Category Archives: prog rock

Lost Hits of the New Wave #15

“Mama” by Genesis

Much like attempts we have talked about before where traditional rock acts tried to ape the new wave sound for their own purposes (like Alice Cooper and Cheap Trick), we have Genesis with “Mama.”

The song, released in the summer of 1983, and later followed by the self-titled Genesis album (also known as the ‘shapes’ album) represented a change in the band’s sound, and a lean toward more progressive, mainstream, and yes, some might say new wave music. Most notable is the use of synthesizer, reverb and lead vocalist Phil Collins’ voice as a percussive sound itself.

Genesis was an art rock band that had been around forever, and had never been radio friendly, at least not outside of old school FM radio and college music heads. Former lead singer Peter Gabriel as a solo act had been making in-roads with the new wave crowds, so perhaps this spurred the rest of the band to give it a shot.

Genesis quickly became pop music as the decade wore on, Collins becoming bigger as a solo star himself.

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Sherman Hemsley 1938-2012

Sherman Hemsley was found dead this morning, presumably of natural causes. The television, stage and film actor was 74.

Hemsley was best known for playing George Jefferson, Archie Bunker’s neighborly nemesis on “All in the Family” before moving on up to his decade long rein in the spin-off “The Jeffersons,” also by Norman Lear. Later Hemsley played Deacon Frye on “Amen.”

I’m a bit more out there when it comes to my favorite roles for Sherman Hemsley. I loved him as the Steel Condor in the Disney superhero satire Up, Up, and Away. I also dug him as the Toyman, along with “Jeffersons” co-star Isabel Sanford, on “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.” He was also the star of my favorite story from the second incarnation of “The Twilight Zone” called “I of Newton.”

A bit of trivia about Mr. Hemsley is that he was a huge prog rock fan and expert. He loved bands of the early seventies like Yes, Genesis, and the more obscure Gentle Giant. Sherman Hemsley even collaborated with Jon Anderson on an unreleased album.