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
GenrePop rock
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 written and recorded by the Australian rock band Divinyls. It was released in November 1990 as the lead single from their fourth album, diVINYLS, and is a paean to eroticism, orgasm and female masturbation.[2]

The single achieved great success, reaching number four on the U.S Billboard Hot 100 on 18 May 1991; meanwhile in their native country, Australia, the single reached the number one position. The song was written by Divinyls band members Christina Amphlett and Mark McEntee and professional songwriters Tom Kelly and Billy Steinberg. It has since been covered by numerous artists.

Composition and recording[edit]

Christina 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.[3] It is written in the key of F major.[4]

Critical reception[edit]

Alex Henderson from AllMusic described the song as "infectious",[5] while another editor, Adrian Zupp called it a "lascivious headline-grabber".[6] Billboard stated that it's as a "modern rock smash", noting lead singer Christina Amphlett's video appearance as "eye-catching".[7] 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".[8] British magazine 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."[9] Caroline Sullivan from Smash Hits called it "one of pop's finer nanoseconds" in her review of the Divinyls album.[10]

Music video[edit]

The song's music video, directed by Michael Bay, was nominated for three MTV Video Music Awards, including Video of the Year.[11] It was published on YouTube in March 2009. As of October 2020, the video has been viewed over 31,2 million times.[12]

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.

In 2014, some of Australia's leading female artists came together to reincarnate Amphlett's anthem, "I Touch Myself". Each provided their own interpretation and distinct style to the song in an effort to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer, which Amphlett succumbed to in 2013.[13]

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.[14] The single debuted at No. 77 on 2 December 1990.[15] On its tenth week on the chart, the song reached No. 1, replacing Vanilla Ice's debut single "Ice Ice Baby",[16] 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.[17] 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,[18] and at No. 2 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart, 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.

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.[19]

Cover versions[edit]

Track listing[edit]

  • Divinyls version
  1. "I Touch Myself"
  2. "Follow Through"

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[33] 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. ^ 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.
  3. ^ "I Touch Myself Songfacts". Retrieved 14 February 2007.
  4. ^ Divinyls "I Touch Myself" Sheet Music musicnotes.com
  5. ^ Henderson, Alex. "The Divinyls – Divinyls". AllMusic. Retrieved 7 November 2020.
  6. ^ Zupp, Adrian. "The Divinyls – Make You Happy 1981-1993". AllMusic. Retrieved 7 November 2020.
  7. ^ "Album Reviews" (PDF). Billboard. 2 March 1991. p. 76. Retrieved 22 October 2020.
  8. ^ "New Releases: Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. 9 February 1991. p. 12. Retrieved 19 February 2020.
  9. ^ "Mainstream: Singles" (PDF). Music Week. 4 May 1991. p. 20. Retrieved 3 October 2020.
  10. ^ "Reviews: LPs". Smash Hits. No. 330. 24 July 1991. p. 46. Retrieved 8 March 2020.
  11. ^ ET Canada Staff (20 December 2014). "Music Videos Directed By Michael Bay". Entertainment Tonight Canada. Retrieved 17 August 2020.
  12. ^ Divinyls - I Touch Myself on YouTube
  13. ^ "The Artists". I Touch Myself Project. Archived from the original on 22 October 2014. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  14. ^ "New Release Summary > Product Available from: 03/12/90 (from The ARIA Report Issue No. 47)". ARIA. Retrieved 23 September 2016 – via Imgur.com.
  15. ^ "The ARIA Australian Top 100 Singles Chart – Week Ending 02 Dec 1990 (61–100)". ARIA. Retrieved 23 September 2016 – via Imgur.com.
  16. ^ "The ARIA Australian Top 100 Singles Chart – Week Ending 03 Feb 1991 (1–60)". ARIA. Retrieved 23 September 2016 – via Imgur.com.
  17. ^ a b "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  18. ^ a b "Billboard > Artists / The Divinyls > Chart History > The Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved 23 September 2016.
  19. ^ "Here Are The Songs That Made Triple M's 'Ozzest 100'". Musicfeeds. 27 January 2018. Retrieved 4 January 2020.
  20. ^ "Fast Forward - Divinyls - Touch Myself". YouTube. 3 June 2007. Retrieved 12 November 2011.
  21. ^ Polka Your Eyes Out, retrieved 15 November 2019
  22. ^ "Official Charts > FHM High Street Honeys". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 1 April 2020.
  23. ^ "Hottest 100 2019". Triple J. Retrieved 19 February 2021.
  24. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Divivyls – I Touch Myself". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  25. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 1540." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  26. ^ "Eurochart Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 8 no. 27. 9 July 1991. p. 45. Retrieved 8 July 2020.
  27. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – I Touch Myself". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  28. ^ "Charts.nz – Divivyls – I Touch Myself". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  29. ^ "Billboard > Artists / The Divinyls > Chart History > Mainstream Rock Songs". Billboard. Retrieved 23 September 2016.
  30. ^ "ARIA Charts – End of Year Charts – Top 50 Singles 1991". ARIA. Retrieved 12 November 2011.
  31. ^ "RPM 100 Hit Tracks of 1991". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  32. ^ "Billboard Top 100 – 1991". Archived from the original on 7 July 2009. Retrieved 15 September 2009.
  33. ^ "1991 ARIA Singles Chart". ARIA. Retrieved 26 October 2018.

External links[edit]