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Album: Invisible TouchReleased: 1986Charted:
Phil Collins wrote the lyrics, which are about a woman who holds power over the singer. He desires her even though he feels there is something sinister about her.
Genesis had 17 Top 40 hits in the US, but this was their only #1. They never had a #1 in their native UK.
The Invisible Touch album marked Genesis' complete transformation from complex, theatrical music (starting when Peter Gabriel was lead singer) to condensed pop songs. They lost some fans along the way, but gained many more.
According to Phil Collins, an influence on this song was the 1984 Sheila E. hit "The Glamorous Life
," which was written by Prince. That song is about a woman who gets the best of men despite (or because of) her vanity.
This was referenced in the movie American Psycho
. A homicidal maniac named Patrick Bateman (played by Christian Bale) gives a lecture to the man he is about to kill on how this album is their undisputed masterpiece. He kills him while "Hip to Be Square
" by Huey Lewis & the News drowns out the sound of the murder.
Genesis' former lead singer, Peter Gabriel, had his first #1 hit, "Sledgehammer
," a few weeks before this went to #1.
Phil Collins remained a member of Genesis even after launching his wildly successful solo career; by the time this song was released, he had issued three solo albums and already notched the first four of his seven #1 solo singles. When "Invisible Touch" topped the Billboard Hot 100, it was the first instance in the history of the chart of a group following an individual band member to the summit.
Explaining why he stayed in the band, Collins told Rolling Stone, "When you're in a band, it's family. There's the road crew and their families to think about. If you just flippantly say, 'I'm leaving.' They're like, 'We've just bought a house with a mortgage.' You can't do that to people."
This song was borne out of an inspirational guitar riff Mike Rutherford played while working on "The Last Domino," the latter half of "Domino," a two-part track on the Invisible Touch album. It very nearly became a part of that song, but it had a different character that stood out to lead singer Phil Collins. He explained: "As soon as he started playing that I started singing, 'she seems to have an invisible touch.' At that moment we just knew that was a great hook, and then we just sort of wrote a song around it."
This was featured on the animated TV series American Dad! in the 2012 episode "Old Stan in the Mountain" and the TV series The Angry Video Game Nerd in the 2006 episode "Bible Games."
MTV had a lot to do with this song's success. Genesis was one of the network's biggest stars at the time, and they put this video in hot rotation. In the clip, the band members film each other with hand-held cameras and act rather silly. Phil Collins sings into his drumstick and mock directs, sending up the whole concept of a music video. It was cheap but effective, as it helped personalize the band and played to Collins' acting talents - he performed in stage productions when he was younger.
The video was directed by Jim Yukich, who worked on many of the Genesis clips, including "Land Of Confusion
," which won a Grammy for Best Concept Music Video.
In 1986, Genesis released a collection of their music videos called "Visible Touch."