on November 11, 2016 | Last updated November 13, 2016
GenesisRobbery, Assault & Battery
Release Type: User Audio Type: Single-track Reductions: Yes (Auto/CAT) Pitched Vocals: Yes Vocals Gender: Male (3)
5 LANE KEYS: iPodwithnomusic
PROKEYS/HARM VOX: AJFOne23
Many prog rock fans feared that Peter Gabriel’s departure from Genesis would mean a loss of the fanciful story-song lyrics that dressed up such Genesis favorites as "Return Of The Giant Hogweed" and "I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)." This fear proved to be unfounded because A Trick Of The Tail, the group’s first post-Gabriel outing, was full of colorful story-songs. The wittiest example was "Robbery Assault and Battery," a wry observation on crime and the legal system set to a driving prog-rock backing. The darkly witty lyrics chronicle the adventures of a murderous crook who is able to commit mayhem without fear of reproach due to ineffectual police and a legal system that allows plenty of loopholes for aspiring felons. The music accentuates the dark humor of the lyrics by pairing them to an ironically sprightly melody that matches bouncy verse melodies to a chorus built on powerful ascending-note hooks. The Genesis recording of "Robbery Assault And Battery" dresses the song up in a lush arrangement that underpins the verses with ticklish electric piano riffs but adds crashing drumwork and powerful organ and electric guitar to the chorus. Phil Collins’ lead vocal borrows a page from Peter Gabriel’s book of vocal stylings by affecting a variety of cockney accents to bring the different characters to life in a vivid fashion. All these flourishes add up to a song that manages to be exciting and mordantly humorous all at once. "Robbery Assault And Battery" went on to enjoy a long life as a live favorite for Genesis and continues to be considered one of the group’s best post-Gabriel achievements.