Jesus He Knows Me
|"Jesus He Knows Me"|
|Single by Genesis|
|from the album We Can't Dance|
|B-side||"Hearts on Fire"|
|Released||13 July 1992|
|Recorded||The Farm, Surrey; March–September 1991|
|Length||4:18 (single mix)|
|Writer(s)||Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford|
|Producer(s)||Genesis, Nick Davis|
|Genesis singles chronology|
"Jesus He Knows Me" is the second track on the 1991 Genesis album We Can't Dance and its fourth single. The song is a satire of televangelism, released in a period when several televangelists such as Robert Tilton, Jim Bakker, Larry Lea, Benny Hinn and Ernest Angley were under investigation for promising financial success to their listeners, provided they sent money to them. The song reached No. 20 in the UK and No. 23 in the United States.
Before the lyrics were added, the song's title was "Do The New Thing", possibly referencing Tony Banks's opening keyboard notes, which are heard again in the bridge. According to the behind-the-scenes documentary Genesis: No Admittance, the first lyric Phil Collins wrote out of improvisation was the chorus line "Jesus, he knows me, and he knows I'm right.", following that logically took him to the idea of manic or fanatic Christians who believe that they are "in touch" with the Almighty, which was best personified by Televangelists, many of whom finance their lavish lifestyles by conning believers out of charitable donations. Tony Banks has commented that the song is a bit more cynical than Phil's usual style of songwriting.
Like all the singles from We Can't Dance, "Jesus He Knows Me" was released on two CDs as well on vinyl editions. All formats featured the non-album track "Hearts on Fire" (later included on Genesis Archive No. 2 1976–1992) as the primary B-side, while both CDs included an exclusive track.
The first CD contained "I Can't Dance (The Other Mix)" (a remix by Ben Liebrand) and the second featured "Land of Confusion (Rehearsal Version)." "The Other Mix" is named as such because another version, the "Sex Mix," had been released some months before on the "I Can't Dance" CD single. The second CD was the fifth disc in "The Invisible Series," a collection of Genesis CDs which featured live recordings as extra tracks. The single mix of "Jesus He Knows Me" has a louder chorus than the album version, making it more suitable for radio play.
The song was performed live on the 1992 We Can't Dance tour, although it was originally not going to be played because the band thought the live visuals were mocking religion. The band eventually decided to perform "Jesus He Knows Me" instead of "Living Forever," which was in the setlist at the time.
The video features singer Phil Collins as an unscrupulous televangelist who lives like a millionaire thanks to donations from his followers. Collins has admitted that he was specifically parodying Ernest Angley in the video. According to Collins on the BBC show Room 101, Angley was flattered by the parody and did not realize that his very occupation was being skewered. The opening monologue, which has been mistaken for a fictional scenario for the video clip, is based on an actual story Angley had told[when?] years before, and which he recounted again in 2013. The comedic video also features fellow band members, keyboardist Tony Banks and guitarist Mike Rutherford, as fellow evangelists. Collins, outfitted in an orange suit, tries to have his viewers raise $18,000,000 in one weekend because "the Lord told it to him." In the final minute on the video, money is thrown by parishioners and also rains down on the set of the fake program. As the toteboard reaches his goal, the amount of money shown increases to $18,000,000.
The video is the second from We Can't Dance in which Banks and Rutherford have to drag Collins off at the end; the other--the first--is "I Can't Dance."
In the video near the 2:40 mark people can be seen holding a sign reading "Genesis 3:25," referring not to the Bible but to the fact that the band had three members and had been together for twenty-five years. (The band formed in 1967, but the video was filmed in 1992, although only Banks and Rutherford had been in the band since the beginning.) Some observers, not understanding this reference, believed the sign to be an error or a joke, as the third chapter in the Book of Genesis has only 24 verses.
In the original version of the video, the "toll-free number" referred to in the lyrics was shown as 1-555-GEN-ESIS. This was covered up by a scroll bar in later edits of the video. (The 555 area code actually does not prefix any known toll-free telephone numbers.)
Throughout the clip, Collins is shown on the covers of several fictitious magazines with religious names which spoof actual publications, such as "Spirit Illustrated," "Rolling Souls," "MITE" (an anagram of TIME) and "God's Housekeeping."
As a footnote, Collins' character in this video bears some resemblance to his role of Phil Mayhew, a low-brow game show host–con artist eventually dabbling in televangelism in the 1985 Miami Vice episode "Phil the Shill".
The video was nominated at the Brit Awards in the British Video category in 1993.
This song was covered with different lyrics in the pilot episode of the Serbian satirical show Nikad izvini, featuring Serbian Orthodox Church Metropolitan bishop Amfilohije Radović, who sings how he managed to cheat God and take over Heaven to save the souls of Serbian criminals.
In popular culture
- CD maxi
- "Jesus He Knows Me" (single mix) – 4:18
- "Hearts on Fire" – 5:15
- "I Can't Dance" (the other mix) – 6:00
- 7" single
- "Jesus He Knows Me" (single mix) – 4:17
- "Hearts on Fire" – 5:15
|Australian Singles Chart||56|
|Austrian Singles Chart||26|
|Belgian Singles Chart (Flanders)||18|
|Canadian Singles Chart||10|
|Dutch Singles Chart||18|
|French SNEP Singles Chart||27|
|German Singles Chart||13|
|Irish Singles Chart||22|
|New Zealand Singles Chart||35|
|Swedish Singles Chart||38|
|UK Singles Chart||20|
|US Billboard Hot 100||23|
|US Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks||27|
|US Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks||24|
|US Billboard Top 40 Mainstream||12|
|Poland (Polish Airplay Top 100)||88|
- "Room 101 - Phil Collins - Part 1, TV Evangelists"
- "Tune In... To 1992". 1 May 2015. Vintage TV. Missing or empty
- "Jesus He Knows Me", in various singles charts Lescharts.com (Retrieved 10 April 2008)
- German Singles Chart Charts-surfer.de (Retrieved 10 April 2008)
- Irish Single Chart Irishcharts.ie (Retrieved 10 April 2008)
- UK Singles Chart Chartstats.com (Retrieved 10 April 2008)
- Billboard Allmusic.com (Retrieved 15 August 2008)
- "Listy bestsellerów, wyróżnienia :: Związek Producentów Audio-Video". Polish Airplay Top 100. Retrieved June 20, 2016.
- McMahan, Scott (January 1998). "The Genesis Discography" (PDF). Retrieved 12 May 2006.