This album opened my eyes to what music could be: moving, majestic and theatrical.
Up until 1972, I had been quite happy listening to, and playing along to Status Quo's 'Paper Plane', and most of the other tracks from 'Piledriver.' Then I happened to notice this older guy walking in the school yard with an album in his hand with an intriguing, painted cover that just caught my eye. And something that would probably never happen today, I walked up to him, despite not knowing who he was, and asked him if I could borrow it to listen to. And he said yes! I took the album home, played it, and was blown away. Here was intelligent, complex music, totally different to anything I had ever heard before, and unfortunately for Quo's record sales, my musical taste was changed forever.
That album of was 'Nursery Cryme' by an up and coming band called Genesis. This album had everything; beautiful melodies, great musicianship and an exquisite use of the English language. Every lyric told a story, or painted a vivid picture in my mind, from 'Harold The Barrel' cutting his toes off and jumping from a window ledge and the old couple going to church to pray for the friends they had lost, to the musical poetry of 'Harlequin' and the gorgeous music that started gently then built to a moving crescendo of 'Seven Stones'.
The album also introduced me to elongated tracks, all of which were stories that were, quite honestly, mini movies. 'The Musical Box' about croquet playing Cynthia who beheads Henry then has to deal with his ghost, the true story of 'The Return Of The Giant Hogweed' (check it out, it's all true) and 'The Fountain Of Salmacis', which is Greek mythology put to music. There were so many new and original sounds on here, not least the very first time the hammer-on technique was used on guitar by Steve Hackett. Where else would you find this on music albums (this was a year before 'Dark Side Of The Moon' remember)?
This album then, opened my eyes to what music could be, moving, majestic and theatrical, and forced me to seek out everything they had done to that point, and everything after.