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Genesis Selling England by the Pound album cover
4.65 | 4616 ratings | 454 reviews | 78% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
progressive rock music

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Studio Album, released in 1973

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Dancing with the Moonlit Knight (8:04)
2. I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe) (4:08)
3. Firth of Fifth (9:38)
4. More Fool Me (3:10)
5. The Battle of Epping Forest (11:46)
6. After the Ordeal (4:16)
7. The Cinema Show (11:06)
8. Aisle of Plenty (1:32)

Total Time 53:40

Line-up / Musicians

- Peter Gabriel / lead vocals, percussion, flute, oboe
- Steve Hackett / electric guitar, nylon acoustic guitar
- Tony Banks / keyboards (piano, Hammond, Mellotron, ARP Pro Soloist synth), 12-string guitar
- Mike Rutherford / bass, 12-string guitar, electric sitar
- Phil Collins / drums, percussion, lead (4) & backing vocals

Releases information

Artwork: Adapted from Betty Swanwick painting "The Dream"

LP Charisma CAS1074 (1973, UK)

CD Charisma ‎- CASCD 1074 (1985, Europe)
CD Virgin ‎- CASCDX 1074 (1994, Europe) Remastered by Chris Blair, Geoff Callingham & Nick Davis
CD Atlantic ‎- 82675-2 (1994, US) Remastered by Chris Blair, Geoff Callingham & Nick Davis
CD Virgin ‎- GENCDY 4 (2008, Europe) Remastered by Tony Cousins and mixed by Nick Davis

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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GENESIS Selling England by the Pound ratings distribution

(4616 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(78%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(16%)
Good, but non-essential (4%)
Collectors/fans only (1%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

GENESIS Selling England by the Pound reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Peter
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Okay: You're all alone on the desert island with your ten essential prog albums. The solar-powered stereo overheats, the hut bursts into flames, and you've only got time to grab three discs before it's just you, the ashes, and "Wilson." Is this one of the three to escape the inferno? Hugh betcha!

Absolutely masterful from start to finish; all meat and no filler. Prog doesn't get any better than this genre-defining recording! Marvelous, majestic, mesmerizing, mighty, momentous and moving must-have music.

Don't believe me? Read some other reviews -- there's a darn good reason why so many people LOVE this album: it's great!

Review by Sean Trane
5 stars This is a concept album that ignores itself: the downfall of Great Britain as it loses its empire on which the sun never sets and the effects it has on every day lives of Englishmen, the crisis that they endured and the first oil crisis happening right around that time. SEBTP was the first Genesis non-gatefold and cheap lighter discs as transports and oil-derived vinyl were sending prices through the roof, many ways were considered to cut costs.

Dancing With The Moonlit Knight says it all right from the start singing the loss of greatness of Britain, speaking of the Queen Of Maybe and nostalgia. The Old Father Tames spirit not recognizing its land. The uselessness of the upper class youth is pointed out in IKWIL (In Your Wardrobe), the wish that everything stay the same when you are on top is "eroded by the sea of constant change" in Firth Of Fifth and deception in More Fool Me are many of the hints that Gabriel and consorts develop so wittily

The Epping Forest Battle depicts how lower class Brits hit on each other as they cannot do it on the rest of the world as they did during the conquest of their Empire. The instrumental After The Ordeal is about digesting such a fiasco and it bothers younger Brits to the point that they must build courage just to meet the opposite sex and maybe wishes to be Tiresias (who became both) in Cinema Show. Green food stamps and price folder (Aisle of Plenty ) remind how low the Once Mighty Empire has fallen as the first oil crisis did even more damage to England Sold By The Pound to Arab Sheiks playing fortune with the Old Lady England that lays out the credit cards and plays fortune.

Got that one? Go back and listen to it

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars I know what I like!

For me, the best of the Gabriel era Genesis albums.

After the excellent cover illustrations on the previous three albums, the uninspired look of the painting here does not bode well. The opening bars of "Dancing with the moonlit knight" however soon dispel any fears over the quality of the music. "Selling England by the pound" generally has a slightly softer feel, with more in the way of choral keyboards by Tony Banks, and highly melodic lead guitar from Steve Hackett. "Dancing with the moonlit knight " sets the scene well, with a slightly folk feel to the opening section, and a "Tubular bells" like ending. In between, Gabriel is on fine form vocally and lyrically, the track incorporating a succession of wordplays and puns.

Hackett is afforded enough space on the album to add a wonderful guitar solo on "Firth of Fifth", a track which must rank among Genesis all time best. From the delicate tinkling piano intro, through the supremely melodic vocals of Peter Gabriel as he works his way through truly poetic lyrics, to Steve Hackett's aforementioned virtuoso performance on lead guitar, the track is the definition of perfect prog. Banks too gets plenty of room to showcase his keyboard skills, especially on the long closing track "Cinema show". The structure and style of this track has similarities with "Firth of Fifth", but the result is somewhat different. There is a relaxed, timeless feel to the piece,

Phil Collins has an (at the time rare) outing on lead vocals on "More fool me". While it's a very pleasant if brief track, there is little indication of what was to come from him vocally.

For me, the only slight let down on the album is "The battle of Epping Forrest". Had this been a brief "Harold the Barrel" type track it could have worked well. At almost 12 minutes however, the joke wears thin. Ironically, had they left the track off altogether, the album would still have clocked in at well over the standard LP time of around 40 minutes (And still longer than "Close to the edge"!).

Also included is Genesis first hit single "I know what I like" This gave the band their first taste of singles success, something they were to crave more and more with later albums.

It's easy to forget with the passing of time, that when this album was released, it was a significant progression both for Genesis and for rock music in general.

Review by loserboy
5 stars This remains one of my all time favorite recordings (I am not alone in this camp I am sure!) Full of rich textures and superb song writing, GENESIS were at their creative peak. "Selling..." moves from pop-like songs (I know what I like) to pure prog-like "Battle Of Epping Forest". This is a very fulfilling album and musicianship is very high here with some incredible song writing. The sound reproduction is much better than previous albums as well. This is an essential recording for everyones progressive rock collection.
Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars THE BEST OF THE BEST... "Cinema Show" reach the quintessence near the end. Everything is excellent on this record. BANK's keyboards are smoother and more subtle than on "Foxtrot"; the piano is more present. He reduced the presence of organ for the profit of gentle moog keyboards. Mellotron choir also appeared on "Moonlit Knight" and "Cinema Show"; that's very appreciated. HACKETT's guitar is for the first time really sentimentally oriented: romantic solos, never agressive are the new trademark on this record. accoustic guitar is still omnipresent. COLLINS drums are just outstanding, never simple, but they do not take too much place; their sound is rather moderate, giving the album a trend to softness. RUTHEFORD's non monotonous bass is omnipresent and gives a good basis for complex songs. GABRIEL's voice is, as always, colorful and never dull. More sentimental, women could prefer this one to "Foxtrot". Actually, it is the case!

Probably my all-time top album! If we admit reasonably that "A Trick Of The Tail" and "Selling England..." are respectively 3rd and 1st best GENESIS albums, can we imagine how good would have been the album between if the presence of Brian ENO has not been there? "The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway", logically, should have been better than "A Trick Of The Tail", and even maybe slightly better than "Selling England...". ENO definitely f**ked up all the things in 1974!! LLDOB is very good, but not excellent!

In many prog polls, "Selling England By The Pound" always arrived first as the best prog album, and the second one was far behind it!! The progger who do not have this record is not a real progger!

Review by Certif1ed
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars More Fool Phil...

The key to this album - and to all pre 1980s Genesis - is "Firth of Fifth", an incredible piece of keyboard work by any standards, moving subtley through time and key changes, using a wide variety of textures and timbres to produce an 8-minute masterpiece that feels MUCH too short - you just want to reach for that rewind button! Firth of Fifth is a 6-star track (out of 5).

"Dancing With the Moonlight Knights" is a wonderful socio-commentary partially dressed in legend. The music evolves delicately and sublimely - so much so that you get to wondering if the guys just sat around the studio going "I think this would sound good next". The levels of intricacy belie any notion that this is pure improvisation, but for the first 3 tracks, the album mixes the improvised feel with ambiguous but rigid structure producing some of the finest music ever committed to tape.

Then it's all undone in an instant. "More Fool Me" is trash. A pulpy love song sung by a straining Collins to a basic acoustic guitar (by Genesis standards). A track that the skip button was made for. This album loses 2 points for such an atrocious piece of dross (hence I only awarded 4 stars).

"The Battle of Epping Forest" is a wierd one. Personally, I find it very irritating and repetitive. However, it has many Genesis hallmarks, and is obviously carefully thought out (unlike "More Fool..."). I still don't like it though.

Fortunately, "Cinema Show" and "Aisle of Plenty" redeem almost everything - shining examples of why Genesis were one of the leaders and forefathers of prog - and everything that's great about the genre. Beautiful guitar and keyboard solos shine above masterly drumming and solid basslines, negotiating perplexing time signatures and key changes as if they were the most natural thing in the world. The album ends as well as it began, with that same improvised yet carefully structured feel.

One day I'll sit down and tear apart the structure to find out where it all goes - because one thing is for sure - there is no such thing as Sonata form utilised anywhere on this album (althoug "More Fool" and "Battle" both utilise the very boring common song structure - verse, chorus, etc. Yuk!).

If you like prog, this should be in your collection even if only for "Firth of Fifth". Quite honestly, this track makes buying this album compulsory!

Review by Menswear
5 stars I hesitate a lot when it comes to giving 5 stars to an album. For Selling England by the Pound, I did hesitate for a while. PROS: outstanding writing by Gabriel. The lyrics are of course from a bit of everyone in the band (by that time) but Gabriel gave more of his verve to the album. You kinda know when it's his writing. Genesis is like reading a fairy tale book and images spreads out the pages (Fanfreluche anyone?). Stimulates the mind a lot. Then, the musical performance has to be heard to be commented. Phil Collins is a divine and humble drummer. Gabriel said one day:" people maybe not like his voice or his solo work, but stays the fact that he's an extrordinairy gifted player." He plays fast, very fast (if you don't believe me, watch Live at Wembley Stadium, you'll see!). But also in an almost lazy way. Very 'cool' on the snare rolls and fills. Tony Banks is also giving all he can in his inimitable style. This guy is soooo underrated. He's not in the style of Kaye, Van der Linden or Emerson, but his strenght is giving British class to the song. He gives a good boost to a song with his great solos (end of Cinema Show) or 'riffs' (start of Firth of the Fifth). Banks has a tremendous background in classical playing and, thank you lord, he's using it in almost every song. Also great "dramatic" ending with Aisle of Plenty. Pure musical heaven. CONS: Battle of Epping Forest. I'm not sure where this is going. You get lost in a sea of character switching phrases and bad voice acting from Gabriel. My first Genesis album and still one of my favortie of all-time...Hey by the way if you have a chance to see THE MUSICAL BOX: TRIBUTE TO GENESIS, go and be amazed how 5 guys from Quebec are giving a rock n' roll lesson to all. In my top 5 shows of my life, and one of the cheapest! I cried a bit after the Musical Box, this is exactly like the original show from 1974! With tribute band like these, MY OH MY ROCK AND ROLL WILL NEVER DIE...
Review by lor68
5 stars Well in coincidence with the first dates in Italy (among other dates:22nd April 2004-Milan) by "Musical Box", the cover band of Genesis, representing such "Selling England by the Pound Tour" in a remarkable way, I like talking about the most important album within the Romantic Progressive scene of all time!!

As a matter of fact this album is almost perfect as well as the greatest reference (among all the references suitable to represent the whole "Romantic Progressive scene" in the UK, in the seventies...). Nevertheless, if I want to be honest, there are a few weak moments, where Phil Collins in a small number of circumstances begins to take part within the melodic composition of the songs. Besides the mainstream song "I know what I like in your wardrobe" (a successful hit single) is totally strident in comparison to incontestable masterpieces like "Firth of Fifth", "Dancing with the Moonlit Knight" and the mini-suite "Cinema Show", true "must-have progressive numbers" .However, apart from these considerations, the album offers a variety of situations regarding a true artwork and also a theatrical funny effort like "The battle of Epping Forrest", without forgetting such a good exploration of the harmonic solutions too, which indeed make this work the most important issue by the early Genesis!! For this reason the rate is "5 stars", even though a different score - a bit lower- should be righter . Essential work anyway!!

Review by daveconn
5 stars This is my favorite GENESIS album, and thus a perennial member of the imaginary top ten list that rattles through my head from year to year. Not to take anything away from "Foxtrot" or "Lamb Lies Down", but it's here that the band really breaks free. "Selling England..." creates a fictional world (aurally and visually) peopled with musical vignettes sometimes epic in impact ("Firth of Fifth") and sometimes intimate in nature ("More Fool Me"). The advantage over "Foxtrot" comes from a saturated sound on "Selling England" versus its predecessor's slightly brittle tone.

Michael RUTHEFORD plays the bass with actual relish, Steve HACKETT expounds on his guitar with an expanded lexicon of new noises, and Peter GABRIEL's voice has grown noticeably richer. Their progression is palpable on this album; far from slighting BANKS and COLLINS, I'll note that they already sounded brilliant on "Foxtrot". With all five engines firing, BANKS is free to explore sounds that affect the mood of the music: ornate piano introductions, majestic organ chords, and so on. As visible as his keyboards are, HACKETT's guitar often seems invisible, pairing up with the keyboards and bass at different stages to emphasize certain passages. His technique is almost antithetical to a lead guitarist, though it would be impossible to imagine these songs without his contributions.

The opening "Dancing With The Moonlit Knight" (the de facto title track) gently lifts the listener into this new musical world, followed by the charming "I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)", which became the band's first big single. BANKS elevates the musical discussion with "Firth of Fifth", but the band quickly deflates all trace of pomposity with the ballad "More Fool Me". (For anyone who enjoyed that track, please seek out Anthony PHILLIPS' "The Geese & The Ghost".) The album's most ambitious work may be "The Battle of Epping Forest", the sort of multi-character musical last heard on "Get 'Em Out By Friday". The remaining three tracks are simply sublime. Few albums transport the listener like "Selling England By The Pound"; if you don't own it, you're missing the best part.

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars My least favorite GABRIEL GENESIS release, I feel like this album has more relation with the soft and melancholic "A Trick of the Tail" rather than with any other GABRIEL era release. Of course there are some masterpieces like "Cinema Show" and "Firth of Fifth", but the band lost the dark atmosphere that surrounded them in the previous album. "Selling England.." is more cheerful and radio friendly than any other PG release, they even had a hit single with I Know what I Like, a good song but easier to listen.

"Dancing with the Moonlit Knight" deserves a special paragraph, because the acapella intro by Peter GABRIEL is one of the best examples of how great vocalist he is, probably not as natural gifted as Greg Lake or Freddie Mercury but Peter always puts something extra that I like to call soul, remember it's a very hard task ro sing this kind of introductions while the instruments slowly start joining his voice without loosing the right key in any moment, and he does it as a real master.

The weakest point of this album is "More Fool Me" probably the worst poppy ballad in early GENESIS history, absolutely boring and totally out of place in a GENESIS album before 1978, but still Dancing with the Moonlit Knight, Cinema Show and Firth of Fifth make it deserve not less than 5 stars.

Review by Marc Baum
5 stars It's difficult to choose, which was truely the definitive peak of Genesis: "Foxtrot" or "Selling England By The Pound"? In my oppinion it's "Selling England By The Pound". The production is brilliant, really every single instrument is perfectly in place, Gabriel's outstanding voice, too. Don't get me wrong, I love all of Genesis work from the Gabriel-era up from "Trespass". It's really hard to choose, but I think that "Selling England..." is their most complete record. "Dancing With The Moonlit Knight" is hunting, dramatic power prog at it's best (in "Aisle Of Plenty" repeats the intro melody of that track. There are epics like "Firth Of Fifth" (what a guitar solo from Hackett!), "The Battle Of Epping Forest" and the fulminant "Cinema Show" (wonderful chorus!). You get also the first "hit" of Genesis with "I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)" and a great instrumental with "After The Ordeal". When prog-heads talk about the most quintessential records of all times, mostly falls the name "Close To The Edge", "Dark Side Of The Moon" or even "Selling England By The Pound". The fact, that these three albums and some of the following ones are on top of this page is really good and earned I think. In principal it's not important which is the best, because all are great and must-haves. This album deserves the 5 star rating, like "Foxtrot", "The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway" or "Nursery Cryme". I love this band for their great work throughout the years '70 - '77 like most of prog fans do, so you know that this is quintessential. If you like it or not doesn't count, because it is truely a masterpiece and you can't change that fact!
Review by Hibou
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars In case this album needs any introduction, this is the classic of all classics. A masterpiece that showcases some of the most perfect songwriting of the 70's - even the production is flawless - quite a feat for the times. It shows GENESIS at the peak of their musical creativity.

Among the notable tracks are the album opener "Dancing with the Moonlit Knight", whose flute and medieval guitar notes develop into a full-fledged symphonic number, complete with mellotron, choppy beats and soaring keyboards. "Firth of Fifth" (my personal favourite alongwith "The Cinema Show") is as perfectly constructed a symphonic tune as you're likely to hear, thanks to a stunning STEVE HACKETT guitar solo over TONY BANKS' tapestry of magestic, melodious keyboards (if ever you want to give a neophyte a feel of what Prog's appeal is all about, this is the track to play) "The Battle of Epping Forest" is a zany, eccentric 12-minute epic with plenty of theme and time changes; it recounts the tale of two street gangs playing at war - with very tongue-in-cheek lyrics directed at English politicians. Finally, "The Cinema Show" is another true jewel of progressive sound and imagery. With its various musical themes, evocative lyrics and impressive instrumental build-up, this track is simply stunning and guaranteed to blow any progster away.

After over 30 years, this album still delivers the goosebumps and if my house were to catch fire, that's the one I would grab.

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Though not achieving the "perfect perfection" (blame it on 'More Fool Me'), I consider 'Selling England' as Genesis' top achievement and one of the most crucial works generated in the prog genre. Gabriel's a capella entry at the start of 'Dancing with the Moonlit Knight' is one of the most memorable moments in symph prog history. and it gets better as the song progresses through its alternation between lyrical and aggressive passages until its arrival to the dreamy climax, a succession of lead guitar, synth, flute, mellotron and percussive sounds upon a recurrent chord sequence of Mike's electric 12- string. Brilliant! Taking off from the pompous density of 'Foxtrot', 'Selling England' adds a richer pallete of sonic resources in order to explore the band's full compositional potential: you can even tell that Hackett is already fully integrated into the band's ideology, stretching his own styling and skills for the benefit of the album's repertoire. Meanwhile, Banks can't hide the fact that he's overtly enthusiastic with his ARP Soloist and 2600 synths, so his arsenal of keyboards is reinforced in its determining role for Genesis' overall sound. Simultaneously, Collins exercises his jazz-oriented prowess effectively, functioning properly in both the most solemn and the most energetic passages of the repertoire. 'I Know What I Like' is a funny number, something like 'I Am the Walrus' infected with pseudo-tropical touches: the song has a pop feel in it (after all, it was the single) without falling into the traps of easy catchiness. This leads us to the magnificent 'Firth of Fifth', which shows Banks at his best on piano and organ: Hackett once more approaches his electric axe with his special touch of magic, making his solo in the interlude shine over the layers of Hammond and mellotron. 'The Battle of Epping Forest' recreates some of the irony and cynical humour of previous Genesis numbers ('Giant Hogweed', 'Get 'Em Out'), in the spirit of the band's momentum: it is clear how well have the fivesome grown together as a band of performers. One minor flaw resides in the "hyper-abundance" of sung parts - or maybe, the lack of longer instrumental passages -, but it's a great song anyway. Though not as great as the last two songs, 'The Cinema Show' and 'Aisle of Plenty', coupled as a unit. This 2-part suite starts with a pastoral-oriented section; then follows an extended jam articulated in order to allow Banks shine on his ARP adventures, until the reprise of 'Dancing.' resurfaces as a reflective closure of melancholy and social disappointment. What a way to end an album! I can't forget to mention the awesome beauty of 'After the Ordeal', an instrumental piece basically penned by Hackett that serves as a bridge of calmness between the two epics. This album is a masterpiece - I have no doubt about it, and I know for a fact that I am not alone in stating this.
Review by richardh
5 stars I have no hesitation in awarding this 5 stars.I know a lot of people complain about 'The Battle Of Epping forest' being a bit silly with all the 'cockney speak' and strange put on accents.However this is wonderfully laconic stuff in my view.Perhaps it helps to be English to appreciate it! And that brings me to the beauty of this album -it has a theme- ENGLAND! Dear ole 'blighty' ,its essentially an ode to the (lost?) traditions and quintessential English character.If this was a beer it would be a pint of warm ale, and I make no apologies to anyone who doesn't understand this! So what of the music you ask?? Well there are classics and then there are more classics -'Dancing With The Moonlit Knight','Firth Of Fifth','The Cinema Show' -what more do you want? Ok not 'More Fool Me' I hear in unison plus that naughty boy at the back of the class shouting 'Battle Of Epping Forest'! Well use the skip facility on your CD for More Fool Me and just learn to appreciate The Battle Of Epping Forest.You will if you try!


Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Dancing with the Moonlit Knight is probably the best beginning on any album of this era. Someone referred to the fact that this album ' smiled' and it is true, generally happy throughout. Another masterpiece. Let's be honest how many groups have consistently notched 4-5 star ratings on consecutive albums between 71-77? Floyd maybe.... Peopel argue that SEBTP was the summit gotr Genesis creatively, other argue The Lamb. Either way you can't fault this album or the next or the next or even the next after that.
Review by penguindf12
5 stars Originally I was going to give this 4.5 stars, but finally I decided on 4.75 stars or somewhere in the neighborhood of that number. It's just too good to not give it an essential rating!

It begins without any music, with Gabriel's voice asking "Can you tell me where my country lies?" This album is the reply to that very question, and the reply (while musically mind-blowing) is not very encouraging. This album is really something of a concept album, but the songs are not linked together in traditional concept fashion. There is a repeated riff that can be found in "Dancing with the Moonlit Knight" and the last tracks, and it sort of draws the album together.

The first song is about the decay in England. It starts quietly, then slowly becomes louder before going into a faster section which is about as hard as I've ever heard GENESIS rock. The guitar/organ solo is very interesting, which is interrupted for more lyrics depicting England's sad state, and then fires back up. The lyrics offer the listener to "dance with the moonlit knight," or defy the trends which are destroying us.

"I Know What I Like" is a shorter, less serious song which is based on the album's cover, with the lawn mower and all the people rushing into the field. The song is sung from the point of view of a lawn mower, and the lyrics are fairly cryptic. A good shorter song which fits the album well.

Following is the longer "Firth of Fifth," a great piece which is mainly keyboards and a long soft guitar solo in the middle. It begins with a wonderful BANKS overture, using constantly shifting meters. Then it enters a sort of song section, then slows and builds as the rest of the band joins, creating a creamy mixture of sound which flows throughout the rest of the album.

"More Fool Me" is a ho-hum song which doesn't fit up to the rest of the album, but somehow keeps from dragging it down. It is a bit bluesy, but keeps with the general theme. The only song really worth skipping on the album.

Then we come to the longest (and one of the best) tracks, "The Battle of Epping Forest." It depicts a battle between two rival gangs over the boundaries of their territory, and is laced with commentary on the English way of life as described in the first song. It begins with a drum march mixed with keyboards, which fades out and the main theme springs in, along with the lyrics. The big gang battle is made out as a huge media event, with people having picnics and watching the battle while doing nothing to stop the carnage which ensues. Strangely, the song keeps an upbeat, lighthearted tone throughout, reflecting the lighthearted way the people watch the horrid fight. To them, it (like this song) is just entertainment.

When the battle begins, the song suddenly goes back in time to describe the adventures of the Reverend, whose involvement in the event is not apparent. He goes into a sort of strip club, I think, and initially refuses temptation, but I think gives in (Gabriel's writing is not the clearest). He then joins Little John in founding a business called "Love Peace & Truth, Incorporated" which may be part of a gang "business." I'm not very sure, however. Then the song goes back to the present, where the battle is being fought.

Who wins? Nobody. They're all dead. The entire thing was just a huge waste of life, which could have been stopped by the people who instead made it a public spectacle. Even after all this death, nobody can stand with it being a draw. So they flip a coin to decide the winner. They all died fighting when a simple coin flip could've prevented the whole thing! The message here is: War is pointless.

Following this wonderful song is the interlude "After the Ordeal." At this point, I really wish GENESIS had woven these songs together. It would fit perfectly! Anyway, "After the Ordeal" continues the creamy, sugary feel of the album and nicely bridges the two major pieces.

After this is "The Cinema Show," a more instrumental track. The lyrics it has are all at the beginning of the song, and they essentially compare a woman worried about cleanliness and appearance and a man trying to bed the woman. Very English sound here, but some excellent instrumentation. Some of the best by GENESIS ever. And still we find that buttery smooth feel.

After the repeating of the original riff from "Dancing with the Moonlit Knight", the final track "Aisle of Plenty" begins. A lady in a store is confused, and it reprises the first song in a shorter form. The social commentary here is fairly apparent. Then the original riff is repeated and faded out as salesmen tell about their products in monotone drones...

Overall, very good. As good or better than "Foxtrot". A nice album to start with if you want to start on with GENESIS.

It's scrambled eggs.

Review by Guillermo
4 stars This album was the first album in which GENESIS began to have problems to record an album. They took sometime to rest and to compose the songs. I have read an interview done in 1982 where Banks/Collins/Rutherford said that this was a difficult album. There were some conflicts in the band, but it is amazing that this album had a high quality. "Dancing with the Moonlit Knight" is one of my favourite songs of this album. "I know what I like" is funny, and it also was released as a single, but I prefer the live version released in "Seconds Out".Maybe it is one of the most played songs in GENESIS` tours since 1973 (and like "Roundabout" from YES, an "obligatory" song). "Firth of Fifth" has a very good piano by Banks and lead guitar by Hackett."More Fool Me" is a ballad sung by the sometimes underrated Collins. "The Battle of Epping Forest" is humorous in places ("there`s no one left alive/ it must be a draw") but it is too long, but it is also a good example of storytelling. "After the Ordeal" is a very good instrumental song, mainly composed by Hackett, playing several guitars, one of them a classical guitar. This song shows his style for his future solo albums. The inclusion of this song in this album caused some frictions in the band, and I think that Hackett started to think that he could live as a solo artist, as his music wasn`t always received with enthusiasm by the rest of the band. "The Cinema Show" is the best song of this album, with very good keyboard solos and atmospheres by Banks and very good drums by Collins. "Aisle of Plenty" is brief, and it also reprises some parts of "Dancing with the Moonlit Knight". This album is very good, but not as strong as "Foxtrot".
Review by Bj-1
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Often considered as their best release. Occasionally, I agree, though "Foxtrot" still has a edge on it. Genesis was going through a new era here, but it still captured their unique sound featured on previous releases. The songwriting is as strong as on "Foxtrot", only with one "out-of-place" song; "More Fool Me", which is good taking for what it is, but definitely not up to pair with Genesis' other ballads at that time. Otherwise, there's not much to dislike about this album, and it still stands as one of my favorite albums ever. Peter Gabriel's lyrics are excellently walking hand-in-hand with the adventurous music, which goes from playful and whimsical to epic and delicate without making the album sound unbalanced or failed. The album never looses focus, with the possible exception of "The Battle of Epping Forest" (still a fabulous track, though), otherwise more or less flawless.

One of the most essential Progressive Rock albums. Highly recommended!

Review by slipperman
4 stars While this is one of the best Genesis albums, and one of the most important monuments in progressive rock, it is not without its flaws. Beginning and ending masterfully, it's the middle of the album where I find some weak spots. "More Fool Me" is the first letdown, a wispy ballad sung by Phil Collins, foreshadowing the kind of stuff he would eventually become possessed by. It's not the fact of a simple ballad I have a problem with, it's just not an enjoyable one. The next point of contention is the total antithesis of a song like "More Fool Me": the 11+ minute alley-clash epic "The Battle Of Epping Forest". For sure, this song holds many moments of magic, but this is a rare instance (the only?) where Peter Gabriel nearly ruins a song. He attempts to cram all these lyrics into the song, and sometimes it seems like they don't fit. It starts off well enough, careening along with Gabriel taking on this character and that (some of the voices are very annoying though, another problem), but as the song becomes more complex, he seems to be sweating it, trying to force it all in. This tends to smother the music, drawing attention away from some brilliant musical moments.

But the rest? Amazing stuff! "Dancing With The Moonlit Knight" opens the album with an instantly likeable vocal line and some alternately frantic and gentle dynamics throughout. The synergy between all members on this track is what makes Genesis fans Genesis FANATICS. There's so much being put into a song like this, you can hear something new every time you listen. "I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)" offers what nearly became Genesis' first big chart hit, and despite being a relatively short and simple song, it is not without its adventurous moments. There's a dark undertow to this one that, aided by the keyboard-generated lawnmower sounds, is completely mesmerizing. It's a great balance between sunny-day sing-along stuff (most of it) and creepy dementia (that subtle undertow).

If you want to know why Steve Hackett is held in such high regard, you need only visit "Firth Of Fifth", a complexly arranged piece that highlights his trademark "wait. then attack!" style of playing. A gorgeous classically-oriented piano piece leads into epic vistas and some beautiful production elements. Gabriel's flute lays down a signature melody, and then, after the 4-minute mark, the band takes off on a series of perfectly interlocking parts, climaxing with a few moments that display Hackett's unique intuition and talent: at 5:45 he constructs one of the greatest guitar figures of his career, a masterwork of flow and natural vibrato, a several-minute phrase of pure genius.

The final three songs seem to melt into one another, beginning with the superb pastoral feel of "After The Ordeal", into the Romeo-And-Juliet styled tale in "The Cinema Show" (a lengthy panorama of numerous musical and vocal highlights), and out with "Aisle Of Plenty", which helps give the album some continuity by reprising moments of "Dancing With The Moonlit Knight", with some highly unusual lyrics thrown in, unusual even for this band. (The reprise concept is something the band would work with for several albums afterwards.) And, is it me, or is there a lot of singing by Mr. Collins' on "The Cinema Show"?

Easily the smoothest recording job on any of the Gabriel-era Genesis albums, 'Selling England By The Pound' can be faulted for a couple musical missteps, but is, on the whole, one of the most intriguing and satisfying journeys in their catalog.

Review by frenchie
5 stars Just over a week ago i really disliked Genesis. I found them boring. I found the vocals annoying and the music disorganised. A few listens later and i couldn't put them down. I have 6 of their albums now. I dont know why opinion changed so rapidly but i've always felt like i have been missing out on one of the greatest prog bands out there. I still find them one of the weakest prog giants. I much prefer Yes, Pink Floyd and King Crimson, of that era. I am used to the vocals now, and i find them very interesting and original. I still think that Genesis sound like medieval battle music (kind of reminded me of Rick Wakeman's Knights of the Round Table, but on a lesser degree, that album is just ridiculously over the top)! I have been quite nervous about reviewing this album since it is seen as one of the best pieces by one of the best bands on this site

I find Genesis' lyrics to be very good in terms of concept, they seem to tell a story, often using different characters. I always prefer lyrics that reflect real life, much like Dream Theater and Pink Floyd. Their lyrics suit symphonic prog well it seems as i have noticed Yes and King Crimson exploring mythical lyrics. The album artwork of these bands reflects their music and lyrics well!

Selling England is my favourite and most listened to of the Genesis albums i have. I love the vocals on the intro to "Dancing With the Moonlit Knight", even when i disliked Genesis i found it very good, it pulls the listner into the album. This is an excellent example of symphonic prog rock, probably why they are so popular on this site. I love it when the song progresses through gentle acoustic and piano work through to the lively and quite insane middle section. this track flows beautifully, which is why it is such a nice introduction to the album. I find this piece quite relaxing too. I love the way this piece builds down into that soft outro, bringing an epic to a gentle close.

I love the way this album is set out with shorter pieces inbetween each of the longer pieces. It makes the album flow well. "I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)" is a strange piece, has some really interesting flute, drum and bass work, sounds kind of trippy! i love the vocals on "i know what i like and i like what i know"! This track makes me laugh sometimes, the lyrics are weird. its a really good piece though, it doesn't really seem that immature, its just good music!

"Firth of Fifth" is a piece that i love, the piano work is tip top from the very begining and maintains itself all the way through, a very good example of strong piano work in rock. FoF is a lively piece and is easy to listen to despite its long instrumental based sections. This is pure prog! "More Fool Me" is a very beautiful piece that builds up gently into some powerful and emotional vocal work. The quiet backing music brings Gabriel alive here for his best vocal work i have heard. This a beautiful track that gives a break between the larger pieces and maintains the fluidity of the album.

The longest piece on this album is "The Battle of Epping Forest", sometimes Gabriel uses weird voices on this track which is a bit offputting, he might be trying to emphasise his lines or play a different character though. It is a very listenable piece never the less but i didn't find this the strongest piece on the album, it is really good and displays lots of great musicianship but it can bit a little tedious and repititive, most of the time i have no problem with listening to this though.

"After the Ordeal" is perhaps a filler instrumental but it works well to build up to "The Cinema Show". This instrumental prelude does not work as well as "Horizons" on the previous album. "The Cinema Show" is my second favourite track on the album after the first track. This is a standout piece on the album, it has some beautiful guitar work, again taking a very gentle approach. I especially love it when it flows into the reprise of "Dancing with the Moonlit Knight". The last track continues this reprise with lyrics that close the album the way it began, in true prog fashion, making it seem like there is an interesting concept or story behind this album. It is hard to hear, but according to the lyrics i read, this epic album is ended with the lines "it's scrambled eggs!".

This album is definetly one of the greatest examples of progressive rock, it has most of the tricks in the book and is one of the strongest symphonic rock pieces i have heard. This album may take a while to get into if you are new to Genesis, i found it a struggle. This album is very gentle yet i think it is enjoyable throughout, it has some mild humour to add to this. Definetly worth checking out, i mean look at how many 5 star ratings this album has got!

Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I see this as a good but a bit overrated album. There are some fine moments in it, but some elements of it sound also quite uncomfortable to my ears. "Firth of Fifth" is the most memorable track for me here, evoking powerful feelings. Then "I Know What I Like" is quite annoying song in my opinion. As a funny anecdote, the riff of a famous Finnish rock hit "Moottoritie on kuuma" by Pelle Miljoona sounds like a carbon copy of the fast riff of "Dancing with The Moonlit Knight"!
Review by Tony Fisher
5 stars This is a very English album (as opposed to Lamb Lies Down which was very American) and one of my three favourite Genesis albums (along with Nursery Cryme and Foxtrot). They stretch out a bit on the solos here and it's all the better for that - indeed Steve Hackett's solo on Firth of Fifth isn't as fast and technical as some prog solos, but the musical construction is magnificent and it ranks up with the very best. The rhythm section are tight and inventive throughout and Gabriel's flute provides some lovely moments - how they missed this aspect when he left. Dancing With the Moonlit Knight kicks off the album with quirky lyrics and some great guitar and keyboard work. I Know What I Like was a bizarre single but a very successful track nevertheless and Firth of Fifth is a joy from beginning to end, my all time favourite Genesis moment. The Battle of Epping Forest is the story of two vice gangs fighting for control of protection rackets and lets Peter Gabriel loose to show his full gamut of vocal styles above some fine instrumental work. Silly but fun; a follow on from Get 'em out by Friday? After the Ordeal is a fine instrumental and sets the scene for The Cinema Show, another of their finest tracks ever with Banks' keyboard work supreme. Aisle of Plenty is a strange but effective end, with its incorporation of supermarket names into the lyrics. The only low point is More Fool Me, a weaker song where they misguidedly let Phil Collins sing; all it does is emphasis how much better Gabriel was. Still, there is no way I could give this magnificent album less than the full monty. If you don't have it, your collection isn't complete.
Review by erik neuteboom
4 stars "Genesis was my first love and it will be my last"! It was the first progrock band I discovered and this album is the second one I bought from Genesis. One of the most remarkable facts is the omnipresence of Steve Hackett his unique guitarwork: fiery in "Dancing with the moonlit knight", moving in "Firth of fifth" (the #1 guitar solo in progrock?) and delicate in the instrumental "After the ordeal". The lyrics are often strong (many words of play and funny associations) and Peter Gabriel does a great job as the singer. The track "The cinema show" showcases a perfect blend between the vocal and instrumenal part from Genesis, what a pivotal progrock music! Unfortunately I'm not pleased with the songs "I know what I like" and "More fool me", for me it was an omen that came true when "And then there were three" was released" (I threw it out of my window from the fourth floor after a first session..). Yes, music is emotion!
Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars A True Masterpiece Classic Prog Album

No doubt, this is a masterpiece prog album that set the standards for rock music in the glory days of seventies. This album represented my second in love with the band after I listened to Nursery Cryme album and knew the band the first time from my big bro, Henky, who introduced me to the world of rock music and prog rock in the seventies. Well, by the time there was no such definition of the kind of music Genesis was playing - we just simply said it "a not straight forward kind of rock music" (unlike Deep Purple, Golden Earring, Uriah Heep, Led Zeppelin, Humble Pie, Grand Funk Railroad, etc.). What reallly clicked me back with this album after having listened to Nursery Cryme (and love "musical Bix" and "Harold The Barrel") was when I visited Jakarta and I saw a cassette of this album was being played in my other brother (Jokky) in his VW Beetle when he picked me up at the Jakarta railway station. Oh man . the album's "Firth of Fifth" did really kill me at first listen! I could not even believe what I was hearing from the car's sound system: a never heard and wonderful classical piano intro delivered with full energy and uplifting mood opened a wonderful song ."The path is clear ." oh my God .. The melody and the harmony of this music really kill me since the first time I listened to it even until now. I could not believe that any humanbeing has ever created this masterpiece composition!

There is no such thing as bad track in this album - even though I thought that "More Fool Me" did not fit into the whole album. But, it's okay as this might serve as a break after listening other wonderful and a bit complex tracks. "Dancing With The Moonlit Knight" had even become a standard greetings for me and some friends couple years ago when I worked for Price Waterhouse Consulting. As management consultant at the time we usually worked sparsely at client's premises and by the end of the day we gathered at our head office or at classic rock café. It's not the gathering that I want to mention but the greetings we typically used. Unlike "Hey man, how's life?" but we yelled: "Can You tell me where my country lies? ." and the other person who received that yell would respond "It lies with me. Cry the Queen of Maybe ..". That's exactly the opening lyric of Dancing With The Moonlit Knight!!!! Even recently when we exchange messages through our cell-phones, we still use these lyrics. What a rocking vibe man .!!!

The Battle Of Epping Forest(11:43) is also a song with memorable experience. This unique song has even inspired a local cover band based in Malang, East Java, who named the band after pieces of lyrics of this relatively complex and hard-to-understand- at-first-listen track,ie. "Gang Voice". Yeah . the band name was Gang Voice! After The Ordeal (4:12) is also a wonderful instrumental outfit with great melody and harmony. The melody is truly touchy. This kind of melody has inspired, lately, many neo progressive band as part of their composition.

No one will ever say The Cinema Show (11:06) - Aisle Of Plenty (1:31) is a mediocre track regardless their musical taste. I also love the cover version by The Flower Kings in their compilation album "Scanning The Greenhouse". The live version of this track in Seconds Out album is also a great performance with Bill Bruford on drums.

Well, I guess I have to stop it here as I have a lot of good memories about this album and I might probably write a 200-page novel for this album only. But, I'm sure that you are not going to buy that novel because it's too long. Non musical thing, I'm really amazed with the sound quality the album produces - it's really great. I even always use this CD if I want to buy new stereo set. I like the sound of Taurus bass pedal in Firth of Fifth. I don't know how could it happen as the released year was 1973 and the recording technology was not advanced at the time. Super Highly Recommended! Keep on proggin' .!

Progressively yours,

GW - Review #318

Review by Starette
5 stars Ah- Dancing with the Moonlit Knight was the song that, only a week ago, picked me up off the ground at a time of strange indifference to most pieces of music I came across. To be suddenly inspired (or 'turned on' as you may say) is a sweet thing- which is exactly what this legendary music did to me. It's a real ear-opener to anyone- be they a genuine progger or someone, such as myself, who is still trying to find their feet in the world of music.

The album opens with this piece "Can you tell me where my country lies?- said the uniforn to his true love's eyes." What on earth is a uniforn? Or did he say uniCORN? It all boils down to the genius of Peter Gabriel- playing tricks with the minds of those who dare listen closely to the lyrics! Here I could go off on a tangent and talk about whether Peter is asking us to sympathize with the rapist in The Music Box or not but lets stick to *this* album now. Beautiful acoustic guitar playing from Steve Hackett and watch out for the passionate piano playing from Tony Backs too. Soon Steve begins the recurring guitar theme which is to begin the adrenalin of the whole song. I can't say I'm one for Peter's voice but after "young man says ' you are what you eat', well.." he sings with an emotion that takes over his style, therefore the rest of the song. Sythesized chroal voices, drumbeats and amazingly fast electric guitar riffs are perfect for the likes of me (a head-banger). Surprises all the way through: tempo and key change, new melodies: So far, in my listening, this is progressive rock at it's best! Peter suddenly sings as if he's talking to two different people- as if he's giving them instructions. He is the master of changing tones while singing. The repeated riffs,in both keyboard and guitar, make this an awesome piece for both prog-fanatics and mainstream-lovers alike. It ends with the same melancholy mood with which it began: a beautiful falling chord by a harp-like guitar and sythesized stings slowly rising, falling, rising in the background. Wonderfully dreamy. Two words: Absolutely gorgeous! This has become one of my top ten favourite pieces of music.

I know what I like (in your wardrobe): " It's one o'Clock and time for lunch." It's as if I'm listening to my Dad when he's in a good mood: Fantastic! I love it when artists are 'random' in a way that isn't *too* off the top- which is exactly what Genesis are at times. This is definitely an example. So..the first 'hit' from this album and said to be about a cross-dressing lawn-mower aye? Trust Genesis to use such a theme for a song! Nice sitar playing from Mike Rutherford. Needless to say this is a very poppy song but that didn't make it any less enjoyable for me. I'll sing along to the chorus anytime! The line: 'Me? I'm just a lawn-mower! You can tell me by the way I walk.' is purely unforgettable. High arpeggios in Peter' voice fter the first chorus: I laughed the first time I heard it; I found myself singing along the second.

Firth of Fifth: The Piano starts the almost-all-instrumtental piece in an almost Broadway fashion. That is to say- it's very sing-songy. Vocals, electric guitar and keyboard come in very suddenly and follow the piano's chordal progression but cause the music to move a tad more upbeat. Everything is very singsongy and happyclappy (mind if I use that word?) till the piano and flute do a duet. Suddenly a very melancholy, even depressing melody hits our ears.Thiis lingers on for a while. The original happy melody comes in played by the keyboard and suddenly eveything is upbeat again. (The word 'suddenly' is something I'm going to have to refrain from writing here but it's rather hard for me- this is Prog Rock!) Then the depressing tune is played by the electric guitar again. This piece certainly drifts in and out of moods! One realises that this technique is reflected in one of Peter Gabriel's closing lyrics: 'A River of Constant Change.'

More Fool Me: Phil Collin's voice is better than in 'For Absent friends' but I can see why most other reviewers think this song is a let-down in comparison with the rest of the album. This isn't a piece of proggressive rock at all; it's a gentle acoustic pop song. Phil is singing about his girlfriend who appears to have broken up with him: an over-done convention. Why do I immediately think of Bread? But I'm not going to disregard this song altogether- it's still a very pretty love song. So short- not even two minutes long!

The Battle of Epping Forest: This didn't hold me in it's clutches as much as DWTMLK did but it's still an 'epic' of Genesis: one that tells a story like The Music Box. The start reminds me of a mix of marching toy soldiers and the clapping of a football-stadium's croud. (I have a weird mind.) But the sound of Peter Gabriel with his casual sounding rock-band interrupt and change all that. The chorus dissappointed me a little- it sounds somewhat like a generic 80's pop band, therefore before it's time. Is it the simple melody or the chordal progression? It's hard to tell really- you hear it yourself! Changes in tempo keep all proggers happy. I especially like echo-pedal on Steve's guitar-riff that comes later. Now the Peter tells the others in the band a story to which they respond, and he changes his accents perfectly! Not only is he an awesome songwriter, singer and musician- this man has obviously been to drama class one or more times as well. I'd have to say that this track is electric guitar and honky-tonk keyboard dominated.

After the Ordeal: This is a great instrumental for background music while you eat, drink, get drunk...anything else that's relaxing to you. Harp-like classical guitar does a duet with a swift-playing piano. The Tambourine comes in a bit later to add a bit of tang to the percussion- it almost sounds like Spanish Flamenco Dancing at one point. This is until the electric guitar rings yet again and the flute joins in.

The Cinema Show: A Modern-day Romeo and Juliet go to the movies- now there's a beautiful thought and theme for a song! A slow ballad with dreamy slow guitars that seem to speed-up occassionally. As usual: an electric guitar and drumbeat make the song more upbeat. (Genesis have made this an effective technique in order to pull us out of the song's introduction. We were thinking about Juliet, but now we're thinking about Romeo.) Subtle hints at sex in the lyrics make the song very romantic indeed: "He will make his bed with her tonight." What I also love is the quick reference to a well-known character in Greek myth: Teiresias. He was a woman then he became a man again- and a blind prophet for than matter too. "Once a man- like the sea I raged. Once a woman- like the earth I craved...THERE IS IN FACT MORE EARTH THAN SEA." Is this conforming to the ideology of a woman's orgasm being larger than a man's? It makes you think. On a personal note- I was recently in a production of Antigone (a greek tragedy) as Teiresias' guide: This part of the song was in my head all the while! After this- the flute is heard and all the members use their voices as instruments at one point- making for an atmospheric break. Then back to Steve and Phil with their guitar and drums. Tony Banks does a delightful keyboard solo with using the sound of strings. It's all very fast-paced. This sets the scene for us. (What are R and J up to now? We are invited to use our imagination- if we're really up to it that is!) The piece ends with the first few harp-like chords on which it began.

Aisle of Plenty: "I don't belong here.." hmm- this sounds familar. After hearing the strumming guitar it sounds even moreso. Then incomes that wonderful guitar riff and one realises that it's definitely the other half of Dancing with the Moonlit Knight. Expecting us to know this (how can we not? After such a masterpiece to open the album!) the singers go crazy, meaning that they use their voices as instuments and experiment. Once again, Peter Gabriel at his most passionate (so far- in my listening of Genesis.) A brilliant short ending to a brilliant long opening of this album.

If you're a Prog Rock fan but you don't have this album, you're mad. Utterly mad. Just try it one day and let it melt into you- let the music take you over. It's worth the hassle- trust me!

Review by Zitro
5 stars An absolute Masterpiece! It only has one flaw. If you are reading this progressive forum and have not this album, don't read this review, just go and buy it!

Genesis at its artistic peak. This is an essential album containing some of the most brilliant musicianship, and melodies put on tape.

1. Dancing With The Moonlit Knight 10/10 : A perfect start to the album and one of my favourite tunes of Genesis. Excelling on any way possible (including lyrics and emotion) ... this is a journey of musical ecstacy.

2. I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe) 7/10 : The only flaw of the album. This song while being good and fun, feels very out of place in the album. The drumming is something to pay attention to here which is masterful.

3. Firth Of Fifth 11/10 (masterpiece) : It is my favourite song of Genesis and l consider it a work of art. The piano solo at the beginning is very complex and difficult to play, yet I have spent countless hours to learn to play it myself and use it to impress others with its beauty (actually I learned the whole song). The other important part is the instrumental break containing a piano solo, a flute melody, a synth solo, and the best guitar solo of all times. Prog rock at its best (and a long album).

4. More Fool Me 9/10 : This is a simple pop song with gorgeous melodies.

5. The Battle Of Epping Forest 8/10 : While it should have been cut a few minutes, it still is an impressive epic that doesn't take itself very seriously. Everything sounds playful and you can hear children voices on the background.

6. After The Ordeal 9/10 : What an instrumental! This showcases the abilities of the band without sounding overblown and pretentious like Soundchaser from Yes. It is very melodic.

7. The Cinema Show 10/10 : Very solid climatic song. Starting as a solid ballad about Romeo and Juliet, it then climbs into a bombastic climax full of synths. The drumming is excellent here showing that Collins is a master at his drumkit.

8. Aisle Of Plenty 10/10 : The album can't exist without this reprise of the first song. It is a perfect finisher of the album

My Grade : A

Review by Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars A flawed masterpiece!

Since "Foxtrot" was so a perfect album, almost "too perfect", I could not sometimes listen to it anymore and preferred a better produced "Selling England by the Pound" with its clear sound. Steve Hackett is the one to shine on this brilliantly performed piece of music and I must highlight "Dancing with the Moonlit Knight", "Firth of Fifth" and "The Cinema Show" as being the most accomplished acts in musical history, ranking as classics among the "classical" music. The flaws are nevertheless obvious: "More Fool Me" is a syrupy heart-bleeding Collins weep that makes the BEE GEES look like serious avantgarde, while "The Battle of Epping Forest" is too stretched to handle although it has fine moments. In spite of minor weaknesses, this album is the artistic top of the Gabriel-led GENESIS career and is a must for any music library.

Review by Progbear
4 stars The cracks in the finish are beginning to show through here. First of all, the songwriting isn't quite as strong as the two that preceded it. Second, Banks for the first time uses the weedy, thin-toned ARP Pro-Soloist synthesizer sound. Lots of people consider this instrument part of the "classic" Genesis sound, but to me it just sounds like an electronic mosquito. Banks' synthesizer tones would improve immesurably once he got an ARP 2600, round about the time WIND & WUTHERING came out. Rather a pity that was about the time their quality control took a nosedive.

Cheesy synth sounds aside, this is still a fine album. Any band would be proud to have songs as strong as "Dancing With The Moonlit Knight" and "Cinema Show". And of course "Firth of Fifth" is one of the most iconic, and much-imitated, progressive rock numbers of all-time. Banks' solo-piano intro and Hackett's emotional guitar solo are undeniable highlights of the progressive rock era.

Review by Rivertree
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Band Submissions
4 stars Do I like what you know?

There are so much reviews written - is there something to say what another reviewer has forgotten? It is definetely one of the best albums they have ever made (but don't forget the flower of 'Foxtrott').

'I know what I like' - is there a better way to manage a complex song which can also be played on every party? 'Firth of Fifth' without a doubt is an absolutely great song - timeless and without a competition! 'More fool me' - have you ever later heard the voice of Phil Collins in this way? 'The cinema show'/'The battle of Epping forest' - enjoy this ride with Steve Hackett and Tony Banks above every forest and aisle of plenty!

Hard to believe: this was produced over 30 years ago!!!

Review by Prognut
5 stars I promised myself that I would try to be objective about this one!! But, I can...this is to me one of the MOTHERS of all Progressive albums, of all times!!! No kidding! It has all the elements, Lyrics and Musically these guys (at least together) will not reach IMHO a higer level. PG voice never sounded better than this!! the whole album concept is mesmerizing!; To me no weach tracks! I always listen to this album from start to finish. Reapeating only maybe "Firth Of Fifth" which always send chills thru my back!! A six star Album!!
Review by King of Loss
5 stars Ok, I know this album is perhaps one of the most reviewed albums out there, but I just had to review this album. This album is in fact one of top 20 favorite albums of all time, but I understand that it is not perfect and that one Phil Collins song really lowers the rating for me from a 4.75 to a 4.5, but anyways, here's my judgement on this album.

This is perhaps Genesis' finest album, well unless you are a fan of IMO, their magnum opus and Peter Gabriel's last album, The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, but this is IMO their best one disc album.

It starts off with Peter Gabriel singing on Dancing With The Moonlit Knight, and then the band starts playing. The song is a very good start to the album, maybe not as good as The Musical Box or Watcher of the Skies, but gets it done. After a very commercially accessible song, I Know What I like In your Wardrobe. (Which is not that bad)

We find one of the most premier, remembered Progressive Rock tracks ever. The Classic Firth of Fifth is definitely one of the best tracks in Prog history and might be one of my favorites too.

More Fool Me is a track that the now infamous Phil Collins (within the Prog scene of course) starts singing. THe poppy-like theme and of course the song, highly reminds us of what will happen in the 80s, but of course, this song is better than most of Genesis' 3-man output after Abacab.

The Battle of Epping Forest is a very intricate song with a lot of emotions and one theme about a gang battle. Anyways, the song starts off side 2 and I must say this is also one of Genesis' best songs. The 11 minute epic is then followed by AFter the Ordeal, a brilliant, emotional song that enhances my mind. Then from this point on, This album turns into one of the most brilliant Prog sides ever.

The Cinema Show and Aisle of Plenty (Which should be one final ending song) is perhaps the most emotionally felt song that Peter Gabriel Genesis has ever written, well maybe except for The Musical Box. This song has amazingly beautiful synths and guitar melodies weaved together along with one of Gabriel's best vocal performances. Aisle of Plenty alone has more emotions and beauty than some entire 2 sides of a vinyl record combined.

Here is How I rate each individual song:

1. Dancing With The Moonlit Knight 4/5 2. I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe) 4/5 3. Firth Of Fifth 10/5 4. More Fool Me 2/5 5. The Battle Of Epping Forest 5/5 6. After The Ordeal 5/5 7. The Cinema Show 5/5 8. Aisle Of Plenty 5/5

Side 2 of Selling England By the Pound is not only one of the best sides in prog, but also one of the most emotional. I love this album very much, it might not be as perfect as a Close to the Edge or A In the Court of the Crimson King, but this album blows them away in terms of emotions.

This album is essential for any fan of Progressive Music, alone with those albums and many others.

Review by Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars One of the most well-rounded and complete albums ever crafted. Every member of Genesis shines in some way or another on this album, and every song is nothing short of amazing. From the quiet intro of Dancing with the Moonlit Knight to what could possibly be the best keyboard solo of all time in Cinema Show, there is no weak track on this album. Hackett is a guitarist's dream with searing leads on Dancing with the Moonlit Knight and Firth of Fith, but also is melodically brilliant in The Battle of Epping Forest and Cinema Show. Banks is incredible with his amazing work throughout the entire album, he continues to push himself to a creative peak. Phil Collins plays sophisticated drum patterns and gets a spot to shine vocally with More Fool Me (which to some is an awful track, but to me it is incredible). Mike Rutherford plays intricate bass lines as well as guitar phrases and creates swirling atmospheres with Steve Hackett during the "acoustic" sections. Peter Gabriel is at his best with great flute work on Firth of Fith, and he's at his lyrical best with deep songs like The Cinema Show, etc.

Dancing With the Moonlit Knight is an awesome intro that goes through so many different moods it does nothing but dazzle the listener. With searing tapped leads from Hackett and some might mellotron from Banks, this is one of the highlights. Other tracks worth mentioning are Firth of Fith, which features great interplay from all the members, and great solos from Gabriel (on flute, respectively), Hackett, and Banks. The Cinema Show features many different moods throughout the 11 minutes, but the highlight is the killer Banks solo in the 7th minute.

Overall, this is an incredible effort by an incredible band. Although my overview was only over a few tracks, rest assured that the album is one of the top albums in the progressive genre. 5/5.

Review by Atkingani
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars Second best Genesis output ("Foxtrot" is the first) and one of the 10 essential prog-albums.

I am really sure that the trilogy "Nursery Cryme-Foxtrot-SEBTP" will be studied intensely by many people, in the next 100 or 200 years to come. Even today the focus is ever-growing; they will last forever.

In "Selling England By The Pound" all band members were at their peaks as artists and musicians and the final result is almost perfect.

Aside the prog-classics other songs run splendidly, even the sometimes despised 'The battle of Epping Forest', thanks to the flawless production, the great lyrics and specially the skilful musicianship of the quintet. Best songs are:

'Dancing with the moonlit knights', the superb opening with Gabriel singing like doing a prayer. Keyboards and guitars are awesome, also worthy are the sundry themes heard.

'Firth of Fifth', a refined piece, soft and ellegant. Piano intro provides a great moment but vocals and guitar solo part are also amazing.

'The cinema show', is bucolic and poetic, the apparent calmness hiding a big fire inflamed by the ensuing synth solo, all being relieved by the quiet 'Aisle of plenty', a precious one.

'I know what I like', the first Genesis top-chart song is funny and pleasant. Great drumming, odd vocal solo, fair arrangements and exquisite flute compound a very interesting and hearable song.

Doubtlessly a great work; rating is obvious: 5.

Review by FishyMonkey
3 stars Well, we have about 80% of the site proclaiming this as one of the best, one of five or so quintessential prog records, one of the "deserted island" albums, so to speak. The other 15% doesn't like it too much, and there's people like me, who fall uncomfortably in between, recieving flak from both sides. This record, much like ITCOTCK, just doesn't impress me that much. Also like ITCOTCK, I find this to be amazing when it's on, and horrid when it's off. When ITCOTCK was off, it wasn't quite abysmal, besides the last 9 minutes of Moonchild. Simply mediocre. This, however, is absolutely abysmal when it's off, and much more of it is off than on than I'm confortable with.

I had a mini revelation the first time I heard Dancing With the Moonlit Knight. This song blew me away, and instantly, I saw what the fuss over Genesis was all about. Or so I thought. The rest of the album, besides Firth of Fifth and The Cinema Show, which both impressed me, did nothing for me. The Battle of Epping Forest was one of the most overdone songs I'd ever heard, and it still remains that way today.

Let's start with the bad: Four of eight tracks, actually. Aisle of Plenty is a waste of time, and More Fool Me and I know What I like are simply poppy love songs. As for the fourth, it's The Battle of Epping Forest, which is, as I said, one of the most ridiculously overdone pieces ever to grace the genre. 12 minutes of meandering wannabe-cute and funny songs with nary a memorable moment or melody to be seen. Gabrei'ls singing has never been particularily good in my opinion, but here he makes it even worse by fiddling with all kinds of stupid accents and dialects, and the output is atrocious. Already, half the album is skip-button worthy. Not a good sign.

As for the good, it certainly is good. The worst of the good tracks (if that makes sense) is After the Ordeal, featuring floaty instrumentals and wonderful touches here and there, and is overall a nice relaxing piece to listen to. Compare it to Lady of the Dancing Water off King Crimson's album Lizard. A really nice piece.

Another good one is Firth of Fifth, which is basically a kinda cheesy yet delightful example of the whole genre. It opens with a a nice, flowing piano part, then opens up into a very cheesy chorus section. At aorund 3:30, the flute comes in, and I love this part every time I hear it. It's a wonderful melody. The solo at around 6:00 minutes in is absolutely wonderful and complements the flute part quite nicely. At the end, the song is wrapped up in the cheesy main chorus again, which somehow works quite well to finish the song. The actual outro is a piano melody. Nice.

The Cinema Show starts good, then goes pretty good, then excellent, then pretty good. The soft part around 3 minutes is absolutely wonderful, and the jam from 6:00 to the end is also quite fun. I really dig the groove Collins has going here. The rest is kinda like Firth of Fifth's chorus line...cheesy, but acceptable.

My favorite piece is my revelation piece, though. Dancing With the Moonlit Knight has actually GOOD singing by Gabriel. The solo is fun, even though it drags a bit. The outro is great, and the whole piece just is definitely excellent. Not much I can think to say, really.

Well, since only four of the eight songs are acceptable to me, that means I should give this a 2.5/5. I'll round that off to a 3/5, as some moments in this album are excellent. However, the excellence is far too scattered. Oh, the production is also extremely incosistant, even for the 70s.

Review by Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Ok, this is the most classic Genesis record! One which I should shut up on, 'cause all it's already said and I couldn't be able to add anything new to the discussion. That's undenaiable!

I want then to limit myself in telling you how absolutely delighted I am every time I listen to this stunning piece of art. Psychic consequences are very similar to that ones that occurs me when I take a spin to my Thick As A Brick's cd.a quasi-Stendhal's syndrome!!! This is symphonic prog I like most!!! Great music, inventive arrangements, awesome theatrical structure, "burlesque" vocals provided by Peter Gabriel, all guides directly to the "masterpiece-status"!! That 1973 album really deserves that high rank position!

The most emotional tracks for me are the marvellous opener Dancing With the Moonlight Night and Firth of Fifth while the most exciting and brain-nourishing is the wonderful 11,44 mns The Battle of Epping Forest! Oh, what a pleasure for ears and soul it is!!!

That's all folks!, hope I haven't been too boring.

Review by AtLossForWords
5 stars That '70s Cinema Show.

Genesis' release Selling England By the Pound has been and always will be one of the best definitions of Progressive Rock. With this album, Genesis had fortified their already grand style of Symphonic Prog. The track to track quality of this album is just as good as if not better than any Genesis album before or after it's release. The virtuosity is a signature touch to this album. Earlier Genesis albums featured excellent composing, but with this album Genesis combines there well known composing skills with excellent virtuosity which scarely appeared on earlier albums.

Tony Banks puts in an exceptional performance on this album. This is definately his best performance to this point. Firth of Fift highlights Banks' subtlely showcased chops. After the Ordeal also shows excellent piano skills of Banks. With previous Genesis albums, Banks always left a little to be desired, but he more than made up for his lack of technique on other albums.

Steve Hackett did a an excellent job on creating the signature Genesis atmosphere with none other than keyboardist Tony Banks. The harmonies chosen by Hackett on this album are spectacular and original. A great sense of couterpoint from the guitarist. Hackett had always put on excellent performances on every Genesis album, but here he works much more with the band.

Peter Gabriel's vocals recieve more justice on this album. The production is just so much better on this album. There isn't really much to say about the vocals other than that they are just as good if not better than earlier Genesis albums.

Michael Rutherford disspoints me a little bit. After such amazing performances on earlier albums like Nursery Cryme and Foxtrot, Rutherford isn't showcased as much on this album. Perhaps with Banks occupying more space Rutherford didn't want to overplay and take up more space in the music than he could. Rutherford puts in a solid, but not his best performance.

Collins' work on drums is quite impressive. The beats are not spectacular, but the mroe meticulous side of drumming that deals more with smaller movements on cymbals is quite enjoyable.

The production on this album is better than any previous Genesis album. The guitars and keyboards are both clear. The bass isn't as present, but it has less of a role than on previous albums. Gabriel's vocals are fantastic. Genesis fans love this album and so will any other fans of Progressive music.

Review by NJprogfan
5 stars I zipped thru the reviews for the current number one album on this site just to get an idea on what to say, since there's so many reviews. This is what I garnered: most people dispise "More Fool Me", and the ones who rate the album three-stars or less can't stand "I Know What I Like..." and "The Battle Of Epping Forest". I can understand the hatred of "More Fool Me", it's a ballad and stands out. Yet, if you take it for what it is, it's tolerable. I'm a huge fan of Gabriel's lyrics. There's not another human being who writes lyrics the way he writes them. I adore the lyrics in "The Battle Of Epping Forest". If you can take the time to listen to the words and let the music meld, it works on so many different levels. And quite honestly, it's damn entertaining! (BTW, the last line of the song rings SO true. I'm not going to write it here, you have to listen for yourself....) "I Know What I Like...." I remember hearing on FM radio back in the 70's and it stuck in my head ever since. Catchy, and so English its the perfect type of poppy/prog song to grab your attention and compel you to buy the album. All I can say about the rest of the songs is quite simple, Classic, Classic, Classic....if it weren't for them, there wouldn't be a Neo Prog category, (depending on what you think of the genre, that's a good or bad thing) They honed all they knew from "Tresspass" to "Foxtrot" and made their greatest three tracks. And for my money, "The Cinema Show" is the best they ever created. Everyone absolutely shines, especially Collins drumming and Banks keyboards. Proof in the pudding is on the live album "Seconds Out" when Collins has his drum solo using the middle-to-end section of the song. He shows his stuff on "The Cinema Show" brillantly. My only gripe, which is minor, is why Paul Whitehead didn't grace the album with another stunning cover. It's a decent cover, but I would have loved to have had him try a stab at it. Oh, well, can't have everything. But to sum up, this album runs the gamut of emotions: humor, tears, melancoly, joy. Is it the best prog album ever? Or is CTTE? Depends on your mood, eh. ;-)
Review by Chicapah
5 stars This was my first introduction to Genesis (I was working in a record store in '75 and the store manager pulled the LP out and told me "This is probably the best album in the store" which piqued my interest). I found it so different from anything else I had ever heard that it instantly created a separate room in my mind to categorize their music in. And it still occupies that same room today. From the bold statement "Can you tell me where my country lies...?" of "Dancing with the moonlit knight" to the haunting reciting of measurements in "Aisle of Plenty" as the album fades in the end it is a masterpiece. "Firth of Fifth" just may be the defining song of all progressive rock. It has every ingredient necessary and the performance is flawless. I'm one who thinks "More Fool Me" is a wonderful, sad tune about being brokenhearted and in no way detracts from the album. I've always loved it. "Battle" is one strange little song but it works on a subconscious level in that the melodies stick with you and reappear at the most unexplainable times. (Like the phrase "picnic, picnic...") "Cinema Show" is a very clever tune that defines their attitude towards their work so well. They always went wherever their imagination led them and didn't question their muse. And, in this case, they created their best album ever. It doesn't tower over their other great achievements but it does stand taller. And it gets my vote for the greatest prog music ever made.
Review by chessman
5 stars Considered by many fans to be the best album Genesis released, it is certainly a tour de force of wit, humour,pathos and general compositional brilliance. The sound on this album is much improved over the earlier albums, and listening to it is a rewarding experience aurally. No weak tracks here, the whole lot blends seamlessly together in an olmost effortless way. Probably the most notable thing on this album is Steve Hackett's emergence as a major player in the band. His guitar work is simply beautiful at times. However, he is matched by Tony Banks's magnificent keyboard work. From the opening unaccompanied vocal from Peter Gabriel, the music is just wonderful. 'Dancing With The Moonlit Knight' is so clever, subtle and melodic it is just ridiculous! 'I Know What I Like' is, of course, a classic. It was also a minor hit for the band. The off the wall lyrics are disturbing in a good way. And here Phil Collins lays down the definitive Genesis beat. 'Firth Of Fifth' continues the string of classic tracks, with the majestic keyboards of Tony Banks underlining the hoarse vocals of Gabriel. And, of course, it has the world famous guitar solo from Hackett. Simply a beautiful piece of guitar work, played almost like a violin. (Something Hackett often tried to do in the early days. He was always trying to make the guitar sound un-guitar like!) 'More Fool Me' is another outing for Phil on vocals, and is a simpler piece, with nice acoustic guitar backing his quite gentle vocals. He wasn't sounding here like Peter Gabriel at all! 'The Battle Of Epping Forest' is another classic. (Even my mum, who died in 1987 liked this track. She loved the lyrics!) Based on a gangland fight, it is amusing and has wonderful wordplay, with different voices and accents as required. (Basically, it is a continuation of songs like 'Harold The Barrel' and 'Get 'Em Out By Friday'.) Wonderful stuff! 'After The Ordeal' has long been known to be a Track Tony Banks doesn't much care for. But it is a fine instrumental, with nice piano, before Hackett's fine guitar sidewinds its way over the top. 'The Cinema Show' is yet another classic. Tony Banks shines here, with the sort of playing that dazzles without being overly showy. The ending is a real treat. Finally, 'Aisle Of Plenty' reprises part of the opening track, and has superb wordplay based on local supermarkets and their prices at the time. Nothing else to add really. Definitely a classic and worthy of five stars. Nevertheless, for me it is not their best album. That was coming up next...
Review by Raff
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars In spite of my exalted status as one third of the legendary Symphonic Prog team, I hadn't really got round to reviewing this album yet - perhaps because I thought I would just add some irrelevant information to the hundreds of mostly rave reviews already present on the site. However, even though I will readily admit to not being a big Genesis fan, "Selling England by the Pound" has ranked for years among my all-time favourite albums, so I think it's only fair for me to add my voice to this enthusiastic chorus.

Before gaining fame and fortune in their native Britain and in the rest of the world, Genesis were warmly welcomed and embraced by my homeland of Italy. Their elegant, sweeping, pastoral soundscapes instantly appealed to the optimistic, romantic side of the Italian temperament - much in the same way as Van Der Graaf Generator's left-field, skewed version of prog appealed to its darker, more introspective side - so that the band gained a strong following almost overnight. Peter Gabriel's strong theatrical bent was no stranger to this enormous success either: after all, Italy has one of the strongest theatrical traditions in the world, and could not fail to appreciate Gabriel's stage performances, as well as his unconventionally beautiful, deeply expressive vocals.

Although this statement will certainly earn me the disapproval of many Genesis longtime fans, I've always found this album to be the band's only real masterpiece - having admittedly never been able to get into its predecessor, the equally idolised "Foxtrot". However, in much the same way as ELP's monumental "Brain Salad Surgery", SEbtP is a sort of flawed masterpiece: intensely moving and powerful, with peaks of utter brilliance, but not perfect in the true sense of the word. As a matter of fact, not all its tracks are equally successful, the nadir being reached with the somewhat slushy ballad "More Fool Me" (the song prog fans love to hate, possibly because it is sung by bete noire Phil Collins - a case of the shape of things to come?).

On the other hand, the highlights of this record can easily be numbered among the few real landmarks of Seventies prog, those tracks no self-respecting fan of the genre should miss: this being the case of opener "Dancing With the Moonlight Knight" (my personal favourite), spectacular keyboard-fest "Firth of Fifth", and epic "The Cinema Show" with its instrumental coda, "Aisle of Plenty". The other songs range from the quirky yet pleasant ("I Know What I Like") to the slightly ponderous (lengthy, keyboard-driven "The Battle of Epping Forest"), to the disposable (the aforementioned "More Fool Me"). Instrumental "After the Ordeal" is rather laid-back and easy on the ear, unlike sweeping, tempestuous album closer "Aisle of Plenty", which in its final section reprises the main theme of "Dancing with the Moonlit Knight", having the album (a concept of sorts, though not explicitly so) come full circle.

The three standout tracks are as different as they come. "Dancing...", opened by an almost legendary accapella Gabriel vocal that can give the listener goosebumps, is somewhat brooding, darker and heavier than the other songs, with its subtle indictment of Britain's consumer society. In my very humble opinion, this is possibly Gabriel's finest hour as a vocalist. Majestic "Firth of Fifth" features jaw-dropping performances by both Tony Banks (the piano intro is particularly beautiful) and Steve Hackett - his dazzling solo being rightfully considered a yardstick for prog guitar playing. Banks gets another opportunity to shine on "The Cinema Show", a gentle, erudite piece ispired by an episode of T.S. Eliot's "The Waste Land" (another favourite of mine, literature buff that I am). It gathers momentum in the instrumental section called "Aisle of Plenty", culminating with an another impassioned Gabriel vocal fading away into nothing.

Review by Cristi
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover / Prog Metal Teams
5 stars After having listened, enjoyed and loved Nursery Cryme, I wanted more so I bought Selling England By the Pound. Another masterpiece in my humble opinion, one of my favourite progressive rock albums. You 've got to be overpretentious not to be able to enjoy this album. Dancing with the Moonlit Knight is a prog-rock masterpiece, brilliantly performed by all members of the band (a collective effort); I Know What Like is a moreaccessible song - nice keyboards and flute on this one. Firth of Filth is the second masterpiece, clearly a collectiveeffort like the album opener - great guitar work, awesome piano and keyboards, very good drumming and last but not least great vocals and amazing flute playing (IMHO). More Fool Me is a short track, performed with acoustic guitars and vocals from Phil Collins. I've never considered this song as disposable or filler, it's quite an enjoyable song. The Battle of Epping Forest is indeed a bit too long - I personally enjoy it because I like the keyboards. I agree to the idea that more guitar would have made the song even better. After the Ordeal is a great instrumental, with an amazing (musical) interaction between Banks and Hackett. Another favourite of mine is the Cinema Show - outstanding keyboards work from Tony Banks. Aisle of Plenty is kind of a conclusion being a reprise of Dancing with the Moonlit Knight. All these being said, I warmly and highly recommend this album to all prog-rock listeners/fans; this album is a Must Have to any progressive rock collection.
Review by OpethGuitarist
3 stars The best that Genesis offered us, SEBTP incorporates great songwriting with their established talents. If an album was to be overrated in their prime this would be the best of them, overrated but still very good.

I'll be brutally honest here when I say that 'I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)' is my favorite Genesis song that they ever wrote. It's simple, effective, progressive, and a very worthy song. Tracks I have real problems with are 'Dancing with the Moonlit Knight' and 'Battle of Epping Forest'. Both are overdone, especially the latter, with lots of unnecessaries, which is maybe designed purposely to make Cinema Show look better, who knows. Cinema Show is a nice track, however, when I compare it to other Prog epics, as indeed this song is often lumped in with other epics, it just doesn't quite measure up.

The best place to go in search of Genesis material, SEBTP is a classic of symphonic prog, the best of the band and a foundation for the genre of Prog. This is also Gabriel's best vocal work.

Review by Chus
5 stars One thing that could possibly be said about this... Brilliant!; I hate repeat all the things that had been said before here (that the only song here not worthy is More Fool Me; the majestic Firth Of Fifth solo; the beautiful climax on "Dancing With The Moonlit Knight"... etc.).

Many people think that the band didn't have virtuosism like Yes or Jethro Tull... They don't need to show it in solos.... they do it in composition: virtually every song on their catalog is rarely below interesting; their songs never tend to drag unlike some of Yes' work (Starship Trooper comes to mind), and if in fact they were mediocre in instrumentalism, I just don't hear how they could measure it... the execution on this album is impeccable; Collins was still the incredible drummer; Hackett with his precise calculated obbligato solos, Banks with his renewed interest in the grand piano, Rutherford's effective bass lines, and even with Peter Gabriel's strained vocals that fit perfectly with every song... I just can't imagine them being sang by another (not even Collins).... all led by superb arrangements and compositions (forgot to mention the tasteful lyrics by Gabriel), which were their forte in those days. I dare to say that "Battle Of Epping Forest" is one of the most amusing songs from their heydays, with Gabriel and his usual gimmicks, a very humorous arrangement and even bits of rap (in a very innovative way at the time); this time they relied on more pastoral soundscapes in contrast to the bombastic organ-mellotron lead "Foxtrot"; but the result is undeniably a work of art...

a well deserved 5 for this fine album.... I can imagine now how they lost their muse in the early 80's.... all the songwritting abilities were worn out excessively between this release and their previous "Foxtrot".

Review by fuxi
5 stars This is one of the most beloved albums in the Genesis canon, so surely there's no need to add another review?

Let me just point out that, in my opinion, this is virtually a perfect album. It sounds considerably cleaner and more sophisticated than its predecessor, FOXTROT, but not TOO clean (which must be the main drawback of TRICK OF THE TAIL). And although Peter Gabriel's puns sound embarrassing at times, SELLING ENGLAND is full of unforgettable lines, declaimed with just the right amount of theatricality, e.g.:

- There's a fat old lady outside the saloon!

- 'I do my double-show quick", said Mick the Prick, fresh out the nick.

- When poor, 'twas salvation from door to door, but now, with a pin-up guru every week, it's Love, Peace & Truth Incorporated for all who seek...

There must have been a few punks who got annoyed when former English 'public school' (i.e. private school) boys tried to sound like 'East End Heroes' (especially since a few years after the release of SELLING ENGLAND, Ian Dury and Madness were to delight the public with authentic Cockney accents) but I, for one, will happily carry Gabriel's lyrics with me to the grave.

The most mysterious track on this album must be 'Cinema Show/Aisle of Plenty' - especially that beautiful passage where twelve-string guitars are paired with wordless vocals. A true controversy recently raged on this site when one prog-lover complained that 'Cinema Show' was spoiled (for him) by Gabriel's irreverent mention of a 'chocolate surprise'. Oh well, perhaps it will help to bear in mind that 'The Cinema Show' is a light-hearted parody of the dour love-affair described in T.S. Eliot's 'The Waste Land' (complete with obligatory references to the blind seer Tiresias). I simply adore the way Gabriel enunciates the words: 'With head held high and floral tie'...

And what other rock band would have ended their masterpiece so eerily, combining references to 'deadly nightshade' with a menacing recitation of bargains in a local supermarket?

Review by ZowieZiggy
5 stars I first discovered this LP at a friend's home (merci Patrick) a few weeks after his "birth" on the market (the album, not my friend). I felt immediately in love with "I Know What I Like" and "Firth of Fifth". A few days after this first experience, I purchased the vinyl album and it virtually did not leave my pick up for several weeks.

The opener "Dancing Out With the Moonlit Knight" is fantastic. The introductory vocal part is one of the most emotional of the Genesis repertoire. The exchange between Young man "You are what you eat" - Eat well" and Old man "You are what you wear" - Wear well" is quite bizarre. The musical section is bombastic and energetic. The first fave of mine from this great album .

Their first mini-hit, "I Know What I Like" is quite catchy and is quite love at first sight due to the beautiful melody. But I must say that you can get a bit bored by the song after hearing it on and on ... This song would probably have ranked higher in the charts if Genesis has accepted to perform it at Top Of The Pop (which they didn't). Still, it peaked at Nr. 21 in the UK charts.

It is not as simple as it sounds : there are a lot of characters acting here : Ethel, Jacob, Mr. Lewis, Mr. Farmer, and Miss Mort. Poppy, a nice pop song after all.

I have already mentioned in other "Genesis" reviews that I considered ""Firth of Fifth" one of my top three fave of the band. This song (almost 10 minutes) is wonderful : great piano intro (which was skipped during most of their live sets) and very good flute playing by Peter.

And what to say about Steve's guitar solo? It is one of most melodic solo I have ever heard : subtle, passionate, romantic and emotional : it could have lasted for ever. It is really one of the greatest moments in music history (all genres considered). Another highlight.

For the purpose of this review, I would consider the fourth track of side one as non -existing.

Side B opens with "The Battle of Epping Forest", a quite complex & long track with lots of vocals. I needed several hearings to enter into this scenario. (I was 15 and not very fluent in English at that time) but since lyrics were printed on the LP (Genesis was really a precursor for this as well), I finished to know it by heart (and I can tell you it is a difficult excercise).

So, Louise is the reverend hard to please? You're telling me ! The story is taken from a news story concerning two rival gangs fighting over East-End Protection rights. There are a lot of characters again here : Willy Wright, Little John, Georgie, Harold Demeure of course, William Wright, Mick the Prick, Liquid Len, Bethnal Green Butcher, Bob the Nob, Jones, Roy, Louise and the Reverend.

The story describes the fight between all these people and their gangs. The last two sentences are hilarous : "There's no one left alive - it must be a draw." "So the Blackcap Barons toss a coin to settle the score". I quite like this track, but it is probably one of the most difficult one to get into (together with "Get'em out by Friday" probably).

The instrumental "After the Ordeal" is a good transition track : ideal to calm down after such a "battle" and prepare the listener to another epic track : "Cinema Show".

This one will become a classic for their life shows, allowing Peter's narrative skills to submerge the audience with this sexually oriented love story (you know, Romeo & Juliet).

The instrumental section will influence lots of tracks to be produced later on by prog followers / clones (some of whom with great talent). While Steve's guitar was the highlight on "Firth", in this one the long instrumental section offers a fantastic cohesion between Tony, Mike and Phil who does a great drumming job.

"Aisle of Plenty" is the real closing part of "Dancing out with the Moonlit Knight" rather than being a track on his own.

With this album, Genesis definetely pleased all their fans. During their supporting tour, there was almost a riot after their Brussels show. While choosing the tracklist for the tour, the band decided that since it was a kind of theatric representation, there would no encores.

The crowd was so excited after the show that they were yelling for more than fifteen minutes after the lights went on refusing to leave the concert hall (Forest National). The police, mounted on horses had the hall evacuated after a long, long time.

At this stage, the band was discussing whether or not they should do an encore. Belgium was special to them. I mentioned in another review that their first concert abroad was in Brussels (in March 1971).Three were in favour, two not. I do not remember who though.

So, there was no encore. This story was published in the review of the concert, because, unfortunately I did not attend to this one in 1974. What I will soon do though is to attend the "Selling" tour performed by the tribute band "Musical Box". This is probably the best "Genesis" cover band.

Steve joined them once on stage at the Royal Albert Hall for an encore ("Firth" I think) and Phil did the same not so long ago in Montreux (on "It" from The Lamb" tour). If ever they are coming close to where you live, I recommend you to go and see them.

They are fabulous and will allow you to discover how "Genesis" was on stage for this tour. Five stars for these fifty minutes of pure happiness (pur bonheur). It is their first album to enter the US charts (Nr. 70, while it will reach Nr. 3 in the UK).

Review by 1800iareyay
5 stars Selling England By The Pound deserves the praise placed upon it more than any other Genesis album. Like Ghost Rider, this is the only album from the band I would rate five stars, though every Gabriel era album except possibly Lamb would get a high four from me. The concept is dense but rewarding upon unveiling. It deals with the decline of the British Empire and its effect on the common man. However, unlike most concept albums, SEBtP seems to ignore the unifying thread and focus on strong individual works. Gabriel's lyrical genius is to sugercoat very serious and often depressing subject matter, much in the style of John Lennon's Imagine, but not as sweet. The Cinema Show is downright gorgeous. Every member shines on this disc. Peter Gabriel's vox take some getting used to, at least they did for me, being an operatic metal vocalist lover, but he fills the songs with his unique emotions and even melodrama in a way that simply cannot be bettered.

The only song on this album that is not perfect is "More Fool Me." Phil tries to steal the show but fails, though his drumming throughout should be shown to those think that he's a crappy artist (myself included until I learned he plyed drums so well instead of releasing bad pop albums). "Dancing" features more of Steve's pioneering use of tapping (first used in music on his solo on "The Musical Box") and Peter's lead in in haunting. "Firth of Fifth" is stunning, with Tony and Steve displaying their immense talents. "Battle of Epping Forest" didn't immediately click but I've come to love it. "After the Ordeal" is a bit poppy but still very enjoyable. "I Know What I Like" flaunts Peter's weirdness. "The Cinema Show" and the closer "Aisle of Plenty" are insanely good. Supper's Ready is the best Genesis song, but Cinema comes so close to snatching that title away. Tony shines but each member contributes to this stunner featuring some of Peter's best vocals.

The beauty of this record is how the songs seem to be a continuation (they should, it's a concept), but are so strikingly different. Tony, Mike, and Steve blend in with one another yet simultaneously craft their own melodies. Phil's drumming reversed my opinion of him, though I still can't stand his voice or his corruption of this band following Hackett's and Gabriel's departures. This album is a staple of prog rock, though "More Fool Me" keeps it from being flawless.

Grade: A

Review by imoeng
5 stars Selling England By The Pound

Well, firstly, I don't really know how to review this album, because I just got it from my dad and it is my first Genesis album. So I listened to it and try to grab every aspect from the album, the emotion and musicianship of the artists also those little things that tickle your soul :P.

Just a little history about my father. He once said Genesis was at its best when they were still with Phil Collins, and Selling England By The Pound was their best album. As a younger generation of progressive rock, and because I was introduced to progressive rock through metal music (such as Dream Theater), I just listened to my father anything he told me. Well probably he is my main source to older progressive rock, such as Genesis, so when he said this is the best album, then I believe this is the best album.

For me, I generally look at an album from two main aspect, the emotion and the musicianship, or musical skills. Now when I listen to the songs in the album while closing my eyes, they are indeed a bunch of beautiful songs, there is no doubt about it. Every single song is a truly masterpiece, and I have chosen my favourite, which is the first track, Dancing With The Moonlit Knight. The song begins with Phil Collins' nice vocal tone, "Can you tell me where my country lies?", followed with also beautiful guitar and keyboard tone. I'm sitting here in my bedroom at 10 in the morning, looking through the window while listening to the song, what an amazing moment. Then the song progresses to the highest energy, "The Captain leads his dance right on through the night." What an amazing feeling. The final solo is pretty similar to Yes' Close To The Edge, with a beautiful nuance from the keyboard and rapid drum lines, yet the guitar lines provide a nice harmony.

I Know What I Like has more of an easy-listening tone, especially when it hits the "I know what I like, and I like what I know" line. This song has more mainstream aspect of Genesis. One thing that should be pointed is the bass lines throughout the song, very groovy and nice. Indeed, while the keyboard provides the nuance (again), the bass seems singing together with Collins, truly great. The song is also around 4 minutes, as I said before, more mainstream that the other songs.

The next track, Firth Of Fifth begins with a beautiful harmony from the keyboard, although the beat is quite fast. Then the vocal starts, which reminds me of something similar, and I am still trying to find what it is. At some point, I am like listening to Fish from Marillion. It is just me or what, I don't know, there is something similar between these two vocalists. The most interesting part, and also my favourite part is the instrumental part at around fourth minute, where all instruments got together with odd time signatures with a very significant tone from the keyboard. The drum is also worth hearing, because it offers an incredible feeling and virtuosity, just like the guitar.

More Fool Me really emphasizes the beauty of Collins' vocal sound. The track only contains his vocal and nice guitar sound at the back (maybe more, pardon me), but it is a really nice song with high emotion. Also a short song, only three minutes in length.

The Battle Of Epping Forest is more or less similar to Firth Of Fifth, with a somewhat fast beat. Also, the instrumental part of the song offers a nice virtuosity with also nice emotion. This track is also the longest song in the album, almost 12 minutes. When I look at this song, and compare it to other songs, Selling England By The Pound's songs are arranged in "long-short-long-short" songs, or maybe "more prog-more mainstream-more prog" arrangement. Then it is followed by a nice instrumental song, After The Ordeal. Simple, yet profound. That is how I describe this song.

Now comes another epic song, and more progressive song, The Cinema Show. I actually have heard this song before I bought this album. Guess who introduced it to me? Dream Theater. If you have heard Octavarium, the lyric contains, "day for nightmare cinema show me the way to get back home again". So when I bought the album and looked at this track, I thought, "aha! This is the song!". And without any doubt I know why Dream Theater included the name of this song into their lyrics, because it is a real masterpiece (just like each one of the songs), and ended with a cool outro instrumental as well. The virtuosity of each one of the personnel is undeniable. Then at the end we can hear the same theme as Dancing With The Moonlit Knight.

And just like last song, Aisle Of Plenty, it has a pretty similar theme as Dancing With The Moonlight Knight. I consider this is an ending song, because besides the fact that this is the last song, this short song seems to conclude everything in the album, by also returning to the same theme.

In conclusion, after a quite long review, I gave this album five stars, because of the emotion and the musicianship of the artists (goes back to my first words, just like the album). This is my first Genesis album so I don't know how to relate this album to other Genesis albums. However just by looking at this album, I now know that it was such as great band (at least in Phil Collins era, just like my father said).

Join the dance - Imoeng

Review by Prog-jester
5 stars It's always hard to review album like this avoiding phrases like "what more can I say?" or "you know it better than me, don't you?". I gave myself a promise not to review the albums from Top 100 - there are so many OVERLOOKED Prog Beauties and I MUST NOT waste my time on universal truth - but man, this is GENESIS, my favouritest band, and I reviewed only 3 albums from them (including this one)!

OK, lets pretend that NOBODY EVER HEARD THIS ALBUM and this is my FIRST REVIEW ;) The album of GENESIS begins with "Dancing with the Moonlight Knight" - 8-min epic filled with emotional structural changes yet very melodical and enjoyable. "I know what I like" was chosen as a single (it's simple and whimsy) and it's pretty fun to watch live. "Firth of Fifth" is another epic, more ballad-like, with legendary piano intro and Hackett's solo in the middle. "More Fool Me" is the only weak track here - the cruel Phil shows his voice for the first time, the future creeps in..."The Battle of Epping Forest" (almost 12 minutes long) shows Gabriel's manner of changing voices for each character, and it's great. "After the Ordeal" is a wonderful instrumental piece, almost pastoral in atmosphere. "Cinema Show" begins like a ballad but later turns into powerful and melodical jam in 7/8. It closes with "Aisle of Plenty", reprise of "Dancing..." opening tune.

After all, highly recommended for fans of MARILLION, THE WATCH, RED SAND, IQ, CITIZEN CAIN, RAEL, SIMON SAYS and ANGLAGARD. A Must ;)

Review by russellk
5 stars A timely 1973 concept album charting the fall of the once-mighty British Empire, making use of a variety of powerful metaphors. That GENESIS were able to communicate this with subtlety and style spoke volumes for their growing confidence. This is how a concept album should work: without the over-laboured excess of 'The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway' or the poorly-expressed convolutions of DREAM THEATER'S 'Scenes from a Memory.' Sheer magnificence of concept.

This album is not perfect, however. I find myself irritated beyond measure by 'The Battle of Epping Forest'. Yes, let the Charterhouse boys pontificate about the decay of the upper classes. But I can tell you that almost every sentiment they present about the working classes rings false. Hyperbole, yes, I know. But not eleven minutes of it. I've been beaten by a chain, and it's not all alliteration, let me tell you.

That said, there are moments of true beauty. The daring they show in starting with GABRIEL'S unaccompanied vocal lets us know something great is to follow. 'Dancing With The Moonlit Knight' is a magnificent song, overshadowed only by 'Firth of Fifth' and its oft-mentioned instrumental section. No virtuosity here: GENESIS did what I wish more bands would do - let the songwriting speak for itself, without instrumental over-embellishment. 'After the Ordeal' is a cruelly underrated instrumental piece, providing a breathing space necessary, well, after the ordeal of the previous track. And what an achingly melancholic ending GENESIS have contrived: 'Aisle of Plenty' brings the record to a perfect conclusion.

A couple more things to think about. Production here is so much better than 1972's superior 'Foxtrot'. And, speaking of that album, there's nothing as superb as 'Supper's Ready' here. This was not GENESIS at their best musically. Both 'Foxtrot' and 'A Trick of the Tail' contain better music, in my view. But they never approached this level of insight again.

An important milestone in the history of music.

Review by Dim
5 stars I am only a lawn mower, you can tell me by the way I walk!

The ultimate progressive music album Period! There is nothing this album dosent have to offer. In fact its so progressive, non prog lovers dont even understand it! I own well over 50 prog album (and I'm only fifteen), and I must say that if you want progressive music, you want selling england by the pound!

Every song is a masterpiece portrait hanging in the gallery of Prog. From the commercially acceptable Dancing with the moonlit night and I know what I like, To the classic prog anthems of Firth of fifth and the cinema show. All the musicians are at there best, Tony has discovered synthesizers, Phil's drumming is tight, Steves guitar work is at it's peak, and Gabriels voice, lyrics, and even his Flute are at the top of his talents.

If I were thrown in a deep pit with a stereo and an album of choice, I would choose Selling england by the pound!

Review by Mellotron Storm
5 stars Perhaps the greatest Prog album ever recorded. It's in my top three of all time with "Permanent Waves" and "Dark Side Of The Moon".

"Dancing With The Moonlit Knight" starts off with Gabriel singing all by himself, the instruments are silent. "Can you tell me where my country lies ? Said the unifaun to his true love's eyes...". That is so emotional. Acoustic guitar and piano follow then the mellotron floods in as the song kicks in. Check out the guitar playing of Hackett on this tune ! Things becomes quite pastoral 6 minutes in to the end of the song. "I Know What I Like (in your wardrobe)" was the single released from this album. For me the vocals really steal the show here. Gabriel speaks the words, he also sings the words, and he offers up some vocal melodies too. Some odd metered drumming from Collins as well. "Firth of Fifth" opens with perhaps the greatest piano melody I have ever heard. Gabriel's incredible vocals come in,and the vocal melody before 3 minutes is so emotional. We get a flute melody from Gabriel, a synth solo from Banks, and a dark, haunting, melancholic guitar solo from Hackett as the mellotron flows. The band actually had purchased a new mellotron just before this recording. It's fitting the song would end as it began with some beautiful piano melodies.

"More Fool Me" has mellow verses with fragile vocals from Collins while the chorus is more uptempo with strummed guitar. "The Battle of Epping Forest" is such a journey ! Marching band-like drums and mellotron to open.The vocals from Gabriel are brilliant as he plays different parts.There is a couple of occasions that THE BEATLES came to mind. Synths are fantastic 9 minutes in. This is just an amazing tune. "After The Ordeal" is a beautiful instrumental. "The Cinema Show" opens with 12 string guitar soon to be joined by vocals. The song brightens 2 minutes in. The sound is so delicate and intricate with these textures and shades drawing our attention. It's all too much to listen to just once. There is a vocal melody 4 minutes in that is like listening to sunshine. 6 minutes in the mood changes as we eventually hear Bank's pulsating keys and mellotron. "Aisle Of Plenty" is only a minute and a half long, but it makes you want to start the record all over again because it is sort of like a reprise of "Dancing With The Moonlit Knight".The mellotron is at it's most glorious on this song, and that is saying something because there is a lot of mellotron on this masterpiece.

And speaking of masterpieces, this is album one of the greatest ever.

Review by progaardvark
COLLABORATOR Crossover/Symphonic/RPI Teams
5 stars Selling England by the Pound was the follow-up to their masterpiece Foxtrot. The most notable difference to me is an improvement in sound and production quality, although musically compared to Foxtrot it is fairly equal in skill and composition but not quite as good. In places there seems to be a slight lack of direction and occasional bouts of noodling. More Fool Me and After the Ordeal seem more like filler than previous short pieces the band created. Even so, Selling England by the Pound is easily another masterpiece in the band's catalog with some exceptionally well done extended pieces, like The Cinema Show, Firth of Fifth, Dancing with the Moonlit Knight and The Battle of Epping Forest, each one a complicated mini-story and considered hallmarks of our beloved genre.

Another notable difference is the much better sounding guitar work of Steve Hackett including his soaring solo on Firth of Fifth and some exceptional piano playing by Tony Banks on the same song. I Know What I Like also gave the band some exposure in the British pop charts.

Selling England by the Pound is considered by many to be the band's greatest achievement, although I'm more inclined to lean towards Foxtrot. Regardless of the difference of opinion, this is the fourth consecutive masterpiece the band had created in a short four years. Not many groups have received such accolades. This album is easily one of the most important contributions to progressive rock and is an essential acquisition. Five stars.

Review by Slartibartfast
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam
5 stars This was my first Genesis LP though not the first Genesis stuff I heard. Foxtrot and Nursery Cryme were getting a lot of play whenever my brother's friends came around. I must confess I don't listen to it much anymore, I know, a heresy for some. But perhaps understandable if you consider I've been listening to it since the late '70's and quite frequently at that during the beginning. Anyway it came up in rotation so here goes:

One of the great things about this album is that it doesn't seem stuck in its time period or dated. Perhaps that has do to with me hearing the music for the first time a few years after it's initial release, but I don't think so. What it cannot escape is that the whole thing is heavily steeped in British culture, which gives it a special appeal to me, since I watched way too much Monty Python growing up.

I love the way Dancing With the Moonlit Kinnnnig-ht(s. We are French, why do you think we have this outrageous accent?) goes through many changes, starts out mellow, takes off, then lets you down gently I the end.

I Know What I Like, skip this one if you don't believe British humour belongs in music. I believe it actually had some success on the pop charts over there.

Firth of Fifth is my favorite song. Beautiful piano opening by Banks and then the song explodes into an epic with the whole band joining in.

More Fool Me has Phil's first appearance for the band doing solo vocals. A nice little love song accompanied by Steve on acoustic.

Ah, The Battle of Epping Forest. This one took a while for me to get into since I had already fallen so much for Supper's Ready. Much more interesting at the time for me for an epic type of song. More of that British humor rears its ugly head.

After the Ordeal. Just an excellent mellow instrumental. Say no more!

The Cinema Show. Take a little ex-lax with Father Tireseas. Just a little twist on one of the lines one of my friends came up with. A better long track than the Battle, from a musical standpoint. Really builds to a nice climax at the end, very energetic.

Aisle of Plenty. Kind of a weird ending to the album. "It's scrambled eggs."

Holy crap! only 587 ratings. Better get mine in before they run out space.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
5 stars My second favorite Genesis album. It was hard to decide either on this one or Foxtrot as my truly number one, but actually I think the latter is more well balanced, in songwriting terms. Nevertheless, Selling England By The Pound is a masterpiece in many ways. It contains some of the bands most beautiful and sophisticated sutff like Dancing Wtih The Moonlit Knight, Firth Of Fifth and, most of all, Cinema Show. On the other hand we have also some uneven tunes like The Battle Of Epping Forest (a good idea that really did not translate into a good song, it seems like they tried too hard to replicate Supperīs Ready). More Fool Me gives a glimpse of the commercial pop approach the band would follow several years ahead. It was Phil Collins first credited lead vocals and itīs a simple love song (and I like it). After The Ordeal is another fine instrumental tune with Steve Hackett showing off his skills both on classical and electric guitar. I used to like I Know What I Like a lot (excuse the pun) but it was a bit overplayed.

The sounding quality of this album is far superior than previous effords and Gabreil never sang better. Although I still think that Foxtrot is their creative peak, this is also a masterpiece of prog music in any sense, a very influential album and had not dated after all these years. So, even with some faults (at least for my ears), I cannot give this classic anything lower than a 5 star rating. It is a must have for any prog fan and one of the reasons for my love for this kind of music.

Review by Prog Leviathan
4 stars As much as I dislike most everything else done by this band, I admit that this album is an absolute joy to listen to, and is the only Genesis album that deserves its high marks. The composition is top-notch, production clear, playing dynamic, and songs genuinely interesting and exciting... something which cannot be said of their later works. "Selling England" is the quintessential British progressive rock album. That being said, the quintessential British progressive rock sound is still dominated by Bank's (noodling) keyboards and Hackett's (spineless) guitar, which makes this-- and all Genesis albums-- occasional listens for me. Still, this one is the pick of the bunch, and pretty much a mandatory purchase for the complete progressive rock collection... luckily, it's actually really good.

Songwriting: 4 Instrumental Performances: 3 Lyrics/Vocals: 4 Style/Emotion/Replay: 5

Review by Hercules
4 stars A quintessentially English album from a quintessentially English group. The immense promise which started with the criminally underrated Trespass and developed through Nursery Cryme and Foxtrot reached its zenith in this mostly brilliant album. It's not consistent; I Know What I Like and The Battle of Epping Forest are songs that perhaps don't impress at first, but their quirky charm grows with time. However, it is the appalling vocal performance of Collins on the mediocre song More Fool Me that prevents this reaching masterpiece status. The other tracks are all out of the top drawer. They really stretch out on solos for the first time, and Hackett in particular steps out of the shadows with breathtaking technical playing on Dancing With the Moonlit Knight and raises goosebumps on the incomparable Firth of Fifth. Banks shows his skills to great effect on The Cinema Show and Gabriel provides his characteristically emotional vocals and some fine flute. Collins, for all his failings as a singer, is a metronomic drummer and Rutherford's bass and guitar fill in the gaps. The lyrics are better than any other album I have ever heard, with a sense of humour and a keen sense of observation on life.

This is an essential album for all prog collectors and is always a wonderful listen. If only they'd missed off More Fool Me it would have got top rating with ease.

Review by FruMp
4 stars A good symphonic prog album.

'Selling England by the Pound' is possibly GENESIS' greatest work although GENESIS' style of symphonic prog is definitely not for everyone and I happen to be one of those people. There is some definite great music on this album but the main problem I have is the bands' more pop based approach to prog and their often overly pretentious humour and approach to the music.

That said there are some fantastic tracks here, 'Dancing with the Moonlit Knight' is head and shoulders above the rest, with some great symphonic moments and a killer middle breakdown featuring some blistering guitar work from Steve Hackett featuring one of the earliest recorded examples of guitar tapping technique. 'Firth of Fifth' is the most symphonic song on the album with a great classically inspired piano introduction then moving into organ and mellotron laden territory.

Songs like 'The battle of Epping Forest' do drag on a lot though and I loathe the silly accent impersonations that Gabriel employs here. 'More Fool Me' is purely and simply a filler track, as is the lackluster instrumental 'After the Ordeal'. 'The cinema show' does end the album pretty strongly though with some great prog jamming in the end.

'Selling England By the Pound' is a good album on the whole but it is boring and pretentious in a lot of places, most fans of 70's prog will definitely enjoy this though.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars During the tour for promoting ''Foxtrot'' Charisma found a good chance to launch the first ever live album of Genesis.''Live'' was released in July 73', the bulk of the album was recorded at the De Montfort Hall in Leicester, while ''The return of the giant hogweed'' was captured at the Free Trade Hall in Manchester.It was around the same time, when most of Genesis members started working on former bandmate Anthony Phillips' solo album ''The geese and the ghost'', a work not released until 1977.Shorty afterwards Genesis revisited the Island Studios with producer John Burns to record ''Selling England by the pound'', an ironic title for those believing that Genesis shifted towards the US market scene.The album was released in October of the same year.

One of the most complete works in the history of Prog Rock, featuring satirical lyrics from the British culture, but also monumental musicianship and an impressive prog value.''Dancing with the moonlit knight'' is a fabulous opener, where shades of Genesis' folky flavors are still around, but well adapted by a highly symphonic sound with loads of Melotron, synths and organ and Hackett delivering his new guitar techniques, this one is swirling around very complex themes and dramatic symphonic breaks.''I know what I like (in your wardrobe)'' is a lovely Pop Rock ballad with charming vocal harmonies and an airy atmosphere, which still retains much of Genesis' sophisticated profile, but ''Firth Of fifth'' is the real deal of the opening side.With Gabriel's excellent vocal alternations from sweet singing to a hoarse lyricism and a masterful instrumental background, featuring smooth but professional grand piano preludes and interludes and Banks' soaring Moog synthesizer flights, the track is slowly led to a majestic outro with Hackett's crying solos and Banks' organ sounding like an orchestra.Absolutely brilliant.''More fool me'' is a short acoustic piece with Collins on lead vocals, somekind of a British lullaby soundwise, pretty sweet and easy going.

Side 2 opens with the 12-min. ''The battle of epping forest'', a symphonic tour-de-force along the lines of the 70's British Prog academy with light rural overtones over an orchestral, complicated instrumental enviroment, interrupted by lyrical parts and melodic lines.One of the most theatrical still flawless vocal performances of Gabriel is featured on the track, which manages to keep an unmet balance between electric, acoustic and keyboard-led themes, with Banks playing nicely the organ and electric piano, while the ending section is again superb with a dramatic atmosphere.''After the ordeal'' has to be one of the most underrated pieces ever written by the band, a light Symphonic Rock instrumental with an ethereal atmosphere, shining through the collaboration between Hackett's FOCUS-like soft electric tunes and Banks' lovely Classical-drenched piano lines, ending with some folky flute by Gabriel and a memorable melodic solo.What an introduction for what has to be one of the best pieces in Prog Rock history, the 11-min. ''The cinema show'', which may sound too bucolic and mellow for its opening half, but structurewise it's one of the best songs ever written.Gabriel at his best, and his best demands a calm, rural atmosphere of acoustic textures, piano, organ and flute, with Hackett entering gently in the process for a soft electric enviroment, soon to break into Banks' Mellotron washes and unforgettable Moog synth soloing, eventually the piece will close in a more complex way, which still is showered by lovely melodic lines on keyboards.The very short ''Aisle of plenty'' plays its role in a sufficient way, a mellow farewell with Mellotron, guitar and soft drumming with Gabriel behind the microphone, brilliant way to close the ultimate prog journey.

Words are poor to describe the inspiration and influence of this album in Prog Rock history.A Symphonic Rock monument, which is pretty complex with all these thematic moves, keyboard flashing and electroacoustic changes, but still keeps a down-to-earth profile.Among the top 10 Prog Rock albums of all times, no doubt, and an essential way to start your collection regarding the genre.

Review by Tom Ozric
5 stars Just another supporter of this AMAZING album. The high rating and number of reviews speak for themselves. I can't really expand on what has been said, as most reviews have already covered the interesting qualities Genesis gives us with this release. I've listened to 'Selling England' often for almost 20 years (wish I was old enough at the time of release) and have not grown tired of it (not like Dark Side, Thick as a Brick, Close to the Edge, blah blah.....). Tony Banks and his newly acquired ARP Synth, Mike Rutherford and his tinkly Rickenbacker bass, Steve Hackett and his unique approach to progressive guitar, Philco on top of his game as a superb Drummer, as opposed to Phil the 'larger-than-life' entertainer he became, and Peter Gabriel's magnificent voice, also adding some lovely flute and oboe to the proceedings. 'Firth of Fifth' has got to be one of the GREATEST prog compositions to grace this wonderful planet. I'd give this 6 stars if it were possible !!!
Review by progrules
4 stars This album by Genesis is on average considered the best Genesis album (along with Foxtrot). I can only partly agree with that because I believe there is at least one better and that is Wind and Wuthering. But of course it's ok we don't all feel exactly the same because that would be pretty dull wouldn't it ?

The part where I do agree with this albums class is of course the two great classics of this album, Firth of fifth and The Cinema Show. I already loved these songs in the eighties (in the seventies I hadn't yet really discovered Genesis) and I still do so that will probably be forever. It's the rest of this album I have a bit of a problem with. The two other "epics" of this album are far less than the two classics and the shorter songs are even less than The Battle.. and Dancing.. That's about 2/3 of the album time so that's why I can't get myself to giving this 5 stars. But of course it's good enough for 4 (4.25).

Review by Moatilliatta
5 stars Flawed though it may be, this album is a downright masterpiece. The peak of Genesis' career is found in the contents of Selling England by the Pound. There are four feature tracks on the album, and each one has an arguable right to be named the group's best piece. "Dancing With the Moonlit Knight," "Firth of Fifth," "The Battle of Epping Forest" and "The Cinema Show" all boast full-fledged Gensis: upbeat and fun, often whimsical lyrics and music juxtaposed with absolutely stunning and/or beautiful passages. There is no use in looking at these pieces in depth; just know that within each piece so many great things happen that your soul won't know how to handle it all.

What about the other four tracks, though? Well, you get two fillers in the first half: "I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)" and the Collins-sung "More Fool Me." They aren't bad, but to throw them in with those gigantic juice machines is preposterous. In the secnd half, however, the pieces actually compliment the awesome factories. "After the Ordeal" is a nice instrumental and "Aisle of Plenty" beings back a theme from the opener for a captivating close.

If you're reading these reviews because you aren't sure whether or not you want this, please stop. Buy this album. You don't have to be a fan of anything in partciular to love this album, or Genesis' music in general. But regardless of how many Genesis albums you have, you'll listen to this one more than any other. It's simply the best.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This is my favorite Genesis album ( along with the rest of the world) and one of the first I purchased. This happened 25 years after Selling England By the Pound was released in 1973. This says alot about the longevity of this album. To think that I find just as much pleasure in this album 25 years after itīs release as the ones who bought it in 1973 is a miracle. Very few albums keep their magic this long.

Genesis were at their peak when they made this album. The classic seventies lineup was still intact, and everyone seems to contribute with the best of their talents. I will have to make a special note here that you should really listen to Tony Banks keyboards on Selling England By the Pound as they have never been so omnipresent in Genesis music before. This has to be one of my favorite keyboard perfomances ever.

Dancing with the Moonlit Knight starts the album in great style with the classic Peter Gabriel a capella opening: "Can You Tell Me where My Country Lies". The song starts of mellow but soon builds into one of the most technically challenging songs Genesis ever made. I love this song and it is one of my favorite Genesis moments. I remember when I heard this one the first time. I was blown away be the fact that Genesis could be something else than the eighties hit machine I knew.

I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe) is a good song with a great humour and some nice percussion. It took me a while to like it though, as I didnīt find it that exciting to start with. It grew on me though and allthough I still donīt find it to be the best song Genesis ever wrote itīs really good.

Firth Of Fifth is a great epic song and another of my favorites. It starts out with Tony Banks playing som classical inspired piano and then comes a very heavy riff. The song ends with the classic Steve Hackett guitar lead ( solo) which is maybe his finest moment with Genesis ( there are of course numerous, but this one is very significant).

The weakest song on Selling England By the Pound and the song that almost make this album loose a star is More Fool Me. A useless pop song sung by Phil Collins. This is the worst song Genesis made with this lineup, and a step in the wrong direction. Itīs rather dissapointing on an album that is so great. I always skip this song and never felt it was part of the album. Selling England By the Pound is still a masterpiece though, just donīt listen to this garbage song.

The Battle Of Epping Forest is a great epic with some very clever lyrics. Peter is at his best here, using multible personalities and voices to match them. The song is one of the more progressive Genesis songs in terms of structure. Itīs a great song and an enjoyable listen.

After The Ordeal is a nice intrumental track, and itīs a breather between the two epics that surround it, as it is very mellow an soothing for the ears. Maybe not the best song on Selling England By the Pound, but certainly not a bad one either.

The Cinema Show is another one of my favorite Genesis songs. Itīs really emotive and beautiful. Listen to those 12 string guitars. The song ends with a synth lead/ solo by Tony Banks that is almost in the vein of ELP, just more melodic. Aisle Of Plenty is just an outro song and plays some of the themes from the other songs on the album. OK but nothing special.

My conclusion is that allthough there are 1 weak track and a couple of good but not essential tracks on this album, they are overshadowed by the masterpieces. These songs are the best symphonic Prog rock songs ever made by any band, and I can give this album no less than 5 stars for that.

For me this is simply the most important album in the history of symphonic prog rock and the best place to start for newcomers to the genre.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars My favorite Genesis album of all time! That mean a lot since they also happen to be my favorite band. The main reason why this album stands out compared to all of the other Genesis golden age-releases is that no matter what mood I'm in I can always turn this record on and it will be an enjoyable experience! That's the most important factor in my music listening.

****** songs: Dancing With The Moonlit Knight (8:02) Firth Of Fifth (9:35) More Fool Me (3:10) After The Ordeal (4:13) The Cinema Show (11:06) Aisle Of Plenty (1:32)

**** songs: I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe) (4:07) The Battle Of Epping Forest (11:49)

Total Rating: 4,70

Review by TGM: Orb
5 stars Review 12, Selling England By The Pound, Genesis, 1973


If there's an album that represents England, this is it. Nostalgia, sarcasm and biting dark atmosphere stand side by side, augmented by (in my opinion) some of the most impressive Genesis lyrics. An absolutely essential and flawless album, and one you should instantly go out and buy if you don't already own it.

'Can you tell me where my country lies?' Gabriel's lone vocal opens the enchanting Dancing With The Moonlit Knight, a song about the search for and loss of identity. Musically perfect, with Collins on drums and the Hackett-Rutherford guitar interplay especially standing out. All eight minutes are outstanding. The stunning, original lyrics take it to another level, and really bring out the tragic and satirical concept.

I Know What I Like is a great, entertaining, light-hearted pop-based song. Magical drumming and good bass here, as well as enjoyably random synths. Perhaps too many pop elements for some people, but it suits me just fine.

The Banks-penned Firth of Fifth is stunning. Great piano solo, great guitar part, great use of various keyboards, good bass part, great vocals, good lyrics and absolutely stunning, original drumming from Collins. At times powerful, at times whimsical, at times moving, very fluid and altogether brilliant. Ten minutes of sheer brilliance.

I actually love More Fool Me, a melancholy ballad sung mainly by Collins (with one or two harmonies) with emotional acoustic guitar and lyrics which suit it perfectly. Perhaps not for every prog-man, but I prefer it to anything on A Trick Of The Tail.

The Battle For Epping Forest is a bright and cheerful account of a gang war, with occasionally amusing and generally tolerable lyrics and Gabriel really letting himself go with the vocals. A mixture of inane cockney accents, which you either will or won't like, musical sarcasm and the general excellence present on the rest of the album. I've grown to enjoy it, though I was dubious at first, but I suspect that this is one of those songs where the experience is different for each listener.

After The Ordeal is, in my opinion, one of the finest brief instrumentals ever, beginning with the best guitar-and-piano interplay I've yet heard and a few taps on the tambourine. As it moves to a slightly more polyphonic track, with a great drum entrance by Collins and organ, flute and synths all making some sort of appearance, there's a gorgeous guitar solo.

The Cinema Show is basically an exercise in going from soft to equally soft but somehow louder to softer so subtly that the listener barely notices. The Gabriel-Collins duet on vocals is great, and there's trademark soloing by Hackett and Banks, as well as great drumming. One of those songs which is mostly indescribable if you haven't already heard it.

To round off the album, we have possibly one of the best conclusions in the history of prog rock. The brief Aisle Of Plenty is essentially a reprise of part of Dancing With The Moonlit Knight with a brilliant fade. The perfect conclusion to a perfect album.

Rating: Five Stars

Favourite Track: After The Ordeal

Review by The Crow
4 stars The best Genesis's album? I think it has some of the best Genesis's songs... But it's not perfect anyway.

Allthough all the tracks included here are simply excellent, specially the long ones, like Dancing with the Moonlight Knight or The Cinema Show, wich are just one of the best progressive's tracks from the 70's. The "Foxtrot"'s formula is perfectionated here, making a really elegant, catchy and powerful album, with good lyrics, and with every instrument sounding pefect... Steve Hackett makes another outstanding performance, both experimental and accesible, Tony Bank's keyboards playing is just excellent (the solo in Firth of Fifth is great!) and they have even more protagonism than in "Foxtrot", Peter Gabriel's voice shines in the whole album, I little less strident... All the musicians made their best efforth here.

So I think that the long tracks are the best music Genesis has made... But the short ones, being are also enjoyable, like the commercial I Know What I like, and the medieval influenced After the Ordeal... Are not as great as the long tracks, and that's the fact that doesn't allow "Selling England by the Pound" being a perfect masterpiece in my opinion. The whole album deserves a close listening, but the comparision between the short and long tracks is not in the album's benefit. "Foxtrot" has no flaws in my opinion, every song in it was just great... And although "Foxtrot" has not the quality of some "Selling England by the Pound"'s songs, the first surpases the second in terms of homogene quality. This is the reason I give "Foxtrot" five stars, and "Selling England by the Pound" only four.

Best songs: the four long songs are the best of the album... Four precious jewels, and along with Supper's Ready the best Genesis's long tracks.

Conclusion: for me, this album has some of the best Genesis's music, and it's one of the highlihgts of the 70's decade... This album should not be missed. Dramatic, sentimental, complex... But still really accesible! This album has everything that a real music's lover waits... Just the short tracks, although they are also excellent and they give variety to the album, doesn't let the record have the highest rating, because they are a bit under the stunning level of the long ones.

My rating: ****1/2

Review by Garion81
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars How did 9% of you rate this 3 stars or less?!?

The third in a string of 5 spectacular albums Genesis has to build on the momentum of the great Foxtrot. Not only did they accomplish it they did it in completely different way. Here instead of the epic Suppers Ready we have a whole album loosely based on the decline of English Society. Each song has a distinct texture and feel from the light hearted I Know What I like to the pompous Firth of Firth to the light jazz feel of The Cinema Show. Some of the best song writing in Genesis career is present here. Also though the caliber of the musicianship as well as the recording quality finally all come together for the band. Peter Gabriel's voice has reached a maturity level that really come alive in Dancing With the Moonlit Knight and The Battle of Epping Forest, sort of a operatic rendition of an English news story with Gabriel assuming several rolls. After the Ordeal is a great example of the fine instrumental jams this band was capable of in this period of their existence.

Highlights for me are the Piano introduction of Firth of Fifth by Tony Banks as well as the great band rendition of the same solo in the middle and of course Gabriel's Flute solo and then Hackett's guitar solo. Huh! All that in one song. I don't have the time to put all my highlights here. See that is what makes this album a masterpiece. Just completely sublime.

5 Stars

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
5 stars Selling Genesis by the pound

What could I possibly add about an album that has over 300 reviews already? Not much, really. I too think that this is a masterpiece and thus that its status here is well-deserved. This is one of those albums that defines progressive Rock. If you don't know what progressive Rock is (as you surely do if you entered this website) then you should take a listen to this album (in addition to a few other ones by Yes, Jethro Tull, etc.).

The distinctive voices of Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins, the unique and distinctive guitar sound of Steve Hackett, the fantastic keyboard playing, bass and drums by Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford and Phil Collins respectively are extremely impressive. These five extremely talented people were all in the same band! Also, all five of them had that certain special something that you might call "star quality" (and as you probably know they all had more or less successful solo careers). Yes is the only other band I know of that could make that claim. Not even The Beatles had as many as five unique talents among their ranks.

Selling England By The Pound was the peak of the Peter Gabriel-era Genesis. It has some of Genesis' very best and most classic material on it. I cannot mention any favourite tracks because I would end up listing them all (possibly apart from More Fool Me which is slightly out of place here, but has its qualities).

A Prog classic if there ever was one. Absolutely essential for absolutely everybody!

Review by Fitzcarraldo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I find myself very much at odds with the majority on this one. Being a big fan of the previous year's "Foxtrot", I remember putting "Selling England By The Pound" on the platter for the first time in 1973 with great anticipation, only to be underwhelmed. In fact, I didn't like the album enough to buy it (I had borrowed the LP from a friend) and only finally put my hand in my pocket about five years ago when I happened to see the CD heavily discounted in a high street store.

I hear umpteen nods to "Foxtrot" on this album, but I find "Selling England By The Pound" pales in comparison to its predecessor. Even the nonsense lyrics seem less clever to me. Musically, "Foxtrot" is a million miles from "Trick Of The Tail" whereas "Selling England By The Pound" moves a little closer to the later, more accessible post-Gabriel GENESIS sound; GENESIS' tentative steps towards the mainstream, if you like. And I have to agree with a previous reviewer regarding the sound of Tony Banks' synthesizer on the album: it irritates me at times on several of the tracks; not the playing, which is good, but the buzzy sound of the instrument itself.

'Dancing With The Moonlit Knight' has its moments, I suppose, but just does not excite me, and it peters out rather, evocative moonlight tinkling or no.

The single 'I Know What I Like' charted and had a fair amount of airplay at the time. It's still a foot-tapper, but is hardly stellar Progressive Rock, being rather simple and monotonous (but still, granted, with that early GENESIS quirkiness).

The piano, flute and electronic keyboards on 'Firth Of Fifth' are more interesting, and I think this is one of the better tracks on the album, but again I find it less sophisticated than the tracks on "Foxtrot", catchy and soaring melody or no.

'More Fool Me' is just pure Phil Collins pop; a foretaste of what was to come, unfortunately. Inconsequential musically and lyrically.

'The Battle Of Epping Forest' is another track I can tap my foot to (and indeed like), with plenty of the quirkiness of early GENESIS, but again I feel it does not achieve the quality and energy of the music on the previous album.

The long intro to 'After The Ordeal' initially piques my interest but this track then goes flat and becomes boring.

'The Cinema Show' is a pleasing track but just lacks that extra something to take it from good to great in my book, although it's probably my favourite track on the album and segues nicely into the brief 'Aisle Of Plenty' with its nonsense lyrics playing on UK supermarket names.

Well, what more can I say? In some ways I still can't fathom why this album is so popular. To me it's good but not outstanding and, with the exception of parts of some of the tracks, I find it unmemorable with nothing to make me sit up. Basically, I find the album makes for rather tedious listening. Yes, there's melody; yes, there's variety; yes, there's oddity; but for some reason it just does not do it for me. If half stars were possible I'd award this album 3.5 stars but, as they aren't, I'm going for 3 stars (Good, but not essential). As I mentioned initially, I recognise I'm at odds with the majority, but there are so many albums that I would recommend or buy before this one that I can't bring myself to award it four stars.

Review by poslednijat_colobar
5 stars The third consecutive perfect album by Genesis (from six overall).This album contains one of the strongest long epic songs of Genesis' career - Dancing with the Moonlit Knight,Firth of Fifth,The Cinema Show.This songs have unique instrumental solos and they show highly regarded songwriting skills of the band.
Review by J-Man
5 stars The first prog album I ever listened to. I remember as a little kid I was listening to ...And Then There Were Three... and I loved it, but that album is closer pop/rock then prog/rock. So one day my dad hears me listening to the record and he gives me a tape of SEBTP. He thought I was going to hate it out of my mind becase at that point I was more into poppy music. So I listened to it one day, and I simply never stopped. I was whistling the flute solo of Firth of Fifth in bed and in the following days I listened to it at least 4 times a day...

It's years later and this masterpeice still charms me. From the heavy guitar riffs in Dancing With The Moonlit Knight to Phil's beautiful vocal in More Fool Me, This album is one of the greatest albums of all time.

Dancing With The Moonlit Knight- 4.5/5 stars, A wonderful harder rocking song of Genesis with a great opening, but the 2 minute downtime ending I never quite understood.

I Know What I Like- 5/5 stars, The song is reletively poppy for Genesis at that time, but nonetheless, a great song

Firth of Fifth- 5/5 stars, Easily one of the greatest songs of all time from the classical opening to the perfectly executed jam session in the middle, a masterpeice.

More Fool Me- 5/5 stars, A great acoustic song with Phil on vocals adds a lot of greatness to this already awesome album.

The Battle of Epping Forest- 4.5/5 stars, a really good opening and ending, but the middle feels too all over the place. Also, I like this song, but I could picture many people saying it is way too acquired taste for them.

After The Ordeal- 5/5 stars, a great folky opening which can easly prove why Steve Hackett is my favorite acoustic guitarist. The second half is highly emotional and Steve sounds great on the electric guitar as well.

The Cinema Show- 5/5 stars, an amazing acoustic opening with Tony Banks' keyboard solo at the end perfectly executed with great sound and playing.

After The Ordeal- 5/5 stars, basically a reprise of the first track, but it such a great reprise that it makes SEBTP easily have one of the greatest endings to an album of all time.

If I haven't said enough yet, just simply buy this album and you will not once regret it.

Review by Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Would someone tell him where his country lies already!?

Selling England By The Pound is yet another one of those albums that really doesn't need another review stacked on top of it's already hundreds upon hundreds of reviews that already say more about it that any one person could. Of course, like most other 'classic' albums, this is for a reason. When it came to the prog game in the 70s there were few that could match the symphonic power of Genesis at the top of their game. The albums they released with the full power line-up (and even two without) are considered among the best to ever be recorded by the progressive genre in general. This little disc is no exception. Following close on the heels of their freshly released masterpiece Foxtrot, Genesis here decides to carry on the style they'd tinkered with on Trespass and mastered on Nursery Cryme. Larger than life orchestrations backed by clever and inspired lyrics sung by one of prog's great minstrels, a Mr. Peter Gabriel himself.

This albums does not have a monster side long track like Supper's Ready, but the main compositions it does house have just as much power backed into a more concise punch. For those who have not yet heard the album, it contains four main compositions as well as four 'minor' (minor used loosely here) compositions. On the first side all the songs are on the short side (two between 8-9 minutes and two between 3-4 minutes) and each song holds well on its own. The second side has the two songs which break the 10-minute barrier and also two supporting tracks which work in tandem with the rest of the album. Even the layout of the album itself has been well thought out it seems, and while it may remain a mystery if it is so just because of the limit of working on 'sides', it still works none the less.

On side one we have a couple of Genesis's best moments. Opening the fray is Dancing With The Moonlit Knight, a tour-de-force of heavy synths and guitars after a mellow intro which has sometimes been called, ''an unexpected headbanging moment'' as the tone shifts. Less heavy and more on the 'beautiful' side is the other longer composition, Firth Of Fifth. This one with it's swirling synth work and excellent instrumental sections has sometimes been called ''Genesis's best moment'', and some will even argue that it tops the entirety of Supper's Ready. Judge for yourself, but the instrumental interplay in this song is simply wonderful and a joy to listen to over and over again. The other two songs on the first side are sometimes frowned upon, likely because of their relative simplicity. But they still work. I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe) has a catchy chorus backed by harmonized vocals. A fun and short song. More Fool Me comes off as rather uninteresting at times, but it still has a kick coming into the song when Collins finally lets loose with the vocals. Somewhat of a sign of things to come from later (and less popular with the proggers) Genesis, but a modest song on the album. But even one modest song cannot stop this behemoth of an album now.

Coming into the second side we're treated with another couple of Genesis's finest moments. The Battle Of Epping Forest is another heavier song with its sharp and pressing vocals from Gabriel backed by war-like instruments to further the atmosphere of the tune which reaches its coda with After The Ordeal, a soft outro. The Cinema Show is another exercise in keyboard wizardry backed by some great vocals and guitars, all around good performances make for a very moody song in the same kind of atmosphere that Firth was in before. It all comes to an end with a medley of all the songs on the album in Aisle Of Plenty.

Chuck this review on top of the already massive pile. No surprise that this one is going to get a blistering 5 out of 5. This is an - if not the - essential masterpiece by a wonderful prog band in their classic era. This is one that no prog fan should be without. Recommended for all! Don't miss it!!

Review by crimson87
4 stars This is quite a controversial album for me to review since is the one that holds the number one spot on the site and as it was written in a recent review , one of the few prog albums that are known by the general public ( even my mother seems to enjoy it). However , while not bad , I think it's not the perfect desert island release it is said to be.

One aspect of Selling England that I 'll praise are the lyrics. Gabriel is known for his thought provoking songs but I think that in this album he reached his peak. This record feels so british and cynical ! and I love it for that. Then we have several seminal prog rock tunes like Dancing with the moonlight knight , The Cinema Show and Firth of Fifth. Let me add that the much maligned poppier songs on this album are not masterpieces but not by any means filler songs I enjoy the acoustic ballad and the synth sounds in I know what I like. SEBTP's problems do not lay there. Lastly it seems to be a major improvement on the sound department and production , the record does not sound muddy like their previous releases.

If I have stated all those positive aspects then , why I don't give SEBTP the full 5 stars mark ? Mainly because The Battle of Epping Forest is too long and Gabriel abuses of his theatrics on this tune putting way too much enphasis on dialogue. It's a pity since musically the song is exellent and could have worked better as a 5 minute piece. The instrumental After the ordeal is not as stong as Horizons or Los Endos for instance. Finally the main reason as regards why I do not consider this record as a masterpiece has to do with the fact that sometimes Selling England bores me to death!!! The record is way too calm and pastoral for my tastes. However I can appreciate it when I am in the mood for it.

That being said , this record is a must have for anyone but is not as exiting as other Genesis releases like Foxtrot or the Lamb. And not by any means the best prog album of all times , just one of the most iconic ones.

Review by Negoba
5 stars This is it. This is the one. This is Prog Rock. If I were to pick one track to demonstrate the all of prog rock, it would be the opener Dancing with the Moonlit Knight. Starting with a capella Peter Gabriel, it builds from pastoral bliss to blistering frenetics with sixteenth note drumming and one of the earliest use of guitar tapping. The perfect prog song. The ultimate.

This track earns this album 5 stars by itself. Now add in Firth of Fifth containing both arguably the best composed key part in prog and the best guitar solo. Then we get Cinema Show which is a grand mini- epic that is as good as any in Genesis' repertoire save perhaps Supper's Ready. Great lyrics, great composition, just amazing music.

Unlike some other prog masterpieces, however, this record is not without flaws. The much maligned More Fool Me is actually more listenable than it's reputation, but in retrospect it does stick out on an album of this high standard. I imagine Genesis had no idea that we'd be debating the merits of this album almost 40 years later (and surely we will be then too), so including a short foray for the guy in the back was not seen as a very critical choice at the time.

The rest of the record is solid prog, ranging from the quirky single I Know What I Like to the odd time Battle of Epping Forest to the instrumental After the Ordeal. All are very good prog, though not the heights that the rest of the album climbs.

CTTE and DSOTM are more flawless, but even they don't quite reach the heights you find here. As many many people have said, if you don't own and know this album, it is pretty hard to call yourself a prog fan.

Review by lazland
5 stars Okay, everyone else is doing it, so why not me? The next in my series of Genesis reviews, and a great album it is, too. I don't actually think it is their best - that one goes to Nursery Cryme, but this is mighty close.

What I love about this album is the story behind it - the longing and yearning for an England that is passing, never to come back, and the realisation that what is to follow is nowhere near as sweet and as innocent. That is exemplified by Dancing with the Moonlit Knight...Can you tell me where my country lies...? Gabriel almost pleads with his audience. A moving, perfectly played song.

I Know What I like was the first single success in the UK, and is fantastic.

Firth of Fifth is a magnificent achievement, with Hackett towering above all others - indeed, it is his finest moment with the band, and you get goosebumps listening to this solo.

More Fool Me was not Phil's first vocal effort (that was on Nursery Cryme), but it is fantastic. The live version on the Archives Boxset is even better, with acoustic guitars ramping up the tempo.

The Battle of Epping Forest is PG's go at being a punk before the punks were even heard of! This one tells of changes in society from the white working class perspective, and I thought of this today when reading reports of strikes about migrant workers in the UK. After the Ordeal is a fantastic interlude and coming down before The Cinema Show, which is simply a tour de force of a love song told from both genders point of view and featuring a magnificent Banks keyboard solo which is still a live favourite to this day.

Aisle of Plenty is the perfect bookend to Dancing.... and ends the album's theme with a gentle and perfectly played rant against the power of the emerging corporate supermarkets destroying the traditional English town. Thankful for her Finefare discount indeed!

A great LP, and apologies to those who might think it has been reviewed too often, but there is a reason for this. It is an LP that speaks to us all in a deeply unique and personal way. You do not have to hail from Middle England to appreciate the sentiments behind it, and you certainly all marvel at the musical accomplishment. Utterly essential to any prog collection.

Review by CCVP
2 stars Quite possibly the most overrated album in progressive rock

Selling England by the Pound is usually regarded as the best Genesis album, both from the band's Peter Gabriel phase (or the progressive phase, as some say), as well as the latter incarnations of this famous English band. Some even consider it to be the best progressive rock album ever. Indeed, to some degree, it is hard to disagree: this was the Genesis best selling album prior to Trick of the Tail and it has great songs, such as Dancing with the Moonlit Knight, Firth to Fifth and Cinema Show. However, this album do have some songs that are simply sub-par , when compared to the rest of the band's progressive output, such as I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe), More Fool me and The Battle of Epping Forest and, for that, I do not think this is the best Genesis.

As I said, this album have both incrdibly beautiful songs as well as others that are quite weak. For that, I believe that the album is considerably uneven and unbalanced, because those weak songs completely break its flow, disturb the song to song musical progression.

Take the first two songs as an example: after the extraordinary, dramatic and powerful opening song, Dancing With the Moonlit Knight, the famous ballad I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe) breaks that flow considerably. the songs have completely different emotional tones to them and, to make it worse, they aren't even that much different, so it is not possible to defend this change even for the sake of contrast!

The same thing happens with the two following songs, Firth to Fifth and More Fool Me, but this time it is even worse, because in the first case (Moonlit Knight and I Know What I Like), at least the second song has an artistic outlook to it; instead, More Fool Me is a straight pop tune without any relation whatsoever to the rest of Selling England. In fact, the closet relation this song will have with any other Genesis album will be with Duke, more than half a decade later.

Fortunately, the second part Selling England by the Pound (side 2 on the vynil) actually goes in a crescent, differently from the album's first part. Starting with the seemly endless tune The Battle of Epping Forrest, the album manages to get better and better with each passing song. The mentioned track (Battle) has a decent opening part, but slowly descends into senseless notes being played in melodies that don't make sense in the big picture: one has little relation with the other and they are way too elongated. So, maybe if this song was to be trimmed down a couple or maybe even four minutes, I believe it would sound much better. Don't get me wrong here, this song isn't very good and reducing its length would make it sound better, but it does not mean that Battle would become an actual great song just for making it shorter.

After that point, the songs keep growing and growing in quality. Starting with the simple yet beautiful After the Ordeal, which presents us an interesting duet between the guitar and piano. The whole thing eventually amounts to the second to last song, Cinema Show, which manages to take the album back to the level of excellence it was in the opening track. Nevertheless, I don't believe this song alone could make up for almost half an hour of underwhelming (or dispensable, in the case of Aisle of Plenty) music.

The highlights go to Dancing With the Moonlit Knight, Firth to Fifth and Cinema Show.

Rating and Final Thoughts

Despite having some strong points, Selling England by the Pound cannot escape the facts that it is an uneven album with many songs that are less than exciting. I am also quite sure that ir is not the best album released byGenesis. In fact, I think that progressive rock fans value Selling England by the Pound much more than what it is actually worth.

EDIT 1: After listening to the album again and again recently, I have come to the conclusion that I have been somewhat generous in my review of Selling England. The lack of direction on the opening tune and the stark decrease on the quality of the songs in between the highlighted tracks have made me come to the conclusion that the appropriate rating for this album is three, not four stars. EDIT 2: After some more careful examination wile re-writing my review, I've decided that even the 3 stars rating was too much for this album. Its fundamental flaws in song placement as well as having downright bad songs made me reconsider my rating, downgrading it for 2 stars.

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars These most rated albums are difficult to rate. You want to have your opinion, but also don't want to be the one who's giving bad rating. And if giving, is this rating true ? Isn't it just your disappointment. Every track sounds epicaly, even when not having epical lenght.

This is probably my hardest one to review. It's because I'm stunned by sheer quality of this. Maybe it sounds foolish, but it would be far easier if it was some lesser known album. It's milestone of Genesis work. I can appreciate lyrics a lot, but only when I understand them. Of course I take this album very differently, than native speaker, for me they're this kind of British style I like. Well and after so many listening (thanks to so easy-to-approach-kind-of-music) I think I understand them.

Little bit lamenting "Dancing With the Moonlit Knight" (Moonlight?), which I take as ironic parody of then-current British Isles (I understand what "chewing your..." means when I read description on wikipedia, it didn't even crossed my mind, because I didn't know what Wimpy means) with great intro, something like a capella, but after just seconds, gentle guitar comes (and synth).

"Wardrobe" is annoying song for me, something like Love to Love You on Caravan's album from similar year. I skip it when I can.

"Fifth of the Firth" with weird lyrics (which I though I'll understand, after reading article on wikipedia about this song - bad luck, no understanding now, they're still same crazy as before), but nice melody. When I wasn't thinking about lyrics (I didn't read them), all song was nicer, but only a little bit. Still it's good one and when I first listen this song, I was repeating first three minutes over and over again. Then, as I was listening (I know this album for about 9 months now, it was my first introduction to Genesis musis), I realise that I can appreciate middle part solo too. And maybe even more.

do you want other tracks ?

EDIT June 2010 - I'll leave this text as it is, I realized that keeping it that way is nice effort to see "how I wrote" when I started. It's my 10th review, so nothing big yet.

5(+), because of because (hehe). And after all these listens, I even like "Wardrobe", even it's not as good as others are.

Review by The Sleepwalker
3 stars Selling England By The Pound is probably Genesis' most respected work from their progressive era, the first half of the 70's, when Peter Gabriel, a fantastic lyricist and songwriter was the frontman of Genesis. This album is pretty much always in the top three of the Porgarchives top rated albums list, and I can't understand that. I'm not saying this album is bad, no, it isn't bad at all, but I think the album is far from perfect.

The album starts with "Dancing With The Moonlit Knight", which is in fact a fantastic start, I absolutely love this song, the great acoustic riff in the first verses, the powerful and catchy chorus and the absolutely stunning guitar solo, this is one of Genesis' best creations. The song starts out quite soft, but after the first chorus a very dark guitar riff will be heard and Steve Hackett plays a marvelous guitar solo. After the chorus is repeated for the second time the dark riff plays again, this time there is not a powerful guitar solo, but a great synth solo, a fantastic song.

Next is "I Know What I Like", one of the flaws of this album, it isn't a bad song, but it's not a very memorable prog song. The song is pretty poppy and happy and I don't think it comes close to being a Genesis classic, which the previous song definitely is.

The third track is "Firth Of Fifth", a track that is loved by many prog fans, and I understand that, it's a great track. The song starts out with the piano intro, which is beautiful. Gabriel's singing comes in, which is as good as always, and three lovely solo's are heard, a flute solo, a synth solo and one very long and very good guitar solo. This song is pretty diverse and I can enjoy it very much, though it's not as good as "dancing With The Moonlit Knight".

The next track is "More Fool Me", by far the worst track of the album, it's a Phil Collins pop song, don't get me wrong, Phil Collins is good in what he does, but I don't like pop songs, definitely not when I'm listening a true prog rock album.

"Battle Of Epping Forest" is next. The track is quite entertaining with Peter Gabriel stepping into the roles of several characters. The biggest flaw of this song, I think, is that is lasts eleven minutes, which is pretty long for a song such as this. If it would last only three or four minutes it would be a nice one, but after a couple of minutes the song gets boring already.

Next up is "After The Ordeal", a nice instrumental. I don't think it's a great song, but it definitely is a good one and it shows the great skills of Tony Banks and Steve Hackett.

"The Cinema Show" is one of the true epics of this album, just as "Dancing With The Moonlit Knight" and "Firth Of Fifth", the song starts out with great guitar playing, not great in the way of the playing being incredibily hard, but it does just sound very good and I think the guitar playing characterises this song. After the first part of the song, the vocal based part, we get a lengthy synth solo, which is very nice and enjoyable. Though "The Cinema Show" is a nice song, I think it lacks something, it just feels a bit incomplete, nevertheless it's a great song.

"Aisle Of The Plenty" is a decent ending of the album, it reprises the acoustic guitar riff from the first song, but apart from that it's not a very special song.

I don't understand why this album is rated above other Genesis albums like Foxtrot, which I think is much better. I'm rating this album just three stars, it has several great songs, but also some pretty big flaws, which screws the album up for me.

Review by kenethlevine
4 stars While Genesis' earlier albums showed flashes of brilliance - "Watcher of the Skies", "Musical Box" - amidst the flights of twee fancy, "Selling England By the Pound" largely dispensed with the airiness and mediocre production. This resulted in a balanced and captivating effort with several undisputed classics and only one glaring clunker.

The perennials are the brilliant "Dancing with the Moonlit Knight", a showcase for Gabriel, Banks and Hackett in equal proportion; the majestic "Firth of Fifth" with its blueprint guitar solo; and the fanciful but intensely melodic "Cinema Show/Aisle of Plenty", with one of the warmest synth solos committed to posterity. Add in the pleasant ditty "I Know What I Like" and the baroquely beautiful "After the Ordeal" and you have all the trappings of a classic.

The remaining two tracks are the innocuous and lightweight "More Fool Me", which would by itself not spoil a 5 star performance, and the loquacious "Battle of Epping Forest", that is too long and atrocious to be simply ignored. As a result, this one gets docked a full star, still essential but not nearly perfect, due to about 16 ounces of gristle.

Review by The T
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars A masterpiece of progressive-rock.

The album is not perfect. Some of the long tracks are not up to the highest standard that GENESIS was able to reach in their best moments. "The Cinema Show" and "Battle of Epping Forest" are good, not great, extended songs. Also, some of the little tracks (sandwiched between long tracks in a long-weak format) are just irrelevant (though I tend to like the usually dissmissed "I Know What I Like").

But there are two tracks which make the album a 5-star masterpiece just because of their existence: "Firth of Fifth", arguably the greatest song ever, and "Dancing with the Moonlit Knight", a jewel of symphonic rock that defies description. The piano-intro in the former is superb, the way the song is thematically integrated is perfect, but the absolute beauty arrives in the shape of the solo of all solos, the one Hackett does imitating the already-majestic melody that Peter Gabriel played in the flute near the end of the verse. The cry, the lament that we can hear in the strings, the melodic power that we feel under our skin is too much for a song to handle. Yet this one does, and it concludes brilliantly. The latter track is a masterclass in progressive-rock writing, with the marvelous opening theme serving as guideline for the fantastic estructure to build upon.

Two tracks that don't need more description but that deserve to be heard. Listened to. Discovered. This album, inferior to Foxtrot and A Trick of the Tail, earns its spot as one of the greatest because it contains two of the brightest momnents ever in rock history.

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Mythological English history is juxtaposed with elements of less Romantic aspects of modern living to make a masterpiece. Peter Gabriel is a genius of the lyrical aspect, and proves himself more than capable as a dramatic vocalist. This by no means makes it his album; each member of Genesis demonstrates themselves worthy of applause.

"Dancing with the Moonlit Knight" Gabriel's almost anthemic voice alone opens the first song. Pastoral guitars and soft keyboard accompany him. The lyrics are full of references to English culture (or lack thereof- referencing Wimpy's burger restaurants and Green Shield stamps). Steve Hackett's electric guitar solo, with his two-handed tapping, swelling, and strange way of playing make this one of the most unique guitar solos of that time. The Mellotorn choir underscoring the heaviest part of the song is at once haunting and awe-inspiring. After the final chorus, the music begins to fall away, become less and less extant until only a strange acoustic section backed by Mellotron ends the piece. All said, this may just be my favorite Genesis song, both for the musicianship poured into it as well as its charming lyrical wit.

"I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)" One of the quirkiest songs Genesis ever did, the second song is full of catchy lyrics about a lawn mowing man who has no motivation in life to be anything "greater," as he is perfectly happy trimming grass. Mike Rutherford's crawling bass is the musical centerpiece of the chorus for me. Hackett's guitar effect sounds very close to a motorized lawnmower.

"Firth of Fifth" Tony Banks showcases his talent with the introduction to one of Gabriel-era Genesis's most beloved songs. It goes right perfectly into the verse, with Gabriel's voice at its most majestic, and subtle layers of instrument flowing underneath like a gentle river. Once again, my attention turns to Rutherford's interesting bass lines. Following a short piano interlude, Gabriel treats listeners to a tenderly dark flute bit. Things pick up with Banks's piano, and the introduction is back, only this time it's in full force with the whole band behind it, and Banks using his synthesizer lead for the main melody while Collins batters his snare. Hackett's solo is considered one of the greatest moments of the song, during which he recalls Gabriel's flute line, making the lengthier notes quiver. The way the music travels back to the verse is masterful and a clear indication of what Genesis was capable of compositionally. The fading piano makes for a beautiful ending.

"More Fool Me" Phil Collins sings lead vocals on this short song, which is easily the weakest song on the album. The chorus is catchy, but the verses send me to sleep and are somewhat hard to follow (strange, since it's more of a pop song). This song gives some indication of the simpler direction the band would take after Gabriel's departure (consider "Your Own Special Way"); had this song been excluded in favor of something more interesting, this masterpiece of an album would have been even stronger.

"The Battle of Epping Forest" An underrated song to be sure, "The Battle of Epping Forest" boasts some of Gabriel's wittiest lyrics ever, chock full of double entendre and clever voices. Not only that, but the bouncy instrumentation, compliments of Rutherford's bass and Banks's various keyboards, make this one of the most interesting pieces the band ever played. The acoustic-based section is loaded with cunning words and interesting exchanges.

"After the Ordeal" A Hackett-composed instrumental that for some reason irked Banks and Gabriel, I find this to be one of Genesis's best wordless pieces, if not the best. It blends beauty and sophistication together in a way lost on so many artists. It is certainly strange how this lovely piece of music could be the center of disagreement, particularly part of the reason Hackett would eventually leave Genesis.

"The Cinema Show" Laden with twelve-string guitars, the beginning of this song discusses the romantic involvement of Romeo and Juliet before getting to the more upbeat chorus, which speaks of Tiresias, a man who according to Greek mythology, spent seven years as a woman. The chorus is one of the best choruses ever written, with engaging lyrics and an unforgettable melody. A short flute solo over twelve-string guitar and mounting organ, followed by some vocalizations, bridge the two recitations of the chorus. The second section of the song is a second key place for Banks to showcase his musical talent in a 7/8 time signature. Collins's drumming is equally spectacular here. The denouement is beautiful, as it eases into a reprise of "Dancing with the Moonlit Knight."

"Aisle of Plenty" This is the full reprise of "Dancing with the Moonlit Knight" that brings the album back around perfectly, referencing several aspects of modern English living.

Review by b_olariu
4 stars I really can't give 5 stars

For many this album gathered all the ingredients and all the musical adventures a prog band must have in that period, I mean this is the peak of progressive music with this album released by Genesis in 1973 entitled very well and full of meaning Selling England by the pound. The story behind the album as already many said here is about the fall of british empire. Now, from the biggining I must say that is not my fav Genesis album, not by far, I prefer Nursery cryme (from Gabriel era) and Trick of the tail to be their best album ever. The music is to me is very well composed, with flaws (sometimes the album is to mellow in places ) and highs, the prestation of Tony Banks here is absolute brillian on every pieces. he remains one of my fav keyboards players ever, very inventiv and very smooth and elegant. The best pieces are all in my ears, all are good and very enjoyble, but with all that I can't give it 5 stars, something is not really working, musically speaking. Anyway this album remains one of the best they ever done and for sure one of the pinacle of progressive music in general. I will give 4 stars, an example of early masterfull work for sure, but not a masterpiece in my opinion, sometimes I have the impression that this album is little overrated.

Review by Sinusoid
5 stars Definitely an album that ought to be one of the first to pop in the mind as THE progressive rock album alongside CLOSE TO THE EDGE and IN THE COURT OF THE CRIMSON KING among others. SELLING ENGLAND BY THE POUND has to be one of the most delicate progressive rock albums I've ever heard as the album is loaded with beautiful acoustic guitar passages and piano interludes. That doesn't mean that there aren't any upbeat moments on the album; in fact, ''The Battle of Epping Forest'' is one of the jumpiest, silliest tunes the band has to offer. Twelve minutes of sheer wit.

My only big concerns with the album are ''More Fool Me'' (a sappy ballad that goes too slow) and believe it or not ''Firth of Fifth'' (some of the solo bits go a little too long for my tastes). However, this is a textbook example of what a great progressive rock album sounds like. Even with the pop hit ''I Know What I Like'', this album is a winner. An undeniable masterpiece.

Review by Roland113
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars In My Not So Humble Opinion:

"Selling England by the Pound" is one of the greatest progressive albums ever.

Not that I've been single for years, but back in the day . . . I had one of those on again off again relationships. We'd date then get into some moronic fight and break up, then we'd get back together and it'd be all special for a while then we'd drift apart again. I always kind of knew she'd be there when I needed to go back to her and every time we got back together, it was amazing.

"Selling England by the Pound" is that old girlfriend for me. When ever I needed her, she's always been there. (I've now said something new about Selling England, though in all fairness, that's possibly the most disturbing analogy that I've made so far.)

Rather than doing an in depth track by track analysis, which has been done countless times, I'll just throw some of my thoughts out there.

"Dancing With the Moonlight Knight": Gabriel's opening line is one of the most beautiful examples of his voice. There is so much tone and power to his voice, all stuck into the plea, "Can you tell me where my country lies." The last couple of minutes, the mellower part, are some of my favorites of this song; I love the airy feeling that Banks and Hackett's interplay gives me.

"I Know What I Like": ok, I feel a bit sheepish; I never realized that Hackett was simulating the sound of a Lawnmower here until the rerelease with video. There's a video that shows Gabriel mimicking mowing throughout the intro of the song. Yes, it took me twenty or thirty years to make the connection, oh well, more fool me (yep, did you see that, kind of a play on words there).

"Firth of Fifth" is a song that I didn't appreciate until spending time on here. I never quite picked up on the majesty of it, and here's why. The vocal parts sung by Gabriel sound very forced to me, it's almost as if the words and music are constantly tripping over one and other. In addition, I wasn't a big fan of the piano intro by Mr. Banks. In my youth, I'd routinely skip this song in youthful exuberance to get to my favorites. Now, I get it a bit more. While I still think the vocals sound forced and slightly out of time, I truly appreciate the solo sections of the song. Hackett's work here must be one of the most beautiful guitar solos in existence.

"More Fool Me" eh, what can I say, I don't mind Collins ballads, but his voice isn't strong enough at this point in his career to pull this one off well. This is the weakest part of the album (yeah, no surprise there).

Despite the grief it gets, I love "The Battle of Epping Forest". In particular, the run from the four minute mark to about five minutes and twenty seconds is beautiful, the inter play between the notes of Banks and Hackett's runs weave a tapestry of sound that is subtle but stunning once you pick up on it. At random times throughout the bit, random chords appear within the rhythms that each is playing separately, creating a third, independent rhythm. This is one of the most complex and beautiful bits of an all around amazing album.

"After the Ordeal" is a Hackett showcase piece that really shows off his mastery. Even though it's only a four minute song, this one should not be overlooked.

"The Cinema Show" is one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever written. There are at least three goose bump moments. The first notes of the guitar always give me that creeping feeling of majesty. The nanas at the four minute mark are equally beautiful. Finally, the last half of the song features Collins, Rutherford and Banks at their best. The rhythm section with Banks overtop is worthy of ELP, though without the machismo. Kind of like the quiet younger sister, able to let her beauty shine through without the pomp. Banks solo at the seven minute mark is the piece that taught me how to solo; it's not about the quantity of notes, but which notes you put where. The second half of the solo, a repetition of the first with the powerful choirs adding power behind the lead is truly one of the best choices of keyboard sounds that I know of. Literally, this song shaped my playing more than any other piece of music.

"The Aisle of Plenty" is a haunting closer to this masterpiece, revisiting "Dancing with the Moonlight Light's" main melody.

No, I didn't end up with the girlfriend that I mentioned in the first paragraph, and I'm quite happy with "The Flower Kings" and Frost* and the newer music that I listen to these days, but "Selling England by the Pound" will always be one of those CD's that will always have a soft spot in my heart.

Five stars, easily.

Review by Conor Fynes
5 stars 'Selling England By The Pound' - Genesis (10/10)

Well, what do we have here... another 'Selling England By The Pound' review? As one of the highest rated albums on the site, I almost feel obliged to review the album and give my opinion on it.

I can safely say that yes, 'Selling England By The Pound' is a masterpiece, but not necessarily a perfect work. Tarnished only by a few bland moments, and a song that deters from the overall product, it is a powerful trip and a genre-defining album in prog music.

The album starts up with a very powerful and memorable track (and one of my favourite Genesis tracks) 'Dancing With The Moonlit Knight' which starts out not with a bombastic progressive onslaught, but the acapella vocals of singer Peter Gabriel. While I've never been a huge fan of Peter Gabriel, his vocals really shine on this album, and his quirky inflections really compliment the witty lyrics.

Other highlights include 'The Battle Of Epping Forest' (the lyrical highlight of the album) and 'Fifth Of Firth' (which has one of the most beautful guitar solos I have ever heard.)

I don't have too many negative things to say about the album, but one song that did get on my nerves after a fairly short time was 'More Fool Me,' which I think really deters from the album's quality consistency. It's an unnecessary acoustic track, minus the chorus which is tolerable and pleasant.

Another thing that I found a bit distracting was the production of the album. At times it sounds a bit noisy and low-fidelity. I understand that this was the early 70's and the band wasn't exactly exposed to the highest quality equipment, but on another masterpiece of theirs 'Foxtrot' (that in fact, came before this one) the sound quality is much better. It doesn't really hurt the compositional integrity of the albums, but it still robs the album of being 'perfect' in my eye.

Overall, 'Selling England By The Pound' is something every progressive music fan should listen to and own. A true essential, and one of the highlights of Genesis' career.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Few will challenge this albums top 5 appearance here. Nevertheless, even fewer might claim this is a flawless album. So why all the praise?

For me it's simply because of Dance With The Moonlit Knight and Firth or Fifth. Those two tracks are easily among the most beautiful pieces of progressive rock ever recorded, especially in the symphonic prog sub-genre. Amazing musicianship that is both muscular and subtle and that never gets in the way of the compositions. Stellar guitar work, great melodies and plenty of chilling and dramatic moments. Oh yes this is prog at its pinnacle.

There are also flaws though. More Full Me is a pretty embarrassing moment and I know for sure that I don't like I Know What I Like. Ok, you might need to read that one a few times. I guess many people won't enjoy Epping Forest all that much neither. Well I sure like that quirky Epping piece. Also Cinema Show is an epic classic with one of the better synth solos in rock. Not that there is much competition (brouhaha). I'll leave you sitting on that for now. If you're curious how I feel about prominent keyboards in rock I have to divert you to my Yes, ELP or other Genesis reviews :)

Well that should do it for this one. You must be bored to death already with reviews about this. 4.5 stars

Review by ProgressiveAttic
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars

I know that this is probably one of the albums with more reviews in this website....but since this is one of my all time favorites (a bit of a cliché...but I Know What I Like!) I have to review it.... I usually do a song by song review but I don't think it is necessary here.

This is not a "propper" concept album but it has coherence both musically and lyrically...The central theme is England and I think this is the ultimate british album... among the lyrical highlights we have Dancing With The Moonlight Knight, Firth of Fifth, The Battle of the Epping Forest (great narration here) and The Cinema Show (go Gabriel!).... musically almost the entire album is a highlight, being More Fool Me a low point...its not a bad song, it's actually a nice ballad and shows Phil Collins' vocal quality (who would have imagined what would happen later...)....

The musicians are as great as always: Hackett has never let me down (lets forget GTR), Banks is an absolute master of keyboards (lets forget later Genesis here too) and the piano intro for Firth of Fifth is a classic, Gabriel is at his best here with all of the characteristic dramatism and humor that we all love, the highly underrated Rutherford gives a very solid bass foundation to the music (he is one of the best prog bass players ever... neglecting post Hackett genesis) and finally Collins... this is the proof that he should be drumming not singing (he is one of the best drummers ever) when you have someone as Peter Gabriel in the band...well.... More Fool Me proves he is a good singer so he shouldn't waste this talent. Indeed, he is one of the best (with Chris Squire) backing vocalists in prog and Disney gave a good use to his voice (I used to love his soundtracks before I discovered Genesis and Peter Gabriel)... + In my opinion his vocal work with the band after Gabriel left on albums such as A Trick of the Tail and Wind and Wuthering is nothing less than top notch.

There is nothing else to say.... an album in which More Fool Me (a very underrated ballad) can be considered a low point deserves no less than 5 stars... A timeless masterpiece...

PS: An absolute essential...specially for those new to prog rock and / or genesis

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars This is a very, very good album by Genesis, a band I must admit that doesn't strike a chord with me. But a masterpiece? I don't think this band can approach King Crimson, Yes, ELP, or even Gentle Giant in that era.

Dancing With The Moonlit Knight is a damn good song, one of the few by Genesis that I still like to listen to after all these years (even my favorites, I have listened to so often that I rarely play them anymore, as I have every note committed to memory). But like most Genesis, I wish there were better, and longer solos.

Firth Of Fifth is another highlight in this band's career, and Hackett even provides a nice guitar solo, but here Genesis sound like they are trying to recreate King Crimson's sound. And they do a fair job of it.

The Battle Of Epping Forest has potential, but this recording is marred by a particularly drab Tony Banks performance. His keyboards here are a prime example of why I compare him more to Tony Kaye of Yes than to the truly great prog keyboardists. He has the skills to occasionally rise up and play something spectacular, he just usually chooses not to.

The Cinema Show is another fine prog tune. Worth having in any collection.

A solid four star album.

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars "and all of their hands are playing a part"

The year 1973 was something of a watershed for the English giants in my opinion. One can argue whether Selling/Dark Side/Topographic Oceans were the "best" these bands had to offer. My feeling is that all three works saw their bands taking the last gasp of their original visions and team unity to their most accomplished conclusions. All still contained the spark of original magic, the lack of overt cynicism, the feeling that the bands still believed in the strength of their group creativity. While future works would still be very impressive there would be more division, more cynicism, band members departing, and the realization that what were once friendships making discoveries together were now organizations. As albums from all three would continue to make strides in production and sophistication, Gabriel would later describe in one word the feeling that would descend upon all three: machinery. And yet in the heart of 1973 it was all still so fresh and vibrant for the fan of rock music, progressive or otherwise.

As Floyd did on Dark Side, Genesis would grasp bits and pieces of previous albums and manage to spin them into a work with more cohesion, greater accessibility without compromising extended instrumental excitement, a finer studio ear for arrangements and dynamics, and a superior eye for the overall package as a work of art for the ages. Moments of brilliance were there on Cryme and Foxtrot but here the music is magical start to finish. As with Dark Side we can become a bit spoiled over the decades as these works are damaged by "overkill" within the prog community and thus hammered as being overrated. But in fact this is not the case. From any vantage point I take of Selling England it comes through as completely convincing, extraordinarily warm, charming, and inspiring. The playing on the album has been raised to another level not only by the clearer production, but the voracity in which each member seems to be striving to make every note and word count. We are treated to four outstanding Genesis epics averaging 10 minutes in length, none of which overstay their welcome by even a second. These elaborate pieces are separated by four "glue" tracks which serve as breather moments and cleanse the palette before throwing the listener back into the album's ride. The mixture of the romantic English pastoral vibe with the dynamic rocking sections and vocal passion deliver the fan an amazingly sincere and direct experience. There is no waiting period required to connect with Selling, there is no effort required. You are simply bowled over by the overall care bestowed upon this one, and the melodies within will visit your inner dialogue over time. These melodies come and go in my consciousness without ever thinking about Genesis. They are just there playing on my mind's audio channel. I can't say that about every album I appreciate. And more than a collection of tracks Selling feels like a film that pulls the listener into its midst. You are a part of the story.

While Gabriel would remain for the next album it is here where the band feels the most authentic to my ear, delivering on every front as if their lives depended on it. While "Trespass" remains my personal favorite Genesis album, there is no doubt in my mind that 1973 delivered a masterpiece each from Genesis, Yes, and Floyd.

Review by Einsetumadur
4 stars 12/15P.: An essential album with three of the most important progressive rock songs, an album where Genesis' Victorian rock sound is on its peak, but also an example how prog can go wrong if it is overdone

Actually there are enough reviews for this album, but the reason why I still write a short review for it is that I don't understand the big hype around this album, especially regarding the fact that this record has to get 5/5 points simply because it's Selling England By The Pound.

So what I am going to do is try to write about this album critically (as I do see some points of criticism from my side) and probably also write a text which is perhaps enjoyable to read or maybe even a bit informative for the people who know this record already.

Dancing With The Moonlit Knight may be my favorite track on this record: everything fits well here, especially great is the Victorian feeling which the track creates by using masses of 12-string-guitars and distant electric guitars with the trademark swirling, distant Hackett sound: combined with Peter Gabriel's unique voice and in the later progress of the track soft Hammond organ swabs, majestic grand piano and Phil Collins's playful drums the track becomes a typical, or perhaps the typical progressive rock track. Rapid guitar tremolos accompany the third stanza, medieval Mellotron choirs enter and bombastify the mighty chorus-like part where Mr. Collins also shines with his perfect drum play. Still the most impressive part is Steve Hackett's guitar solo in which Genesis come closer to hard rock than ever while Mr. Hackett develops his tapping technique; I always wonder how he creates this percussive sound from 2:45 on in that melody which in its mercuriality reminds me of Bach or someone else from the Baroque epoch. A more enraged stanza follows - after a majestic mellotron choir section - and leads us into the ARP synthesizer solo with Hackett's electric sitar in the background which is so typical for Tony Banks (check the strange rhythms and nearly-as-strange synthesizer melodies which despite that sound great and nearly catchy) which then slowly unwinds with soft Hammond organ chords... You will see: when you love Progressive Rock and you listen to this track you will see that everything is at the right place and leads to sheer pleasure: the music is so perfect that malicious tongues could nearly call it expectable and 'cliche' - if Genesis hadn't invented this often-copied cliche with this song: it could be the most essential progressive rock song ever.

The interesting thing is that from 5:54 on Genesis finish the song with a 2:09 minutes long psychedelic soundscape part in the vein of Trespass (listen to White Mountain to see what I mean) with heavily echoed 12 string guitars, treated Mellotron sounds and - far away - Hackett's lovely electric guitar sounds: balm for the progressive rock listener's ears and a quite untypical, but superb way of ending a fulminant rock track. At the moment I can't think of any other epic which ends in a similar way.

Peter Gabriel's I Know What I Like turns the world of pop music upside down: catchy music, but lyrics about a lawnmower and corresponding sound effects ("There's a future for you in the fire escape trade."; this quote says everything). Like every single, as which the song climbed on rank twenty-one in the British single charts, the compositional focus should lie on the vocals melody and the lyrics, and it also does here: every time I am astonished by this cool 'flow'/groove of the lyrics of the stanza beginning at 1:40 that is rhythmically so exciting that I think about one of the better hip hop pieces. But the infectious catchyness doesn't change the complexity at all: everywhere you find the quirky elements of Genesis that make their simpler pieces that interesting. Dig that Phil Collins solo part from 1:25 where masses of percussion instruments accompany a scat vocalization melody by Collins, but merely as long as necessary, in this case for ten seconds or so - then the music goes on in its usual way. Mike Rutherford is also brilliant at his bass guitar, for example with a playful bass line in the chorus, and the electric sitar which plays the simple main riff/motif of the song. The song fades out with the characteristic hollow-sounding synthesizer melody in the end which finally is overlapped by the lawnmower sounds, essentially (I think) some kind of motor (of a hairdryer or a ventilator) recorded through the pickups of the electric guitar.

Firth Of Fifth is the next classic progressive rock piece on the album which everybody should know. And as everyone probably knows it I probably don't need to write that much about it. Fortunately, Tony Banks plays the famous one-minute piano introduction on a real grand piano and not on this awful electric piano which he used live for these purposes. The odd metres (how about four bars of 13/16 followed by four bars of 15/16 leading into one bar of 2/4 and then returning to 13/16 again?) make the intro not only a real treat due to the nice harmonic progressions but also for rhythmical reasons that are as progressive as they can be. I also do adore the dynamic way of playing: sensitive and restrained passages contrast with more powerful and self-assured ones and the sustain pedal of the piano isn't used for undefinable sound carpets, but for (in my book) fitting articulation. Shorter said: this intro is big fun listening to, especially when you are a keyboarder yourself. The stanzas which follow are often criticized for the lyrics which are seen as 'cheesy', but as English isn't my native language I don't care too much about that; in fact, I believe the sound of the words ("To see reflected there, the trees, the sky, the lilyfair.", for instance) to be quite harmonious and nice. Musically, I enjoy the changes between the sedate stanzas and the wishful, bright ones (2:05) in which Steve Hackett's guitar that just plays a nice counterpoint in the stanzas' background is applied as well - with the Mellotron strings, of course, which are used here the first time on this record (or probably the second, if the sounds at the end of the opener are Mellotron strings). A late-romanticism-piano bridge with etherial cymbal sounds leads into Peter Gabriel's flute solo which is merely backed by a piano and the bass guitar which creates quite a classical feeling like, for example, in a symphony. Afterwards, the grand piano guides the band in a typical upbeat progressive rock instrumental part with odd rhythms and many keyboards swirling around. The following guitar solo uses the melody of the flute solo again, and both - something which astonished me very much - were written neither by Hackett or Gabriel, but by Tony Banks. So, Hackett didn't invent the part of the solo, but interpreted it; and this is a thing in which he succeeded very well. Still there are many parts which sound much like Hackett, but anyway: this solo is marvellous and probably Hackett's best moment ever. And as repeating the solo one more time is probably the only thing that one can do to make it better, Hackett does it exactly the same way; especially live this must be a great experience with full sound volume and subwoofers. A last stanza then segues into the outroduction, a piano motif taken from the introductory piano solo and working as some kind of 'frame' or bookend of the piece.

More Fool Me, the second Genesis track where Phil Collins sings, in fact falls off a bit. But this is not due to the composition, but to the production. Actually, this song is made for being played live. Everytime I listen to this one live, for example on the bonus disc of the live box set, I can't help but calling this an outstanding ballad. Imagine you are sitting in a big concert, for example by the Rolling Stones in the early 1970s, and the band starts off with fast, groovy rock pieces and bright stage illumination, the guitarist plays the electric guitar. Then the band leaves the stage, and only the singer and the guitarist are staying (with the latter switching to the acoustic guitar), the light gets dim. Then they both play a ballad, in my Stones example probably No Expectations. And this change from bombastic grandeur or powerful rock to acoustic ballad-style intimacy is - at least to me - emotionally touching and a great feeling (as far as I know, Genesis played Firth of Fifth before More Fool Me in 1973). But, goodness knows why, this only works when you are sitting (or standing) in a concert hall listening to a band live: not only the music, but also the mood and the atmosphere count and help the song become really good. The studio version therefore pales severely in contrast to the live version due to small details: Collins produces some bad sniveling tones somewhere in the piece, there are vocal overdubs at the most inadequate places and in the chorus Collins pants the word "way", maybe in order to sound emotional, but I am bothered by that. Probably it's really the ambition to make the song sound grand, but in the end it is rather too grand, nearly oversize: the reduced arrangement with Collins on lead vocals and Rutherford on the backing vocal works out much finer, although in my opinion the song itself is well composed. To all those who think that Mike Rutherford is a bad guitarist: he's a bad lead guitarist, but a damn fine fingerpicker.

The Battle Of Epping Forest is the real let-down to me - and unfortunately with nearly 12 minutes the longest piece on this record. A short summary of the writing process the way I reconstruct it: Peter Gabriel writes 795 words about a newspaper article and makes the band put them into music. The bad and sad thing is that this number of 795 is not a rhetorical exaggeration of mine, but the real number of words that my word processing program has counted one minute ago. Even sadder is that the words aren't really bad: they are the typical Gabriel opera dialogues with many rhymes and puns. But turning them into music requires at least 20 minutes of composition. Now the 12 minutes are full of lyrics, the music is unmemorable and lacks the fresh freewheelingness of, for example, Get 'em out by Friday or The Return of the Giant Hogweed. However; there are at least some highlights in the track, but frankly I do not often make it attaining to them because I skip that track after the introduction that with the Mellotron flutes and a nice march rhythm actually is relatively tasteful. Where are these passages which I call highlights now? Ironically, the first kind of highlight is at the places where Gabriel stops singing: the part from 4:04 with the clavinet and Hammond organ arpeggios is very well done, just like the ARP synthesizer melody which the persevering listener may enjoy several times after the Here come the cavalry parts. The second kind of highlight are the parts which always remind me of Jethro Tull and which just consist of 12 string guitar strumming and vocals (like 5:28). But unfortunately, these passages are quite rare, but if they come they won't leave your ears fast: a portion with earworm qualities. I see the rest of the track, including the exerted guitar solo in the end, as rather dull.

After The Ordeal is Steve Hackett's more or less solo track whose structure I actually like very much although it itself is 'only' good and not great, simply because it is short; I am also quite sure that the piece wasn't meant to be great, but rather beautiful. And in achieving this aim the band, or Steve Hackett, has succeeded really well. The first part is completely acoustic and classically influenced and played solely on the acoustic guitar and the piano whilst the second part features the whole band and is essentially an instrumental slow pop/rock song with the electric guitar taking over the lead. The first, joyful part would also fit well on Hackett's Spectral Mornings with delicate melodies and strong influences of classical guitar music, probably Rodrigo or Tarrega; that could also be why Hackett uses a nylon string guitar here. The second part with the slow rhythm, the Hammond organ, two wishful electric guitars and counterpointing flute melodies sounds like a mixture of Focus, Sky and maybe even Procol Harum, but mainly the first two mentioned bands. I always wonder if the track with its title has been placed after The Battle of Epping Forest deliberately; this would give this innocuous and beautiful track quite a cynical tongue-in-cheek meaning.

The Cinema Show is the third classic progressive rock piece on this record and the striking thing for me are especially the keyboard sounds used here. The first, sung part of this epic is completely keyboard-free: several acoustic guitars with several numbers of strings again create this Victorian feel of the album's opener, this time with a strong tension and a close-mesh blanket of different sounds and tones from which Gabriel's lyrics enshroud the listener cosily; when one regards the content of the lyrics, my incidental carpet comparison also gets another dimension because in fact the whole piece deals with romance and sex, employing the archetypal couple Romeo and Juliet. Here, Gabriel's and Collins's vocals harmonize beautifully with each other and the whole first part until 2:00 could be one of Genesis's best 'musifications' of warmth and intimacy. From the third minute on the whole band enters, especially Hackett's swirling guitar melodies are worth to notice. Afterwards, flute and oboe melodies - again only accompanied by acoustic guitars and sparingly used cymbals - return to the Victorian Trespass feeling of the beginning, later also adding wordless vocalizations by Gabriel and Collins, temporarily also in two voices (I don't know if this is by chance, but the melody is quite similar to the beginning of Crosby Stills Nash & Young's Our House). Another stanza follows, reprised instrumentally afterwards by the ARP synthesizer which halfway in the piece leads us into the instrumental part which is the same perfect progressive rock like the instrumental part of Dancing With The Moonlit Knight. Here the several keyboards come into the foreground: the warm sound of the ARP Pro Soloist, Hammond organs and Mellotrons; especially the melody at 6:59 is of extraordinary beauty, and even more beautiful when repeated with great Mellotron choirs afterwards.

The final melody of this nearly five minutes long keyboard solo transforms to the chords of Dancing With The Moonlit Knight and with that to the beginning of Aisle of Plenty which is the bookend or the counterpart to the album's opener: musically very similar to the first stanzas, albeit replacing the piano and several acoustic guitars with Hammond organ arpeggi and one single nylon string acoustic guitar. After this "sixth stanza" of the opener the band takes over one chord progression from this song and Gabriel chants food advertisements until the fade-out over this symphonic background with his voice treated electrically: quite an ironic way of ending this album, but it fits the sociocritical contents of the moonlit knight's lyrics well. And it's an ending which cleverly placates me after some dull minutes, or - to express it more critically - which tricks me into thinking that the album is better than I thought it to be when I was listening it.

All in all I will give a weak 4 star rating for an album with three of the most important progressive rock songs, but also an example where prog is overdone, or where less would simply have been more. In fact, this record is quite long with over 50 minutes and throwing out The Battle of Epping Forest and replacing it by Twilight Alehouse, the b-side of the I Know What I Like single, this could have become an uncanny masterpiece of progressive rock music. But now, this is 'only' an album with three real masterpieces on it - and let down by pieces which simply cannot catch up with side one of "Foxtrot". Nonetheless this record is a highly recommendable and nearly necessary experience for the progressive rock listener.

Review by EatThatPhonebook
5 stars 10/10

Amazingly majestic, profound, complex, beautiful, "Selling England By The Pound" is one of the best progressive albums ever made.

After the supreme masterpiece "Foxtrot", Genesis was still able to maintain the same levels as their previous album, thanks to "Selling England By The Pound", not only one of the best progressive albums ever made, but even one of the best albums generally speaking of the 70s (heck, maybe one of the best of all time). Amazingly majestic, profound, complex, beautiful.

The album starts with "Dancing With The Moonlight Knight", one of the best prog songs of all time. It starts very mellow, but then it explodes into a triumphant and glorious piece of music, epic and unbeatable. After, when the song is almost over, the theme changes, one of the greatest song closers ever. "I Know what I like" never really got me, I never really enjoyed listening to it. The chorus is kind of lame, and the general structure of the song isn't very great. My least favorite one from this album. "Firth of Fifth" starts with a beautiful and virtuous piano part, followed by the song's main theme, were Gabriel and co. really demonstrate how good they can be. It's a very melancholy song, especially the main theme, even though the great arrangements and solos in the middle of the song are very cheerful and happy sounding. "More Fool Me" is a beautiful brief ballad with Phil Collins on vocals. It really is a great interlude, a pause between all the long and complex songs. " The Battle Of Epping Forest" is the longest song of the album, and possibly it is the best song in an artistic point of view. It has many themes ( It could easily be a suite), and it shows the bands incredible talent in songwriting and performing as a group. Gabriel's vocals are unusual and original, absolutely an essential song for those who don't like to listen to entire albums all at once ( I personally don't understand them, I find it necessary to listen to an album all the way through and in order.) "After the Ordeal" is the only instrumental piece , a brief and cheerful piece that stands between the two really long songs of the album. " The Cinema Show", despite having many memorable moments, is one of my least favorite songs of the album. Maybe starts to be too complex for my tastes, and you can find some excessive instrumentations. Hwever, it's a really good song, and the intro played with guitar is beautiful. "Aisle Of Plenty" is the shortest song, it's experimental and interesting. Actually, it might be one of the best closers of all time.

What an album, so mind blowing, so great, I still can't believe such an album exists.

Review by Flucktrot
5 stars Does it get much better than this for progressive rock fans? We all know this album contains a ton of fantastic prog (although many seem nitpicking this one more than others). The key question is whether it is the greatest prog album of all time. The overall ratings say yes, but my subjectivity goes with Close to the Edge.

The deciding factor? Close to the Edge does not have anything equivalent to Epping Forest or More Fool Me. They are nothing for Genesis to be ashamed of by any means, but they are just not top-notch. That's my only nitpick with Selling England--the rest is good enough for greatest of all time status.

Part of the genius of this album is that it can be appreciated on so many levels. Any music listener will be immediately drawn in by the bouncy, infectious intro to Firth of Fifth, and any guitar rocker will dig Hackett's work in Firth and Dancing with the Moonlit Knight. The next level--the intense listening through progressive ears--also rewards, particularly the 7/8 jam on Cinema Show and delicate beauty of the 12-strings and keys throughout. The final level--seeing this stuff performed live (alas, I've only seen this through tributes)--rewards even further. Seeing the Cinema Show done live was one of my greatest musical experiences--I almost soiled myself!

Alternatingly delicate, poignant, creative and powerful, Selling England by the Pound is a masterpiece of progressive rock, and one I will treasure for the ages.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars A perfect balance of elements; lyrical sketches, virtuosic instrumentation and theatrical vocals.

Review #966. On "Selling England By The Pound" Genesis prove themselves to be creative visionaries. The entire musical arrangement is tighter and structured with instrumental breaks that are virtuoso on their own merits. There seems to be a stronger cohesion and unification of melodic musical ideas, with each member having a chance to shine as never before. Banks in particular flourishes on classical piano pieces and lengthy synthesizer breaks. There are no lengthy epics but there are long songs clocking around 10 minutes, such as "The Cinema Show", The Battle of Epping Forest" and "Firth of Fifth" that have become classic Genesis tracks, highly memorable due to lengthy instrumental passages, odd time signatures, key changes and mood shifts along with quirky thematic content.

The magical and most loved lineup of Genesis is here: Peter Gabriel, a tour de force on lead vocals, flute, oboe; Phil Collins, magnificent on drums, percussion, and vocals (he takes the lead vocals on "More Fool Me" signifying his eventual ability to be the Genesis front man on Gabriel's departure); Steve Hackett, a master of lead guitar, acoustics, vocals and electric coral sitar (on "I Know What I like"); Mike Rutherford, extraordinary on bass guitar, bass pedals, rhythm guitar, and cello (on "Dancing With The Moonlight Knight"); and the incomparable Tony Banks, on vocals, piano, keyboards, and acoustic guitar (on "The Cinema Show"). Together they are perhaps the definitive Genesis, never to be surpassed for sheer musical excellence and creativity. Every track is fresh, ferociously original and first class.

The lyrics of "Dancing With The Moonlit Knight" typify the high strangeness of the album; "Off we go with, You play the hobbyhorse, I'll play the fool, We'll tease the bull, ringing round & loud, loud & round, Follow on, With a twist of the world we go." It features extreme time sig changes and theatrical vocals; Genesis takes the storytelling qualities of previous albums and gives it a vibrant injection of polished instrumental prowess.

The single from the album came in the unlikely form of a song about a lawnmower. That's right the mundane act of mowing a lawn became part of the staple radio diet, "I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)". The drone of the lawnmower makes an appearance at the end of the track and it is very effective in making a statement that lawnmowing is part of the English past time, maintaining a healthy lawn is the key. The lyrics are pure whimsy; "When the sun beats down and I lie on the bench, I can always hear them talk, Me, I'm just a lawnmower, you can tell me by the way I walk." The theme is therefore that the inanimate object of the mower is speaking about it's existence, it's life on a farm and it's life in a suburban backyard; "Keep them mowing blades sharp." The track ends on Gabriel's fluttering flute solo and an odd jazz rock beat, but radio stations adored playing this as it was such a curiosity.

"Cinema Show" features a bombastic refrain and some incredible passages of synth and jazz drumming. It has a catchy melody that grabs hold and creates an ethereal atmosphere. Rutherford and Hackett's acoustic guitars begin the piece and the natural progression to fully loaded synthesizer dominates. It has become one of the Genesis masterpieces that are quintessential to the group's long career. Gabriel's infatuation over T. S. Eliot is apparent in the lyrics; "I will make my bed, She said, but turned to go, Can she be late for her cinema show? Romeo locks his basement flat, And scurries up the stair." The Shakespeare references are a nice touch and give the track a mediaeval historical relevance. In the reunion tour the song made an appearance to an enraptured crowd, as did many other songs from the album such as "Firth of Fifth".

In the virtuosic "Firth of Fifth", the piano intro signifies England's greener fields, a similar feel to Emerson Lake & Palmer's "The Gates of Kiev" from "Pictures of an Exhibition". The tempo is a strong rhythm full of grandeur and majestic Hammond; a religious cathedral like atmosphere ensues. Gabriel is at his theatrical best; "Urge the sailors on, till lured by the sirens' cry", and the medieval theme of beautiful sirens luring sailors is mimicked with alluring music. The interlude of synth and guitar embellishments with augmented keys are very emotive. There are tranquil melodies in one of the most celebrated passages of music generated from Genesis. The melody is played live on the DVD "Genesis in Rome" without lyrics and is as powerful and majestic as ever. "Now as the river dissolves in sea, So Neptune has claimed another soul. And so with gods and men" the lyrics continue, presenting a typical mythological theme. The melancholy piano is accompanied by an up tempo synth with a sombre guitar and these tend to blend together to build a solid block of sound. It is a mesmirising track and certainly a definitive Genesis classic.

The epitome of the progressive side of the band is captured in the way the tracks vary so diversely from track to track. There is even a Collins ballad, his first lead vocal for the group, in the song "More Fool Me". Perhaps this prophesises the impact of Collins upon the group in the 1980s and indeed his solo career that was replete with power ballads.

"The Battle Of Epping Forest" is an 11 minute 43 seconds romp through the tale of two rival gangs and the violence of the slaughter is sent up rather than taken seriously. Yet the darkness of the battle royale is embedded in the lyrics; "In with a left hook is the bethnal green butcher, But he's countered on the right by Mick's chain-gang fight, And liquid len, with his smashed bottle men, Is lobbing Bob the Nob across the gob. With his kisser in a mess, Bob seems under stress, But Jones the Jug hits Len right in the mug, And Harold Demure, who's still not quite sure, Fires acorns from out of his sling, here come the cavalry!" It is all over done with a lot of theatrical Gabrielisms but it works as a memorable lyrical sketch of fired up nonsense.

"After The Ordeal" and "Aisle of Plenty" are less memorable but still pack a wallop as part of the overall soundscape. The album ends with the reprise of musical motifs that began the album, a kind of cycle of musical ideas, returning to the past.

Overall "Selling England By The Pound" stands the test of time as a bonafide Genesis masterpeice, undoubtedly among the best the band would create. It is hailed as a treasure among the prog community today, specifically for the three showpieces "Dancing With The Moonlight Knight", "Firth of Fifth" and "The Cinema Show". The single released in 1974 certainly didn't do any harm either as it peaked at #21 in the UK, spending 7 weeks in the charts. The album is quite simply a masterpiece with Genesis at the peak of their powers before they crash landed in the 80s. The album is one of my favourite prog albums due to the consistency of quality and I will always revere "Firth of Fifth" especially due to that amazing instrumental break where Banks takes off into full flight on keyboards. The album is an example of how music can sound when all the elements are balanced perfectly; when everything was working right, Genesis were untouchable.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars Selling England by the Pound was my gateway drug to "Gabriel-era" Genesis, having come from the bias of the post-Gabe studio albums Trick of the Tail and Wind and Wuthering as well as concert attendances on both tours. So, Selling England took a bit to grow on me. But it did. The lush recording and engineering style of Trick and Wuthering had me a bit biased when I heard the fairly thin, quiet, and distant sound of the albums of the Gabriel era. But, there was no doubt I was hearing the collective genius of five creative geniuses. The fact that five geniuses could even collaborate and come out with these masterful song tapestries is astounding to me in and of itself. To do it over the course of an entire album is perhaps asking a bit much. And that is where Selling England falls a bit short for me: not every song clicks on all cylinders; some songs or song parts seem to lack cohesion or an objective empathy necessary to click with audiences.

1. "Dancing With The Moonlit Knight" (8:01) starts boldly with Gabe's acapella voice before becoming supported by delicate and beautifully interwoven piano and guitars. The 2:09 "Follow on" section, to me, weakens the song but provides the attention-grabbing transition to the album's first sequence of absolutely brilliant instrumental leads, support and interplay. An 'awesome' song in the true sense of the term, for there are here some amazingly bold/daring musical twists, turns, transitions, tricks and trials. The band is so tight! However, the reason for the slowed down "it's over" fadeout section that begins at the 5:48 mark is a mystery to me. (8/10)

2. "I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)" (4:06) I love this song--the music, the humor, the theatrics. A short classic that happened to get some "pop" attention. (10/10)

3. "Firth Of Fifth" (9:34) The poor recording/engineering of this album comes out some more in this song. Its live versions--even without Gabe's flute--are usually quite a bit superior. However, it is quite a masterful achievement of songwriting and melody-making. Far superior to "Dance" and "Battle." (BUT: The best guitar solo of all-time? I don't know . . . ) (10/10

4. "More Fool Me" (3:09) Phil's gentle voice. I think I like it better big and bold--even cocky. (5/10)

5. "The Battle Of Epping Forest" (11:43) Don't like it, never did. Maybe another example of one of those nice musical achievements that were ruined by lyrics or over-done theatrics. (5/10)

6. "After The Ordeal" (4:12) I love the idea of this song more than the actual presentation. Something sounds just too tinny about Tony's piano, while Steve's classical guitar is beautiful. Then the transition to electric blues guitar solo allows a different form of expression to come through. ("Free Bird!") (7/10)

7. "The Cinema Show" (11:06) Another supreme achievement of progressive music--one that stands up so well over time. (10/10)

8. "Aisle Of Plenty" (1:31) the beautiful, awesome finale of "Cinema Show." I can only rate it as I would "Cinema Show" for I do always consider them as one. (10/10)

Three long 10/10's--27 minutes out of 53. Does this a masterpiece make? I'm not so sure. "Epping Forest" always leaves a bad taste for me when I think of this album. The Lamb is still the best--of Genesis and prog. Close to the Edge and even Fragile are better than Selling England.

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
3 stars This is the most rated album on PA, so why doesn't it work for me? Not being a Genesis fan should make me feel incomplete? Where's the issue?

I have attempted to get familiar with this album several times, always with the same result: I can say that I like each of the songs, except a filler like "More Feel Me". At least I perceive it as a filler, as well as the closer Aisle of Plenty.

When I hear "Can you tell me where my country lies...." it gives me an empotion. It's a great start for the album, very promising. The whole song proceeds well and very progressive but it's like there's something missing.

"I Know What I Like" it's not a bad song. Even if it's Collins' stuff, it's pre-80s. I really liked the cover made by Fish on Suites. So why I don't like the original? What's wrong with me (or with that song)?.

"Firth Of Fifth" is the essence of prog music. I can't say anything bad of this song, and all the good has already been said by hudreds of reviewers, so let's jump this one.

I have a personal story with "The Battle Of Epping Forest" I know that somebody thinks to it as the weakest track of the album, but it's one that makes something for me.

"After the Ordeal" has a good guitar/piano intro, but it's when I start to be tired of the album. I own some Hackett's albums. The first I have bought is "Cured" that I liked. I should like After the Ordeal, but it's like it's leading nowhere. I don't see a reason for this track, specially when the electric guitar starts playing that melody that seems to be partially borrowed by Lynyrd Skynyrd's Free Bird.

So when "The Cinema Show" comes, I'm almost ready to pick the album off of my "stereo" (I still have a stereo for my vinyls). It's not a bad song if I start with that, but at this point of the album I don't have energies to go ahead. Another band that makes me the same effect are Dire Straits. I can like each single song but I've never been able to listen to a whole album except the debut.

What can I say? I am probably ill, my mind may be not progressive enough, but I can't give more than 3 stars to this album. Please forgive me for this eresy. I think "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" is light years better than SEBTP. My opinion of course, and due to the high number of high ratings, my average one won't be vey influent, I think.

Review by friso
3 stars Genesis - Selling England by the Pound (1973)

This is one of the highest and most rated album on PA. It is an icon of the progressive movement in general and point of reference. But what about me? What does this album do for me? Actually, very little. I've owned it for years, and I have a very good quality vinyl, but I had to pull myself together to listen to it some times the past few weeks.

When I bought it some years ago my expectations were high...- I mean - this album is presented as the ultimate symphonic prog album. In reality it turned out to be a mixed bag with some of the best of genesis like the eight exciting minutes of Dancing With The Moonlit Knight and almost ten minutes of amazing melodic Firth Of Fifth. This could have been a perfect side one for a record - but no! - Genesis had to put two poppy songs on it. I Know What I Like is a commercial affair and More Fool Me doesn't sound that good because of it's place on the vinyl record (a record is supposed to have 20 minutes a side).

Side two then. The Battle Of Epping Fores and The Cinema Show are both good progressive rock epics of more then ten minutes of length. However, the commercial sound begins to sneak in the back-door in these epics and it seems Genesis is forgotten it can rock (like on Nursery Cryme). The concept of the songs has become to important and I really don't have a good word for all the strange voices of Gabriel on The Battle of Epping Fores. These songs have some quality in it, but they just fail to amuse me. After The Ordeal sounds like a middle section of a good epic, but it has no epic around it. A bit strange.

Conclusion. Now, don't take me wrong. This album has some amazing moments that rightly deserve the status of representative of the progressive ideals. But I find the thought of commercial (slightly cheesy & romantic) albums like this one leading in our charts a bit disturbing. This albums just isn't as brave as many other genre defining masterpieces. This album doesn't do much for me and it's too long, which was especially a problem on the vinyls. I prefer my albums of 40 minutes in length. Well.. Three stars.

Review by thehallway
4 stars "Can you tell me where your archive lies?" said the prog-rock fan to his moderator's eyes.

"It lies with this, by Genesis; for our top chart spot, they traded in their lot..."

Until quite recently (2010) this was the album with the highest rating on this website. I find it to be very high quality in places, but lacking the cohesion and consistency of other pseudo- concept albums. It deals with themes of England, working life, history and love, with plenty of variation in dynamics and instruments. Watery organs provide chords for furious guitar licks, while 12-string melodies intertwine across sweet mellotron sounds. The dissapointment for me is Banks' synth patches, which often lack the energy or attack needed for ceratin passages; they are generally uncool and plodding (this is no coincidence; he is probably the only prog keyboard player not to be using moogs). Gabriel's lyrics are poetic throughout and beautifully sung, although half of the puns are not funny or clever and it seems that entire verses are constructed around them. Regardless, this is one of Genesis's better albums and remains a must-have due to two songs alone.

'Dancing with the Moonlit Knight' is a wonderful, exhilarating journey; it has a great structure that keeps you interested all through it. The fast riffing parts are progressive yet catchy, and help Peter's story to unfold. 'Firth of Fifth' is the other gem. It is a majestic, keyboard-led epic with contrasting sections of varying weight and significance, until the Crimson-esque guitar solo appears. This is Hackett's only chance to shine on the album really (yet his guitar still has a rather weak, tinny sound to it). The main themes are reprised to good effect.

The single about the lawnmower is rather silly but a nice song nonetheless, while 'More Fool Me' is forgettable and 'After the Ordeal' drags on but gets nowhere. 'Aisle of Plenty' is merely a reprise of the opener's main theme but has a point, which is to bookend the album, unlike these other short songs. 'Epping Forest' has odd time signatures, but they are only that way to fit around Gabriel's awkward lyrics with loads of syllables to fit in, and these lyrics go on for days [it seems]. 'The Cinema Show' is a better song but I fail to see how the synth solo is linked in any way to the first half; it's all good music anyway, apart from the tones used.

So, more of a mixed bag than I expected for such a praised album. The unnecessary nature of some of these tunes is emphasised by the fact that if they were removed, the album would still be of sufficient length, and would have better flow and no filler. Consider the end result to be the product of a band that was disintegrating due to their inability to agree with each other and make creative, progressive decisions. With that in mind, some of the fantastic music here is an achievement for it's writers. It should have been called 'Padding out England by the Pound'......

Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars After the strong and consistent Foxtrot, Genesis goes back to the inconsistency of Nursery Cryme with this album. This is a long single album from the days when vinyl was king. That's part of the problem. Compared to Foxtrot, there is filler here and some songs drag on in parts. This marks a beginning for this band in several ways: this went to #3 in the UK charts, now they rub shoulders with Tull, ELP and Yes; this contains the groups first hit single(top 20); and Tony Banks starts using a synthesizer for the first time (an ARP Soloist I believe).

There is one area where this is an improvement over Foxtrot: the sound and production. Much better than any previous album, The Lamb will also sound good but Trick will be an improvement even over it. "Dancing With The Moonlit Knight"(ha! get it?) has a theme which gets reprised at the end of the album. This song doesn't really start to pick up until the Mellotron choir comes in. The organ work and drumming is great. Hackett does some of his best guitar playing with Genesis on this album, including this song. Nice synth playing over halfway. Love the organ going back and forth in the stereo spectrum before the last section comes in. Nice guitar and other sounds in this section. Gabriel's vocals are good here but this is no "Musical Box".

"I Know What I Like" is a good catchy pop/rock song, but not much more; Genesis never sold out: they *always* had a pop side to them. I was never big on the piano intro to "Firth Of Fifth", always thought it went on too long. The main vocal part of the song is great however. Nice phased guitar at one point. The long instrumental section is one of the best things Genesis ever did. Nice flute solo, followed by good synth and organ. "More Fool Me" is pure filler; what a waste of recording tape. "The Battle Of Epping Forest" is too long for it's own good. I've always loved the beginning though, with the drums mixed low and the flute. Never liked the main song too much, always felt it just drags on. Some of the organ work is pretty good. I like the synth and handclaps near the end.

"After The Ordeal" is a great instrumental, I especially like the guitar soloing in the last half after it changes. The flute and synth is a nice touch as well. I never really liked the beginning of "Cinema Show". Must be one of the few times Peter and Phil sing in harmony. Gets a lot better when the rhythm section enters. The 'nah nah' part is pretty good. Approxiamately 5:55 begins one of the greatest instrumental sections in the history of Genesis. Absolutely fantastic, although it does sound like they are trying to compete with Yes and ELP here; nothing on their earlier albums sounded like this. Reprises "Dancing" at the very end. "Aisle Of Plenty"(ha! get it?) reprises "Dancing" as well. Has some cool overdubbed Peters floating in and out of the mix.

I cannot believe this album is so popular when, to my ears at least, both Foxtrot and The Lamb are clearly superior. This was actually my first Gabriel-era Genesis album; I can understand why so many would like it at first. After hearing Foxtrot and Trick over the years, my appreciation for SEPTB has dropped considerably. "I Know" and "More Fool Me" are in no way, shape or form "prog". "Battle" would have been better if it was half it's current length. The most frustrating thing about this album is that it actually contains some of the bands best musical moments(Dancing, Firth, Cinema). Overall, I feel this deserves a 3.5 but I'm going to round it down to 3 stars.

Review by colorofmoney91
2 stars Selling England By The Pound is considered as one of Genesis' masterworks. I've been less satisfied with with Genesis previous releases and I think this album is far superior, but I don't think it is anywhere close to perfect though some great tunes are included here.

"Dancing with the Moonlit Knight" starts the album off kind of bland, but eventually enters a very powerful rock-oriented riff accompanied by a shreddy-turned-melodic guitar solo that really sets a nice atmosphere for the center of the track that reverts back into the rock riff. There is a short motif that recurs in this track often and it is one of the best that Genesis have worked with. There is slight dissonance at the end that works well, but I still consider this track to be unimportant.

"I Know What I Like" is an absolute prog classic and one of the best in the Genesis catalog. It's playful but not goofy, and features a nice sitar-sounding effect that seems unique for Genesis. The chorus is iconic and the bass line during is supremely funky and dance-able. This whole song is very fun, but it is unfortunately a little bit on the short side.

"Firth of Fifth" is another classic and has been covered multiple times by various bands in different genres. I've personally never cared for it, though it is a nice song with a beautiful piano intro. There is a softer passage near the middle featuring a flute solo that I feel is the best part of the track, along with the fantastic Steve Hackett guitar solo that takes up most of the second half of the track.

"More Fool Me" is a short and beautiful folk song that is very pleasant to listen to, but is ultimately insignificant, though I personally would never skip over it. I think Genesis has always had a knack for writing folky acoustic ballads like this.

"The Battle of Epping Forest" is another classic Genesis track. I always notice the fantastic bass playing first, but the song as a whole I always find forgettable. There is a ragtime-influenced ditty that appears not far from the beginning and again later in the song that I find kind of random.

"After the Ordeal" is a very pleasant instrumental track with some beautiful and strong guitar and keys playing. It's very mellow and serves as a great interlude after the random hodgepodge of the previous track.

"The Cinema Show" is one of the best tracks on this album and includes some fantastic light melodies that make me imagine a music box. The second half of the song especially follows a nice groove enhanced by soaring mellotron that recalls "Watcher of the Skies", which is always a good thing. The second half of the track also features some fantastic solos on the keys.

"Aisle of Plenty" is a basically purposeless end-cap for the album that recalls the main motif used on the first track.

Though I like this album more than the previous two, I still find most of the music here to be forgettable besides "I Know What I Like" and "The Cinema Show". I also like that this album overall seems more serious than the previous two, which I always considered to be too goofy and quirky for their own good. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'm apparently just not a fan of Genesis' brand of symphonic prog, but this album stands out a little bit more than others in their early catalog and is definitely worthy of an occasional listen.

Review by Starhammer
3 stars "Here come the cavalry..."

Probably the most unashamedly pretentious album of all time.

The Good: As one of the highest rated albums on Prog Archives I was surprised at how long it took me to 'get into' it. Whilst most of the other top 25 regulars had an instant impact, or at the very least a recognition of why they were there, Selling England by the Pound took many listens before I started to enjoy it.

Overall it's a very strong and carefully crafted release that I find to be equally rewarding and frustrating. Whereas none of the tracks quite reach the stratospheric heights of Supper's Ready, Firth of Fifth and Cinema Show come pretty close.

The Bad: For such a prestigious album the artwork is about as iconic as a brown paper bag. The Battle of Epping Forest is far too long, with not enough actually happening. Not a huge fan of After the Ordeal either. Or Aisle of Plenty for that matter.

The Verdict: Despite my growing appreciation for Selling England by the Pound, I still consider it the most dispensable of Genesis' 1972-76 era.

Review by Warthur
5 stars Genesis' previous albums in their pastoral-prog style had all to one extent or another traded heavily on nostalgia - even Foxtrot, which I thought was a somewhat uneven attempt to get all modern on their part, had Time Table, whose lyrics pine away for a romantic medieval era which never really existed in the form the song talks about. On Selling England by the Pound, the band turn the nostalgia theme on its head by asking us to consider whether the "good old days" ever really went away - and whether they were even that good in the first place.

Juxtaposing icons of modern British life (as of 1973) with medieval and fantastic imagery on the title track and in The Battle of Epping Forest (which I've grown to like more and more over the years), Peter Gabriel's lyrics are at their finest on this album, which features some of the most clever wordplay and even cleverer allusions and imagery of his tenure with the band. Musically, the rest of the band blend past with present with all the adeptness prog audiences had come to expect from them, tracks such as Firth of Fifth and The Cinema Show presenting some of their greatest instrumental workouts ever. Even the two more commercial songs on the album are a joy - Phil Collins' vocal performance on More Fool Me might be romantic and sappy, but it's a nice refresher after Fifth of Fifth, and I Know What I Like is too silly and self- parodying to dislike.

This album was my very first Genesis purchase, and I've kept a close hold on it ever since; it turned me on to the band, and nothing they've done before and since has ever quite displaced it from my affections. I think it's easily the best thing to come out of the group's pastoral/Peter Gabriel era.

Review by rogerthat
4 stars A feeling that I am accustomed to in exploring music is of having artists grow on me rather than liking them right from the get go. I took a bit of time for me to warm up to King Crimson and they are now rock steady as my favourite prog rock band. I suppose this is pretty normal for progheads in particular because we sift through difficult music quite a lot.

A feeling that I don't experience too often, on the other hand, is of a favourite band or artist gently sliding off, not holding my interest quite as much as before though still faithfully enthralling me whenever I listen to their albums. I have had this with Rush and later on, with Genesis. There was a time when I thought they were the greatest prog rock band of all times and fell head over heels in hopeless adoration of their classics. Now...I still love their Gabriel era albums as well as some of the Collins-fronted ones. But my admiration is more tempered and moderated.

I like to explore what I have not heard before in music...just because it's the time trusted way for me to find myself more music to like, than to run a genre into the ground and have to suffer by-the-numbers me toos gladly. Maybe it's just that in the process of these explorations, I find myself in a place from where Genesis doesn't sound quite as inviting as it did. Still, when it's the band that, along with Yes, got me into prog proper, the heart yearns to learn to love them all over again, especially this album.

It was in fact the glorious track Firth of Fifth that got me into Genesis and into prog. When I hear Banks's incredible intro, I still recall those wondrous moments when I discovered what was to me a new, ambitious and daring approach to rock music. On repeated listening, I have grown a tad dissatisfied with the structure. The repetition of basically two themes on different lead melodic instruments seems a bit too convenient to me. I wish I hadn't come to realize this (though I don't see how I wouldn't have, eventually) because it kills the magic of this track to some extent for me. All is forgiven, though, when Steve Hackett's cathartic solo begins. It is by far my favourite guitar solo and it's going to be hard to shake it off that perch (or do I, yet again, speak too soon?).

Dancing with the Moonlit Knight, on the other hand, has stood up much more strongly to my scrutiny. Its construction is just a thing of beauty, has some beautiful guitar arpeggios from Hackett and interesting lyrics from Peter Gabriel. In the meantime, Hackett shows off tapping a good five years before Van Halen would be claimed to have 'invented' it and Banks plays some menacing organ.

Cannot quite say the same about Cinema Show. It is very orderly and sounds beautiful but now sounds a bit distant to me. It feels a bit like watching Bjorn Borg to this tennis watcher: hard not to appreciate but equally hard to gush in admiration at. It seems to engage my mind more than my heart.

That's just it. As I listen to this album again while drafting this review, I feel it is oddly neat and symmetrical for a Genesis album. Their trademark humour and wit is a bit hard to find on this album. Banks already preparing the ground for the eventual take over of the band, perhaps?

I don't know but this feeling grows stronger when I listen to Battle of Epping Forest. I did not like this track quite so much all this while for some reason. Maybe because it is rather unlike the rest of the album (which at that time, I held up as an ideal of prog perfection). Now, it offers me exactly what I was missing a bit on the album. Genesis seem to have tons of fun on this track. It grooves and gallops (man, oh, man, do Collins and Rutherford lay a hot groove right there!) and is a rollicking ride. It evokes the very qualities that make Genesis appealing even though they are not always as pathbreaking musically as some of their other illustrious contemporaries. You just cannot imagine Yes writing Battle of Epping Forest and Jon Anderson feeling comfortable attempting to sing it. This is a Peter Gabriel special.

On Epping Forest and I Know What Like, Gabriel infuses much needed liveliness into the album. And there is of course the Moonlight Knight still shining bright, five years since I first heard this album, still every bit as enchanting as I found it the first time around. There's also More Fool Me to give you a nasty foretaste of the Collins-fronted years.

In what now appears to me to be an attempt to pursue aesthetic perfection, Genesis lose out a wee bit on their trademark quirk. It is the Wish You Were Here of their discography. 'Non fans' to a man seem to love WYWH more than any other Pink Floyd album and yet, that album feels a bit distant to me. I can appreciate and all that, but I cannot seem to fall in love with those songs by the band I love to death.

Likewise, SEBTP is a surefire bet if you want to get into Genesis because it is the most aligned with general notions of prog, symphonic prog to be more specific. But, if you happen to turn into a Genesis fan thereafter, then come back to me after five years and tell me that it's still your favourite Genesis album.

Four stars.

Review by VianaProghead
5 stars Review Nš 1

In the first place, I must say that this is my first review on Progarchives. In the second place, I decided that "Selling England By The Pound" would be my first choice. This wasn't by chance, because it was my first purchase and I bought it in 1975. Unfortunately, I have no longer my first vinyl copy, because I offered it to my then girlfriend, in 1977. Today, I think that probably my noble act had only the effect of lose the first record of my musical collection, an album so important to me that would become a real mark in my future taste by progressive music. Now, I'm sincerely convinced that my noble act probably failed to bring one more soul to our beloved progressive universe.

So, this is the album and the band, which brought me to the universe of progressive music. So, Genesis was my first love, and even today I still listen to their music, still thinking that they're probably my greatest music love.

And what an album I choose to rate in the first place! In my humble opinion, this is the best Genesis studio album and it's also one of the best albums ever made. It belongs to a very rare type of albums of which very few can belong. It's also interesting to note that this is an album consistently positioned in the first four places in the Top Prog Rock Music Albums List of Progarchives for so long, which is an honour for me to have the same opinion. Ok, I know that this is one of the albums most reviewed on Progarchives, but I also need to give my opinion about it, urgently.

The line up of "Selling England By The Pound" is undoubtedly the best of the band with Peter Gabriel, Tony Banks, Steve Hackett, Mike Rutherford and Phil Collins. This was their fifth studio work and was released in 1973. It was also their biggest seller to date, reaching number 3 in England, where it remained on the charts for 21 weeks, and number 70 in America, who went gold in 1990.

All songs were written and composed by all band members. The album combined a collection of short stories, fables, and fairy tales, retaining the ambient and the yearning of the ancient medieval England. It contains several pieces of music that would become central to Genesis live performances, even for the band members and ex-band members, when they performed on live concerts a solo, or on new versions of the original songs, like Steve Hackett usually do.

"Selling England By The Pound" has eight tracks. The first track "Dancing With The Moonlit Knight" is a song that begins with Peter Gabriel's voice very calm and that progressively gets louder and more upbeat. The final result is a very powerful song. The second track "I know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)" was the first charting single by the band. It's a very funny song with some characteristics of a pop song. This is also a great song. The third track "Firth Of Fifth" is one of the best songs from the band and one of the most representative progressive songs of the group. Despite the song be credited to the band, it's essentially a Tony Banks' song. The fourth track "More Fool Me" is a ballad and is the simpler song on the album. It's made only with vocals and acoustic guitars. Curiously, it's the second song sung by Phil Collins in the band, until that date. The first was "For Absent Friends" from their third studio album "Nursery Crime". The fifth track "The Battle Of Epping Forest" is one of the two longest tracks on the album, and has a great vocal work by Gabriel, changing voices for different characters. It has also very different musical changes throughout the entire track. The sixth track "After The Ordeal" is an instrumental track clearly made with Steve Hackett's hand. The song has something that reminds us the medieval times and is a very simple and beautiful ballad. The seventh track "The Cinema Show" is the other long track on the album and that became as the great epic track of the album and one of their best tracks ever. The eighth track contains the final song from the album "Aisle Of Plenty". It's the shortest song on the album, and it's a reprise of the opening track "Dancing With The Moonlit Knight".

Conclusion: "Selling England By The Pound" is a perfect concept album with wonderful lyrics, powerful symphonic music and great vocal work. It remains to me as one of the most solid albums in progressive history. It also remains to me as my favourite album from them, despite their previous studio album "Foxtrot" was maybe a more emotional album and their next studio album "The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway" was maybe a far more ambitious album. Sincerely after all those years have passed, I still prefer listen to "Selling England By The Pound". My favourite song on the album is "Firth Of Fifth", which is also one of my favourite songs from the band and one of the best and most progressive songs made by them. In my humble opinion, the two tracks, "Firth Of Fifth" and "The Cinema Show" are clearly the two best tracks on the album and two of the best songs ever made. As a final conclusion, we can say that "Selling England By The Pound" belongs to a very rare class of albums.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Review by Necrotica
5 stars I've been revisiting the entire Genesis discography recently, and in doing so, I think I've finally realized exactly what made them truly stand out from the other 70s progressive rock bands: the unmistakable atmosphere. Yes, Peter Gabriel was an incredible force of personality and blurred the line between "madman" and "genius" (and was a damn good frontman and flautist to boot). Yes, the technical proficiency of the members was off the charts, keeping in line with several other bands of the time. But if you asked me what truly cemented Genesis as one of the greats of the genre, it's the beautiful and often haunting storybook atmosphere that permeates those old records they crafted with Gabriel and Steve Hackett in the ranks. It's no wonder to me that several neo-prog bands basically ripped off this sound, as it's a perfect way of expressing more emotive and sentimental vibes while still being rooted to what people love about progressive rock on a base level. And, having said all of that, I don't think any Genesis record embodies the word "atmosphere" quite like Selling England by the Pound.

Looking at the tracklist, you'll notice that the band decided to ditch the format used by Foxtrot - having one epic song dwarf most of the record - in favor of splitting the album up into four mini-epics, with more concise tracks to fill in the gaps. As much as I loved Foxtrot I can't help but admit that this format was the right move for the band. Having short accessible tracks to separate each complex behemoth really contributes to how easily digestible Selling England can be, as it offers a nice breather between each main event. Plus, hey, those short songs are pretty great too! "More Fool Me" is easily my favorite ballad from the Peter Gabriel era of Genesis, even though it was actually sung and penned by drummer-turned-singer and future (disputed) "most hated man in pop" Phil Collins. "I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)" is probably the trippiest song on the album with a strange psychedelic feel, and yet it was also significant for being the band's first real taste of commercial success single-wise. Finally (excluding "Aisle of Plenty," which is just a reprise of the opener), we've got the stunning guitar work Steve Hackett brings on "After the Ordeal." Playing out as sort of an aftermath to "Battle of Epping Forest," it could be seen as the logical conclusion of the promise heard in "Horizons" from the prior album. The classical guitar work has been further, the solemn atmosphere more effective, and this time Tony Banks even joins in with his own piano parts!

But let's be real, the longer tracks are what this album's all about. "Dancing with the Moonlit Knight" might be one of the best openers in progressive rock history (and Genesis already has a fair share of those - look at "Musical Box" or "Watcher of the Skies"). Gabriel's voice is crucial here, as he provides much-needed humanity to the majestic and bombastic instrumental bits. It's important to note that the album's overarching theme is the loss of British culture to Americanization, which is delivered very effectively in the opening lines of "...Moonlit Knight":

"Can you tell me where my country lies?" Said the uni faun to his true love's eyes "It lies with me!" cried the Queen of Maybe For her merchandise, he traded in his prize

Of course, it all becomes even more effective once we're treated to a much faster section in the middle with rapid-fire tapping from Hackett. The song in general goes through so many different moods and cycles but somehow never loses compositional or lyrical focus, which is something that becomes apparent with the rest of the longer tracks on the album. With that in mind, "Firth of Fifth" is primarily dominated by two people: Banks and Hackett. The former gets an incredible piano intro with heavy classical leanings and crazy time shifts, and the latter gets one of the most emotional guitar solos in rock history. The solo is also an example to aspiring musicians that virtuosity isn't everything in guitar playing; just ask David Gilmour. It's also worth noting that Mike Rutherford pulls out some nice bass lines here, especially on the soft break in the middle of the song.

Still, nothing can really prepare the listener for the other two epics, which are probably the most complex and long-winded pieces on the entire album. "The Battle of Epping Forest" is an incredibly wacky and whimsical take on? well, gang violence. Turns out that Peter Gabriel heard about some fight between two gangs in the east end of London, but didn't really know any details outside of that. So what did he do? Create his own characters and scenarios to fill in the blanks! And when you read/hear the lyrics, which are practically a damn novella, it really shows what an imaginative lyricist and storyteller Gabriel was in his Genesis days. It helps, too, that the music is still top notch. It does get incredibly busy and possibly overbearing at times, but the real treat is the band's knack for using their music to aid the visuals Gabriel creates in his lyrics . I also have to mention that this song has my favorite drum performance of all time; it baffles me how Phil Collins can keep such a comfortable and catchy groove out of a 7/4 time signature, as well as how he weaves in and out of the other instruments with such ease. Then there's "The Cinema Show" which is essentially a tale of two songs: one is a beautiful folk-rock ballad, and the other is the highly complex instrumental piece that follows. Think of it as a precursor to the "Home/Second Home by the Sea" suite we got years later on the self titled album, just pulled off with more imagination and finesse. The real thing to listen for on this song is the incredible vocal interplay between Gabriel and Collins; it really doesn't surprise that Collins would eventually be the next vocalist to take center-stage for Genesis.

Pulling the entire experience together is the production work of John Burns, which is a sizeable leap forward from the sound quality found on previous Genesis efforts. There's much more room for the atmosphere to breathe here, and the more rock-oriented moments don't sound as muddy or one-dimensional as before. In the end, I'm still not entirely sure whether I prefer Selling England by the Pound or Foxtrot, as both albums represent the very best that Genesis has to offer. But in saying that, I can at least say that no future Genesis record was ever able to top this one? not even The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. This one is truly top-shelf progressive rock music. Hell, just top-shelf music in general.

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars No introduction needs to be made for this album. We all know it's a concept album and it's by Genesis and it's called Selling England by The Pound and 1973 and yadda yadda ya whatever other content you've read from the past thousand reviews this album has. So I'll cut to the chase and get to my rating and my rationale. Note: I have edited my review since it was originally posted. At first I gave the album 4 stars, but in the time since then, the album has lost a lot of its magic, hence my reason for revisiting.

This is a flawed album. There's no doubt about it. At first, it sweeps you off your feet, bringing you into a twisted-yet-idyllic English fantasy, with standout instrumental performances. It seems almost like the perfect symphonic prog album...until you've heard it a few dozen times and the shtick begins to wear thin. "Dancing With The Moonlit Knight" is the opener, and for the first 2 minutes or so, I can really believe why this is deemed a prog classic. Peter Gabriel is a fantastic writer. The lyrics are brilliant, witty, and the imagery is so immersive. And the way it builds from a moving a capella to its erupting chorus is fantastic. That's how you start an album. But then when the uptempo solo section starts, it starts to lose a bit of its effect. I can't help but feel how awkward the whole section is. It may be because of the production quality, which is a notable step down from "Foxtrot", but Steve Hackett's guitar solo, while well-played, sounds very cheesy. That isn't even getting into Tony Banks' synth solo later on. The tone that he uses wouldn't sound out of place on a second-rate fusion album from the late 70's, but it completely kills the Victorian mood when used here. Following a minimalistic 2-minute coda that firmly plants the listener back on English soil, "I Know What I Like" brings four more minutes of clever lyrics, but forgettable melodies.

If this was any of the other reviews that have been posted so far, it would be right around now that I'd start to hype up the album's legendary, 11/10 veritable masterpiece third track, "Firth of Fifth". And if I was writing this a few months ago, I'd continue to do so. But after hearing the song for the n-dozenth time, it really started to fall apart and now I realize that, with the rest of the album, it has its own inconsistencies. The piano intro, of course, is brilliant and it always will be. Picturesque, majestic, eloquent, like a lakeside chalet with May-time flowers blooming all around, this stately piano piece will always stand as a testament to how brilliant Genesis were at incorporating time signature changes into their music while still retaining musicality. Not a lot of other bands were capable of doing this without sounding contrived; only Yes really springs to mind and I might argue that Genesis were even better at it. Of course, what follows one of the smoothest passages of music the band laid down is one of the most awkward, flopping all over itself. The verses.

The organ accompaniment is bland and uninspired, and really has very little to do with the rest of the musical motifs of the song. And the lyrics, compared to the clever ones we heard earlier, are frankly awful. It's not just the fact that they're meaningless that I have a problem with. After all, most of my favourite lyrics don't necessarily have any meaning at all, such as those by Jon Anderson or the ones Peter Sinfield wrote for early King Crimson. However, what separates the lyrics of "Firth of Fifth" from those heard in, say, "In The Wake of Poseidon" or "Starship Trooper" is that Jon Anderson, what he lacks in clarity, makes up for in delivery. It's so incredibly clear that, even if he doesn't necessarily know what he means when he sings a line like "And I heard a million voices singing, Acting to the story that they had heard about", he can deliver it so powerfully that we can belive it has profound depth. Peter Gabriel, in this song, though, sounds bored singing the lines (which I believe were written by Tony Banks). And Peter Sinfield, while he was working with Crimson, at least, was a poet above all. He has a brilliant sense of selecting words that not only create vivid imagery, but flow together in a way that sounds fluid, while the words Gabriel has been made to sing here sound very forced, stumbling over each other, with unpleasant syllables fighting each other and nattering aggressively.

But what the verses lack, the instrumental sections make up for. Peter Gabriel's flute solo, Tony Banks' revisitation of his opening solo with the whole band behind him and Steve Hackett's defining solo as a guitarist are all among the strongest instrumental performances in the entire Genesis catalogue. Unfortunately, though, the otherworldly mood created by Hackett's breathtaking performance is completely shattered by the unforgivable mistake to end the song with another verse. "Firth of Fifth" had the potential to stand as a masterpiece, even with the first few verses, but this ending more or less seals the deal; this is a good track, no more, no less.

Moving on, "More Fool Me" is not nearly as bad as many would have you think. It's an inoffensive love/breakup song that actually leaves you aching a little if you really focus on it. Phil Collins sings quite well here. And then after a shaky side one, side two opens with the bloated, stinking behemoth of "The Battle of Epping Forest". The beached whale of the album, I won't say much more about this one than this: imagine "Harold The Barrel" on repeat for 12 minutes straight, only without the endearing qualities or catchy melodies. Fortunately side two is vastly improved by "After The Ordeal", which shows off the talents of both Banks and Hackett and "The Cinema Show", which I have grown to appreciate as the true jewel of this album.

The first half of "Cinema Show" brings back more of that strong Gabriel lyricism as well as some delectable guitar harmonies. A lengthy synth solo closes up the second half. Even though it's the most replayable song on the album, I still wouldn't consider it a masterpiece, though, as it leaves me a little cold emotionally and Banks' solo at the end overstays its welcome a tad. "Aisle of Plenty" revisits a motif established in "Dancing With The Moonlit Knight" and bookends the whole affair quite well with more clever lyrics.

So all in all we have an album with very shaky, inconsistent quality that makes a great introduction, but has very limited replay-ability. I can't call this album much more than a good introduction to Genesis. Along with "Nursery Cryme", this is Genesis 101, and will hopefully keep new fans reeled in for as long as it takes to get to material with more staying power, like "Trespass", because this one won't be perfect forever. It pains me a little to give this album such a low rating, since it really is one of the most influential symphonic releases around. Of course, I would actually recommend any of the countless neo-prog spin-offs that plagiarized "Selling England" over the original. If you want to hear what this blueprint can sound like when it's propelled by actual instrumental firepower, put on some IQ. As it stands, I'll give a rating of 3 stars. Good (at times), but certainly not essential.

Review by ALotOfBottle
5 stars After a streak of ambitious albums that enjoyed quite a success, Genesis were ready to conquer new territories, having more time, a higher budget and better conditions to work in. Selling England By The Pound is the fruit of those resources and the talented minds of musicians in Genesis.

Selling England is a typically British product. The release portrays a progressive rock band in its creative peak. Steve Hackett, the band's guitarist explains: "This has always been my favourite Genesis album. It runs the gamut from Scottish plainsong to Elgar, Mozart and heavy rock with tricky time changes ? all in the first track, with very clever drumming that links all the disparate ideas. I'm proud of my own guitar and writing contributions to this album too. Together we were a powerful combination here. I feel this was Genesis at its strongest.". Although it presents a wide variety of styles, all are taken from somewhere inside the British Isles, whether it's a majestic piece like "Frith Of The Fifth", the comedic "I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)" or the folk-inspired "More Fool Me". Every musician contributes to the mighty whole, adding small details, one at a time. Those sum up and create a beautiful whole with a factor, that only Genesis was capable of creating. "Dancing With The Moonlit Knight", the album opener encourages all of the fantastic qualities of the album and so it could easily be considered as a highlight of the work, being dynamic, diverse, and skillful.

Genesis are probably the most renowned progressive rock band. And that is for a reason! Selling England By The Pound is often regarded as the band's best album. This is a great place to get into progressive rock or symphonic rock in particular. Five stars!

Review by jamesbaldwin
4 stars Review n. 99. "Selling England By The Pound" is considered one of the greatest masterpieces of progressive rock and here in Progarchives occupies the second place of the ranking of all times, having surpassed, since two years or three, "Thick As A Brick".

Is this the best work of Genesis? Is one of the insuperable peaks of prog? My answer, once again, is no. I Don't consider this Lp one of the absolute vertices of prog. I try to explain my position. I recognize that the first three songs of "Selling" are brilliant both individually and as a sequence in a way that has no equal in the Genesis discography ("Trespass" is surpassed, but not by much). In particular, the first and the third songs are among the absolute masterpieces of Genesis. Ok. But the rest of the Lp is just quite good, it's not at the height of the sequence of the first three songs. Here's to you the details.

The first, "Dancing With The Moonlit Knight" (8:01) after a beginning where the voice of Gabriel sings a hymn, very English, enjoys a melody very inspired, and this, when it's joined to the arpeggios on the guitar of Hackett produce the best pathos in the music of Genesis. But the song is not only beautiful in the melodic part, because even the rock part has a very convincing, compelling, spontaneous progression (not forced as it often happens to Genesis), resulting perhaps the best part of the piece, which ends with a refined nuanced tail, always very beautiful thanks to Hackett's arpeggio (rating 8,5).

"I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)" (4:06) is a pop song with an excellent, tribal arrangement. It's not at the same height of the previous song but with its cheerful and carefree rhythm makes the album take off. The mood of the song is very captivating, worthy heir to the Beatles (rating 7,5). And here comes the peak: "Firth Of Fifth (9:34)". Introduction to Banks' piano, which surpasses himself in technique (he will not be able to reproduce this introduction live and he will cut it from the song), with odd rhythm changes worthy of a classical composer, then Gabriel's vocals announcing a dramatic rhythm, then melodic bridge, slowed down and then again dramatic verse, as long as the sequence of instrumental solos starts, which is the most sublime part of the song. Gabriel's pastoral flute begins, continues Banks on the synth, supported by Collins's percussion, causing a progression that culminates in Hackett's solo, perhaps his best in Genesis, which reaches moments of high epic ... then the singing returns, at the conclusion of the piece, which fades with the initial piano notes. Absolute masterpiece, I believe the best Genesis song (rating 9,5).

"More Fool Me (3:09)", sung by Collins, is a song made of California-style vocal harmonies, and little else, modeled on Crosby-Stills-Nash-Young tracks (rating 7). End of Side A.

"The Battle Of Epping Forest (11:43)" opens side B with a sustained rhythm. The song is very spoken (the text is too long) and this suffocates the instrumental pieces (Banks' keyboards, for once, represent the best sound of the piece). There are variations on the theme: verse, refrain, bridge, variation, return to the verse. It's a rock opera piece, after all this is an aspect always present in Genesis: their theatrical vocation, which often invalidates the musical moments. In this case, the best moments are the melodic moments of the refrain and the bridge with the background of Banks keyboards. However, the track is out of proportion, it is too foreign to the first side, too verbose, too long, to be considered a good song. There is too much meat in the fire, too much descriptive theatrical spirit (rating 6,5).

"After The Ordeal (4:12)", instrumental, is written by Hackett. Good composition, classic atmosphere, good progression by guitar solo... but anyway a true development and a memorable melody are missing (rating 7+).

Here's to you the final moment: "The Cinema Show / Aisle of Plenty). The first two minute of "Cinema Show" are heavenly, thanks to Hackett's guitar arpeggio, which has a ringing and evocative tone. The Gabriel-Hackett combination is almost always a winner. The song is dreamlike, delicate, soft, and in fact Gabriel's flute also arrives, which together with Collins' drums continues the piece in a very suggestive and delicate way. One notices, however, a lack of variation, of the development of the melody, and in fact the refrain does not arrive but, towards the six minutes, Banks's solo, accompanied by a great work of Collins on the' drums, which shows off his virtuosity. Banks's solo is the weakest part of the track, as it's not very inspired, but fruit of the trade. After the inspiration, the exercise of style arrived, the display of the technical expertise of Banks and Collins, only that the work of Collins, in the background, is really refined, worthy of the best jazz, while Banks's solo is didactic , pedantic, basically banal. This song is an excellent example of how the canons of progressive can sometimes worsen the result of an excellent melody and an excellent arrangement, bringing a song that could end in 5-6 minutes up to 10 minutes thanks to a solo end in itself. Rating 7,5/8.

The song ends with the voice of Gabriel who returns and remembers the melody of the beginning, just mentioned, and followed by a polyphonic singing accompanied by percussion. The idea of ​​the reprise of the first piece is good, only that it's executed too quickly (duration two minutes), as if they were in a hurry to finish, as if it were a conduit of Cinema Show. Thus ends, with a good but not performed piece at its best, this album, which, I repeat, could compete to be among the best in progressive history until the third song, then the average quality of the pieces unfortunately decreases considerably and not being a really bad piece, overall the second side is good but nothing more and therefore penalizes the overall result which (average quality: 7,71), in my opinion, does not reach the five stars, the absolute masterpieces of progressive, settling on a score of 8.5, which in my evaluation criteria corresponds to four stars.

Review by patrickq
4 stars For Genesis, following up their 1972 album Foxtrot couldn't've been easy. Trespass (1970) had improved upon the group's 1969 debut; then Nursery Cryme (1971) far exceeded Trespass; and Foxtrot was even better, boasting the masterpiece "Supper's Ready." Foxtrot has a few flaws, and surpassing it, while possible, represented a challenge. Spoiler alert: Selling England by the Pound (1973) does not outshine Foxtrot, at least in my opinion. But it accomplishes the next best thing: it maintains the standard set by Foxtrot.

The album is comprised of four long songs (ranging from eight minutes to nearly twelve), three single- length songs, and a reprise of the opening track. Two of the longer-form pieces, "Dancing with the Moonlit Knight" and "The Battle of Epping Forest," are solid, serviceable tracks which fit well within the structure of the album - - but neither approaches "classic" status. Each lacks the structure of the group's best work, and neither has a standout melody. The same, however, cannot be said of the other two long songs. "The Cinema Show" consolidates all of the significant musical elements of their best prior work (e.g., "The Musical Box," "Watcher of the Skies," "Supper's Ready") and combines it with some of the group's best lyrics. The song begins by setting up a girl-boy romance, but drops it entirely in favor for a bit of Greek mythology (the sex-changing oracle Tiresias). The listener is left to decide whether there's any connection, and if so, what it might be.

As great as "The Cinema Show" is, the high point of Selling England by the Pound is the nine-and-a- half-minute "Firth of Fifth," which, like "Supper's Ready," is one of Genesis's masterpieces - - and, I would argue, one of the masterpieces of symphonic rock. It goes beyond simple consolidation of prior triumphs; I'd liken it more to extrapolating from prior triumphs. Although all five band members turn in great performances, the VIP is keyboardist Tony Banks who opens the song with the iconic piano solo - - and who was the song's primary composer and lyricist. Interestingly, Banks has been quoted as regarding the lyrics as dreadful; while they are a bit overdramatic (e.g., "Now, as the river dissolves in sea / So Neptune has claimed another soul"), I've heard far worse. Steve Hackett also deserves special praise for his guitar work on "Firth of Fifth," which some regard as his finest work with Genesis.

Among the shorter songs, the only standout is "I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)," although what a standout it is - - it's among the group's best singles, and certainly their best with singer Peter Gabriel, who left in 1974. It's as fun and catchy - - and as unprogressive - - as "Follow You Follow Me," "Turn It On Again," or "Paperlate," an serves as a reminder that Genesis sought pop-chart success well before Phil Collins took over for Gabriel.

It may be a bit unkind to call the remaining songs afterthoughts, but the nice-enough, yet nothing-special instrumental "After the Ordeal" is essentially a four-minute coda to "The Battle of Epping Forest," while the brief "Aisle of Plenty" ends the album by reprising parts of "Dancing with the Moonlit Knight." And the Phil-Collins vehicle "More Fool Me" is proof that Collins's schlockyness predated "Separate Lives" by more than a decade.

Selling England by the Pound is one of just four albums which has been reviewed at least 4000 times on Its average rating of 4.6/5 stars is the second-highest of all albums on the site regardless of subgenre. While I don't class it in the very top echelon of prog-rock albums, I will say that among Genesis's fifteen studio albums, Selling England by the Pound is matched in quality only by Foxtrot and A Trick of the Tail. Although it has some filler, it tends to be decent filler - - "More Fool Me" excepted. The inclusion of its three standards - - "I Know What I Like," "The Cinema Show," and most notably "Firth of Fifth" - - secures for Selling England by the Pound a place among the best symphonic-prog albums.

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic
5 stars There seems to be few bands that capture the world of progressive rock so profoundly as the English band GENESIS who not only enjoyed commercial success with a series of pop albums in the 80s but still remains one of the most vital bigwigs of the 70s prog scene with some of the most dedicated fans one could ever hope for. While i personally am not as enamored with GENESIS as much as many other proggers out there as i find their canon a bit hit and miss in the quality control department, i readily admit that when they hit a high note that it is indeed as high as one could ever hope for and such is the case with the band's fifth album SELLING ENGLAND BY THE POUND which was the third album with the classic lineup of Peter Gabriel (vocals, flute, oboe), Mike Rutherford (bass, guitar), Tony Banks (keyboards), Steve Hackett (guitars) and Phil Collins (drums).

It's hard to believe that SELLING ENGLAND BY THE POUND came about as a result of just a three month stretch of time that followed the 'Foxtrot' tour with record label demands for more product. More often than not bands cave under the pressure and produce some sort of substandard product but in the case of GENESIS, the band seemed to work best under pressure with a threatening external force demanding the near impossible but despite it all GENESIS not only succeeded in crafting eight new tracks for a fifth album but also delivered one of the greatest prog masterpieces of all time and imho the pinnacle of this band's long and fruitful career. Despite erroneous misconceptions that GENESIS didn't experience true commercial success until the 80s, the band actually did experience a nice following during the proggiest days in its native England with both 'Nursery Cryme' and 'Foxtrot' hitting the top 40 album charts but SELLING ENGLAND BY THE POUND was truly their breakthrough album in the homeland and hit #3 (compare that to #70 in the US which was the first charting album.)

SELLING ENGLAND BY THE POUND continues the pastoral prog rock / folk sounds presented on the previous two albums and takes it all to higher grounds. The band was unfairly compared to contemporary prog bands like ELP, Jethro Tull and Pink Floyd and as a result the GENESIS was determined to distance itself from the biggest bands of the era. Likewise, Phil Collins was heavily influenced by the time signature rich performances of the jazz-fusion outfit Mahavishnu Orchestra and was instrumental in bringing more complex elements to the band's sound which resulted in a multitude of prog elements finding their way into the compositional fortitude of the album. In addition to the off-kilter richness of time signature changes and Keith Emerson keyboard stabs, several tracks took on the true pomp and awe of prog rock excess with lengthy running times, the most notable being 'The Battle Of Epping Forest,' a tale of two rival gangs from the East side of London and 'The Cinema Show' which was divided into 2 sections and was inspired by the T.S. Eliot poem 'The Waste Land.'

The album succeeds on many levels but keeping things interesting is always a challenge however SELLING ENGLAND BY THE POUND offers a nice varying multitude of sounds. 'Firth Of Fifth' for example offers some stellar classical piano runs and was initially written by Banks for 'Foxtrot' but was rejected and after some embellishments became a more complex beast in many ways exemplifies the perfect sound mix of GENESIS with heavy organs completed with Gabriel's dramatic passionate vocal style along with the pastoral acoustic guitar passages that together would define GENESIS' sound for the remaining years with Gabriel as the frontman. Likewise 'After The Ordeal' was an instrumental Hackett piece that provided the perfect intermission between the two lengthy prog behemoths of the album. Not only are the tracks on SELLING ENGLAND BY THE POUND perfectly constructed but everything flows together int he perfect running order which takes the classic tracks into epic album terrain. The album ends with a perfect 'outro' of 'The Cinema Show' with 'Aisle Of Plenty' which gently ends the show in perfect English gentleman chivalry.

I've always considered GENESIS to be somewhat of a lazy band to be honest as they only seemed to innovate when they were pushed to do so. Take the debut for example which was not even decent pop music when it came out. It wasn't until prog was en vogue that the band became driven to create their first true masterful work 'Trespass,' however with the departure of Anthony Phillips and John Mayhew it took a good couple of albums and tours for GENESIS to reinvent themselves with the addition of Steve Hackett and Phil Collins. True the band crafted some classic tracks on 'Nursery Cryme' and 'Foxtrot' but overall those albums just don't sound cohesively brilliant to my ears as the band sounded a little out of sync with what they were trying to create. Well, on SELLING ENGLAND BY THE POUND imho they finally achieved that classic symphonic prog sound they had been veering towards since 'Trespass' only this time they nailed it on all fronts, on all tracks in every possible way. There is good reason SELLING ENGLAND BY THE POUND is considered one of the all time classic albums of prog as it not only captures the essence of the prog universe with catchy classically infused melodies but also implemented feistier complexities and on the lyrical side of the equation evoked the zeitgeist of the era as England was losing its eccentricities to the dominate American culture that took over the globe. What can i say? This album is truly GENESIS at the top of its game.

Review by A Crimson Mellotron
5 stars Genesis' fifth album, the legendary 'Selling England by the Pound' was released in October 1973. At this point, the band had made tremendous progress in developing their 'classic' sound and mastering symphonic rock. 1973 is one of the most important years for prog, without a doubt; it is a year when prog really became even more challenging than before, more lavish than ever, and certainly more self-indulgent, despite the primary negative associations that this adjective brings. And Genesis fitted quite well in all of these characteristics of the genre.

After releasing the untouchable 'Foxtrot', one can hardly imagine a band surpassing such an achievement. For 'Selling England...' the band had obviously decided to explore further the sound that they were becoming recognized for. Lush, majestic soundscapes, unmistakable and dreamy guitar passages, mind-blowingly complex rhythm sections, all topped by the voice of Peter Gabriel and his witty, abstract and uncompromising lyrics. All these make 'Selling England by the Pound' a really difficult album to digest but one that is definitely worth it. Just thinking about all the bands that have ripped off this particular record in their works, gives us a sign that its influence is immense.

Touching upon the themes of English folk culture's disappearing identity under the increased influence of American culture, 'Selling...' is a very English, very adventurous, intriguing, and pleasing album. The listener will find some of the ever-lasting Genesis classic here, like the opening track 'Dancing with the Moonlit Knight', 'I Know What I Like', 'Firth of Fifth', 'The Battle of Epping Forest' and 'The Cinema Show', alongside the seemingly more negligible 'More Fool Me' or 'After the Ordeal' which are no less impressive.

However, the album is not as welcoming as it may seem; some will find the keyboards too dominant and opulent, some might say that there are passages making no sense, others will notice the expressive manner in which many of the lyrics are sung, which are essentially the things that make this album so charming, yet daring.

Flamboyant and grandiose, difficult to listen to, provocative and exuberant, odd yet so witty, 'Selling England by the Pound' is a classic album that has amazed generations and will most likely continue to because quality can hardly be unheeded.

Latest members reviews

5 stars "Selling England by the Pound" captures Genesis at the height of their musicianship, which is better than ever on this record. I feel that Steve Hackett is, musically speaking, overshadowed by Tony Banks on most Genesis albums that he is present on. In my opinion, Hackett has never been more highli ... (read more)

Report this review (#2937374) | Posted by Magog2112 | Monday, July 3, 2023 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Review #25! 'Selling England by the Pound' starts off with the instantly recognizable 'Can you tell me where my country lies?'. The opening of 'Dancing with the Moonlit Knight' accelerates from an a cappella lament to an electric prog groove. This then falls to ambient noise with acoustic guita ... (read more)

Report this review (#2901781) | Posted by Boi_da_boi_124 | Saturday, March 25, 2023 | Review Permanlink

5 stars If you can afford just one classic Genesis album, then that would be it. The band reached their climax here, all members playing and contributing towards the goal - create one of the best progressive rock albums ever. Banks starts using synths and Moog increasingly which brings refreshments int ... (read more)

Report this review (#2847395) | Posted by sgtpepper | Monday, October 24, 2022 | Review Permanlink

5 stars SEBTP is the 5th studio album by British #proglegends Genesis and the 3rd to feature what to most fans would be their classic lineup of #petergabriel (vocals, flute, etc); #stevehackett (guitars); #tonybanks (piano, Mellotron, etc); #mikerutherford (bass, guitars) and #philcollins (drums, percus ... (read more)

Report this review (#2739114) | Posted by ElChanclas | Sunday, April 24, 2022 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I like prog. There are all kinds of variations. Seems like I'm more the Yes, King Crimson and Pink Floyd type. I do like this album. But I don't love it. It feels self-important. Having said this, there are highlights on this for sure. I especially like Firth of the Fifth and The Cinema Show. ... (read more)

Report this review (#2671776) | Posted by WJA-K | Thursday, January 13, 2022 | Review Permanlink

5 stars "Selling England by The Pound" might not be Genesis magnum opus (Supper's Ready) or their most ambitious work (The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway) but it is their most complete work and one that shows what the members were capable of, mainly Tony Banks, Steve Hackett and Phil Collins which have what I c ... (read more)

Report this review (#2649801) | Posted by Putonix24 | Sunday, December 5, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Review #118 The elegance of British Prog in its maximum expression. If "Nursery Cryme" and "Foxtrot" are two great albums and according to this website's scale they oscillate between the four and five stars rates, "Selling England by the Pound" got much further than that: it is hard for me ... (read more)

Report this review (#2601834) | Posted by Uruk_hai | Tuesday, October 12, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars A true masterpiece. From beginning to end just a brilliant album in every aspect. Every song a classic of style, sound, and substance. And probably their most accessible of their early work, with superior songwriting, masterful musicianship, great melodies, and spellbinding instrumental passages. Ev ... (read more)

Report this review (#2594756) | Posted by BBKron | Thursday, September 16, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars "Can you tell me where my country lies?" -Peter Gabriel (Opening Song) "Selling England..." has album art almost as uninspired as "Tresspass" and the later "Duke". Almost. But making up for that, is quality music, arguably their best. The opening track is epic. The opening section features som ... (read more)

Report this review (#2585129) | Posted by Progressive Enjoyer | Wednesday, August 11, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars 5/5, one of my favorite Prog albums. Genesis has been one of my favorite acts of Prog for a while now, and this might be my favorite of their stuff. Selling England by The Pound gives Foxtrot (the album before this) a run for its money, with its great guitar work, amazing vocals, and all around ... (read more)

Report this review (#2580179) | Posted by Fan_of_Genesis | Monday, July 19, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Selling England by the Pound, which released in October of 1973, is the fifth studio album by the English band Genesis. Selling England by the Pound is one of the most critically acclaimed progressive rock albums by fans and its easy to see why, excellent instrumentation, excellent lyrics and vo ... (read more)

Report this review (#2508832) | Posted by Lieutenant_Lan | Thursday, February 25, 2021 | Review Permanlink

3 stars The very first Genesis album I listened to was "Foxtrot". I actually found it so amazing that I was eager to discover more Genesis albums. That's when I came across "Selling England By The Pound". In general, the album runs smoothly, with great passages and outstanding vocals (the second track ... (read more)

Report this review (#2453671) | Posted by mimacondo | Saturday, October 3, 2020 | Review Permanlink

5 stars After the release of Foxtrot, Genesis reached a level of both maturity and creativity so high it seemed impossible to keep up with. Nevertheless, the group stood on that album and attained an even higher peak with Selling England By The Pound. The opening Dancing With The Moonlit Knight?which ... (read more)

Report this review (#2432257) | Posted by Hector Enrique | Saturday, July 25, 2020 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is the Genesis masterpiece, and I will go on the record say this... I would be a bit happier if this was the number one on the top 100. Genesis is my favourite band of all time and of course I'm a bit biased... everyone is...but this has every right element to be the best prog album of ... (read more)

Report this review (#2377292) | Posted by Zoltanxvamos | Tuesday, May 5, 2020 | Review Permanlink

5 stars After 3 magnificent albums, the 4th seen under the microscope because often less good... let's see! 1. Dancing with the Moonlit you know it? the voice, the rise, the progressive drift-declination with this diabolical synth solo, it goes from right to left; this group was avant-garde, ... (read more)

Report this review (#2312069) | Posted by alainPP | Sunday, February 2, 2020 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I do not make this statement lightly...for me, Selling England By The Pound is the greatest album in all of Progressive Rock. It has everything that you could ask for in a masterpiece album - Superlative musicianship, imaginative lyrics, ambitious without being pretentious, and most of all cons ... (read more)

Report this review (#2245647) | Posted by jkillion1971 | Thursday, August 22, 2019 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Selling England By The Pound (from here on out know as "SEBTP") is Genesis' 1973 offering, and boy, what an offering it is. I can't lie, friends; for some reason the entirety of SEBT just doesn't hold up to me as a "10/10" record compared to Foxtrot. To begin, I'll admit I have a bias for Foxt ... (read more)

Report this review (#2118890) | Posted by Frenetic Zetetic | Wednesday, January 16, 2019 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This has been the first progressive rock album I've ever listened to and it's still my own favourite. Although this is my favorite album, it shows that nothing is perfect, sadly. Firth of Fifth, Dancing with the Moonlit Knight and Cinema Show are really good, breathtaking songs, but there are two ... (read more)

Report this review (#2117025) | Posted by oka22 | Friday, January 11, 2019 | Review Permanlink

5 stars 4.5 The fifth album of genesis, the second one of my opinion, but so close to the masterpiece of Foxtrot. Musically is better than the previous one, mainly in the structure of the music flow and how the keyboards set the ambient, also the keyboard solos are pure gold, however it doesn't make it last ... (read more)

Report this review (#2114105) | Posted by mariorockprog | Thursday, January 3, 2019 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Is It a guitar or a keyboard? Up until this point genesis were a really great prog rock band with already incredible albums such as Nursey Cryme & Foxtrot. But when they released ''Selling England By The Pound'' none of those albums were even close to the utter brilliance that is displayed here. ... (read more)

Report this review (#1939904) | Posted by Tluk22 | Tuesday, June 19, 2018 | Review Permanlink

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