Review: Genesis – 3×3 (EP/1982)

In May 1982, Genesis released “3×3”, an extended-play featuring three previously unreleased track from their 1981 album “Abacab”.

Three songs from the “Abacab” sessions

Abacab” from 1981 had brought a change in sound and style for Genesis. They had a new producer (Hugh Padgham) and had bought “The Farm” in Surrey, where they had their own studio. So they could take time to jam for the new record. When they put “Abacab” together, there was not enough space to include all the songs they liked. So they decided to release an EP with three leftover tracks the following year.

The three tracks were “Paperlate”, “You Might Recall” and “Me And Virgil”. All of them were written by Tony Banks, Phil Collins and Mike Rutherford together. The EP “3 x 3” was released in May 1982 between two Genesis tours. In the US, they did not release “3×3”. Only “Paperlate” was released as a regular single with “You Might Recall” as b-side.

The songs

“Paperlate” is similar to Abacab’s “No Reply At All”. It also includes the Earth Wind & Fire horn section with which Phil Collins worked on his first solo album the year before. The song’s title comes from the song “Dancing With The Moonlit Knight” from the band’s 1973 album “Selling England By the Pound“. During a soundcheck of the song in 1978 or 1980, Phil was repeating the phrase “Paperlate cried a voice in the crowd…” over and over again, which inspired the band to write a song around this term.

“Paperlate” – Genesis on “Top of the Pops” (1982)

“You Might Recall” is a romantic tune, which resembles some earlier Rutherford compositions like “Alone Tonight”. The third track, “Me and Virgil” resembles his “Deep In The Motherlode” (1978) in lyrics. This time it was Phil Collins who wrote a Wild West story. The band tried to create a “The Band”-like song. Phil Collins was so unhappy with the song that it was left off the Genesis “Archive” release in 2000, which featured many non-Album songs on CD for the first time. His storytelling approach worked much better on “Driving The Last Spike” from the band’s 1991 album “We Can’t Dance“.

The artwork was inspired by The Beatles

Inspired by the Beatles’ EP’s in the 1960’s, Genesis decided to create a cover similar to their “Twist And Shout” EP. They also called in Tony Barrow to write the sleeve notes. Barrow had been the Beatles’ publicity man 20 years earlier. He wrote the Genesis sleeve notes in the same style (“These cheeky chappies from Guildford…”).

One reviewer was not familiar with the Beatles original and misunderstood the design for being serious. But it was another sign of the band’s humour and the EP was a success for them. With “Paperlate” they appeared on “Top of the Tops” once more. The EP went to number 10 in the British charts.

Three Sides Live

In the same year, Genesis also released the successful live album “Three Sides Live“. As EP’s rarely charted well in America, they decided to put the “3×3” songs on the fourth side of the live album and not release the EP individually. To complete the fourth side, they added two leftovers from “Duke” (1980): The Rutherford composition “Open Door” and the Banks composition “Evidence Of Autumn”. The UK on the other hand had a fourth side live.

“3×3” was never released as a CD. Instead, “Paperlate” and “You Might Recall” were released on the “Genesis Archive 2 1976-1992” box set from 2000. It features rare and unreleased songs for the first time on CD. All three songs were included in the box set “1976-1982” on CD. “Me And Virgil” was remixed for this release.

About Philipp Röttgers

Philipp Röttgers is a music journalist and an absolute expert on the band. He released a book „Two eras of Genesis?: The development of a rock band“ in 2015 and interviewed band members and people connected to the band.

Find out everything about Philipp’s favourite group. Genesis is a British rock band and one of the most successful groups in the world. Their hits include „That’s All“, „Invisible Touch“ and „I Can’t Dance“. The group consists of Phil Collins (vocals, drums), Mike Rutherford (guitars, bass) and Tony Banks (keyboards). This blog contains news, reviews and glimpses into Genesis‘ history.

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