What a classic pairing of two progressive rock greats. Over the course of two albums Tony Banks collaborated with one time Marillion singer Fish on three songs. Those albums were Tony Banks’ solo albums Soundtracks (1986) and Still (1991). It is said that Fish auditioned for Genesis after Phil Collins departed in 1996. True or not, these three songs give a little insight into what a Fish led Genesis may have sounded like.
On the surface Fish leading Genesis sounds like a very intriguing idea. It is quite apparent that the music of Genesis was a huge influence on Marillion. As a big fan of both bands I am sure that I would have enjoyed this pairing a great deal. At the time Fish possessed a unique voice that sounded like an amalgam of Phil Collins and Peter Gabriel. Realistically I do not believe that it would have worked. New material by this pairing would most likely have been fantastic. But could Fish have handled singing Genesis’ back catalog? I really can not imagine Fish effectively singing songs like Mama or Tonight, Tonight, Tonight. Over time would he really want to?
Personally I would have loved to have seen Wang Chung singer Jack Hues front post Collins Genesis. Hues recorded an exceptional album with Tony Banks in 1995, Strictly Inc. And I do believe that he had a voice that could tackle the band’s back catalog successfully. In hindsight the best solution may have been to go the route that Mike and the Mechanics went down. Utilizing two different singers may have been the best solution.
Let’s get back to Fish and Tony Banks. Their first collaboration was the song Shortcut To Somewhere, written by Tony Banks and Fish. Of the three songs this is the only one to be recorded while Fish was still a member of Marillion. It is an upbeat synth rocker that would have fit right in on the Genesis album Abacab. Overall it is a good song, but far from either party’s best work.
The next two songs appear on Tony Bank’s album Still. Angel Face is a slow, moody song written solely by Tony Banks. Vocally it shows Fish in a slightly different light since he did not write the lyrics. This is an excellent track
Written by Tony Banks and Fish, Another Murder Of A Day clocks in at just over nine minutes. It is a dramatic, piano driven rock track. The song features a passionate vocal from Fish, one of Tony Banks’ flashier keyboard solos and some great guitar from Daryl Stuermer.
Tony Banks and Fish worked quite well together, more collaborations would have been welcome. Based on these songs would Fish have worked out fronting Genesis? Perhaps, but only if they focused on new material and select Genesis tracks in a concert setting. Listening to the song Something In The Air, from Fish’s second solo album Internal Exile (1991), may give further insight. It is a cover song, but Fish’s rendition sure sounds a lot like it could have been a mid to late 80’s Genesis song. Maybe it could have worked out well. We’ll never know, but it is fun to imagine the possibilities.