“Firth of Fifth” was a song by Genesis from the album “Selling England by the Pound”. It was a very well received album that was released in October of 1973. The title was a pun on a then current Labour Party slogan that reference the Firth of Forth, an estuary of the River Forth. The title was used to show that the band had not become to US oriented.

The song starts with a grand piano intro and features a flute melody by Steve Hackett, a synth instrumental section and more piano. There is some brief singing by Peter Gabriel, and then Peter Banks concludes on piano.


The path is clear
Though no eyes can see
The course laid down long before.
And so with gods and men
The sheep remain inside their pen,
Though many times they’ve seen the way to leave.

He rides majestic
Past homes of men
Who care not or gaze with joy,
To see reflected there
The trees, the sky, the lily fair,
The scene of death is lying just below.

The mountain cuts off the town from view,
Like a cancer growth is removed by skill.
Let it be revealed.
A waterfall, his madrigal.
An inland sea, his symphony.

Undinal songs
Urge the sailors on
Till lured by sirens’ cry.

Now as the river dissolves in sea,
So Neptune has claimed another soul.
And so with gods and men
The sheep remain inside their pen,
Until the shepherd leads his flock away.

The sands of time were eroded by
The river of constant change.

From 1973 onwards, the piano intro was omitted during live performances because Banks did not want to use the electric piano that he used on stage.

Also on the album:

  • 1.1 Dancing with the Moonlit Knight
  • 1.2 I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)
  • 1.3 Firth of Fifth
  • 1.4 More Fool Me
  • 1.5 The Battle of Epping Forest
  • 1.6 After the Ordeal
  • 1.7 The Cinema Show
  • 1.8 Aisle of Plenty

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