Neha Patil (Editor)

Turn It On Again

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Format  7", 12"
Recorded  October–December 1979
B-side  "Behind the Lines" (Edit) (UK) "Evidence of Autumn" (US)
Released  8 March 1980 (UK) August 1980 (USA)
Length  3:50 (album version) 3:44 (UK single remix) 3:27 (US single remix edit)
Label  Charisma Records Atlantic (U.S., Canada)

"Turn It On Again" is a single from the English rock band Genesis, from their 1980 album Duke. It reached number 8 in the UK Singles Chart.

The lyrics, written by Mike Rutherford, deal with a man who does nothing more than watch his television, so much that he becomes obsessed with the people he watches on it, believing them to be his friends.

The song is also characterised by a rhythmic structure uncharacteristically complex for pop music but commonplace in the band's progressive rock back catalogue, with verse/chorus sections in alternating time signatures, 6
to 7
), while the intro and bridge sections are in 4
and 5
). The song was originally much slower, written mostly by Mike Rutherford, with help from Phil Collins. He explains in the Songbook DVD "I had this riff, [plays lead riff on guitar] but at the time I was playing it like this, [plays slower] and Phil said 'why don't you try it in a faster speed?' and then he said to me 'do you realize it is in 13
?' and I said 'What do you mean it's in 13? It's in 4
isn't it?' 'No, it's 13'". Collins confirms "You can't dance to it. You see people trying to dance to it every now and again, they get on the off beat but they don't know why".

"Turn It On Again" was built out of various left-over song sections from different projects by each member: The second set of verses was originally conceived by Tony Banks for A Curious Feeling, "We kind of put [Rutherford's riff] – the bit he didn't use on Smallcreep's Day, curiously enough – with the bit I didn't use on A Curious Feeling, and put these two together. We made it much more rocky, both bits became much more rocky, my bit was a bit more epic, and Mike's bit was a bit slower and a bit more heavy-metal. And then Phil gave it a much more straightforward drum part perhaps neither of us would ever thought that we would want that on that bit [...] We put on one or two other bits, too, that ended up from there".

The video for the song appeared on MTV's first day of broadcast.

"Turn It On Again" has been a favourite in Genesis's live shows. Consequently, the group's 1999 compilation album Turn It On Again: The Hits (as was its 2007 expanded reissue, subtitled The Tour Edition) was named after it, as was the band's 2007 Turn It On Again: The Tour reunion tour. On their tours in the 1980s, the band would attach a medley of 1960's pop songs (referred to by the band as the "Blues Brothers" medley, as the first song was "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love"); the song would be returned to its album form for the We Can't Dance tour and the band would later regard the medley as a poor decision.


  • Phil Collins – drums, percussion, lead vocals
  • Tony Banks – keyboards, backing vocals
  • Mike Rutherford – guitars, bass pedals
  • References

    Turn It On Again Wikipedia