Invisible Touch

Album: Invisible Touch (1986)
Charted: 15 1

Songfacts®:

  • 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."
  • Tony Banks said of this song: "For us it's a fairly straightforward rock song. I think it works really well because it's concise. I never think I'm going to like it, but then when I hear it, I like it. Intellectually I'm not too sure about it, but it works."
  • 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."

Comments: 23

  • Seventhmist from 7th Heaven"And though she will mess up your life, you'll want her just the same." Definitely could be about drugs. And the song that follows it on the "Invisible Touch" album, "Tonight, Tonight, Tonight," sounds like an addict who needs to get money to his dealer for the drugs he desperately wants.
  • Zo from LithSome comments are so funny, because its not so simple to write a hit of such magnitude, it may be called pop or whatever, you have to have devine touch
  • Chris from SomewhereBob from France, I couldn't have said it better myself. I would also say that about people who say that today's music is (BLEEP!) and that music of the past is perfect.
  • Eliseu from Canoas, BrazilI don't know what's the point of trying to find drug references in any song.
  • Joe from Brooklyn, NyI do understand that the song is supposed to be about 'a woman who holds power over the singer'.
    That is supposed to be what 'She' represents. 'She' could mean something else.
    Read the lyrics slowly and see if 'She' could also mean cocaine. Just a thought...
  • Bob from La Roche-posay, FranceAlways makes me laugh this "sell out" speak....get a life ffs, you need to get one you know.....
  • Esskayess from Dallas, TxA friend of mine thought Collins was singing "She seems to have an invisible tough s**t." It never sounded much like that to me, but I still crack up when I hear it.
  • Andy from Lake City, Flphil actually stated the following song "tonight tonight" was about going to the dope dealer. phils duet "easy lover" was clearly cocaine. so it's safe to say "invisible touch" could be about the subtle changes drugs always cause...their "built in ability" to take everything good from your life. though drugs mess up your life, you'll want them just the same. i've heard once you take LSD "under your skin" you're "never quite the same" (even smoking strong pot changes something forever) if phil was trying to warn teenagers, most of them didn't understand his lyrics.
  • Adam from Boyce, VaMy man Kent from Palo Alto a few posts below me hit the nail right on the head! Its confusing to know what is Genesis and what's just Phil Collins cuz there is no difference in the style or sound. So I do believe Mike and Tony were just along for the ride.....lol.
  • Charles from Charlotte, NcRemind me never to watch American Psycho. LOL!
  • Kate from Wakefield, MaIf I was stuck on a desert island and had to choose which Genesis I wanted to listen to for the rest of my life, I would hands-down choose Gabriel-Genesis, as it has more substance and creativity.

    That said, I still enjoy this song and some other Collins-Genesis. It sounds like a totally different band, but sometimes I need the upbeat pop to pick me up.
  • Ressie from Medford, OrI love how Genesis songs are almost ALWAYS associates with chainsaws and whores now. This was a great song. My main interest in Genesis lies in the era of Peter Gabriel as lead singer, but Phil Collins isn't the antichrist I used to think him.
  • Pat from New York City, NyBateman is listening to Sussudio by Phil Collins when he engages witht the women. Prior to that, he goes on a rant about Genesis
  • Thomas from Suisun City, CaI happen to like this song and most from Genesis of the 80's. And no, I'm not a real pop fan. I listen more to Alice in Chains, Tool, System of a Down, type of rock. I just think Phil Collins made Genesis a success and it was because of songs like this one, That's All, and Another Day in Paradise. Now, I don't like how Phil Collins sold out to the crappier pop music when he started doing the Disney soundtracks.
  • Clarke from Pittsburgh, PaThis is one of the quintessential pop songs of the 1980's. So, it's no wonder to me that the hipsters hate it. There's room for both sides of Genesis, people.
  • Pete from Leeds, EnglandOk, so most of the early fans don't like Genesis's latter stuff. But in perspective they only did two and a half commercial albums Invisible Touch, Abacab and a few of the songs on We can't dance (Lumped in with Illegal Alien). They actually carried on being incredibly creative right to the end, Duke, Genesis and the other half of We can't dance are incredible. Abacab and Invisible Touch are not great albums and are not great Genesis but all bands move on and progress, they were just experimenting with different, more commercial sounds, and whats more succeeded in this as much as they succeeded in anything else. But they never sold out. Just did something different.
  • Sean from Chesapeake, VaI'm getting kind of tired of people saying Genesis was a "sellout" with this song. Music evolves, and bands and musicians evolve over time. Yes, I like the classis Genesis better myself, but this is still a very good song with a nice beat.
  • Ash from Charleston, WvGenesis is my second favorite band of all time, Pink Floyd being the first. But you will get no argument from me that everything on this album and those that followed is pretty much just crap. I always feel a bit embarassed to tell people how much I love Genesis, because I know they're probably thinking of this Genesis, not the one that put out such masterpieces as "Foxtrot," "Selling England By the Pound," "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway," "Wind and Wuthering" and so on.
  • Aj from Cleveland, GaSome of the lyrics seem to say "She reaches in and helps fight Polio"
  • Kent Lyle from Palo Alto, CaEven more unsettling is that so many Genesis songs of this era were almost indistinguishable from Collins' solo work. For example, "In the Air Tonight" is solo Collins but "Tonight, Tonight, Tonight" is Genesis. "Take Me Home" is Collins, "In Too Deep" is Genesis. Confused? Were Banks and Rutherford merely doing what they were told?
  • Chris from Marana, AzThis song is an important musical signpost which says, "The tribulations preceding the apocalypse have begun." Awful, simply awful; it was with this song and album that Genesis sunk into total irrelevancy. What is interesting about it however, is it is an archetypical example of how lazy so many musicians got in the 1980s.
  • Adrian from Wilmington, DeI was never really a fan of Genesis, but this song absolutely disgusts me and is the epitomy of a sellout. This absolutely turns its back on the creativity and uniqueness of the band, even after Gabriel's departure. What the hell were they thinking?!
  • Ziggy from Splat, CanadaActually, Patrick Bateman discusses Genesis while he's filming the two prostitutes.
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