My Top 1000 Songs #620: Behind The Lines > Duchess

[I've been writing up my Top 1000 songs on a daily basis--you can see them all in descending order by hitting the All My Favorite Songs tag.]

My heart lies squarely with Peter Gabriel-era Genesis, and a number of faves from the prog heyday have already made this list (with more on the way). Still, I enjoy many of the Phil Collins-voiced albums, even as they became a very different band (particularly once guitarist Steve Hackett left following the first two records with Collins at the mic). 1980's Duke is pretty damn solid, most successfully bridging the instrumental chops and musical creativity of their early days with the straight pop music that made the trio version of the band far more commercially successful. 

Personally, Duke was record that first turned me on to the band back in high school. And while that discovery quickly sent me looking backwards, falling in love with Gabriel-led wonders like Nursery Cryme and Selling England By The Pound, it did create some personal attachment for the record itself. The opening medley is the highlight for me. Yeah, I'm cheating a bit by picking two songs, but they're of a piece for me. Opener "Behind The Lines" has a simple yet drop-dead chord progression that makes for a rousing anthem; while "Duchess" is a surprisingly heart-felt tale of a singer's rise and fall, her personal travails feeling absolutely real and moving. The best part, though, is the quiet yet stunning bridge between the two, a captivating keyboard & percussion duet that reminds me a bit of the section that opens Pink Floyd's "Time," a zippy instrumental segue that outshines the surrounding songs.

"Duchess" video:
Live 1980: