Illegal Alien (song)

Last updated

"Illegal Alien"
Illegal Alien Single.jpg
Single by Genesis
from the album Genesis
B-side "Turn It On Again" (Live)
Released23 January 1984
Genre Pop rock
Length4:33 (45)
5:14 (LP)
Label Atlantic, Virgin, Vertigo
Songwriter(s) Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford
Producer(s) Genesis, Hugh Padgham
Genesis singles chronology
"Home by the Sea"
(1983)
"Illegal Alien"
(1984)
"Taking It All Too Hard"
(1984)

"Illegal Alien" is a song by English rock band Genesis. It was released as the fourth single from the album Genesis . The song reached No.46 on the UK Singles Chart. [1]

Contents

Content

The song's lyrics are a satirical [2] depiction of the frustrations an undocumented immigrant faces in coming to the United States, with lead singer Phil Collins affecting a stereotypical Latino accent, leading up to the chorus: "It's no fun being an illegal alien." [3] The first stanza of the bridge contains the lyric "Over the border there lies the Promised Land / Where everything comes easy, you just hold out your hand" associating the song's protagonist with the pejorative stereotype that Latino immigrants are freeloaders. The second stanza of the bridge—in which the protagonist offers sexual favors from his sister in exchange for admittance across the border—was edited from radio versions of the song, as well as from the music video version.

In 2018, USA Today put the song on their list of 20 politically incorrect songs that'd be wildly controversial today. [4] The A.V. Club notes that "The song and video touch on pretty much every Mexican stereotype, like a check list, in the space of four and a half minutes: drunkenness, panchos, laziness, Mariachi horns, bushy mustaches, sneakiness, sombreros, nonsensical Spanish gibberish." [2]

Collins played trumpet and keyboardist Tony Banks used an Emulator sampler while recording the song.

Music video

Writing a quarter-century after its release, Wired Magazine's Scott Thill called the song's music video "a train wreck". [5] The video depicts most of the events described in the lyrics. At the end of the video, the entire cast and crew is seen singing the repeated chorus along with the band members. The clip was filmed at the same time as the video for "Mama".

Live performances

"Illegal Alien" was only played live in its entirety during the Mama Tour. [6] A live version is featured on disc two of Genesis Archive 2: 1976–1992 , which was recorded live at the L.A. Forum in Los Angeles, California on 14 January 1984. The home video The Mama Tour features a live version of the song performed at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, England, in February 1984.

An excerpt from the chorus was included as part of the "Old Medley" featured on The Way We Walk, Volume Two: The Longs and The Way We Walk – Live in Concert .

Track listings

7" single

  1. "Illegal Alien" – 4:33
  2. "Turn It On Again" (Live) – 5:24

12" maxi

  1. "Illegal Alien" – 5:14
  2. "Turn It On again" (Live extended version) – 9:26

Personnel

Charts

Chart (1984)Peak
position
Canada Top Singles ( RPM ) [7] 41
UK Singles (Official Charts Company) [8] 46
US Billboard Hot 100 [9] 44

Related Research Articles

Who Do You Think You Are (Spice Girls song) 1997 single by Spice Girls

"Who Do You Think You Are" is a song performed by British pop group Spice Girls. It was written by the group members with Paul Wilson and Andy Watkins—also known as Absolute—for the group's debut album Spice, released in November 1996. The song is heavily influenced by early 1990s dance-pop, and has a nu-disco-style beat that resembles the music of the late 1970s. Its lyrics are about the superstar life, and how someone can get trapped in the world of fame.

<i>Genesis</i> (Genesis album) 1983 studio album by Genesis

Genesis is the twelfth studio album by the English rock band Genesis, released on 3 October 1983 by Charisma and Virgin Records in the UK and by Atlantic Records in the US and Canada. Following the band's tour in support of their 1982 live album Three Sides Live, Genesis took an eight-month break before they regrouped in the spring of 1983 to record a new studio album, their first since Abacab (1981). It marks their first written, recorded, and mixed in its entirety at their own recording facility named The Farm. Its title derives from the fact that the album was written collectively. According to AllMusic, the album established that Genesis were "now primarily a pop band", although "art rock functions as coloring".

Jesus He Knows Me 1992 single by Genesis

"Jesus He Knows Me" is the second track on the 1991 Genesis album We Can't Dance and its fourth single. The song is a satire of televangelism, released in a period when several televangelists such as Jimmy Swaggart, Robert Tilton and Jim Bakker were under investigation for promising financial success to their listeners, provided they sent money to them. The song reached No. 10 in Canada, No. 20 in the United Kingdom and No. 23 in the United States.

Mama (Genesis song) 1983 single by Genesis

"Mama" is a song by the English rock band Genesis, released as the first single in 1983 from their self-titled album. It is recognisable for its harsh drum machine introduction composed by Mike Rutherford, which leads into minimalist synthesizer lines in a minor tonality and finally Phil Collins' reverb-laden voice. It remains the band's most successful single in the UK, peaking at No. 4 on the UK Singles Chart. It also made the top 10 in Switzerland, Austria, Norway, Ireland and the Netherlands. It was less popular in the US, only reaching No. 73 on the Billboard Hot 100. A 1992 re-release of the single managed to reach the Top 40 in Germany.

Fat Bottomed Girls 1978 single by Queen

"Fat Bottomed Girls" is a song by the British rock band Queen. Written by guitarist Brian May, the track featured on their 1978 album Jazz and later on their compilation album Greatest Hits. When released as a single with "Bicycle Race", the song reached number 11 in the UK Singles Chart and number 24 in the Billboard Hot 100 in the US.

I Cant Dance 1991 single by Genesis

"I Can't Dance" is the fourth track from the Genesis album We Can't Dance and was the second single from the album. The lyrics were written by drummer Phil Collins and the music was written by the whole band. The song peaked at number seven on both the US Billboard Hot 100 and the UK Singles Chart and received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocals in 1993. The song also reached number one in Belgium and the Netherlands while peaking within the top five in Austria, Canada, Germany, and Portugal.

No Son of Mine 1991 single by Genesis

"No Son of Mine" is a song by British rock group Genesis, released as the lead single from their 1991 album, We Can't Dance. It reached No. 6 on the UK Singles Chart and No. 12 on the US Billboard Hot 100. It was also a top-ten hit in several European countries and peaked atop Canada's RPM Top Singles chart for five weeks.

Invisible Touch (song) 1986 single by Genesis

"Invisible Touch" is the title track and first single from the 1986 album of the same name by the English rock band Genesis. The song is a group composition which featured lyrics written by drummer and singer Phil Collins.

Follow You Follow Me 1978 single by Genesis

"Follow You Follow Me" is a love song written and recorded by English rock band Genesis. It was released in February 1978 as the first single from their ninth studio album, ...And Then There Were Three... (1978). The music was composed by the band, and the lyrics were written by bassist and guitarist Mike Rutherford.

Throwing It All Away 1986 single by Genesis

"Throwing It All Away" is the seventh track on the 1986 album Invisible Touch by Genesis. It was the second single from the album in 1986, reaching No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 22 in Britain, where it was released as the last single of the album in 1987. In the U.S., it also went to No. 1 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart in October 1986 and the Album Rock Tracks chart in August 1986. The working title was "Zephyr and Zeppo".

Thats All (Genesis song) 1983 single by Genesis

"That's All" is a song by English rock band Genesis. It is a group composition and appears as the second track on their 1983 album Genesis. It was the album's second single after "Mama".

I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe) 1974 song by Genesis

"I Know What I Like " was the first charting single by the rock band Genesis. It was drawn from their 1973 album Selling England by the Pound. The single was released in the UK in February 1974, and became a minor hit in April 1974, when it reached number 21 in the UK Singles Chart.

Home by the Sea 1983 single by Genesis

"Home by the Sea" and "Second Home by the Sea" is a suite of two songs by English rock band Genesis. It first appeared on their eponymous album in 1983. The lyrics were written by keyboardist Tony Banks and the music was written by the whole band. Lyrically, the song is about a burglar who breaks into a house only to find it is haunted. The burglar is captured by the ghosts, who force him to listen to their stories for the rest of his life.

Abacab (song) 1981 single by Genesis

"Abacab" is a song by the British rock band Genesis, released on 14 August 1981. It was produced by Genesis and distributed in the United States by Atlantic Records and Warner Music Group. The song, written by Tony Banks, Phil Collins, and Mike Rutherford, was featured on Genesis' album of the same name and was a top 10 hit on the British pop chart, where it peaked at No. 9. The song was the second single from the album in the US, where it peaked at No. 26 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in early 1982. It stayed in the Top 40 for six weeks.

Tell Me Why (Genesis song) 1993 single by Genesis

"Tell Me Why" is a rock song by Genesis. It first appeared as the seventh track on their 1991 album We Can't Dance, and was later issued as a single in Europe and Britain. It was the last Genesis single featuring Phil Collins on vocals.

<i>The Mama Tour</i>

Genesis Live: The Mama Tour is a concert film by the English progressive rock band Genesis, released for home video in October 1985 by Virgin Music Video. It contains highlights from the group's five concerts at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham in February 1984 at the end of their Mama Tour, supporting their 1983 album Genesis. It was directed by Jim Yukich.

Misunderstanding (Genesis song) 1980 single by Genesis

"Misunderstanding" is a song by English rock band Genesis, released on their 1980 album Duke. It reached No. 14 in the U.S. and No. 42 in the UK. Its highest charting was in Canada, where it reached No. 1 and is ranked as the seventh biggest Canadian hit of 1980. It was also featured on the band's 1982 double-album Three Sides Live, where it led off side three.

<i>The Way We Walk</i> 2002 video by Genesis

The Way We Walk – Live in Concert is a 2002 double DVD featuring live performances from the We Can't Dance tour by Genesis. The footage was videotaped on 8 November 1992 at Earls Court in London, and first released on VHS in March 1993 as Genesis Live – The Way We Walk – In Concert. It was also available on PAL format LaserDisc.

Who Said I Would 1991 single by Phil Collins

"Who Said I Would" is a song performed by Phil Collins that was originally recorded for his 1985 album No Jacket Required but was released in 1991 as a single from his live album Serious Hits... Live! in the United States.

Mama Tour

The Mama Tour was a North American and United Kingdom concert tour by English rock band Genesis. The tour began in November 1983 and ended in February 1984 in Birmingham, England. Birmingham dates at National Exhibition Centre in February 1984 were filmed for a video release entitled Genesis: The Mama Tour.

References

  1. Genesis UK chart history, The Official Charts Company. Retrieved 18 May 2012.
  2. 1 2 It's No Fun Bein' A Really Good, Really Offensive Genesis Song. The A.V. Club; 2/5/2018. https://film.avclub.com/its-no-fun-bein-a-really-good-really-offensive-genesis-1798213295
  3. Revisiting Genesis' Self-Titled 1983 Album. Ultimate Classic Rock website; Oct 5, 2013. http://ultimateclassicrock.com/genesis-self-titled-album/
  4. Ryan, Patrick (12 April 2018). "20 politically incorrect songs that'd be wildly controversial today". USA Today . Retrieved 5 December 2020.
  5. Scott Hill, Genesis’ “Illegal Alien:” Worst Song Ever? Or Worst Video Ever? Wired, May 30, 2008. https://www.wired.com/2008/05/genesis-illegal/
  6. Mama Tour Songs & Dates
  7. "Canadian peak". Archived from the original on 3 January 2017. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
  8. "Genesis | full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company . Retrieved 29 June 2020.
  9. "Genesis Chart History: Hot 100". Billboard . Retrieved 29 June 2020.