We Can't Dance

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We Can't Dance
Genesis - We Can't Dance.jpg
Studio album by Genesis
Released 11 November 1991[1]
Recorded March–September 1991
Studio The Farm in Surrey, England
Length 71:30
Genesis chronology
Turn It on Again - Best of '81-'83
We Can't Dance
The Way We Walk, Volume One: The Shorts
Singles from We Can't Dance
  1. "No Son of Mine"
    Released: 21 October 1991
  2. "I Can't Dance"
    Released: 30 December 1991
  3. "Hold on My Heart"
    Released: 6 April 1992
  4. "Jesus He Knows Me"
    Released: 13 July 1992
  5. "Never a Time"
    Released: 5 November 1992
  6. "Tell Me Why"
    Released: 8 February 1993

We Can't Dance is the fourteenth studio album from the English rock band Genesis, released in November 1991 on Virgin Records in the United Kingdom and Atlantic Records in the United States. It is their last album recorded with drummer and lead singer Phil Collins before his departure in 1996 to pursue solo projects. Production began after a four-year period of inactivity from the group, following the commercial success of Invisible Touch (1986) and its tour.

We Can't Dance was a worldwide commercial success for the band. It became the band's fifth consecutive No. 1 album in the UK and reached No. 4 in the US, where it sold over 4,000,000 copies. Between 1991 and 1993, six tracks from the album were released, including "No Son of Mine" and "I Can't Dance". The latter received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocals. Genesis toured We Can't Dance in 1992 which saw the band play large stadiums and arenas across North America and Europe.


We Can't Dance was Genesis' first studio album in five years, following the international success of Invisible Touch in 1986. After the tour for that album ended, the band took a long hiatus to focus on solo careers. Both Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford expected Phil Collins to depart the band during this time due to his huge solo success, but he stayed. The album reached No. 1 in the UK and No. 4 in the U.S., selling several million copies (including 4 million in the U.S. alone). The album also spawned several hit singles, including "No Son of Mine", "Hold on My Heart", "I Can't Dance" and "Jesus He Knows Me", the latter two supported by humorous videos. Two songs, "On the Shoreline" and "Hearts on Fire", were cut from the album, because "there wasn't enough room on the record." Both songs were released as B-sides.

Contrary to popular belief, "Since I Lost You" is not about a broken relationship. The lyrics were written by Phil Collins for friend Eric Clapton. On 20 March 1991, Clapton's four-year-old son Conor died after falling from the 53rd-story window of his mother's friend's New York City apartment, landing on the roof of an adjacent four-story building. Collins played it to him before putting it on the album to get his approval.

Most of the songs were created by improvisation at Genesis' Fisher Lane Farm ("The Farm") studio. The band noted in past interviews how this album was the perfect balance of both their old style longer songs and their current, short, pop/rock songs.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars[2]
Entertainment Weekly C[3]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[4]

Rolling Stone chiefly commented on the album's lyrics. They criticised "Tell Me Why" and "Way of the World" for being soulless and impersonal social commentaries, but regarded most of the songs as outstanding, and summarised "Although We Can't Dance doesn't quite achieve the vulnerable grace of Duke or the exuberance of Abacab, Genesis has nevertheless delivered an elegantly spare – and even adventurous – album."[4]

AllMusic similarly criticised the lyrics of "Tell Me Why" and "Way of the World", calling them "paeans for world understanding that sound miles away from any immediacy". However, they praised the album for returning to a less pop-oriented direction, and especially complimented the grittiness of "No Son of Mine", "Jesus He Knows Me", and "I Can't Dance" (which received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocals in 1993).[2]

David Browne of Entertainment Weekly gave a lackluster review, stating: "At a time when everything is uncertain... you almost have to admire a record like We Can't Dance. [...] You know there will be a couple of fleeting moments when the band breaks out of its torpor – for instance, on the very polite primal stomp of 'I Can't Dance' – and that such moments will just as quickly be subsumed by the rest of the musical quicksand."[3]

Stevie Chick of The Guardian has dismissed the album as "blandness".[5]

The album garnered Genesis an American Music Award for Favorite Pop/Rock Band, Duo, or Group and two further nominations for Favorite Adult Contemporary Album and Favorite Adult Contemporary Artist. At the Brit Awards in 1993, the album was nominated for Best British Album while Phil Collins was nominated as Best Male British Artist for his contribution to the album.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Tony Banks, Phil Collins and Mike Rutherford.

No. Title Length
1. "No Son of Mine"   6:39
2. "Jesus He Knows Me"   4:16
3. "Driving the Last Spike"   10:08
4. "I Can't Dance"   4:01
5. "Never a Time"   3:50
6. "Dreaming While You Sleep"   7:16
7. "Tell Me Why"   4:58
8. "Living Forever"   5:41
9. "Hold on My Heart"   4:37
10. "Way of the World"   5:38
11. "Since I Lost You"   4:09
12. "Fading Lights"   10:16


No. Title Single of origin Length
1. "On the Shoreline"   "I Can't Dance" 4:45
2. "Hearts on Fire"   "Jesus He Knows Me" 5:15



Following the release of the album Genesis spent 13 weeks on the road playing 55 concerts between May and July 1992, with a 15 date UK tour in October/November.[6] The popular worldwide tour sold out arenas and stadiums (where they mostly played on the U.S. leg of the tour). This proved to be Collins' last tour with Genesis until the band reunited in 2007. The album was re-released as a SACD/DVD double disc set (including new 5.1 and Stereo mixes) in October 2007. During the recording of We Can't Dance a 40-minute documentary called No Admittance was produced and broadcast on the Discovery Channel. It has since been included in the bonus DVD released in 2007.

The "We Can't Dance" tour featured shows in large arenas and stadiums throughout North America and Europe. It would be the band's final full-length tour until the 2007 Turn It On Again reunion tour. The tour is captured live on the albums The Way We Walk, Volume One: The Shorts, The Way We Walk, Volume Two: The Longs and the concert video The Way We Walk - Live in Concert.

Charts and certifications[edit]

Sales and certifications[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Australia (ARIA)[24] Platinum 70,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[25] Gold 25,000x
Canada (Music Canada)[26] 4× Platinum 400,000^
Finland (Musiikkituottajat)[27] Gold 25,000[27]
France (SNEP)[28] 2× Platinum 788,600[29]
Germany (BVMI)[30] 5× Platinum 2,500,000^
Japan (RIAJ)[31] Gold 100,000^
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[32] Platinum 100,000^
Sweden (GLF)[33] Platinum 100,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[34] 4× Platinum 200,000x
United Kingdom (BPI)[35] 5× Platinum 1,500,000^
United States (RIAA)[36] 4× Platinum 4,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ "Official Genesis Website". Genesis-music.com. Retrieved 12 January 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Orens, Geoff. Album review, Allmusic.
  3. ^ a b Browne, David (15 November 1991). "We Can't Dance Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 8 June 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Manning, Kara (9 January 1992). Album Review, Rolling Stone.
  5. ^ Chick, Stevie (3 September 2014). "Genesis: 10 of the best". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 6 September 2014. 
  6. ^ genesis-movement.co.uk
  7. ^ "Genesis – We Can't Dance". Australiancharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
  8. ^ "Genesis – We Can't Dance" (in German). Austriancharts.at. Hung Medien. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
  9. ^ http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/rpm/028020-119.01-e.php?&file_num=nlc008388.2041&type=1&interval=20&PHPSESSID=8gtl9u7trphhliommrvt4kqlb2
  10. ^ "Genesis – We Can't Dance" (in Dutch). Dutchcharts.nl. Hung Medien. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
  11. ^ Pennanen, Timo (2006). Sisältää hitin - levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla vuodesta 1972 (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Kustannusosakeyhtiö Otava. p. 263. ISBN 978-951-1-21053-5. 
  12. ^ http://books.google.co.uk/books?lr=&rview=1&id=jg8EAAAAMBAJ&q=genesis#v=snippet&q=genesis&f=false
  13. ^ "Top 100 Longplay". Officialcharts.de. GfK Entertainment. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
  14. ^ http://zene.slagerlistak.hu/archivum/kereso-eloado-cim-szerint
  15. ^ http://www.hitparadeitalia.it/hp_yenda/lpe1983.htm
  16. ^ [1]
  17. ^ "Genesis – We Can't Dance". Charts.org.nz. Hung Medien. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
  18. ^ "Genesis – We Can't Dance". Norwegiancharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
  19. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2. 
  20. ^ "Genesis – We Can't Dance". Swedishcharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
  21. ^ "Genesis – We Can't Dance". Swisscharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
  22. ^ November 1991 "23 November 1991 Top 40 UK Albums Archive". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
  23. ^ "Genesis – Chart history" Billboard 200 for Genesis.
  24. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 1992 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association. 
  25. ^ "Austrian album certifications – Genesis – We Can't Dance" (in German). IFPI Austria.  Enter Genesis in the field Interpret. Enter We Can't Dance in the field Titel. Select album in the field Format. Click Suchen
  26. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Genesis – We Can't Dance". Music Canada. 
  27. ^ a b "Genesis" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. 
  28. ^ "French album certifications – Genesis – We Can't Dance" (in French). InfoDisc.  Select GENESIS and click OK
  29. ^ "Les Albums Double Platine :" (in French). Infodisc.fr. Retrieved 13 August 2012. 
  30. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Genesis; 'We Can't Dance')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. 
  31. ^ "Japanese album certifications – Genesis – We Can't Dance" (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan. 
  32. ^ "Solo Exitos 1959–2002 Ano A Ano: Certificados 1991–1995". Solo Exitos 1959–2002 Ano A Ano. ISBN 8480486392. 
  33. ^ "Guld- och Platinacertifikat − År 1987−1998" (PDF) (in Swedish). IFPI Sweden. 
  34. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (Genesis; 'We Can't Dance')". Hung Medien. 
  35. ^ "British album certifications – Genesis – We Can't Dance". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter We Can't Dance in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Platinum in the field By Award. Click Search
  36. ^ "American album certifications – Genesis – We Can't Dance". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Shepherd Moons by Enya
UK number one album
23 November 1991 – 29 November 1991
Succeeded by
Dangerous by Michael Jackson
Preceded by
Welcome to Wherever You Are by INXS
UK number one album
22 August 1992 – 28 August 1992
Succeeded by
Best I by The Smiths