Jason Ankeny [allmusic.com]
A founding member of the long-running art rock band Genesis, Mike Rutherford also made the occasional excursion into solo projects, most notably the pop combo Mike + the Mechanics. Born October 2, 1950, in Guildford, England, Rutherford formed Genesis while a student at the exclusive secondary school Charterhouse. Beginning with their 1969 debut LP, From Genesis to Revelation, the group earned a devoted cult following for their richly complex, theatrical approach, reaching their creative peak with the 1974 double-album The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. With the subsequent departure of frontman Peter Gabriel, however, Genesis installed drummer Phil Collins as lead vocalist, pursuing a more concise, pop-oriented direction that resulted in the mainstream chart success of records like 1980's And Then There Were Three and 1981's Abacab. In the meantime, Rutherford issued his first solo effort, 1980's Small Creep's Day, a concept album based on the Peter C. Brown novel; Acting Very Strange followed two years later. In the wake of Genesis' 1983 self-titled LP -- which became a Top Ten hit on the strength of the singles ''That's All'' and ''Illegal Alien'' -- in 1985 Rutherford formed Mike + the Mechanics. Featuring former Ace and Squeeze member Paul Carrack on vocals and keyboards, the group's eponymous debut yielded a pair of Top Ten smashes, ''Silent Running'' and ''All I Need Is a Miracle.'' Returning to the Genesis fold long enough to tour behind the 1986 blockbuster Invisible Touch, Rutherford reconvened Mike + the Mechanics in 1988 for The Living Years; the title track, inspired by the death of Rutherford's father, topped the U.S. singles chart. The group issued Word of Mouth in 1991, although its release was overshadowed by the appearance of Genesis' We Can't Dance that same year. The fourth Mike + the Mechanics album, Beggar on a Beach of Gold, followed in 1995; two years later, Genesis issued Calling All Stations. The first album recorded minus Collins, who'd exited to pursue his own solo career on a full-time basis, it was both a commercial and critical disappointment.