Formed in 1967 by the union of two school bands called The Garden Wall and The Anon. They recorded a few demos for Jonathan King who named them Genesis and got them a record deal with Decca Records. In 1969 they released their first record, From Genesis to Revelation, which featured the band's original lineup of Peter Gabriel on vocals, Tony Banks on keyboards, Mike Rutherford on bass, Anthony Phillips on guitar and John Silver on drums. It was a straightforward affair, and it wasn't until their sophmore effort Trespass that they started to show the progressive edge that made their classic lineup such a hit. With John Mayhew stepping in on drums, it's generally cited as their first truly progressive album. However, it wasn't until '71 that the band fully came into shape. Phillips departed due to stage fright, and Mayhew also left the picture.
They were replaced by Steve Hackett and Phil Collins, to form what is generally considered the classic Genesis lineup. With the Gabriel/Rutherford/Banks/Hackett/Collins line-up, Genesis became quickly one of the most important progressive bands from the 70s along with Yes, King Crimson and Emerson, Lake & Palmer. 1971's Nursery Cryme is generally considered their breakthrough, but their most famous records from that period are Foxtrot (1972), Selling England by the Pound (1973) and the double set The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (1974).
In 1975, Gabriel left the band, leaving Phil Collins to assume vocal duties for their two 1976 albums A Trick of the Tail and Wind & Wuthering, as well as the following tour, doccumented on the live album Seconds Out (which features prog legend Bill Bruford on drums for about half the tracks). After Steve Hackett's departure in 1977, Collins began to assume control, with 1978's ...And Then There Were Three... and 1980's Duke getting poppier and less progressive.
During this time Daryl Stuermer became their full-time touring guitarist and Chester Thompson jumped on board as touring drummer. It wasn't until Abacab in 1981 that the band really took a headfirst dive into the world of pop. As Collins' solo career also started to take off, the band (now a trio) progressively got more commercial success with a more accessible pop sound. Invisible Touch (1986) provided the band's first #1 in the USA charts.