Supper's Ready

Album: Foxtrot (1972)
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  • This concept piece is 23 minutes long and divided into seven sections. It tells the story of two lovers who travel to strange worlds, eventually returning to their world only to witness The Apocalypse.
  • At Genesis concerts, pamphlets were distributed with notes detailing what was going on in each section. This helped the crowd follow along.
  • Peter Gabriel was the band's lead singer at the time, and the lyrics he wrote for this song were inspired by a night he spent with his first wife, Jill, at her parents' house. Gabriel believes Jill became possessed by a spirit, which gave him the starting point for a song about the battle between good and evil.
  • Gabriel: "One of the first times that I felt as if I was really singing from my soul, almost like singing for my life."
  • Section 6 is titled "Apocalypse." Gabriel got the idea for it while reading the book of Revelations in The Bible. This section features a solo over an unusual 9/8 rhythm.
  • In a 2018 Songfacts interview with Tony Banks, the band's keyboard player, he talked about this song. Said Banks: "It still really works for me. It's one of those things when we were playing along, it seemed to have a direction. The early part, the acoustic part, was a piece that I'd written on the guitar and I thought it had great atmosphere and it could go somewhere else. We'd already done the song 'The Musical Box' on the previous album, and the idea was perhaps this to be the follow-up of 'The Musical Box.'

    But, we were going along, and it was doing some nice stuff, and then we had this other song, it was a song of Peter's called 'Willow Farm' that was a separate song. We were doing this pretty little bit in the middle of 'Supper's Ready,' and I thought, wouldn't it be fantastic if we stopped the song suddenly and just go into this 'Willow Farm,' really ugly little downward chord sequence that happens at the front of it. I thought it would just be such a great contrast.

    Once we'd done that, it took on a whole other level. The drums were in there playing heavily and it became such a big thing. And, I think particularly, the climax which occurs with the 'Apocalypse in 9/8,' which is a sort of extended keyboard solo that ends in massive chords with fantastic vocal performance from Peter, it still really works.

    It's 25 minutes, and I think if you've got the patience – unfortunately, not many people have the patience anymore – but if you've got the patience I think it's still rewarding now."
  • This was the first big production number Genesis came up with. Led by Gabriel, they started putting on extravagant stage performances to please the fans and generate publicity. In 1974, they took it to a new level by performing their entire double album The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway on tour. In that show, Gabriel changed costumes a number of times.
  • A few years after Gabriel left, Genesis moved from anthems like this to short pop songs. Led by Phil Collins, they lost some fans but had a string of hits.
  • When Gabriel left the band in 1975, they continued to perform this in concert, with Phil Collins on vocals. It is included on their 1977 live album Seconds Out. Gabriel told Mojo magazine that it was a "weird thing" seeing Collins sing a song with personal elements in it. He added: "It was like watching someone in your old clothes and you're not sure how well they fit."
  • At the very end of this song, Mike Rutherford played the wrong bass note, which most listeners didn't notice but stood out to the attuned ears of the band. On remastered editions of the track, it was left as-is, because fixing it would be like changing the Cantina scene in Star Wars so Greedo fires the first shot at Han Solo.

Comments: 33

  • Diego from ArgentinaA masterpiece. Unfortunately they turned into pop in the 80s
  • Matthew from Milford DePhil Collins & Sonic Youth go together like garlic salt & cinnamon, it was Flaming Youth, Brand X was a band that Collins weaved in & out of from 76/79 but always put Genesis first, then of course his solo career in later years. Collins was/is probably one of the busiest musicians that ever lived. Suppers Ready needs no explanation of "What it's about" listen to it & what you get from it, well, that's what it's about. MY OPINION : it's a love song, a biblical battle, with Gabriel's English absurd humor to top it off "As sure as eggs is eggs"
  • Peter from Plymouth, United KingdomI saw Genesis perform this Magical masterpiece back in 1973 in Plymouth Devon, I will never forget that amazing night!!
  • Karl from Toronto , Onsuppers ready is a song about the book of revelation in the bible . peter interpreted it in this song and its very visual and actually to the writings . hes added hes own modern day thoughts as at the time and although not a hit by any means was held to great respect by many fans and musicians ................. there will never be another like this !
  • Guillermo from Mendoza, Argentinait left me wordless
  • Tom from Edmonton, AbA few years ago, when asked his favourite songs, Peter Gabriel replied "Supper's Ready" and "Here Comes The Flood" from his first solo album. When questioned what "Supper's Ready" was about, he simply stated that it was a song about "good vs. evil."

    Tom, Edmonton, Canada.
  • Bob from Montreal, QcPhil collins palyed in a band called sonic youth before joining Genesis.


    Phil was in FLAMING YOUTH and they recorded an lp, Ark 2
  • Mac from Toronto, OnPhil collins palyed in a band called sonic youth before joining Genesis.
    He played in Brand X while still with Genesis.
    PFM was an Italian band, same era, same genre. Peter Sinfield wrote the lyrics for PFM's "photos of ghosts" album.
    He also wrote the lyrics for King Crimsons first two albums and the co-wrote the lyics on several ELP albums
  • Andy from Lake City, FlI love the music and vocal so much that the lyrics don't matter. But for the record I think Peter was full of s--t. He is desperately trying to one-up Robert Plant in a very vain cold way. The "spiritual" stuff here just doesn't wash. It's like "battle of epping forest" lyrics without the sense of humor or fun. Gabriel is now deep down a jealous egotistical man and this song begins to reveal it. "The lamb" is also superb but any honest fan will admit some of the lyrics are dog s--t. Sorry, just my opinion.
  • Joseph from Montreal, QcQ-Does anybody know the name of the group that Phil Collins played with before Genesis?

    A-Brand X

    "I dont suppose anyone here has heard of an Italian band called Premiata Forneria Marconi? ...They are really good band, probably better than KC and Genesis."

    -PFM was good but nothing compared to Genesis.

    -Nice to see that some people love this song as much as I do!
  • Mike from Buffalo Ny, Nythere is another Genesis cover band that uses the costumes and does the older genesis, they are out of Canada, they are called "over the garden wall".I have seen them and they are spectacular!
  • Mike from Buffalo Ny, NyThe musical concept is way ahead of its time. The timing changes and the various types of sounds is absolutely incredible!
  • Mike from Buffalo Ny, NyDoes anybody know the name of the group that Phil Collins played with before Genesis?
  • James from Buenos Aires, ArgentinaPeter Gabriel, the Mighty One, the King of Kings, has clearly proved to be one of history's best musical composers...While trying to talk to people about this masterpiece, I've realized its vibe can't possibly be traduced to words.
  • Wyatt from Anywhere, United StatesPeter told the story about this Song got started in an interview, He recounted a tale where he and Jill , his wife where sitting in the living room when they noticed a procesion of seven ghosts, monks, with the one in front bearing a large cross walking across the lawn. He was very adamant that he wans't taking drugs at the time and insisted they really saw this thing.
  • Jim from Chicago, IlFor anybody who would like to see the classic "Genesis" featuring Peter Gabriel in concert, there is a cover band from, I believe, Milwaukee WI, called the "Musical Box" that does album shows, i.e. Foxtrox, Nursery Crymes, etc. The lead singer wears the actual Peter Gabriel headgear. Excellent Show! I heard they're taking a break while the real band is on tour, but I'm sure they'll be back.
  • Chris from Perth, AustraliaSupper's Ready = Bohemian Rhapsody times four. Four times as long, but not really any better. I love both of them.
  • Reg from Kemptville, OnRe Premiata Forneria Marconi:
    Alex of Fort Mill, I have heard of PFM and listend to thier album "PFM Cook". But that was back in the 70s. From what I remember and the little I've heard since they were/are AT LEAST in the same league as Genesis
  • Joshua from Twin Cities, MnThe Genesis Archive Volume 1: 1967-75 boxed set includes another live recording of this, from the early '70s when Gabriel was still their frontman.
  • Alex from Fort Mill, ScI dont suppose anyone here has heard of an Italian band called Premiata Forneria Marconi? They have alot of early Genesis/King Crimson influences to them , yet sound nothing like them. They are really good band, probably better than KC and Genesis.
  • Gerard from Zeist, NetherlandsSupper's Ready will be my favorite song for ever.
    -Gerard Zeist, The Netherlands.
  • Zach from Buffalo, Ny"Why don't you touch me, touch me, touch me, now now now now now" is from the closing section of The Musical Box, from Nursery Cryme (1971), not from Supper's Ready.
  • Pete from Leeds, EnglandDespite being redundant as anyone who reads this will already know it, this song is quite probably the finest piece of art in the history of mankind. If you haven't heard it. Hear it. Now.
  • Thierry from Ã?rhus, DenmarkWhy don't U touch me touch me touch me
    now now now
  • Thierry from Ã?rhus, DenmarkConsidering what can be heard on the radio these days,
    it must be a miracle that such a group ever existed (and this goes for Yes, Gong, Caravan, KC, White Noise, Van der Graaf & many more then...)
    I know they've hardly ever been on the radio then, but what are we left with ?
    Who wants a drummer/multi instumentist/singer with this in mind ?

  • Thierry from Ã?rhus, DenmarkUnique and magnifiscent !!!!
    Comments about this master piece run the high risk of being either redundand or futile
  • Thierry from Ã?rhus, DenmarkMagnificent
  • Urshurak from Leeuwarden, NetherlandsA song with exceptional structure and of biblical proportions. In short: A Masterpiece! I envy people who ever watched this live, they were very lucky!
  • Marlon from Nyc, NyWhat an amazing piece of music. My favorite movement is Apocolypse.
  • Sean from Newmarket, Canadai also think they did one of the best instrumentals with horizons. beautiful. up there with black mountain side - led zeppelin and mudmen - pink floyd
  • Emilio from Seattle, WaSupper's Ready is the best piece of music ever composed by a human being.
  • Rob from Chicago, IlThis song is excellent, especially the humorful Willow Farm. This song and Watcher Of The Skies are my favorites.
  • Juan from Vancouver, CanadaBy far, Supper's ready is the maximum expression of the musical arts through mankind history.
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