Top 10 Songs by Genesis

Genesis has built an enduring legacy on a foundation of thoughtful lyrics and a distinct sound. Largely regarded as trailblazers of progressive rock, Genesis’ most famous iteration featured lead vocalist and drummer Phil Collins, guitarist Mike Rutherford and keyboard player Tony Banks.

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In listening to the English rock band’s expansive catalog, one can hear the progression in their sound, becoming more refined during the height of their hits. With more than three decades in the music industry, Genesis has made an indelible mark. Below, we look at 10 of Genesis’ best songs.

1.) “Land of Confusion”

With “Land of Confusion,” Genesis offers political commentary, as evidenced by such lyrics there’s too many men, too many people / Making too many problems / And not much love to go ’round / Can’t you see this is a land of confusion? while noting that men of power are losing control. Collins vows at the song’s end that his generation will put it right and make promises they know they can keep.

The song was made even more memorable by its famous video, which features the band members as puppets, along with caricatures of famous figures ranging from Ronald Reagan to Madonna and Michael Jackson. Peaking at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100, “Land of Confusion” is one of Genesis’ signature hits.

There’s too many men, too many people
Making too many problems
And not much love to go ’round
Can’t you see this is a land of confusion?

2.) “No Son of Mine”

There’s always been a level of vulnerability in Gensis’ songs, but that really shines through with “No Son of Mine.” This heartbreaking song tells the tale of a young boy who runs away from his abusive home and upon returning home years later is shunned by his father.

As the sole writer of the song, Collins doesn’t mince words as he sings I couldn’t stand to hear the crying / Of my mother, and I remember when / I swore that that would be the last they’d see of me / And I never went home again. Despite its somber nature, the song charted in multiple countries, hitting No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100, making for one of Genesis’ most tear-jerking, memorable songs.

“You’re no son, you’re no son of mine”
“You’re no son, you’re no son of mine”
“You walked out, you left us behind”
“And you’re no son, you’re no son of mine”

3.) “Hold on My Heart”

“Hold on My Heart” is a vibe that makes you want to groove along. Here, Collins longs to take his time with a relationship, using the lyrics as his way of communicating that rather than rushing into a romance. He asks his lover to be patient in an effort to savor every moment of their budding romance. It’s a beautiful take on a romantic ballad that makes for one of Genesis’ best.

Hold on my heart
Throw me a lifeline
I’ll keep a place for you
Somewhere deep inside

4.) “Driving the Last Spike”

Standing at 10 minutes long, “Driving the Last Spike” gives a voice to the railway workers who built Britain’s railways in the 19th century, a dangerous job that often left the workers living in deplorable conditions. You can feel the agony in the lyrics as the main character has to say goodbye to his family, turning to a higher power for guidance.

Melodically, the song starts off a bit melancholy before transitioning into Genesis’ signature synth-rock sound, adding to the song’s intrigue. Even though it wasn’t released as a single, fans gravitated to the song so much that it charted anyway, reaching No. 25 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart in 1992.

Driving the last spike
Lifting and laying the track
With blistering hands
And the sun burning your back

5.) “Tonight, Tonight, Tonight”

From the moment you press play, “Tonight” emotes an intoxicating vibe. Collins’ voice soars over the sonically intriguing melody, making “Tonight” stand out when it was released in 1987, which remains true in modern times. Complete with an instrumental solo led by Collins on drums, the lyrics find a man desperate to make it right tonight. Like a soliloquy put to music, “Tonight” raises its hand as one of Genesis’ most ear-catching tunes.

So please answer the phone
‘Cause I keep calling
But you’re never home
What am I gonna do

Tonight, tonight, tonight

6.) “Never a Time”

Genesis continues to prove themselves as songwriters with “Never a Time.” Co-written by Collins, Banks, and Rutherford, it feels like a classic ’90s romantic pop song, but with a twist, as the leading man is tortured by the truth that a love that was once strong is now fading.

The love Collins sings of here isn’t shallow, as he attempts to cut through the dreamlike state the woman he loves is trapped in, exemplified through such plaintive lyrics as you live your life locked in a dream / Where nothing is real, and not what it seems / We can’t go on another day / Just being afraid to say.

No there’s never a time to change
You don’t get a chance to rearrange
It’s a long, long way to go
Just to find out something, we both know
Can’t you see what’s going on
It’s so sad, that a love so strong, has gone

7.) “Invisible Touch”

“Invisible Touch” marks a personal best for Genesis, as it was their first and only song to hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The leading man falls in love at first sight, leaving him changed forever by her invisible touch. With its dance-friendly melody and lyrics that capture the free-falling feeling of falling in love, it’s no wonder fans gravitated to the song that is not only one of their most well-known, but also among their best in their storied career.

She seems to have an invisible touch, yeah
She reaches in, and grabs right hold of your heart
She seems to have an invisible touch, yeah
It takes control and slowly tears you apart

8.) “Abacab”

The title track of their 1981 album, the song’s irresistible beat quickly pulls the listener in. There’s an air of mystery to the lyrics that make it interesting, with visions of someone covered in cellophane, cracks in a mirror, and a hole in a window pane. Between the electronic melody that shows off the musicians’ talents and the fiery lyrics, “Abacab” is one of the band’s best.

You’re never there
(When you show it) just stop and stare
(Abacab) he’s in anywhere
(Abacab) doesn’t really care

9.) “Throwing it All Away”

Collins’ voice always shines, but it’s particularly strong on “Throwing it All Away.” Lyricist Rutherford captures the tension in a relationship when a couple realizes that even though they know they shouldn’t be together, it’s still hard to be apart. Collins’ voice leads the charge as he proclaims that while he wants to be the person who lights up her darkness, he knows their breakup will be permanent. A crowd favorite at their live show, the song hit the top five on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1986.

Just throwing it all away
Throwing it all away
Is there nothing that I can say to make you change your mind?
I watch the world go round and round
And see mine turning upside down

10.) “In Too Deep”

Genesis offers a mellow vibe with “In Too Deep.” This contemplative number follows a lovelorn man who knows he’s too deep in a love where his partner’s feelings aren’t as strong while acknowledging that he could’ve been more selfless in the relationship.

You can almost feel his heart breaking as he sings, I know you’re going, but I can’t believe / It’s the way that you’re leaving / It’s like we never knew each other at all, making this tender-hearted tune one of Genesis’ best.

Listen, you know I love you, but I just can’t take this
You know I love you, but I’m playing for keeps
Although I need you, I’m not gonna make this
You know I want to, but I’m in too deep

Photo by Francesco Prandoni/Getty Images

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