Dancing with the Moonlit Knight

Song Review by

In "Dancing With the Moonlit Knight," Genesis played with England's Americanization and symbols from the Arthurian legend to create strangely vague lyrics and one of their most haunting pre-1976 songs. Sung live by a Peter Gabriel dressed in a Union Jack dress, helmet and lance, personifying Britannia (old Britain's personification, inspired by the Greeks' Athena), this song first appeared as the opening track to the band's fifth LP Selling England by the Pound, released in November 1973. The album's title is actually taken from the song's lyrics. The strength of "Dancing With the Moonlit Knight" resides in the blending of lyricism (the first half) and energy (the second half). Gabriel's theatrical singing is backed by delicate acoustic instrumentation which shifts to energy-packed madness upon his invitation to "join the dance," emulating the driving force found in the 1970 "The Knife." The piece, both in the studio and live, contained some of Phil Collins' most inventive drumming. This song was part of Genesis' shows in 1973-1974. It was dropped (like many others) upon the release of The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway and rarely came back into the set. It was performed at the 1982 reunion show, to fans' delight. A live version from 1973 can be found on Genesis Archives, Vol. 1: 1967-1975.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Selling England by the Pound 1973 Atco / WEA International 8:04
No Image 1974 Arc Music
Supernatural Fairy Tales: The Progressive Rock Era 1996
Various Artists
Rhino / Warner Bros.
Not About Us [US] 1997 Atlantic 0:00