Invisible Touch (song)

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"Invisible Touch"
Invisible Touch Single.jpg
Single by Genesis
from the album Invisible Touch
B-side"The Last Domino"
Released19 May 1986
Recorded1985–86 at The Farm (Chiddingfold, Surrey, England)
Genesis singles chronology
"Taking It All Too Hard"
"Invisible Touch"
"In Too Deep"

"Invisible Touch" is the title track and first single from the 1986 album of the same name by the English rock band Genesis. The song is a group composition which featured lyrics written by drummer and singer Phil Collins.[1]

It was their first and only No. 1 single in the United States; the song additionally spent three consecutive weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 Airplay chart during summer 1986 until it was surpassed by Peter Cetera's "Glory of Love". The song was the first of five consecutive U.S. top five singles from the album of the same name.[2][3] It also reached No. 4 in Canada and No. 15 in the United Kingdom.[4] Its B-side is the second part of "Domino", titled "The Last Domino". (The album includes both parts of "Domino" combined together.)

Genesis members Phil Collins and Mike Rutherford have both spoken highly of the song in retrospect. Collins has called it his "favourite Genesis song" and Rutherford has called it "a wonderful song: upbeat, fun to play, always a strong moment in any gig".[1] As the band's only Billboard Hot 100 number one, the song is included in Rock Song Index: The 7500 Most Important Songs for the Rock and Roll Era.[5] In 2017, ShortList's Dave Fawbert listed the song as containing "one of the greatest key changes in music history". [6]


"Invisible Touch" came about during a jam session, Rutherford playing a guitar riff while Collins improvised the line "She seems to have an invisible touch". Collins has said he heard the influence of Prince and Sheila E. in the drum machine and his lyrics were inspired by a few people he had known who had got under his skin. Despite liking the song himself, and despite the band's previous success, he has claimed he wasn't certain the song would be a hit.[1]

In summer 1986, "Invisible Touch" was succeeded in the No. 1 position on the Billboard Hot 100 by the multi-Grammy nominated "Sledgehammer", performed by Genesis' former lead singer, Peter Gabriel. Collins later jested about the occurrence in a 2014 interview, stating, "I read recently that Peter Gabriel knocked us off the No. 1 spot with "Sledgehammer". We weren't aware of that at the time. If we had been, we'd probably have sent him a telegram saying: 'Congratulations – bastard.'"[1]

The single also reached No. 1 on the U.S. Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.

Live versions[edit]

A live version of "Invisible Touch" appears on the albums The Way We Walk, Volume One: The Shorts, and Live over Europe 2007, as well as on the DVDs Genesis Live at Wembley Stadium, The Way We Walk – Live in Concert and When in Rome 2007.

"Invisible Touch" was performed during the Invisible Touch, We Can't Dance, Calling All Stations (with Ray Wilson on vocals) and Turn It On Again tours. During the latter tour in 2007, the song was the main set finale featuring fireworks going off as the song ended. An encore followed.

Genesis also performed the song at Wembley Stadium for Live Earth. Collins's use of the word "fuck" in the song in front of millions of television viewers at 2pm in the afternoon resulted in an apology from British presenter Jonathan Ross, who vowed to give Collins a "talking to".[7] Collins was one of several performers at the event whose offensive language caused the BBC to be censured by the media regulator Ofcom.[8]

On later tours, the song segued from "Tonight, Tonight, Tonight", albeit transposed to a lower key to accommodate Collins' deepening voice. Eventually, Collins began performing the song on his solo tours with the song once again tuned down to compensate for his deepening range.

The song was also performed live on the North American and Latin American legs of Phil Collins' solo Not Dead Yet Tour.


Chart (1986) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[9] 3
Canada (The Record)[10] 4
Finnish Singles (Suomen virallinen lista)[11] 15
Germany (Official German Charts)[12] 16
Ireland (IRMA)[13] 7
Italy (FIMI)[14] 21
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[15] 28
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[16] 8
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[17] 13
United Kingdom (Official Charts Company)[18] 15
United States (Billboard Hot 100)[2] 1
Zimbabwe Singles (ZIMA)[19] 11


Live single[edit]

"Invisible Touch (Live)"
Single by Genesis
from the album The Way We Walk, Volume One: The Shorts
B-side"Abacab" (live)"The Brazilian" (live)
Released9 November 1992
Format7", CD
GenrePop rock
Songwriter(s)Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford
Producer(s)Nick Davis, Robert Colby, Genesis
Genesis singles chronology
"Jesus He Knows Me"
"Invisible Touch (Live)"
"Tell Me Why"

In 1992, "Invisible Touch" was recorded live during Genesis's 1991–1992 We Can't Dance world tour and released on limited edition 7" and CD near the end of the tour. Both formats were numbered and came with a booklet; the CD was housed in a box and the vinyl edition in a gatefold sleeve.

The A-side is the same version found on the accompanying live album The Way We Walk, Volume One: The Shorts. The B-sides "Abacab" and "The Brazilian" were culled from the filmed (and later released) Wembley Stadium gig from the 1987 Invisible Touch tour.

The 7" featured an edited version of "Abacab," while the CD included complete versions of both songs.

Like the albums The Shorts and The Way We Walk, Volume Two: The Longs, and the home video The Way We Walk – Live in Concert, the title of the record was prefixed by "Genesis Live", with "(Live)" appearing as a suffix on the back sleeve and on the disc itself.

Unlike the original recording of the song, this live version was a Top 10 hit in the UK, reaching number seven. In one of the interview sections on the Way We Walk – Live in Concert DVD, Collins jokes about re-releasing the song until it finally becomes a hit.



  1. ^ a b c d Barnett, Laura (14 October 2014). "Phil Collins and Mike Rutherford: how we made Invisible Touch". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 July 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Genesis Artist Biography by Bruce Eder – Awards". Retrieved 30 March 2014.
  3. ^ Dean, Maury (2003). Rock N' Roll Gold Rush. Algora. p. 317. ISBN 0-87586-207-1.
  4. ^ Genesis UK chart history, The Official Charts Company. Retrieved 18 May 2012.
  5. ^ Pollock, Bruce (2005). Rock Song Index: The 7500 Most Important Songs for the Rock and Roll Era. Routledge. p. 186. ISBN 978-0415970730.
  6. ^ "The 19 greatest key changes in music history". ShortList. 1 October 2017. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  7. ^ "Foul-mouthed Start To Live Earth". Contact Music. 7 July 2007. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
  8. ^ "Live Earth swearing rap for BBC". BBC News. 9 April 2008. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
  9. ^ " – Genesis – Invisible Touch". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  10. ^ "Canadian Singles Chart from Nanda Lwin; Top 40 Hits: The Essential Chart Guide (2000)"
  11. ^ "Genesis: Invisible Touch". (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland.
  12. ^ " – Genesis Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  13. ^ "Chart Track: Week 11, 1986". Irish Singles Chart.
  14. ^ "I singoli più venduti del 1986". HitParadeItalia (in Italian). Creative Commons. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
    10. Invisible Touch – Genesis [#21]
  15. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Genesis" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40.
  16. ^ " – Genesis – Invisible Touch". Top 40 Singles.
  17. ^ " – Genesis – Invisible Touch". Swiss Singles Chart.
  18. ^ UK Singles Chart (Retrieved 10 April 2008)
  19. ^ * Zimbabwe. Kimberley, C. Zimbabwe: singles chart book. Harare: C. Kimberley, 2000

External links[edit]