The Carpet Crawlers

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"The Carpet Crawlers"
Genesis - The Carpet Crawlers.jpg
Single by Genesis
from the album The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway
B-side"The Waiting Room (Evil Jam)" (live)
ReleasedApril 1975
RecordedAugust–October 1974
GenreProgressive rock[1]
LabelCharisma/Virgin (UK)
Atco/Atlantic (US)
Songwriter(s)Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, Steve Hackett, Mike Rutherford
Producer(s)John Burns and Genesis
Genesis singles chronology
"Counting Out Time"
"The Carpet Crawlers"
"A Trick of the Tail"
"The Carpet Crawlers 1999"
The Carpet Crawlers 1999.jpg
Cover for the 1999 re-recorded version.
Single by Genesis
from the album Turn It On Again: The Hits
Released2 November 1999
Songwriter(s)Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, Steve Hackett, Mike Rutherford
Producer(s)Trevor Horn
Genesis singles chronology
"Not About Us" (Live)
"The Carpet Crawlers 1999"
"Silent Sun 2006"

"The Carpet Crawlers" is a song by the English progressive rock band Genesis, recorded for their sixth studio album The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks wrote most of the music, with the help of Peter Gabriel. Lyrically, the song tells the section of the album's story whereby Rael, the lead character, finds himself in a red carpeted corridor surrounded by kneeling people slowly crawling towards a wooden door. Rael dashes by them towards the door and goes through it. Behind the door is a table with a candlelit feast on it, and behind that, a spiral staircase that leads upwards out of sight.

The song was released in April 1975 as the album's second single under the title "The Carpet Crawlers". In 1995, Genesis re-recorded the song with producer Trevor Horn that featured Gabriel and Collins sharing lead vocals, released as "The Carpet Crawlers 1999". This marked the last time both singers recorded with Genesis, as Gabriel had left the band in 1975 and Collins quit in 1996.


"The Carpet Crawlers" reappears on the 1976 Genesis: In Concert with Bill Bruford on drums, and on Seconds Out, Genesis's 1977 live album, with Chester Thompson on drums. It was also played on subsequent tours in 1980, 1981, 1983, 1984, 1998, 2007, and the Six of the Best reunion concert with Peter Gabriel. It was also performed once during the 1992 tour.

A re-recorded version, called "The Carpet Crawlers 1999", was released on the compilation album Turn It On Again: The Hits; this is the last recording to date by the 5-man line-up of Peter Gabriel, Steve Hackett, Tony Banks, Phil Collins and Mike Rutherford, and is also the last studio recording by any configuration of Genesis to date. Gabriel and Collins share the role of lead vocals, ultimately harmonizing toward the end of the song. Collins contributes percussion programming as well, under a more contemporary drum and bass influence.[2] The song's final verse was planned on being sung by Genesis' third singer Ray Wilson, but he left the band so the plan was dropped and the final verse was left out.[3]

The B-sides of the 1999 single were "Turn It On Again" and "Follow You Follow Me". The song is also included as the final track of the 2007 live album Live Over Europe 2007 and on the live DVD When in Rome 2007.

Performance variations[edit]

On the 1974 studio version, Peter Gabriel sang an introductory verse beginning with "There is lambs' wool under my naked feet...", while from 1976 onwards Phil Collins omitted the introduction, and started the song with "The crawlers cover the floor...". This later live version omitting the introductory verse is simply referred to as "The Carpet Crawl", as it is listed on Seconds Out. The song as sung by Collins was a fixture through the 1981/1982 tours, and was played as the final encore for each date of the 2007 Turn It On Again Tour.


  • Tony Banks – ARP Pro-Soloist & RMI Electra piano (1974), keyboards and additional programming (1999)
  • Phil Collins – drums, percussion, backing vocals (1974), co-lead vocals and programmed drums (1999)
  • Peter Gabriel – lead vocals and flute (1974), co-lead vocals and additional programming (1999)
  • Steve Hackett – electric guitar
  • Mike Rutherford – 12-string guitar, bass guitar, bass pedals

Cover versions[edit]

  • A cover was arranged and recorded by the German symphonic rock/chant band Gregorian for their 2009 album Masters of Chant: Chapter VII.
  • A version was also recorded by John Ford (ex-Strawbs) for a tribute album.
  • Another version was covered by the jazz band Fragile on their 2007 cover album smile and by Human Drama on their 1993 'Pin Ups' release.
  • Nick D'Virgilio, the drummer on 1997 Calling All Stations Album and Mark Hornsby covered the song as part of their Rewiring Genesis: A Tribute To The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway Project in 2008.[4]
  • It was covered by Mark Kozelek on his 2013 covers album Like Rats.
  • This song was recorded for Steve Hackett's album Genesis Revisited II selection, together with former Genesis singer Ray Wilson.[5]


  1. ^ Murphy, Sean (17 November 2015). "The 25 Best Classic Progressive Rock Albums". PopMatters. Retrieved 2 June 2019. it also features one of the all-time examples of prog rock perfection: 'The Carpet Crawlers'.
  2. ^ Holm-Hudson, Kevin (2008). Genesis and The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. p. 79. ISBN 978-0-75466-139-9.
  3. ^ Greene, Andy (28 June 2016). "Flashback: Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins Sing Genesis Classic". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 19 August 2019.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 1 February 2013. Retrieved 4 February 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "Steve Hackett's Official Music Website". HackettSongs. Retrieved 10 October 2016.

External links[edit]