Invisible Touch

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For the song, see Invisible Touch (song).

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Invisible Touch
Studio album by Genesis
Released 9 June 1986 (1986-06-09)
Recorded October 1985–March 1986
Studio The Farm, Surrey, England
Length 45:42
Label Charisma/Virgin (UK)
Atlantic (US)
Genesis chronology
Invisible Touch
We Can't Dance
Singles from Invisible Touch
  1. "Invisible Touch"
    Released: 19 May 1986 (1986-05-19)
  2. "Throwing It All Away"
    Released: 8 August 1986 (1986-08-08)
  3. "Land of Confusion"
    Released: 31 October 1986 (1986-10-31) (US)
    10 November 1986 (1986-11-10) (UK)
  4. "In Too Deep"
    Released: 23 August 1986 (1986-08-23) (UK)
    18 January 1987 (US)
  5. "Tonight, Tonight, Tonight"
    Released: 23 March 1987

Invisible Touch is the thirteenth studio album from the English rock band Genesis, released in June 1986 on the Charisma and Virgin labels in the UK and Atlantic Records in the U.S. The band recorded the album at The Farm, their own recording studio in Chiddingfold, Surrey, and continued their association with engineer and co-producer Hugh Padgham. It was recorded following the commercial success of Phil Collins's third solo album, No Jacket Required, and its supporting tour which increased his popularity as a solo artist.

Invisible Touch was a worldwide commercial success, reaching number one in the UK, Canada, and New Zealand, and peaking at No. 3 in the U.S. All five singles released from the album reached the top five on the Billboard Hot 100 chart,[1] with "Invisible Touch" peaking at No. 1, the band's only single to do so. The album received several mixed reviews after its release and retrospectively; several reviews, both positive and negative, have observed its similarity to Collins's solo records and their commercial pop sound. With estimated sales of 15 million copies worldwide, Invisible Touch remains the band's best-selling album. It was reissued with a new stereo and 5.1 surround sound mix in 2007.[2][3]


In March 1984, following the band's 1983–84 tour of North America and the UK in support of their 1983 studio album Genesis, the band took a break in activity. Rutherford formed his side project Mike + The Mechanics and released their first album and Banks worked on his second solo soundtrack album Soundtracks. Collins's popularity as a solo artist grew as a result of the worldwide success of his third solo album No Jacket Required. In a June 1985 interview during his 1985 world tour, Collins spoke of the band's intention to start work on the next Genesis album in October.[4] The three proceeded to write and record Invisible Touch at The Farm, their own recording studio in Chiddingfold, Surrey, with audio engineer and co-producer Hugh Padgham, who had also produced Genesis.


The Farm, pictured in 2006, where Invisible Touch was recorded.

By the time of Invisible Touch, we went in with such confidence: everything was flowing out of us. We were writing songs left, right and centre. The improvisation was producing results.

 — Tony Banks[5]

"Invisible Touch" originated as the band was working on "The Last Domino", the second part of "Domino". When Rutherford started playing an improvised guitar riff, Collins followed with an off-the-cuff lyric—"She seems to have an invisible touch"—which became the song's hook.[6] Rutherford expressed a desire to explore different themes in such a case, but felt the phrase "always felt so comfortable" from the beginning.[7] Collins rates the track as "a great pop song. It encapsulated the whole record and it pushed Genesis into a bit of an R&B area, a little like a Prince thing".[7]

"Tonight, Tonight, Tonight", according to Rutherford, developed from a band improvisation with Banks "improvising sound over a rhythm" played by Collins and himself.[6] Similar to that of "Invisible Touch", Collins then came out with "monkey" which led to its working title being "Monkey/Zulu" and the remaining lyrics, addressing the dangers of drug addiction, written around the phrase.[6] Rutherford described the song as "more of the old-style Genesis that covers a lot of ground musically and has a fairly involved instrumental passage in the middle".[6]

The lyrics to "Land of Confusion" were written by Rutherford. He recalled being struck with the flu when it was time for Collins to record the vocals, so Collins "came over to my house ... he sat on my bed like a secretary ... I was in a kind of delirious state with a very high temperature and I dictated it to him and I remember thinking, 'I think I told him the right thing ... Was it all rubbish or was it any good?'".[7] The song is a personal attack on the world's leaders, including Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and Mikhail Gorbachev.

"Anything She Does" (lyrics by Tony Banks) is about pornography, with the lyrics basically depicting the vocalist as singing to the girl in a poster that "decorate[s] the garage wall".

"Domino" is a track split into two sections, "In the Glow of the Night" and "The Last Domino". Rutherford thinks "Domino" is "one of the best things" the band has done.[8]

"Throwing It All Away" was a heavy guitar song in its original form, with Collins "drumming in a John Bonham style". However, as the chorus developed, its mood changed to that of a softer one "matched by the single love-song lyric".[9]

Three additional songs—"Feeding the Fire", "I'd Rather Be You", and "Do the Neurotic"—were recorded during the album's sessions but were cut from the final track selection. They were subsequently released as B-sides across the five singles released from the album from 1986 to 1987. Banks and Collins felt that neither fit the album's overall sound.[10] The songs were reissued in 2007 as part of the band's Genesis 1983–1998 box set.


Invisible Touch was released on 9 June 1986. It topped the UK Albums Chart for two weeks, the band's fourth consecutive UK number one album, and reached number three on the U.S. Billboard 200. The album's five singles reached the top 40 in the UK.[11]

The album was supported by the Invisible Touch Tour which ran from September 1986 to July 1987. The Live at Wembley Stadium concert video was released on VHS in 1988 and on DVD in 2003.

In 1987, Invisible Touch received an American Music Award nomination for Favorite Pop/Rock Band, Duo, or Group. Its co-producer Hugh Padgham was nominated for a Brit Award for Best British Producer,[12] and "The Brazilian" received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Pop Instrumental Performance. The music video for "Land of Confusion", featuring the Spitting Image puppets, was nominated for MTV's Video of the Year Award, but lost to their former lead vocalist Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer".

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars[13]
Chicago Tribune (Not favourable)[14]
Kerrang! 4.5/5 stars[15]
Los Angeles Times (Not favourable)[16]
Robert Christgau C+[17]
Rolling Stone (favourable)[18]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 4/5 stars[19]

In his 1986 review for Rolling Stone, J. D. Considine gave a positive review, stating that "every tune is carefully pruned so that each flourish delivers not an instrumental epiphany but a solid hook. Much of the credit for this belongs to Tony Banks, whose synth style has never seemed more appropriate; it's his keyboards that set the mood for 'In the Glow of the Night' and maintain the tension in 'Tonight, Tonight, Tonight'."[18] Daniel Brogan of the Chicago Tribune was not as impressed, claiming the album had "none of the inventiveness, illumination or power" of former Genesis frontman Peter Gabriel's contemporaneous solo album, So. He wrote "contributions from Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks seem far less apparent than usual", and he claimed, "Especially on side one, Invisible Touch could almost pass as outtakes from No Jacket Required". He finished by asking, "Will the Free World ever tire of Phil Collins?"[14] Several of the same criticisms were made by Steve Hochman of the Los Angeles Times, who asked "Was this record really necessary?". He stated that Invisible Touch "could easily pass as a Collins album. His thin voice and familiar MOR&B songwriting dominate, with only occasional evidence of input from Rutherford and Banks." He also pondered whether the album "was made to provide material for the next season of Miami Vice".[16]

In a retrospective review Stephen Thomas Erlewine, who reviewed the album for AllMusic, rates the album three stars out of five. He commented that "Invisible Touch was seen at the time as a bit of a Phil Collins solo album disguised as a Genesis album ... Genesis' poppiest album, a sleek, streamlined affair built on electronic percussion and dressed in synths" and he claimed "the heavy emphasis on pop tunes does serve the singer, not the band". However, he said that "[the] songs had big hooks that excused their coldness, and the arty moments sank to the bottom".[13] Mark Putterford of Kerrang! remarks on how the album shows "new ideas, new sounds, but still very definitely Genesis".[15] In 2014, Stevie Chick, writing for The Guardian, said the album's "bright, polished pop title track, the baby boomer agit-rock of "Land of Confusion", the genuinely affecting ballad "Throwing It All Away" – could have easily fitted on his [Collins's] solo albums". Chick reserved particular praise for "Domino", saying the track "proved a final gasp of brilliance before the blandness of 1991’s We Can't Dance and 1997’s inexplicable, Collins-less Calling All Stations".[20]

In popular culture[edit]

  • In the film American Psycho, protagonist Patrick Bateman proclaims that Invisible Touch is the group's "undisputed masterpiece", discussing its virtues at length with two prostitutes he has hired for the evening. The scene represents a chapter in the Bret Easton Ellis novel where Bateman muses about the significance of the album. "In Too Deep" plays during this sequence.[21]
  • During the late 1980s, instrumental excerpts from the track "Domino" were used on the BBC TV sports program Grandstand, as a bed over which presenter Desmond Lynam previewed what was coming up in that day's program.
  • "The Brazilian" is used in the television show Magnum, P.I. episode titled "Unfinished Business". It can also be heard (very faintly) in the 1986 animated film When The Wind Blows as a song playing on a transistor radio, and appears on the official soundtrack release for the film. Match of the Day (BBC) has also used the song as backdrop to a feature.
  • "Tonight, Tonight, Tonight" is used in the Magnum, P.I. Season 7 episode "Laura". It was also featured in a Television commercial for Michelob beer.[22]
  • "Land of Confusion" was used in "Freefall," the final episode of the 1980s cop show Miami Vice (a show on which Phil Collins had guest starred).
  • "In Too Deep" was also used in the 1986 film Mona Lisa starring Phil Collins' friend Bob Hoskins.
  • In the American Dad! episode "Old Stan in the Mountain", the song "Invisible Touch" is used as the theme music for Francine and Roger's dance.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Tony Banks, Phil Collins, and Mike Rutherford.

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Invisible Touch"   3:26
2. "Tonight, Tonight, Tonight"   8:49
3. "Land of Confusion"   4:45
4. "In Too Deep"   4:59
Side two
No. Title Length
1. "Anything She Does"   4:06
2. "Domino"
a. "In the Glow of the Night"
b. "The Last Domino""  
3. "Throwing It All Away"   4:41[23]
4. "The Brazilian"   4:49




Decade-end charts
Chart (1980–89) Position
Australian Albums Chart[24] 39
Chart procession and succession
Preceded by
A Kind of Magic by Queen
UK number one album
21 June – 11 July 1986
Succeeded by
True Blue by Madonna
Preceded by
So by Peter Gabriel
Canadian RPM 100 number-one album
26 July – 2 August 1986
Preceded by
True Stories by Talking Heads
New Zealand Chart number-one album
9 November 1986
Succeeded by
True Stories by Talking Heads


Region Certification Sales/shipments
Australia (ARIA)[48] Platinum 70,000^
France (SNEP)[49] Platinum 391,900[50]
Germany (BVMI)[51] Platinum 500,000^
Hong Kong (IFPI Hong Kong)[52] Gold 7,500*
Japan (Oricon Charts)[53] Gold 126,030[31]
Netherlands (NVPI)[54] Platinum 100,000^
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[55] Gold 50,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[56] 4× Platinum 1,200,000^
United States (RIAA)[57] 6× Platinum 6,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone


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  5. ^ Genesis 2007, p. 282.
  6. ^ a b c d Bowler and Dray, p. 202.
  7. ^ a b c Bowler and Dray, p. 203.
  8. ^ Bowler and Dray, p. 205.
  9. ^ Bowler and Dray, p. 204.
  10. ^
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  13. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Invisible Touch – Genesis". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 27 June 2011. 
  14. ^ a b Brogan, Daniel (27 June 1986). "Genesis' `Invisible Touch' Low on Inventiveness, Power". (Chicago Tribune). Retrieved 22 February 2012. 
  15. ^ a b Putterford, Mark (26 June 1986). "Genesis 'Invisible Touch'". Kerrang! 123. London, UK: United Magazines ltd. pp. 14–15. 
  16. ^ a b Hochman, Steve (29 June 1986). "Summer Album Roundup : Gtr And Genesis Lack The Touch". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 18 September 2011. 
  17. ^ "Consumer Guide Album: Genesis: Invisible Touch". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 2 March 2012. 
  18. ^ a b Considine, J.D. (14 August 1986). "Genesis: Invisible Touch : Music Reviews". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 1 December 2007. Retrieved 8 June 2012. 
  19. ^ Nathan Brackett; Christian David Hoard (2004). The new Rolling Stone album guide. New York: Simon & Schuster. pp. 327–328. ISBN 978-0-7432-0169-8. 
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  38. ^ "allmusic ((( Invisible Touch > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums )))". Retrieved 14 September 2011. 
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  50. ^ "Les Albums Platine". (in French). SNEP. Retrieved 31 August 2011. 
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  • Bowler, Dave; Dray, Bryan (1992). Genesis: A Biography. Sidgwick & Jackson Ltd. ISBN 978-0-283-06132-5. 
  • Banks, Tony; Collins, Phil; Gabriel, Peter; Hackett, Steve; Rutherford, Mike (2007). Dodd, Philipp, ed. Genesis. Chapter and Verse. Weidenfeld and Nicholson. ISBN 978-0-297-84434-1. 

External links[edit]