Tonight (September 29th) on the world famous Classic Album At Midnight on Radio Nova we’re playing Genesis’s Invisible Touch.
The album is presented in full with no commercials or interruptions.
Formed in Surrey in the late 1960s, Genesis would find themselves at the forefront of Britain’s Prog Rock movement throughout the 1970s. Following the departure of original lead singer Peter Gabriel in 1975, drummer Phil Collins became the group’s lead vocalist. In the post-Gabriel era the band would turn to a more mainstream sound which led to considerable commercial success.
This success peaked with 1986’s Invisible Touch, which saw the band ride the wave of Phil Collins’ hugely popular solo career.
After their self-titled 1983 album, Genesis temporarily split up to pursue solo projects. In the time between 1983’s Genesis and 1986’s Invisible Touch, guitarist Mike Rutherford formed his own group Mike + The Mechanics, Phil Collins released his third solo album No Jacket Required, and keyboardist Tony Banks wrote film scores for the films Quicksilver and Lorca and the Outlaws.
When the band reconvened in October 1985 to begin work on Invisible Touch they had individually developed a more commercial ethos on their solo projects, which would manifest itself in Genesis’s most radio friendly album.
Genesis held their Invisible Touch sessions at their private recording studio “The Farm” in Surrey. Phil Collins described the band’s development of songs from jamming sessions as “close to jazz; just the three of us chopping away, fine-tuning and honing down all these ideas.” Rutherford and Banks would jam over a drum machine, with Collins replacing the drum machine when the bones of the song had been arranged. Lyric writing was split with Collins penning four, Rutherford two and Banks two of the album’s eight tracks.
On the original release of Invisible Touch, Side A features Invisible Touch; Tonight, Tonight, Tonight; Land of Confusion; and In Too Deep. Side B consists of Anything She Does; Domino; Throwing It All Away; and The Brazilian.
Three other songs – Feeding the Fire, I’d Rather Be You and Do the Neurotic – were recorded during the sessions but were held off the album and released as b-sides to three of the album’s five singles.
Invisible Touch was released on June 6th, 1986 in the US, with a UK release following three days later. The album spent three weeks at number one in the UK, spending a total of 96 weeks on the album chart. In the US it reached number three with 85 weeks on the Billboard album chart.
Selling over six million copies in the US, Invisible Touch became the band’s biggest-selling album. All five of the album’s singles broke the Top Five in the US, making Genesis both the first band and foreign act to achieve five Top Five singles with one album.
Invisible Touch, Throwing It All Away, Land of Confusion, In Too Deep and Tonight, Tonight, Tonight were all released as singles, with Invisible Touch reaching number one in the US, the only Genesis song to do so. Land of Confusion’s video promo became an MTV staple. It was nominated by the music video channel as their Video of the Year but lost out to former Genesis member Peter Gabriel’s video for Sledgehammer.
The album received mixed reviews from critics, many of whom compared it unfavourably to the solo work of Phil Collins. It did have its champions though, with Rolling Stone writing that “every tune is carefully pruned so that each flourish delivers not an instrumental epiphany but a solid hook.”
Now Invisible Touch stands as a time capsule of the pop sound of the mid-1980s. But while it’s the band’s most commercial album, there’s plenty to please Genesis’s traditional fans, including the 10 minute epic Domino.
You can feel the Invisible Touch at midnight tonight on Radio Nova.