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The Living Years by Mike Rutherford

The Living Years

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February 2014 Non-Fiction Book of the Month.

If you’re a fan of the music group Genesis you’ll snap up this autobiography but it’s not to be dismissed as just one for the fans. Mike Rutherford’s father – ex Royal Navy was incredibly supportive of his son’s ambition, they were not especially close, British middle class upper-lip and public school saw to that but there was underneath a strong attachment between them. Mike’s story is punctuated with extracts from his father’s unpublished memoirs, contrasting his father’s experiences with his own. Particularly valuable is the insight you gain into the lives of musicians and an anecdote to the school of critics who would have us believe all music groups either win talent contests or just grab a guitar and start playing. Starting and ending with the death of his father, Mike Rutherford’s story of family support, the long hard graft to get to the top and his own journey into fatherhood is one I’d recommend to anyone, Genesis fan or not.

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The Living Years by Mike Rutherford

Now Michael, you're the son of a naval officer, you must behave like a naval officer at all times... What Captain William Rutherford told his seven-year-old son Michael was to stay with him all his life. Born in 1950, Michael was truly his father's son, even serving in the naval section of the student cadet corps at one of England's top public schools, Charterhouse. Mike's future lay in the civil service: it was a subject that he discussed with his father at Captain Crawford's gentlemen's club. But then something happened. Mike discovered rock music. As one of the founder members of Genesis, Mike was to tour the world and achieve international fame. From unpromising beginnings - demonised by his teachers as a fomenter of revolution, driving to gigs in a bread van - Mike would go on to crisscross the globe with bandmates Peter Gabriel and, later, Phil Collins, playing to packed-out stadiums and achieving record sales of over 150 million. Swapping old school ties and Savile Row suits for flares and Afghan coats, Mike and Genesis would pioneer the pomp and theatricality of 1970s progressive rock before becoming household names in the 1980s with hits like Turn It On Again, Mama and Land of Confusion. There was drink, there were drugs; there were arguments and excess. But, in the background - and sometimes in the audience - there was also the loyal Captain Rutherford, earplugs at the ready, Melody Maker in hand. A proud father still. The Living Years spans the entire history of Genesis, from the earliest days as a school band to the triumphant 2007 reunion tour when Genesis played to over 500,000 people in Rome. But this is not just another rock'n'roll memoir. This is also a book about two men whose lives and complex relationship reflect the seismic social and cultural shifts that took place during the twentieth century. It is a book for every father and son.

About the Author

Michael Rutherford is a founding member of Genesis, initially as a bassist and backup vocalist. Rutherford often played rhythm guitar and 12-string guitar for the band in the early years. Following the departure of Steve Hackett from Genesis in 1977, he assumed the role of lead guitarist on the band's studio albums, beginning with And Then There Were Three in 1978. He is one of only two constant members in Genesis (the other is keyboardist Tony Banks). Rutherford wrote the lyrics to many Genesis songs during their career, including some of the band's biggest international hits, such as Follow You, Follow Me, Turn It On Again, Land of Confusion and Throwing It All Away. He also formed Mike + The Mechanics in 1985. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Genesis in 2010.

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Book Info

Publication date

23rd January 2014


Mike Rutherford

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Constable an imprint of Constable and Robinson


304 pages


Biography / Autobiography
Books of the Month
eBook Favourites

Autobiography: arts & entertainment
Rock & Pop music
Individual composers & musicians, specific bands & groups



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