This Day in ’84: Genesis Release “Illegal Alien”
36 years ago today, Genesis released the fourth single from their self-titled 1983 album, a song which is arguably even more relevant in 2020 than it was when it was originally released.
With songwriting credit assigned jointly to Tony Banks, Phil Collins, and Mike Rutherford, âIllegal Alienâ was â like the album from which it originated â co-produced by Genesis and Hugh Padgham. Also like the other tracks on GENESIS, itâs an extremely catchy ditty, one that offers a satirical look at the experience of an illegal Mexican immigrant attempting to get across the border. Itâs fair to say that the lyrics arenât exactly the most politically-correct things youâve ever heard, but thereâs still far too much familiarity to the story in the present political climateâ¦although weâd guess there probably arenât many Mexican immigrants who look like the guys in this video.
As a single, âIllegal Alienâ was the textbook definition of a minor hit, hitting #44 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #46 on the UK Singles chart, and itâs not a song that frequented the bandâs live sets very often: since the bandâs tour behind the GENESIS album, itâs only ever appeared as part of a medley. And yet itâs a song that every Genesis fan knows, because â as Steven Hyden of the AV Club wrote once upon a time â âthe melody, per usual for a mid-â80s Collins-involved track, is pretty damned irresistible.â
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