NEM#62: Anthony Phillips: Private Pieces, Soundtrack Parts, and Prog Rock

Anthony PhillipsAnthony was the original guitarist and a key songwriter in Genesis 1967–1970 (establishing their “pastoral” sound), released some prog rock albums in the ’70s, then shifted largely to a mix of acoustic guitar pieces and synth soundscapes, often for soundtracks.

We discuss “Nocturne” from Seventh Heaven (2012), co-credited to Andrew Skeet, who added the strings to the solo classical guitar recording Anthony did of this song for the album Field Day (2005); “From the Jaws of Death – Touching the Face of God,” a synth soundtrack recording from 1999, released on the 2008 album Wildlife co-credited to Joji Hirota; and “Magdalen” from Sides (1979), which features original King Crimson member Michael Giles on drums and John G. Perry on bass.

We conclude by talking about his approach to lyrics and listening to “Sanctuary” from Private Parts & Pieces 8: New England (1992). Opening music: “F# Demo (The Musical Box, Instrumental)” from 1970, released on Archive Collection 1 (1998). End music: “Mystery Train III” from Private Parts & Pieces XI: City of Dreams (2012). For more information, see Most of these songs appear on the Harvest of the Heart box set.

Ant’s best-known solo album is actually his first, The Geese and the Ghost, which started as a collaboration with Mike Rutherford and features some Phil Collins vocals. My favorite, which largely established his future direction, was another album from around the same time (mid-to-late ’70s), Private Parts & Pieces. Here’s a long interview that goes over the days with Genesis and early solo pretty thoroughly. Here’s another song from Seventh Heaven that’s a more heavily orchestrated. Here’s his album 1984 that comes up a few times.

Here’s that full “Musical Box” demo, plus the eventual version by Genesis (which Ant doesn’t play on). Here’s his best-known song with Genesis, “The Knife.” Here’s a 1996 live promo performance (with singing!).

If you enjoy this interview, be sure to listen to the episodes with Anthony’s replacement in Genesis, the equally talented Steve Hackett.

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