don’t know, “Tony Banks” happens to be the Tony Banks of Genesis. Or for those that know Genesis only by the “Land Of Confusion” video, the guy to the left. (Hat Trick complete.) And yes, he’s released six solo albums that I’m sure most of you didn’t even know existed much less heard of.
Tony Banks is my favorite member of Genesis, and my favorite “B” artist. I’ve long admired his playing skills and his writing skills. And, in one of the more exciting moments of my writing career (“aside from the daily joy of this blog,” he says wryly), was interviewing him for a magazine article back in 1997. We chatted for 45 minutes about the then-new Genesis album, as well as some band history. It was a really good time.
Tony has been called “the heart and soul of Genesis.” And I believe it’s true. Phil Collins gets all the attention, but without Tony Banks, Genesis (at least late-era Genesis) is Phil Collins with a different guitarist and no horns. As a player, he is nothing short of fantastic, in my opinion. His work in Genesis speaks for itself, but his solo work is no less great. As a writer, Tony brings that special “oomph” to the music; his chord progressions are second to none. He’s written some beautiful and amazing music.
The problem is, he may bring a little too much of that oomph to his solo stuff. You see, within Genesis, he has the other two (or more, depending on how far you go back) guys to ratchet things back. On his own, there’s no one to edit him, and often he seems to go just that little bit too far beyond what would be really mainstream. That said, there have been plenty of instances of songs that just seem like they could have been hits if people (read: the record company marketing guys) had tried even a little bit.
I chose “Another Murder Of A Day” for today’s post for a couple of reasons.
- One, it’s just over nine minutes long. For some weird reason, a good long song just seems better than an equally good short song. In this case, it’s not nine minutes of monotony. The music morphs and changes. Tempos change, moods change. All within that one, cohesive song. It goes from pensive to rocking and back. I love it.
- Two, it’s got a really good story. Fish, formerly of Marillion (you might recognize their song “Kayleigh”), wrote the lyrics. Tony and Fish worked together several times, and Fish’s lyrics always seemed a good foil for Tony’s music. Tony, for all his music composition skill, is not the greatest of all lyricists. He does okay, but sometimes leaves a bit to be desired. Fish does a great job of using the expansiveness and length of the music to paint the picture of a day in the life of a heroin addict as she first waits for her dealer, then, once the score has been made, her shame while using. This is a story Tony simply could not have told. Or if he did, it would have sounded stilted and fake.
Put both together and I think it’s really well done. It’s a shame virtually no one has heard it.
But, I almost picked “Hero For An Hour” as a bit of a lark. It’s the only song on Still that Tony sings himself. I almost chose it because it really represents Tony exposing himself and really doing the whole “solo album” thing, vocals and all. The problem is, as much as I like it, it’s nowhere near the song that “Another Murder Of A Day” is. So I’m sticking with the latter. However, since you’re not likely to hear this song anywhere, ever, I’ll include it, too:
And finally, my last gift is… well… “The Gift.” Another really good song from the album that I’ll provide here.
See that? Three songs for the price of admission. Don’t say I’ve never given you anything! If you’re lucky, someday I’ll give you something you can use.