I Touch Myself

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"I Touch Myself"
DivinylsITouchMyself.jpg
Single by Divinyls
from the album diVINYLS
B-side"Follow Through"
Released19 November 1990[1]
Recorded1990
StudioGroove Masters Studio, Santa Monica
GenreSoft rock[2]
Length3:44
LabelVirgin Records
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
Divinyls singles chronology
"Punxsie"
(1988)
"I Touch Myself"
(1990)
"Love School"
(1991)
Music video
"I Touch Myself" on YouTube

"I Touch Myself" is a song recorded by the Australian rock band Divinyls and written by Tom Kelly and Billy Steinberg with Christine Amphlett and Mark McEntee of the Divinyls.[3] It was released in November 1990 as the lead single from their fourth album, diVINYLS (1991), and is a paean to eroticism, orgasm and female masturbation.[4] The single achieved great success, reaching number four on the US Billboard Hot 100 on 18 May 1991 and number one in Australia. It was featured in the 1997 comedy film Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery and has been covered by numerous artists.

In January 2018, as part of Triple M's "Ozzest 100", the 'most Australian' songs of all time, "I Touch Myself" was ranked number 60.[5]

Composition and recording[edit]

Chrissy Amphlett and Mark McEntee wrote the song in 1990 with the songwriting team of Tom Kelly and Billy Steinberg (who have written songs such as "I'll Stand by You," "Like a Virgin," "Eternal Flame," "True Colors" and "So Emotional"). Billy Steinberg had "I Touch Myself" in his notebook; he had written the first verse and the chorus lyric. Amphlett liked it immediately. The next day, McEntee, Steinberg, Kelly, and Amphlett got together and wrote the rest, an unusual move, as Steinberg and Kelly rarely collaborated with others. Putting the song together took a lot of trial and error. It was recorded to two-inch tape, making it difficult to edit. After significant experimentation they came up with an unusual structure with the bridge placed after the first chorus.[6] It is written in the key of F major.[7]

Critical reception[edit]

Alex Henderson from AllMusic described the song as "infectious",[8] while another editor, Adrian Zupp called it a "lascivious headline-grabber".[9] A reviewer from Billboard stated that it is a "modern rock smash", noting lead singer Christina Amphlett's video appearance as "eye-catching".[10] Pan-European magazine Music & Media wrote that "once you have heard this excellent pop song, it will stay in your mind for the rest of the week. On the one hand it's only a step away from Blondie bubblegum, on the other hand it has the same fatal attraction as Maria McKee's Is This Heaven".[11] Alan Jones from Music Week commented, "I Touch Myself has already been a number one single in their native Australia, and is now in the US Top 10. It won't do that well here, but its loose, post-punk execution and killer hook add up to a hit."[12] Caroline Sullivan from Smash Hits called it "one of pop's finer nanoseconds" in her review of the Divinyls album.[13]

Music video[edit]

The song's accompanying music video, directed by Michael Bay, was nominated for three MTV Video Music Awards, including Video of the Year.[14]

Promotion and chart performance[edit]

In Australia "I Touch Myself" was released on 19 November 1990 on 7" and cassette,[1] and the CD single was released on 3 December 1990.[15] The single debuted at No. 77 on 2 December 1990.[16] On its tenth week on the chart, the song reached No. 1, replacing Vanilla Ice's debut single "Ice Ice Baby",[17] and stayed there for another week. The single was certified Platinum in Australia.

"I Touch Myself" debuted on the UK Singles Chart at No. 69 and on its eighth week it peaked at No. 10, spending a total of twelve weeks in the chart.[18] When released in the United States, the song caused a minor controversy. However, it managed to reach the top five of the Billboard Hot 100 chart, peaking at No. 4,[19] and at No. 2 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart[20] after receiving extensive play on modern rock radio, which was more accepting of the song's subject matter. Divinyls are considered a one-hit wonder in the US, as "I Touch Myself" was their only Stateside Top 40.

I Touch Myself Project[edit]

The I Touch Myself Project was launched in 2014, twelve months after the passing of Amphlett's to breast cancer. Amphlett was passionate about spreading awareness of the importance of early detection and wanted the song to be adapted as an anthem for breast health around the world. The Project was created in Chrissy’s honour with a mission to create educational forums to remind women to check their breasts regularly and to take action if there are any changes.[21]

In June 2014, Connie Mitchell, Deborah Conway, Kate Ceberano, Katie Noonan, Little Pattie, Megan Washington, Olivia Newton-John, Sarah Blasko, Sarah McLeod and Suze DeMarchi released a version of "I Touch Myself", each provided their own interpretation and distinct style to the song.[22] This version, credited to I Touch Myself Project peaked at number 72 on the ARIA Charts.[23]

In 2016, the I Touch Myself Project partnered with Berlei to create The Chrissy Bra – a bra to remind women to touch themselves when getting dressed and a Chrissy Post-Surgery Bra – a rock and roll-inspired bra designed specifically for women who have undergone breast cancer surgery.[24]

In 2018, Serena Williams recorded the song and posted her version on instagram. It became the most retweeted post, the most talked about campaign on Instagram and the most watched video during International Breast Cancer Awareness Month.[25]

Usage in other media[edit]

  • The song was featured in the 1997 comedy film Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, in the scene where Austin dances to make the Fembots' heads explode.
  • The cover by Scala & Kolacny Brothers was featured in the opening of first episode of the second season of Sex Education, when Otis is finally able to masturbate.[26]
  • In the Friends episode "The One Where Monica Sings", a man at a piano bar named Kenneth performs a "much too literal rendition" of the song (left unheard in the episode), leading to a running gag of characters spotting him masturbating.

Cover versions[edit]

Track listing[edit]

  • Divinyls version
  1. "I Touch Myself"
  2. "Follow Through"
  3. "I Touch Myself (Alternate Version)"

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[41] Platinum 70,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "New Release Summary > Product Available from: 19/11/90 (from The ARIA Report Issue No. 45)". ARIA. Retrieved 23 September 2016 – via Imgur.com.
  2. ^ Johnson, Howard (30 June 2016). "The 10 Sexiest Rock Songs Ever". Classic Rock. Retrieved 18 April 2022.
  3. ^ Wiser, Carl. "Billy Steinberg: Songwriter Interviews".
  4. ^ Surnow, Rose (22 April 2013). "Masturbation Pioneer and "I Touch Myself Singer," Divinyls' Chrissy Amphlett, Dead at 53". Cosmopolitan. Hearst Corporation. Retrieved 26 August 2013.
  5. ^ "Here Are The Songs That Made Triple M's 'Ozzest 100'". Musicfeeds. 27 January 2018. Retrieved 4 January 2020.
  6. ^ "I Touch Myself Songfacts". Retrieved 14 February 2007.
  7. ^ Divinyls "I Touch Myself" Sheet Music musicnotes.com
  8. ^ Henderson, Alex. "The Divinyls – Divinyls". AllMusic. Retrieved 7 November 2020.
  9. ^ Zupp, Adrian. "The Divinyls – Make You Happy 1981-1993". AllMusic. Retrieved 7 November 2020.
  10. ^ "Album Reviews" (PDF). Billboard. 2 March 1991. p. 76. Retrieved 22 October 2020.
  11. ^ "New Releases: Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. 9 February 1991. p. 12. Retrieved 19 February 2020.
  12. ^ Jones, Alan (4 May 1991). "Mainstream: Singles" (PDF). Music Week. p. 20. Retrieved 3 October 2020.
  13. ^ Sullivan, Caroline (24 July 1991). "Reviews: LPs". Smash Hits. No. 330. p. 46. Retrieved 8 March 2020.
  14. ^ ET Canada Staff (20 December 2014). "Music Videos Directed By Michael Bay". Entertainment Tonight Canada. Retrieved 17 August 2020.
  15. ^ "New Release Summary > Product Available from: 03/12/90 (from The ARIA Report Issue No. 47)". ARIA. Retrieved 23 September 2016 – via Imgur.com.
  16. ^ "The ARIA Australian Top 100 Singles Chart – Week Ending 02 Dec 1990 (61–100)". ARIA. Retrieved 23 September 2016 – via Imgur.com.
  17. ^ "The ARIA Australian Top 100 Singles Chart – Week Ending 03 Feb 1991 (1–60)". ARIA. Retrieved 23 September 2016 – via Imgur.com.
  18. ^ a b "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  19. ^ a b "Hot 100 A–Z". Billboard. Vol. 103, no. 20. 18 May 1991. p. 91.
  20. ^ a b "Modern Rock Tracks". Billboard. Vol. 103, no. 12. 23 March 1991. p. 20.
  21. ^ "2014". I Touch Myself Project. 2014. Retrieved 18 March 2021.
  22. ^ "The Artists". I Touch Myself Project. Archived from the original on 22 October 2014. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  23. ^ "Chart Watch". 5 July 2014. Retrieved 18 March 2021.
  24. ^ "2016". I Touch Myself Project. 2016. Retrieved 18 March 2021.
  25. ^ "2018". I Touch Myself Project. 2018. Retrieved 18 March 2021.
  26. ^ Caruso, Nick (18 January 2020). "Sex Education Season 2 Premiere Recap: Hands-On Experience Helps Otis Get Back in Business". TVLine. Retrieved 5 January 2022.
  27. ^ "Fast Forward - Divinyls - Touch Myself". YouTube. 3 June 2007. Archived from the original on 21 December 2021. Retrieved 12 November 2011.
  28. ^ Polka Your Eyes Out, archived from the original on 21 December 2021, retrieved 15 November 2019
  29. ^ "Official Charts > FHM High Street Honeys". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 1 April 2020.
  30. ^ "Hottest 100 2019". Triple J. Retrieved 19 February 2021.
  31. ^ "Divivyls – I Touch Myself". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  32. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 1540." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  33. ^ "Eurochart Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 8, no. 27. 9 July 1991. p. 45. Retrieved 8 July 2020.
  34. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – I Touch Myself". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  35. ^ "Divivyls – I Touch Myself". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  36. ^ "Album Rock Tracks". Billboard. Vol. 103, no. 15. 13 April 1991. p. 18.
  37. ^ "ARIA Top 50 Singles for 1991". ARIA. Retrieved 2 May 2021.
  38. ^ "RPM 100 Hit Tracks of 1991". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  39. ^ "1991 Top 100 Singles". Music Week. 11 January 1992. p. 20.
  40. ^ "Billboard Top 100 – 1991". Archived from the original on 7 July 2009. Retrieved 15 September 2009.
  41. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 1991 Singles" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 18 November 2021.