Follow You, Follow Me

Album: And Then There Were Three (1978)
Charted: 7 23

Songfacts®:

  • This is a very straightforward song about being utterly infatuated with a girl and asking if she will always be by your side. The lyric was written by Mike Rutherford while the band was working it out in a studio jam. "When I wrote the lyric, out came this lovely little song, catchy without being soppy," he told Mojo. "It took ten minutes. I thought, 'F--k, it can't be that easy.'"
  • This was the first hit for Genesis in the US. In 1974, when Peter Gabriel was still their lead singer, their song "I know what I like (In Your Wardrobe)" made #21 in the UK, but until "Follow You," Genesis was very much a cult band. They would grow increasingly popular over the next ten years and had to deal with a certain resentment from fans of their '70s output.

    Phil Collins explained during a 1983 press conference that he understood why these original fans would be upset, as he remembered watching Yes rise in popularity, which meant he could no longer just go see them every week along with the few hundred other fans who followed the band.
  • With lines like, "Every day is such a perfect day to spend alone with you," this song was written specifically to appeal to a female audience, as the band had determined that about 95% of their fanbase was male. It certainly redressed that balance and opened up a new chapter of more accessible songs for the band.
  • This was one of the first songs all three members of Genesis helped write. Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford wrote most of the album, as Phil Collins was not yet a prolific writer.
  • In a Songfacts interview with Mike Rutherford, he said, "At the time, it was meant to be part of a longer song but it just sort of worked. I wrote a very simple lyric, I guess about my wife really now. It was the first time I wrote a lyric that direct and that quick. I didn't analyze it, it just came out very quickly. And then I thought, 'Do you know what, it's so simple it works in an honest way.'"
  • The album title reflects the three members who were left after Peter Gabriel and guitarist Steve Hackett left the band. This was the first single released with the lineup of Collins, Rutherford, and Banks.
  • This marked the first "love" lyric on a Genesis song. When the band was writing longer, more complex songs, they felt the lyrics needed to be similarly complex, not just "boy likes girl." There was also another reason they hadn't written romantic lyrics - "I was a repressed person," said Tony Banks.
  • Peter Gabriel had left the band three years before this song was released. Their first two post-Gabriel albums, A Trick of the Tail and Wind & Wuthering, were well-received by their fans, which answered questions about whether or not the band could survive without him. "Follow You, Follow Me" was the first single from their next album And Then There Were Three, and it marked a departure from their previous sound. The most obvious difference was the length of the song - a tidy 3:19 that was perfect for radio play.
  • A version with just voice and guitar sung by Rina Mushonga was used in an Audi commercial. Mike Rutherford told Mojo magazine: "It sounds terribly simple and there's a charm I never quite realized at the time."

Comments: 17

  • Gary from Chandler, AzI bought this on 45 single when it came out (Atlantic Records), I loved the incredibly unique intro. I get moving the needle to the beginning just to hear that amazing sound. The intro is slightly different on the single then on the Album, "And Then There Were Three" from which it was extracted from. The single's B-Side was another amazing song- not included on the album, "Inside & Out" (Not to be confused with Phil Collin's "Inside Out" from his solo career, much later). This song, "Inside & Out" is a hauntingly beautiful song about being young and making a big mistake that changes your life forever. WOW! I ignored this side of the 45, choosing always to hear that incredible "Follow You" intro. Now 35 years later, I found it on ITUNES and have fallen in love with it. It starts of very slow and by the end, it ris rocking and rolling like the best song ever! How did I miss this masterpiece for so many years? Oh yeah, because of how good "Follow You, Follow Me" is.
  • Eva from Selma, AlI don't in anyway feel like this song was meant to imply a woman should follow her man around, or any other kind of muslim thing going on here.After all, the song was written, played, and sung by MALES! If anything, I would think it might make men feel themselves being protrayed as weak because of the lyrics, after all, how many men tell their women things like this? Not many I would imagine. Maybe if they did, they might find more women in their lives. Everyone wants to be needed and told that at certain times.Good going for Genesis to have the foresight to see it and use it to their advantage. I actually see it as following one another, and being side by side, not one in front or back. I guess everyone has their own issues though. :) LOVE THE SONG, ALWAYS WILL!
  • Jane from Hong Kong, Hong KongThis was the first song at our wedding also. It is a beautiful song. Have been a lifelong genesis fan...... thanks to my brothers!
  • Eamon from Motherwell, ScotlandBryony,
    Genesis had approx. 5% female fans - YOU are one of the 5%! It is well documented that this song sought to redress the heavy dependancy upon mainly male followers. I am sure that you are an avid Genesis fan and dont doubt it, but chill-out, I believe the balance is now 70-30% split, so much more inclusive of welcoming female fans. Hope this helps clarify!
    Cheers, Eamon, Motherwell.
  • Sue from Derby, United KingdomA beautiful song played at my husbands funeral as the coffin left the church.He was a big Genesis fan so we thought this was very fitting.
  • L from Los Angeles, CaDon't listen to Tim, Lisa, this is a great song for your wedding (I wish I would have thought of it) and not sumissive at all-I don't know where that is coming from. I thought this song was great 30 years ago, I do now, and believe me I don't "walk behind" my husband, who I have been with since this song came out. It's a sweet love song.
  • Tim from California, CaCan you pick a more submissive song for your wedding. My gosh this is perfect wedding song if you were Muslim. Follow you, follow me. You might as well have your husband put you on a leash and walk behind him.
  • Sue from Erie, PaThis is my FAVORITE song of all time! here is just something romantic and different about this song, like no other!
    -Sue, Erie, PA
  • Edward from Dublin, IrelandWhen you hear songs like this memories come flooding back like some dam pressured moment. Extraordinarily beautiful song from Genesis.
  • Lisa from Flower Mound, TxWe chose this as our "wedding song." We wanted something different than the usual love songs usually chosen. Thanks Mike, the Red House Painters version of this song is great! I just downloaded it.
    Lisa, Flower Mound, TX
  • Pete from Leeds, EnglandEamon. I saw Phil on the Sunday at Glasgow. What a fantastic show that was. Introduction by Peter Kay no less. He and Chester Thompson tore up the drums in a duet and Take me Home was so powerful as it was Phil's last ever major show. My only regret is I was too young to have caught Genesis in their prime. Oh Well. Gotta save up for a Pete Gabriel and a Steve Hackett show now.
  • Bryony from Near Brighton, EnglandI disagree that the original Gabriel inclusive Genesis wrote epic music that discouraged a female audience. As a 17 yr old female, one of my favourite pieces is Supper's Ready, a song that apparently is more male oriented. I tend to dislike more their commercial works as it can be seen that they sold out and abandoned prog, although it is still quite good.
  • Mike from Philadelphia, PaThe Red House Painters do an excellent version of this song.
  • Howard from St. Louis Park, MnWhen I first heard this song, I thought it sounded like something by Cat Stevens, until I found out it was by Genesis.
  • Eamon from Motherwell, ScotlandThis was credited as the first Genesis song to be written to specifically attract the female masses. Genesis traditionally wrote elongated, mythical songs with deep meaning lyrics that simply did not attract the female "Loving Soft Side."

    I queued for 18 hours in Blackpool front to see Genesis at the ABC in January, 1980, temps were -10 degrees. But it was all worth it, the concert was brilliant. I have seen Genesis 17 times now as well as Mike & The Mechanics; Peter Gabriel; Steve Hackett and of course Phil Collins - next at Glasgow on Saturday 19th November.
  • Andy from Cleveland, OhSome call this the beginning of the end for Genesis. This was the first giant hit for the group, the launching pad for the string of hits that would make them the supergroup of the 80s. "Deep In The Motherlode" was another song off the same album, and also got some airplay, but not nearly as much. It's a shame, too, because I think it was the better of the two songs.
  • Charles from Charlotte, NcI love the rhythm/percussion in this song.
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