Land of Confusion

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"Land of Confusion"
Original single cover parodying 1963's With The Beatles
Single by Genesis
from the album Invisible Touch
B-side Feeding the Fire
Released 31 October 1986 (1986-10-31) US
10 November 1986 (1986-11-10) UK
Format U.S.: 7", UK: 7", 12"
Recorded The Farm, Surrey; 1985–1986
Genre Rock
Length 4:45
Label Atlantic U.S.
VirginGENS 3 UK
Genesis singles chronology
"Throwing It All Away"
"Land of Confusion"
"In Too Deep"
Invisible Touch track listing
"Tonight, Tonight, Tonight"
"Land of Confusion"
"In Too Deep"
Audio sample
file info · help

"Land of Confusion" is a song by the English rock band Genesis from their 1986 album Invisible Touch. The song was the third track on the album and was the third track released as a single, reaching No. 4 in the U.S.[1] and No. 14 in the UK in late 1986.[2] It made No. 8 in the Netherlands. The music was written by the band, while the lyrics were written by guitarist Mike Rutherford.[3] The song's video featured puppets from the 1980s UK sketch show Spitting Image.

Music video[edit]

The band members (Banks, Collins and Rutherford) as they appeared in the video.

The song is widely remembered for its music video, which had heavy airplay on MTV. The video features caricature puppets by the British television show Spitting Image. After Phil Collins saw a caricatured version of himself on the show, he commissioned the show's creators, Peter Fluck and Roger Law, to create puppets of the entire band, as well as all the characters in the video.

The video opens with a caricatured Ronald Reagan (voiced by Chris Barrie), Nancy Reagan, and a chimpanzee (parodying Reagan's film Bedtime for Bonzo), going to bed at 16:30 (4:30 PM). Nancy is absorbed in reading ‘His Way’, Kitty Kelley's unauthorized biography of Frank Sinatra, in which claims are made of sexual relations between Sinatra and the then actress Nancy Davis prior to her marriage to Reagan. Reagan, holding a teddy bear, goes to sleep and begins to have a nightmare, which sets the premise for the entire video. The video intermittently features a line of stomping feet, illustrating an army marching through a swamp, and they pick up heads of Cold War-era political figures in the swamp along the way (an allusion to Motel Hell).

Caricatured versions of the band members are shown playing instruments on stage during a concert: Tony Banks on an array of synthesizers (as well as a cash register), Mike Rutherford on a four-necked guitar (parodying Rutherford's dual role as the band's guitar and bass-player), and two Phil Collins puppets: one on the drums, and one singing.

During the second verse, the video features various world leaders giving speeches on large video screens in front of mass crowds; the video shows Benito Mussolini, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Mikhail Gorbachev and his aides (appearing like Frank Sinatra's 'rat pack'), and Muammar al-Gaddafi. Meanwhile, Reagan is shown putting on a Superman suit, fumbling along the way, while Collins sings,

Oh Superman where are you now
When everything's gone wrong somehow
The men of steel, the men of power
Are losing control by the hour.

Meanwhile, the "real world" Reagan is shown drowning in his own sweat (at one point, a rubber duck floats by).

During the bridge, the Superman-costumed Reagan and a Monoclonius-type dinosaur (with punk jewellery) watch a television showing various clips (apparently from the Spitting Image show itself), including Johnny Carson, Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock (with a Rubik's Cube), and Bob Hope. This segues into a sequence apparently set in prehistoric times, where the Monoclonius-type and a theropod-type dinosaur (wearing a bow-tie) meet up with Ron and Nancy Reagan and a rather outlandish mammal eats an egg and reads a newspaper. At the end of this part, the ape from the prologue is shown throwing a bone in the air (an allusion to 2001: A Space Odyssey).

As the bone begins to fall there is a sudden switch to Collins catching a falling phone which he uses to inform the person on the other end that he "won't be coming home tonight, my generation will put it right" (which is when a caricature of a 1980s Pete Townshend is seen playing a chord on guitar and giving a thumb-up for putative mentioning of his own song, "My Generation") and on the "we're not just making promises" verse the bone lands (on top of David Bowie and Bob Dylan). Reagan is then shown riding the Monoclonius through the streets while wearing a cowboy hat and wardrobe (a reference to Reagan's down-home public persona and ranch). As the video nears its climax, there are periodic scenes of a large group of spoofed celebrity puppets, including Tina Turner, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Bill Cosby and Hulk Hogan singing along to the chorus of the song, in a spoof of the charity-driven song "We Are the World", with Pope John Paul II playing an electric guitar.

At the end of the video, Reagan awakens from his dream, and surfaces from the sweat surrounding him; Nancy at this point is wearing a snorkel. After taking a drink (missing his mouth and, indeed, his face), he fumbles for a button next to his bed. He intends to push the one labelled "Nurse", but instead presses the one titled "Nuke", setting off a nuclear weapon. Reagan then replies "Man, that's one heck of a nurse!" Nancy whacks him over the head with her snorkel.

The video, directed by John Lloyd & Jim Yukich and produced by Jon Blair, won the short-lived Grammy Award for Best Concept Music Video during the 30th Annual Grammy Awards.[4] The video was also nominated for an MTV Video Music Award for Best Video of the Year in 1987, but lost to "Sledgehammer" by Peter Gabriel (coincidentally, Genesis' former lead singer). It also made the number-one spot on The Village Voice critic Robert Christgau's top 10 music videos in his year-end "Dean's List" feature, and number three on the equivalent list in his annual survey of music critics, Pazz & Jop (again losing out to "Sledgehammer").[5]

List of famous people and characters seen in the video[edit]

Television.svg This film, television or video-related list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it with reliably sourced additions.

Singles track listings[edit]

The single sleeve design for "Land of Confusion" is a parody of The Beatles' 1963 UK album, With the Beatles.

The file above's purpose is being discussed and/or is being considered for deletion. See files for discussion to help reach a consensus on what to do.

7": Virgin / GENS 3 (UK)[edit]

  1. "Land of Confusion" – 4:45
  2. "Feeding the Fire" – 5:54

7": Atlantic / 7-89336 (U.S.)[edit]

  1. "Land of Confusion" (LP Version) – 4:45
  2. "Feeding the Fire" – 5:54

12": Virgin / GENS 3–12 (UK)[edit]

  1. "Land of Confusion" (Extended Remix) – 6:55
  2. "Land of Confusion" – 4:45
  3. "Feeding the Fire" – 5:54

12": Virgin / 608 632-213 (Germany)[edit]

  1. "Land of Confusion" (Extended Remix) – 6:55
  2. "Land of Confusion" – 4:45
  3. "Feeding the Fire" – 5:54

CD: Virgin / SNEG 3–12 (UK)[edit]

  1. "Land of Confusion" – 4:45
  2. "Land of Confusion" (Extended Remix) – 6:55
  3. "Feeding the Fire" – 5:54
  4. "Do the Neurotic" – 7:08

12": Atlantic / PR 968 (U.S.)[edit]

  1. "Land of Confusion" (Extended Remix) – 6:55
  2. "Land of Confusion" – 4:45

7": Atlantic / 7-89336 promo (U.S.)[edit]

  1. "Land of Confusion" (Special Edited Remix) – 3:53
  2. "Land of Confusion" (Album Version) – 4:45


Live performances[edit]

The song was played on their Invisible Touch,[7] The Way We Walk,[8] Calling All Stations[9] (with Ray Wilson on vocals) and Turn It On Again: The Tour[10] tours, though later transposed to a lower key to accommodate Collins' deepening voice.

It also appears on their live albums The Way We Walk, Volume One: The Shorts, and Live Over Europe 2007. As well as on their DVDs Genesis Live at Wembley Stadium, The Way We Walk - Live in Concert and When in Rome 2007.

Cultural references[edit]

"Land of Confusion" was also a track used for the final episode of the 1980s cop show Miami Vice (in which Phil Collins periodically played a minor role) called "Freefall" and was applied as the characters of the show Crockett (Don Johnson) and Tubbs (Philip Michael Thomas) were in the middle of a stakeout. The song was to imply the complexity of the story during the finale.

This song is mentioned in American Psycho.

The cover version of "Land of Confusion" by Disturbed is used in the end credits of Bigger, Stronger, Faster*.

Notable covers[edit]

The song has been variously re-recorded as cover versions by several artists spanning a number of genres:

Disturbed [edit]

"Land of Confusion"
Single by Disturbed
from the album Ten Thousand Fists
Released 2 October 2006
Recorded January – April 2005 at Groovemaster Studios in Chicago, Illinois
Genre Hard rock
Length 4:47
Label Reprise
Producer(s) Johnny K
Disturbed singles chronology
"Just Stop"
"Land of Confusion"
"Ten Thousand Fists"

The American heavy metal band Disturbed released a cover of the song on their third studio album, Ten Thousand Fists. The song became the fourth single from that album. Vocalist David Draiman commented that the aim of covering the song was "taking a song that's absolutely nothing like us and making it our own."[14] The line "And the sound of your laughter" in the original's bridge was replaced by "In the wake of this madness".

It was accompanied by a music video animated by Todd McFarlane, known as the creator of the comics series Spawn. McFarlane had previously animated the music videos for the songs "Freak on a Leash" by Korn and "Do the Evolution" by Pearl Jam. According to McFarlane, the music video is "a big view of the corporate world and how it all ties into just one big beast for me... The world is run by one giant thing, which is driven by greed and lust."[15] "Land of Confusion" reached number 1 in the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks; it is Disturbed's first number 1 single on that chart.

Music video[edit]

The video starts out with the Guy, Disturbed's mascot, falling to earth. It then shows military forces bearing the symbol of a dollar sign[15] within a circle of white within a field of red, followed by legions of black-clad soldiers reminiscent of Adolf Hitler's Schutzstaffel.[16] The video then shows the Guy, escaping bondage from chains, as the military forces continue to assault cities and civilians. Later on, leaders of various nations of the world (bearing close physical resemblance to George W. Bush, Vladimir Putin, Jacques Chirac, Junichirō Koizumi and Tony Blair) are shown sitting at a table with the same dollar sign on it. Eventually the Guy confronts the soldiers, and leads the people in rebellion. Flags of several powerful nations are then shown, with the final flag sporting the dollar sign. The Guy leads the rebels to the United Nations Headquarters[16] where they disrupt a meeting of the U.N. representatives. The Guy then leads the angry mob into a back room where they confront the real power behind the throne, a gigantic, bloated Fat Cat. The mob then drags him to the ground and once immobilised, the Guy destroys the Fat Cat, who explodes into a shower of dollar bills.

UK enhanced version[edit]

  1. "Land of Confusion"
  2. "Sickened"
  3. "Land of Confusion" (Video)

UK, European & US vinyl 12" limited edition picture disc[edit]

  1. "Land of Confusion"
  2. "Sickened"

European version[edit]

  1. "Land of Confusion" (Version 1)
  2. "Land of Confusion" (Version 2)



Genesis version[edit]

Chart (1986–87) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report) 21
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40) 27
Belgium (Flanders) (Ultratop) 14
Canada (RPM) 8
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)[17] 18
Germany (GfK Entertainment) 7
Ireland (IRMA) 9
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40) 10
New Zealand (RIANZ) 9
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan) 10
Swiss Singles Chart 8
United Kingdom (The Official Charts Company)[2] 14
US Billboard Hot 100 4
US Billboard Top Rock Tracks 11

Disturbed version[edit]

Chart (2006) Position
United Kingdom (The Official Charts Company) 79
US Billboard 105
US Mainstream Rock Tracks[18] 1
US Alternative Songs [18] 18


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b Genesis UK chart history, The Official Charts Company. Retrieved 18 May 2012.
  3. ^ Prasad, Anil. "Genesis: Turning it on again". Innerviews. Retrieved 27 May 2012. 
  4. ^ 1988 Grammy Awards information. Retrieved 4 March 2006.
  5. ^ Robert Christgau: Pazz & Jop 1986: Dean's List; Robert Christgau: Pazz & Jop 1986: Critics Poll. Robert Christgau's Web Site. Retrieved 19 June 2006.
  6. ^ Lohmüller, Thomas. Gegen die Geschichte? Zum Diskurs der Verspätung in den Biografien der "letzten Kommunisten" Ronald M. Schernikau und Gisela Elsner ("Counter history? On the discourse of 'Being Too Late' in the biographies of the 'last Communists' Ronald M. Schernikau and Gisela Elsner") in Bueno, Marta Fernandez; Lohmüller, Thomas (eds.). 20 Jahre Mauerfall - Diskurse, Rückbauten, Perspektiven ("20 Years after the Fall of the Wall: Discourses, Demolitions, Perspectives"), Bern: Peter Lang, p. 265, ISBN 978-3-0343-0427-6
  7. ^ Invisible Tour Songs & Dates
  8. ^ The Way We Walk Tour Songs & Dates
  9. ^ Calling All Stations Tour Songs & Dates
  10. ^ Turn it on again Tour Songs & Dates
  11. ^ Track listing for Another Side of Genesis by Daryl Steurmer. Retrieved 4 March 2006.
  12. ^ Track listing for Around the World by Fourth Dimension. Retrieved 4 March 2006.
  13. ^ Track listing for Trigger EP by in Flames. Retrieved 11 October 2009.
  14. ^ "Disturbed frontman: 'I see ourselves as being a three-decade spanning band'". 23 November 2006. Retrieved 15 December 2008. 
  15. ^ a b Harris, Chris (15 March 2006). "Todd McFarlane to make Genesis' 'Confusion' clip even more disturbed". MTV. Retrieved 18 December 2008. 
  16. ^ a b Khouri, Andy (22 July 2006). "CCI, Day 3: McFarlane Vs Kirkman?". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 18 December 2008. 
  17. ^ Nyman, Jake (2005). Suomi soi 4: Suuri suomalainen listakirja (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Tammi. ISBN 951-31-2503-3. 
  18. ^ a b "Ten Thousand Fists US single charts". Retrieved 9 July 2009. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Through Glass" by Stone Sour
Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks number-one single (Disturbed version)
4 November 2006 – 18 November 2006
Succeeded by
"The Pot" by Tool