GENESIS released their second studio album Trespass on October 23, 1970 through Charisma Records. This is their last album with guitarist Anthony Phillips, and only with drummer John Mayhew.

In August 1969, Genesis decided to turn professional. The founders – vocalist Peter Gabriel, guitarist Anthony Phillips, bassist Mike Rutherford and keyboardist Tony Banks – were complemented by drummer John Silver. They split from producer Jonathan King and decided to write more complex material instead of the straight-up pop on their first album.

Gabriel recalled that the group wanted to explore and mix musical styles. The group purchased new equipment including a bass guitar and a Hammond organ and recorded songs at Regent Studios as demos, including “White Mountain” and “Family” (which became “Dusk”). Silver then went to study in the US.

In September, Genesis played their first live show as a professional band, touring local clubs and universities, with new drummer John Mayhew. Mayhew – the oldest and most experienced musician – comes from a different background than the rest of the band.

Phillips recalled that, despite their attempts to make him feel comfortable, the drummer wasn’t sure about his playing. In early 1970, they secured a six-week residency at Ronnie Scott’s jazz club in Soho, London, where they were spotted by Charisma Records producer John Anthony.

He persuaded label boss Tony Stratton-Smith to sign them. The group wanted to expand on their earlier pop-oriented style and write and perform songs unlike any other band at the time. Rutherford later said that performing the musical was “difficult, but a good way of getting music to take shape”. The two songs that made their next album, “Looking for Someone” and “Stagnation”, were recorded for the BBC sessions in February 1970.

After several months of performing, Genesis had quite a bit of material written. In June, they head to Trident Studios in London to record a new album. John Anthony joined them as their producer and engineer, and the songs were recorded on a 16-track record.

Phillips recalled that the record was only “slightly more sophisticated” than From Genesis to Revelation, and thought Anthony did not like someone “dropping” individual parts. He recalls a session where Rutherford had to listen to a few minutes of the song before putting down the guitar part; at that point he got too nervous and played it wrong.

The group had enough material to record two albums, but felt some of the songs were not strong enough. They chose the strongest materials for Trespass. Recording took up most of the month, trying various ideas and rearranging songs, to the point that Charisma thought they had stayed in the studio. They worked well with Anthony, and later remembered his contribution was important and helped shape the album.

“We, at Genesis, tried to mix acoustic and electronic music in equal parts,” Gabriel recalled in 1982. “At that time, there were a number of groups that were trying to make songs to change the mood in that way. I’m listening to them now and some of which made me cringe, and some of which we could do much better, but I knew certain things were going in the right direction. But, in that moment, we all learned.”

Despite describing the recording sessions as “fun” and not particularly difficult, Phillips became uncomfortable with the band’s musical direction, and unhappy with the number of shows, which took time to write complex material such as “Stagnation”. He also thought there were too many songwriters in the group and it was difficult to get ideas across. Shortly after, things came to a head and he left the group. Rutherford later recalled that Phillips had appeared unwell during the recording sessions, and he was concerned that Phillips’ departure might spell the end of Genesis. After the group returned from their last show at Hayward’s Heath to Gabriel’s home in Cobham, they decided to move on.

In the liner notes to the Genesis box set Genesis Archive 1967–75, Banks claims “Let Us Now Make Love”, a track by Phillips, was not recorded for the album because the group thought it had potential as a single, but followed the departure of the guitarist who suddenly after the album was finished, it was never recorded in the studio. A live version was released in a box set, played in February 1970.

At the same time, the group decided to replace Mayhew with a more suitable drummer. He was older than the rest of the band and considered an outsider, contributed little to writing and lacked self-confidence. An urgent replacement was needed to meet show dates to promote Trespass.

Phil Collins auditioned and joined in August, and the album was released in October. The group was unable to find a suitable replacement for Phillips, so they continued with the show with four people. In late 1970, they appeared on the television show Disco 2 to promote the album with Phillips’ replacement, Mick Barnard. The group mimed the music with Gabriel singing live, who recalled the show being a “disaster”.

The album cover was painted by Paul Whitehead, who also worked on covers for the band’s next two albums. The cover shows two people looking out a window at the mountains, representing the pastoral themes of several of the songs. Whitehead had completed covers and later the band added “The Knife” to the running sequence.

Feeling that the cover no longer fit the mood of the album, they asked Whitehead to redo it. When Whitehead was reluctant to do so, band members inspired him to cut the canvas with an actual knife.

Trespass was first released in the UK on the Charisma label in October 1970. In the US, it was first released on ABC’s jazz label Impulse. “The Knife” was released as a single (split into two parts) in May 1971, but did not chart.

The album was reissued by the ABC Records label in 1974; later, after MCA Records purchased ABC, the album was reissued on the MCA label. A double disc SACD/DVD set (featuring the new 5.1 and Stereo mixes) was released in 2008.

Trespass sold 6,000 copies on its original release and helped the band build an immediate following. “The Knife” was released as a single in January 1971. The album reached number one in Belgium, leading to the band’s first overseas concerts there in January 1972.

The album received a mixed reception from the music press upon release. Jerry Gilbert, writing in Sounds, gave a positive review and singled out “Visions of Angels” and “White Mountain”. A review in Melody Maker said the album was “flavorful, smooth and good”. Rolling Stone scored a very brief but also negative review of the 1974 reissue, saying “This album is mundane, lacking in definition, at times dull, and should be avoided by all but the most ardent Genesis fan.”

A later AllMusic retrospective review was only slightly more forgiving, summarizing that the album “is more interesting for what it leads to than what it actually does.” They also commented that the guitars were so low in the mix that they were barely audible, leaving Banks’ keyboard instruments to stand out. They found this inconvenient as Banks had a real role “not the Genesis that everybody knows”.

Following the band’s growth in popularity in the 1980s, Trespass peaked at No. 98 in England for one week in 1984. Track List: (1). Looking for Someone, (2). White Mountain, (3). Visions of Angels, (4). Stagnation, (5). Dust, (6). The Knife.

Genesis personnel: • Peter Gabriel – lead vocals, flute, accordion, tambourine, bass drum, • Anthony Phillips – acoustic 12-string guitar, lead electric guitar, dulcimer, vocals, • Anthony Banks – organ, piano, Mellotron, acoustic 12- string guitar, vocals, • Michael Rutherford – acoustic 12-string guitar, electric bass guitar, nylon guitar, cello, vocals, • John Mayhew – drums, percussion, vocals. [souces/photo special]