Turn It On Again

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"Turn It On Again"
Genesis TurnItOnAgain.jpg
Single by Genesis
from the album Duke
B-side "Behind the Lines" (Edit) (UK)
"Evidence of Autumn" (US)
Released 8 March 1980 (UK)
August 1980 (USA)
Format 7", 12"
Recorded October–December 1979
Length 3:50 (album version)
3:44 (UK single remix)
3:27 (US single remix edit)
Label Charisma Records
Atlantic (U.S., Canada)
Songwriter(s) Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford
Producer(s) Genesis, David Hentschel
Genesis singles chronology
"Deep in the Motherlode"
(1978)
"Turn It On Again"
(1980)
"Duchess"
(1980)

"Deep in the Motherlode"
(1978)
"Turn It On Again"
(1980)
"Duchess"
(1980)
Audio sample

"Turn It On Again" is a single by the English rock band Genesis, from their 1980 album Duke. It reached number 8 in the UK Singles Chart.[1]

The lyrics, by Mike Rutherford,[2] concern a man who does nothing more than watch television. He becomes obsessed with the people he watches on it, believing them to be his friends.

The song is characterised by a rhythmic structure uncharacteristically complex for pop music but common in the band's progressive rock back catalogue. The verse/chorus sections alternate time signatures, 6
4
to 7
4
(13
4
), while the intro and bridge sections are in 4
4
and 5
4
(9
4
). The song – written mostly by Rutherford, with help from Phil Collins – was originally much slower. Rutherford explains on the Songbook DVD: "I had this riff [plays lead riff on guitar], but at the time I was playing it like this: [plays slower]. And Phil said, 'Why don't you try it in a faster speed?' and then he said to me, 'Do you realize it is in 13
8
?' and I said, 'What do you mean, it's in 13? It's in 4
4
, isn't it?' 'No, it's 13.'"

Collins confirms: "You can't dance to it. You see people trying to dance to it every now and again. They get on the off beat but they don't know why".[3] Tony Banks adds: "You can't dance or clap along to it because of that time signature. When we play it live, you can always see the audience getting caught out."[4]

"Turn It On Again" was built from leftovers from projects by each member: The second set of verses was conceived by Tony Banks for A Curious Feeling: "We kind of put [Rutherford's riff] – the bit he didn't use on Smallcreep's Day, curiously enough – with the bit I didn't use on A Curious Feeling, and put these two together. We made it much more rocky; both bits became much more rocky. My bit was a bit more epic, and Mike's bit was a bit slower and a bit more heavy metal. And then Phil gave it a much more straightforward drum part; perhaps neither of us would have thought that we would want that on that bit [...] We put on one or two other bits, too, that ended up from there".[5]

The video for the song appeared on MTV's first day of broadcast.

"Turn It On Again" has been a favourite at Genesis's shows. Consequently, the group's 1999 compilation Turn It On Again: The Hits and its 2007 expanded reissue, subtitled The Tour Edition, were named after it, as was the band's 2007 Turn It On Again: The Tour reunion tour. In the 1980s, the band would attach a medley of 1960s pop songs (referred to by the band as the "Blues Brothers" medley, as the first song was "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love"). The song would be returned to its album form for the We Can't Dance tour and the band would later regard the medley as a poor decision.[citation needed] Peter Gabriel played drums when he reunited with his former bandmates at 1982's Six of the Best show and found himself baffled by its time signatures. "It was typical Peter: 'Oh, I can play this'," observed Tony Banks. "But once he started playing, he kept looking around going, Oh fuck! 'Turn It On Again' does funny things – it's truly a Genesis song."[6]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1980) Peak
position
UK Singles Chart[7] 8
Canadian RPM Top Singles[8] 49
France[9] 32
Ireland (IRMA)[10] 12
US Billboard Hot 100 58
US Cash Box Top 100[11] 55

Personnel[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Genesis UK chart history, The Official Charts Company. Retrieved 18 May 2012.
  2. ^ Prasad, Anil. "Genesis: Turning it on again". Innerviews. Retrieved 27 May 2012.
  3. ^ Genesis (2001). The Genesis Songbook (DVD). Eagle Rock Entertainment.
  4. ^ Blake, Mark: "The stories behind the songs"; Classic Rock #216, November 2015, p26
  5. ^ Janisch, Helmut; Klinkhardt, Martin. "A Curious Interview". Genesis News Com [it]. Retrieved 17 September 2015.
  6. ^ Blake, Mark: "The stories behind the songs"; Classic Rock #216, November 2015, p26
  7. ^ "Official Charts Company". officialcharts.com.
  8. ^ "Library and Archives Canada". collectionscanada.gc.ca.
  9. ^ [1][dead link]
  10. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Turn It on Again". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved June 22, 2017.
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 14 April 2012. Retrieved 3 January 2015.

External links[edit]