This tells the story of Rael, a poor Puerto Rican boy from The Bronx. As "The Lamb," Rael goes on an adventure in New York City. Peter Gabriel explained to The Daily Telegraph September 30, 2014 that the album "was intended to be an intense story of a young rebellious Puerto Rican in New York who would face challenges with family, authority, sex, love and self-sacrifice to learn a little more about himself. I wanted to mix his dreams with his reality, in a kind of urban rebel Pilgrim's Progress."
The full story is in the liner notes of the album.
This was the basis for an elaborate stage production Genesis performed at concerts. It was on this tour that Peter Gabriel decided to leave the band.
There are references to classic songs throughout the album, and this track recalls "On Broadway," which was a hit for The Drifters in 1963.
Genesis keyboard player Tony Banks used a cross-handed technique to create the jaunty rhythm. He described it in a Songfacts interview: "the two hands are playing almost percussively, alternatively. So, you appear to be playing faster than you are. I really like the effect. It's very rhythmic. I just find it's an exciting way to play."
On their 1974 tour, Genesis played the album from start to finish. Gabriel wore several costumes throughout the show, including a grotesque mask during "The Colony Of Slippermen."
This was the first song and title track to the double album which was the last Peter Gabriel contribution to Genesis.
The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway was a song-cycle whose hero Rael shared a name with "Rael (1 and 2)," a track on The Who's 1967 album, The Who Sell Out. Mojo April 2010 asked Peter Gabriel if it was a conscious tribute to The Who's Pete Townshend. He replied: "It was a subconscious tribute because I certainly wasn't aware of it at the time. I spent a long time thinking of that name, like Ra the Sun God. But I was a big Who fan, so it may have got in there. Obviously Townshend created much of the musical environment and delivered the angst with an intelligence and passion and extraordinary musicality. But to this day, as a drummer, I think Keith Moon was the unacknowledged genius. He was like Jimi Hendrix: when he was on - and he wasn't always - it flowed out of him in a free way that was inspiring, driving, magnificent."
Peter Gabriel's insistence on writing the story and all the lyrics himself for The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway created friction amongst his bandmates. Tony Banks recalled in Uncut magazine October 2008: "Having done 'Supper's Ready' (the 23-minute song on Foxtrot)) we decided we wanted to go for a concept album, and make a double album. We agreed the concept, which Peter came up with. Then he said that he really wanted to write all the lyrics, which was difficult for us because we'd always split all the lyrics among us all."
Suggestion credit: DeeTheWriter - Saint Petersburg, Russia Federation
John from Honolulu, Hithe lyrics to genesis/peter gabriel era were so obscure, it is hard to believe they were so successful. lamb lies down had some coherency to it. it was not until the SO album that Gabriel wrote songs that you could actually UNDERSTAND!!! and i am very glad he kept going, since then. Scratch My Back, his album of covers, is AWESOME.
Richard from Phoenix, AzMuch like Dark Side of the Moon, this album has to be absorbed through headphones to hear everything going on..great musicianship and a pretty wild storyline to complement the music..It's funny how Peter came up with the closing song,"It"...now 35 years later everthing is on the web (Internet Technology) I think The Lamb is a must have in any music lovers catalog. ITs only rock and roll...and I like it!!
Jim from Long Beach, CaClassic song...
Freddy from Sporesville, Ky, AustriaI've always thought of this whole album as their masterpiece, even among ALL their other great albums.
Wavy from Tucson , AzJeanette you are not alone. I was 13 in 87 and I was digging it then. I know how you feel.
Jimi--man, sorry for your loss.
Lamb Lies Down is an awesome album. Im glad it never made it to film. Because when I used to listen to it when I was younger I would have my own storyline in my head--the movie--you know? The Lamia used to scare me to death--and then "Silent Sorrow In Empty Boats" featured a ship captained by the reaper..thats whats good about music.... Now that Im older, I understand the Colony of Slippermen and that is so jacked up!
Athena from Phoenix, AzThis is one of my favorite albums from Genesis. I've been listening to it since I was 9 years old.
Colin from Teignmouth, EnglandDuring 2005 the excellent Genesis tribute band 'The Musical Box' toured the UK performing the whole of the 'Lamb' stage show complete with vocalists costumes. They also showed the 1200 photo slides originally used by Genesis themselves.
Steve from Birmingham, AlThe original Lamb album spells it Carpet Crawlers, on the Seconds Out album it's The Carpet Crawl, on Turn It On Again: The Hits, it's The Carpet Crawlers . What's up with that? I mean, it's the same song, right?
Wyatt from Anywhere, United StatesI see this album as a kind of cross between the Christian concept of purgetory, the Tibetan Book of the dead, Karma and reincarnation. Sorry to hear about your brother Jimi, its a pretty dark album and covers some heavy subject matter. I like the Carpet crawl which seems to be about the drive for the dead to reincarnate, Probably the best but I like the whole album, especialy the first side. some of the second side gets a little monotanious. Counting out time is Rael recounting his misfortune on his first date in which he relies on a book about how to get women into bed by the numbers but ends up getting shot down and possibly slapped LOL so its got its lighter moments.
Joshua from Twin Cities, MnThe first two discs of the Genesis Archive Volume 1: 1967-75 boxed set consist of an entire live performance of the Lamb rock opera. Well, almost an entire performance. The master tape ran out during the final song ("It") rendering it unusable, so to complete the disc, the band, including Gabriel, briefly reunited to record a new version of that song. They would also record a new version of "The Carpet Crawlers" which appeared on their compilation Turn It On Again: The Hits.
Portia from Melbourne, Australiai absolutely love this song. i am a huge fan of genesis and i have been for a while. im the 15 year old i know that likes genesis. everyone is into tht mainstream stuff. the lyrics are insane in most of the songs but thats what makes them enjoyable
Alex from Fort Mill, ScUgh, should've bought Selling England By the Pound. Havent found one double album I could listen to all the way through.
Jimi from St Paul, MnMy brother loved this album. I remember him playing it all the time when we were kids. The Carpet Crawlers was playing on an endless loop when they found him dead in his apartment hung by the neck. So I guess I kind of have mixed feelings about the album. Sorry for the depression.
Brian from Orange, CaI heard Gabriel wrote the lyrics on vacation in Greece and the rest of Genesis wrote the music in England. It's amazing it matched up as well as it did.
Pete from Leeds, EnglandPeter Gabriel was trying to write all the lyrics for the album, but he was driving himself crazy doing it. They were in danger of running out of time which is when the rest of the band stepped in to complete the album, all of which did not help the relationship between Gabriel and the others one bit.
Jeanette from Irvine, Camaking this a piece of film? are you kidding? thats crazy. who wants to watch a movie about genitals being grabbed by ravens and carried down rivers? thats bizarre. but in album form its pretty cool anyway.
Mark from London, EnglandPeter Gabriel didn't write the lyrics for "The Light Dies Down on Broadway" - that was Banks & Rutherford
Jeanette from Irvine, Cai'm seriously the only 13 year old i know who listens to genesis...but this album is awesome!
Mike from Williamsburg, Vadirector william friedkin was interested in adapting the piece to film, and allegedly this was a source of tension among the group members.
Hugh from Kansas City, MoRobb, Perhaps you don't have to be insane, just repetitious!
Robb from Hamburg, NyPeter Gabriel wrote every single lyric on this album unaccompanied.
Robb from Hamburg, NyThis is a great concept album. I sort of feel you have to be intelligent and a bit insane to completely understand what this album is about. The music is sensational, the singing itself is great, but the lyrics are a bit strange....
Jon from Pittsburgh, PaCarpet Crawelers is the best song on the album