Genesis (clockwise): Mike Rutherford, Phil Collins and Tony Banks in May 1980.
Guitarist Steve Hackett had become increasingly disenchanted with the band by the time Wind & Wuthering was released. Following the departure of Gabriel, he became the first band member to record a solo album. The freedom he experienced during the making of Voyage of the Acolyte (1975) led him to feel constricted at what he regarded as the confines of Genesis. Hackett wanted a quarter of the Wind & Wuthering album to be given over to his own material, which, according to Collins, was "a dumb way to work in a band context".  Genesis tried to placate him by giving extra songwriting credits on the two instrumental tracks "Unquiet Slumbers for the Sleepers..."/"...In That Quiet Earth" (originally intended to be a single track, composition credit to all four band members), but the Hackett-composed "Blood on the Rooftops" was never performed live by the band and his composition "Please Don't Touch" was rejected for inclusion on the LP. Following the release of the Spot the Pigeon E.P. (1977), consisting of extra tracks from the Wind & Wuthering sessions, Hackett left the band.
The Seconds Out live album of the 1977 tour became Hackett's final release with Genesis. Rutherford took over his guitar duties in the studio and would alternate guitar and bass duties with Daryl Stuermer for live performances. The group continued as a trio, a fact reflected in the title of their 1978 album ...And Then There Were Three.... This album began another change away from 10-minute-plus progressive epics and towards shorter, more radio-friendly tracks. It yielded their first American radio hit, "Follow You Follow Me" (sample (info)). The song's popularity caused ...And Then There Were Three... to be the band's first US Gold selling album.
A change in musical direction
Phil Collins in concert with Genesis in October 1981.
In 1979, Genesis almost lost Collins as he moved to Vancouver, Canada in an attempt to save his first marriage. However, two months and a divorce later, Collins returned to the UK and immersed himself in Duke (1980). Collins later claimed that his marriage breakup accelerated his growth as a songwriter, and Duke became the first Genesis album with which he pulled equal songwriting weight with Banks and Rutherford. Duke continued the departure from the sounds and concepts that identified Genesis in the 1970s. Lengthy, complex themes and music gave way to shorter, more "accessible" pieces. The use of the drum machine was a consistent element in forthcoming Genesis albums as well as in Collins's solo albums. The more commercial Duke was well received by the mainstream media and was Genesis's first UK Number 1 album, and the tracks "Misunderstanding" (sample (info)) and "Turn it on Again" became two of the band's standbys.
Genesis followed Duke with 1981's Abacab, which featured horn and wind instruments and a collaboration with Earth, Wind & Fire (EWF) on the track "No Reply at All" (sample (info)). Much of the rehearsing for Abacab was done in the newly built Genesis studio - The Farm, in Surrey, England, where all four of Genesis's subsequent albums were recorded.
Abacab also featured a more forceful live drum sound from Collins, including the use of Gated reverb where the live (or artificially reverberated) sound is relayed through a noise gate set to rapidly cut off the sound when it reaches a particular threshold volume. This results in a powerful "live" sounding yet very controlled drum sound. This distinctive sound was originally developed by Peter Garbriel, Collins and co-producer/engineer Hugh Padgham when Collins was recording the backing track for "Intruder", the first song on Gabriel's 1980 solo album. This, as well as Padgham's production, had been apparent on Face Value (1981), Collins' debut solo album. The "gated" drum sound would become an audio trademark of future Genesis and Collins albums.
"Invisible Touch" and "The Way We Walk" tour
Cover of the "Land of Confusion" single.The cover is inspired from the Beatles' album With the Beatles. The guitar riff accompanying the song owes its debt to The Who's Pete Townshend - subtly acknowledged in the line "[m]y generation will put it right".
In 1982, the band released the double live album Three Sides Live. The U.S. version of this album had three sides of live material (hence the album's title) plus one side of studio tracks. The studio side included the song "Paperlate" (sample (info)), again featuring the EWF horn section. In the UK, the three songs on the "Paperlate" side of the album had previously been released on the EP 3 X 3. This enabled the UK version of Three Sides Live to also contain further live material, albeit from earlier tours. The year was capped with Genesis performing in the company of Gabriel and Hackett under the name "Six of the best" for a one-off concert at the Milton Keynes bowl (sample (info)). The concert was hastily put together to help raise money for Gabriel's WOMAD project, which was suffering from considerable financial hardship.
The eponymous Genesis (1983) album (sometimes referred to as "Shapes" for its game-piece cover) was their third consecutive number 1 album in the UK. The album featured radio friendly pieces such as "Mama" (sample (info)) and "That's All". Genesis also re-introduced the band's flair for lengthy pieces in "Home by the Sea", which did particularly well in Asia for its use of the pentatonic scale. The album track "Just a Job to Do" became the theme song of the 1985 ABC detective drama The Insiders.
Genesis released their highest selling album, Invisible Touch (1986), at the height of Collins's popularity as a solo artist. The album yielded five US Top 5 singles, "Throwing it All Away", "In Too Deep", "Tonight, Tonight, Tonight", "Land of Confusion" (sample (info)) and "Invisible Touch" (sample (info)). The title track went to #1 in the United States, the only Genesis song to do so (despite only climbing to #15 in the UK). In 1987, Genesis became the first band to sell out four consecutive nights at Wembley Stadium . Genesis were the first band to use Vari*Lite technology, Jumbotron screens and the Prism sound system, all of which are now standard features of arena rock concerts.
Genesis performing "Land of Confusion" in Knebworth, England (August 2, 1992).
Earlier that year, Collins saw aspoof of himself on Spitting Image, a satirical British television show that featured politicians and celebrities in puppet form. Impressed with the representation, Collins and Genesis commissioned the show's creators, Peter Fluck and Roger Law, to work on the video for "Land of Confusion". The video was a sarcastic commentary on The Cold War, played to the perception of each coalition's leaders as being "trigger happy" with the nuclear "button". As well as puppet versions of Banks, Collins and Rutherford, the video also showed Ronald Reagan dressed as Superman. It was nominated for the MTV "Video of the Year", losing to Gabriel's