Illegal Alien

Album: Genesis (1983)
Charted: 46 44
Play Video


  • This is a light-hearted, humorous look at the frustrations an illegal immigrant Mexican faces when attempting to illegally enter the United States. Even though the lyrics are satirical, some listeners perceived it to be racially offensive. Phil Collins' phony Mexican accent doesn't help matters.
  • Particularly controversial was the part of the song where the immigrant offers sexual favors from his sister as a bribe to let him cross the border. This was edited from radio versions of the song.
  • This song was #13 in Blender magazine's list of the 50 Worst Songs Ever.

Comments: 15

  • Frank H from New OrleansWho could get offended by such a silly, humorous song. I really like the keyboards in this song. If this song offends you, you need preparation H.
  • Seventhmist from 7th HeavenSome twerps live to perceive *something* as "offensive." And why is it "racist" to ask that outsiders obey a nation's laws when they wish to enter it?
  • Jay from LowellGeez people, just enjoy the f'n song, it's lighthearted. I like Charlie-Montreal/Daniel-Baltimore/Jenny-Port Angelas/and ESPECIALLY ATHENA'S-Pheonix comments (the rest of you, get a damn life people!)
  • Patti from MichiganOther than the verse that mentions the sister who'd be willing to oblige, there's still a line missing in the lyrics posted here. After "Over the border, there lies the promised land," the next line is "Where everything comes easy. You just hold out your hand." That line is even in the video. Not sure why it wasn't posted.
  • Charlie from MontrealHi, this song is not bad. It's a fun song. The whole album is quite good.
  • Armin from GermanyI always considered this song to make fun of the prejudices of the U.S. Americans towards the Mexicans.
  • Rob from Bowie, MdI think this song is great! That being said, it's a bit long and can be mistaken offensive. Removing the "Sister that is willing to oblige" part isn't so bad.
  • Daniel from Baltimore, MdBlender could not be more wrong!!! This is a fine song, it's just not as good as "Firth Of Fifth", "Turn It On Again" or "Alone Tonight".
  • Esskayess from Dallas, TxNowadays the PC police would say 'undocumented.' Doesn't make it any less of a crime.
  • Jenny from Port Angeles, WaWhere's your sense of humor?? I love this song and get a laugh out it every time I hear it or see it!!! We need more things that help us laugh, at least I do!!!!
  • Jude Anne from Utica, NyI am a huge Genesis fan. I love every lyric and every note from them going way back to the beginning. However, Illegal Alien was the worst song ever. I could not stand the song or the video; and the fact that this song was composed by three brilliant, intelligent, and good looking men is unacceptable. It looked like they were struggling to have a good time in this video-I sit thru this video thinking, I must have an unconditional love for this band to sit thru this. My favourite from Genesis is In The Cage and how Genesis incorporates Cinema Show, Slipperman, and Afterglow into one is amazing and brilliant. I do love Genesis and Tony is a "hottie" and my favourite. Tony, I do love the words to Afterglow; they are haunting beautiful and memorable. Jude Anne, NY State
  • Athena from Phoenix, AzActually, Phil wouldn't need his passport to cross the border illegally like he sings in the song.
  • Athena from Phoenix, AzI loved the video for this song when I was a kid. I thought it was hilarious! And most of my family came from Mexico....legally.
  • David from N.providence, RiWell I don't know if many living in Los Angeles would be offended by this today. My guess would be no. Were they to play Mexico, for instance? Maybe. Not a bad song, if you take it for what it is - a humorous piece. I really can't stand it when people take a song like this and compare it to something like "Supper's Ready".
  • Joshua from La Crosse, WiI'm not the greatest fan of post-Steve Hackett Genesis, but this song and "Land of Confusion" resonate at least as well today as they did when first recorded. That said, I don't suppose Genesis will be performing this much on their 2007 reunion tour, especially not in cities like, say, Los Angeles.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Dr. John

Dr. JohnSongwriter Interviews

The good doctor shares some candid insights on recording with Phil Spector and The Black Keys.

Boz Scaggs

Boz ScaggsSongwriter Interviews

The "Lowdown" and "Lido Shuffle" singer makes a habit of playing with the best in the business.

Tom Waits Lyrics Quiz

Tom Waits Lyrics QuizMusic Quiz

Pool balls, magpies and thorns without roses - how well do you know your Tom Waits lyrics?

Randy Newman

Randy NewmanSongwriting Legends

Newman makes it look easy these days, but in this 1974 interview, he reveals the paranoia and pressures that made him yearn for his old 9-5 job.

Dave Edmunds

Dave EdmundsSongwriter Interviews

A renowned guitarist and rock revivalist, Dave took "I Hear You Knocking" to the top of the UK charts and was the first to record Elvis Costello's "Girls Talk."

Yacht Rock!

Yacht Rock!Song Writing

A scholarly analysis of yacht rock favorites ("Steal Away," "Baker Street"...) with a member of the leading YR cover band.