Congo (song)

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Single by Genesis
from the album Calling All Stations
  • "Papa He Said"
  • "Banjo Man"
Released15 September 1997
FormatCD, 7" vinyl, 12" vinyl
RecordedThe Farm, Surrey
GenreAlternative rock
Length4:03 (single version)
4:51 (album version)
LabelAtlantic (US & Canada)
Virgin Records (rest of the world)
Songwriter(s)Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford
Producer(s)Genesis, Nick Davis
Genesis singles chronology
"Tell Me Why"

"Congo" is the first single from the Genesis album Calling All Stations, released in September 1997. The single marked the debut of Ray Wilson as the lead vocalist for the band. It was a hit across Europe.


The song is not about the African country, but rather about two people who cannot get along with each other, leaving them to want to be rid of each other and as distant as possible. Musically, the song opens with a Caribbean drum beat while an African-style tribe is heard chanting "Congo the Congo", before the song launches into a darker guitar-driven melody. Appropriately, part of the song's refrain takes its lyrical meter from the conga (Latin American rhythm). The album version features an alternative synthesizer ending that fades out, while the single version has an earlier fade-out that excludes the ending.

Music video[edit]

The music video, directed by Howard Greenhalgh, features industrialised imagery, with the band playing in a heavily guarded shipyard manned with slave labour. Massive water cannons are used to control uprisings, and the band is doused with water quite often throughout the video. The video was shot at the Mediterranean Film Studios in Malta.


The song's B-sides include "Papa He Said" and "Banjo Man". "Banjo Man" was originally slated for inclusion on Calling All Stations, but it was removed from the album's track listing at the last moment. The Enhanced CD version of the single had an edited version of "Second Home by the Sea" as the B-side.

Track listings[edit]

CD single[edit]

1."Congo" (edit)Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford3:13
2."Papa He Said" (Non-album track)Banks, Rutherford4:07
3."Banjo Man" (Non-album track)Banks, Rutherford, Ray Wilson4:20

Enhanced CD single[edit]

1."Congo"Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford4:51
2."Second Home by the Sea" (edited version)Collins, Banks, Rutherford4:54

CD promo[edit]

1."Congo" (edit)Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford3:13
2."Papa He Said" (Non-album track)Banks, Rutherford4:07


"Congo" was the band's lead single from Calling All Stations, and was played at all of the band's live shows on the Calling All Stations tour, generally in the middle of the set. The single version appeared on the band's greatest hits collection Turn It On Again: The Hits. Wilson has performed the song live for his solo Genesis Klassik tour.

Chart performance[edit]

The song did not chart on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. In the US, it reached position #25 on 30 August 1997 in the Mainstream Rock Charts. The single was the most added track to US Radio for the week 15 August 1997.

Chart (1997) Peak
UK Singles Chart[1] 29
Austrian Singles Chart[2] 35
German Singles Chart[3] 31
Hungary (Mahasz)[4] 5
Swiss Singles Chart[5] 32
US Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks[6] 25



  1. ^ "Chart Stats – Genesis – Congo". Retrieved 19 March 2009.
  2. ^ "Genesis – Congo –". Retrieved 19 March 2009.
  3. ^ "Chartverfolgung / Genesis / Single". Music Line (in German). Germany: Media Control Charts. Archived from the original on 23 July 2013. Retrieved 9 November 2011.
  4. ^ "Top 10 Hungary" (PDF). Music & Media. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
  5. ^ "Genesis – Congo –". Retrieved 19 March 2009.
  6. ^ "allmusic – Genesis > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles". Retrieved 19 March 2009.

External links[edit]