Follow You Follow Me

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"Follow You Follow Me"
Follow You Follow Me.jpg
Single by Genesis
from the album ...And Then There Were Three...
  • "Ballad of Big" (UK)
  • "Inside and Out" (US)
ReleasedMarch 1978 [1]
RecordedSeptember–October 1977
GenreSoft rock[2]
  • 3:59 (album version)
  • 3:19 (US edit)
Genesis singles chronology
"Your Own Special Way"
"Follow You Follow Me"
"Many Too Many"

"Follow You Follow Me" is a love song written and recorded by English rock band Genesis. It was released in March 1978 as the first single from their ninth studio album, ...And Then There Were Three... (1978). The music was composed by the band, and the lyrics were written by bassist and guitarist Mike Rutherford.[3] The single became Genesis' first top 10 hit in the UK and first top 40 hit in the US, reaching No. 7 and No. 23 respectively.


Like much of the rest of the album, the slower, sentimental "Follow You Follow Me" was a departure from most of their previous work as a progressive rock band, featuring a simple melody, romantic lyrics and a verse-chorus structure. Although previous albums contained love ballads, such as Selling England by the Pound's "More Fool Me" and "Your Own Special Way" from Wind & Wuthering (1976), "Follow You Follow Me" was the first worldwide pop success by the group. The band felt that their music was attracting mainly male audiences, so this song was written specifically to address the imbalance.[4]


The song started from a chord sequence by Rutherford, who also said he wrote the lyrics in about ten minutes.[5] At the time, the band usually wrote songs individually. Keyboardist Tony Banks was quoted:

It was our only truly group-written number. Mike played the riff, then I started playing a chord sequence and melody line on it, which Phil then centralized around. It worked so well as a very simple thing; it was enough as it stood. I'd just written a simple love lyric for "Many Too Many", and I think Mike was keen to try the same thing. Maybe "Follow You Follow Me" was almost too banal, but I got used to it. I think we find it much easier to write long stories than simple love songs.[3]

Drummer and vocalist Phil Collins described it as "a great rhythm track" but said it "was not intended to be a hit single".[3]

Chart performance[edit]

At the time of release, "Follow You Follow Me" became the band's most successful single, reaching #7 on the UK Singles chart, peaking at #23 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, #23 on the U.S. Cashbox Top 100 chart [6] and #21 on the Adult Contemporary chart,[7][8] #16 on the Australian singles charts,[9] and #22 on the NZ singles charts.[10][11] The song is included in the 2005 book, Rock Song Index: The 7500 Most Important Songs for the Rock and Roll Era, which states "the formerly progressive Genesis begins to proceed without impediment toward the Top 10".[12]

Music video[edit]

The music video for the song was a mimed live performance of the band filmed at Shepperton Studios. It later appeared on their DVD The Video Show (2004). In the video Banks is wearing a Vancouver Canucks hockey team sweater. The main scene has Collins using a shaker-type instrument while singing, but he was also separately filmed playing the drums.

Live performances[edit]

"Follow You Follow Me" was played live during the …And Then There Were Three…,[13] Duke,[14] Three Sides Live Encore tour,[15] Genesis,[16] Invisible Touch (1986 set only),[17] Calling All Stations (with Ray Wilson on vocals),[18] and Turn It On Again tours.[19] An excerpt of the song was also played on the We Can't Dance Tour, as part of an "Old Medley" of Genesis songs.[20] The band would include the song as the last song in their acoustic set for The Last Domino? Tour, following "That's All" and "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway".

During the Turn It On Again Tour, Collins performed on the drums as well as the vocals (making it one of very few songs in which he performs both simultaneously), while animated line art of a selection of the band's album art played in the background video screens. The first and last scenes in the animated sequence show the "father" character from the We Can't Dance album cover, raising his hand. A bright white spotlight (on Collins) lights up at the beginning of the song, and turns itself off at the end.[21]

The song was also performed live on Collins' solo Not Dead Yet Tour,[22] as well as by Mike + the Mechanics (with Tim Howar on vocals) during their Out of the Blue tour[23] and on Ray Wilson's solo tours.[24]


In popular culture[edit]

A cover of the song by the group Vapor and the singer Adaline is used in the short promotional film Lily and the Snowman by the Canadian theater chain Cineplex,[25] which was shown in its theaters before any main feature in 2015.


  1. ^ Dodd, Philip (2007). Genesis: Chapter & Verse (1st ed.). Weidenfeld&Nicolson. p. 350. ISBN 978-0-297-84434-1.
  2. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "AllMusic Review". AllMusic. Archived from the original on 5 December 2017. Retrieved 24 August 2015. Its calm, insistent melody, layered with harmonies, is a perfect soft rock hook
  3. ^ a b c Jon Young. "The Genesis Autodiscography". Trouser Press. March 1982 issue
  4. ^ Dave Bowler and Bryan Dray. Genesis: A Biography. ISBN 0-283-06175-8
  5. ^ Lester, Paul (20 July 2017). "The Stories Behind The Songs : Genesis". Classic Rock. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  6. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2014). Cash Box Pop Hits 1952-1996. Sheridan Books, Inc. p. 158. ISBN 978-0-89820-209-0.
  7. ^ Genesis UK chart history, The Official Charts Company. Retrieved 18 May 2012.
  8. ^ "Genesis - Follow You, Follow Me - Billboard Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  9. ^ "Australian Top 100 Singles". Kent Music Report. 25 September 1978.
  10. ^ "Official Top 40 Singles". Recorded Music NZ. 23 July 1978.
  11. ^ "Genesis — Follow You Follow Me".
  12. ^ Pollock, Bruce (2005). Rock Song Index: The 7500 Most Important Songs for the Rock and Roll Era. Routledge. p. 107. ISBN 978-0415970730.
  13. ^ And Then There Were Three Songs & Dates. Retrieved on 2 December 2011.
  14. ^ Duke Tour Songs & Dates. Retrieved on 2 December 2011.
  15. ^ Three Sides Live Encore Tour Songs & Dates. Retrieved on 2 December 2011.
  16. ^ Mama Tour Songs & Dates. Retrieved on 2 December 2011.
  17. ^ Invisible Tour Songs & Dates. (6 November 1989). Retrieved on 2 December 2011.
  18. ^ Calling All Stations Tour Songs & Dates. (6 December 1997). Retrieved on 2 December 2011.
  19. ^ Turn it on again Tour Songs & Dates. Retrieved on 2 December 2011.
  20. ^ The Way We Walk Tour Songs & Dates. Retrieved on 2 December 2011.
  21. ^ When in Rome 2007 DVD.
  22. ^ Phil Collins Setlist at Toyota Center, Houston, TX, USA (24 September 2019) Retrieved on 9 April 2020.
  23. ^ Mike + the Mechanics Setlist at Bristol Hippodrome, Bristol, England (8 April, 2019) Retrieved on 9 April 2020.
  24. ^ Tour Statistics of Ray Wilson Retrieved on 29 October 2021.
  25. ^ "Cineplex - Lily and the Snowman". Vimeo. 19 February 2016. Retrieved 5 October 2020.

External links[edit]