The Phil Collins puppet which was featured in the "Land of Confusion" music video.

"Land of Confusion" is a rock song written by the band Genesis for their 1986 album Invisible Touch. The song was the third track on the album and was the fourth track from the album to become a single, which reached number 4 in the US[1] and number 14 in the UK in late 1986.[2] It made number 8 in the Netherlands. The music was written by the band, while the lyrics were written by guitarist Mike Rutherford.[3] The song's video featured puppets from the 1980s UK sketch show Spitting Image.

Contents[edit | edit source]

 [hide*1 Music video

Music video[edit][edit | edit source]

[1][2]The band members (Banks, Collins and Rutherford) as they appeared in the video.

The song is widely remembered for its music video, which had heavy airplay on MTV. The video featurescaricature puppets by the British television show Spitting Image. After Phil Collins saw a caricatured version of himself on the show, he commissioned the show's creators, Peter Fluck and Roger Law, to create puppets of the entire band, as well as all the characters in the video.

The video opens with a caricatured Ronald Reagan (voiced by Chris Barrie), Nancy Reagan, and a chimpanzee (parodying Reagan's film Bedtime for Bonzo), going to bed at 16:30 (4:30 PM). Reagan, holding a teddy bear, goes to sleep and begins to have a nightmare, which sets the premise for the entire video. The video intermittently features a line of stomping feet, illustrating an army marching through a swamp, and they pick up heads of Cold War-era political figures in the swamp along the way (an allusion to Motel Hell).

Caricatured versions of the band members are shown playing instruments on stage during a concert: Tony Banks on an array of synthesizers (as well as acash register), Mike Rutherford on a four-necked guitar (parodying Rutherford's dual role as the band's guitar and bass-player), and two Phil Collins puppets: one on the drums, and one singing.

During the second verse, the video features various world leaders giving speeches on large video screens in front of mass crowds; the video shows Benito MussoliniAyatollah Ruhollah KhomeiniMikhail Gorbachev and his aides (appearing like Frank Sinatra's 'rat pack'), and Muammar al-Gaddafi. Meanwhile, Reagan is shown putting on a Superman suit, fumbling along the way, while Collins sings,

Oh Superman where are you now
When everything's gone wrong somehow
The men of steel, the men of power
Are losing control by the hour.

Meanwhile, the "real world" Reagan is shown drowning in his own sweat (at one point, a rubber duck floats by).

During the bridge, the Superman-costumed Reagan and a Monoclonius-type dinosaur (with punk jewellery) watch a television showing various clips (apparently from the Spitting Image show itself), includingJohnny CarsonLeonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock (with a Rubik's Cube), and Bob Hope. This segues into a sequence apparently set in prehistoric times, where the Monoclonius-type and a theropod-type dinosaur (wearing a bow-tie) meet up with Ron and Nancy Reagan and a rather outlandish mammal eats an egg and reads a newspaper. At the end of this part, the ape from the prologue is shown throwing a bone in the air (an allusion to 2001: A Space Odyssey).

As the bone begins to fall there is a sudden switch to Collins catching a falling phone which he uses to inform the person on the other end that he "won't be coming home tonight, my generation will put it right" (which is when a caricature of a 1980s Pete Townshend is seen playing a chord on guitar and giving a thumb-up for putative mentioning of his own song, "My Generation") and on the "we're not just making promises" verse the bone lands (on top of David Bowie and Bob Dylan). Reagan is then shown riding the Monoclonius through the streets while wearing a cowboy hat and wardrobe (a reference to Reagan's down-home public persona and ranch). As the video nears its climax, there are periodic scenes of a large group of spoofed celebrity puppets, including Tina TurnerMichael JacksonMadonnaBill Cosby andHulk Hogan singing along to the chorus of the song, in a spoof of the charity-driven song "We Are the World", with Pope John Paul II playing an electric guitar.

At the end of the video, Reagan awakens from his dream, and surfaces from the sweat surrounding him; Nancy at this point is wearing a snorkel. After taking a drink (missing his mouth and, indeed, his face), he fumbles for a button next to his bed. He intends to push the one labelled "Nurse", but instead presses the one titled "Nuke", setting off a nuclear weapon. Reagan then replies "Man, that's one heck of a nurse!" Nancy whacks him over the head with her snorkel.

The video, directed by John Lloyd & Jim Yukich and produced by Jon Blair, won the short-lived Grammy Award for Best Concept Music Video during the 30th Annual Grammy Awards.[4] The video was also nominated for an MTV Video Music Award for Best Video of the Year in 1987, but lost to "Sledgehammer" by Peter Gabriel (coincidentally, Genesis' former lead singer). It also made the number-one spot onThe Village Voice critic Robert Christgau's top 10 music videos in his year-end "Dean's List" feature, and number three on the equivalent list in his annual survey of music critics, Pazz & Jop (again losing out to "Sledgehammer").[5]

List of famous people and characters seen in the video[edit][edit | edit source]

[3] This film, television or video-related list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it with reliably sourced additions.{| role="presentation" style="width:1213.6363525390625px;table-layout:fixed;border:none;border-spacing:0px;" |- style="vertical-align:top;" |*Tony Banks

|;in crowd:


Singles track listings[edit][edit | edit source]

7": Virgin / GENS 3 (UK)[edit][edit | edit source]

  1. "Land of Confusion" – 4:45
  2. "Feeding the Fire" – 5:54

7": Atlantic / 7-89336 (US)[edit][edit | edit source]

  1. "Land of Confusion" (LP Version) – 4:45
  2. "Feeding the Fire" – 5:54

12": Virgin / GENS 3–12 (UK)[edit][edit | edit source]

  1. "Land of Confusion" (Extended Remix) – 6:55
  2. "Land of Confusion" – 4:45
  3. "Feeding the Fire" – 5:54

12": Virgin / 608 632-213 (Germany)[edit][edit | edit source]

  1. "Land of Confusion" (Extended Remix) – 6:55
  2. "Land of Confusion" – 4:45
  3. "Feeding the Fire" – 5:54

CD: Virgin / SNEG 3–12 (UK)[edit][edit | edit source]

  1. "Land of Confusion" – 4:45
  2. "Land of Confusion" (Extended Remix) – 6:55
  3. "Feeding the Fire" – 5:54
  4. "Do the Neurotic" – 7:08

12": Atlantic / PR 968 (US)[edit][edit | edit source]

  1. "Land of Confusion" (Extended Remix) – 6:55
  2. "Land of Confusion" – 4:45

7": Atlantic / 7-89336 promo (US)[edit][edit | edit source]

  1. "Land of Confusion" (Special Edited Remix) – 3:53
  2. "Land of Confusion" (Album Version) – 4:45

Personnel[edit][edit | edit source]

Live performances[edit][edit | edit source]

The song was played on their Invisible Touch,[6] The Way We Walk,[7] Calling All Stations[8] (with Ray Wilson on vocals) and Turn It On Again: The Tour[9] tours, though later transposed to a lower key to accommodate Collins' deepening voice.

It also appears on their live albums The Way We Walk, Volume One: The Shorts, and Live Over Europe 2007. As well as on their DVDs Genesis Live at Wembley StadiumThe Way We Walk - Live in Concert and When in Rome 2007.

Cultural references[edit][edit | edit source]

"Land of Confusion" was also a track used for the final episode of the 1980s cop show Miami Vice (in which Phil Collins periodically played a minor role) called "Freefall" and was applied as the characters of the show Crockett (Don Johnson) and Tubbs (Philip Michael Thomas) were in the middle of a stakeout. The song was to imply the complexity of the story during the finale.

This song is mentioned in American Psycho.

The cover version of "Land of Confusion" by Disturbed is used in the end credits of Bigger, Stronger, Faster*.

Notable covers[edit][edit | edit source]

The song has been variously re-recorded as cover versions by several artists spanning a number of genres:

Disturbed [edit][edit | edit source]

"Land of Confusion"
Single by Disturbed
from the album Ten Thousand Fists
Released 2 October 2006
Format Compact disc, 12" picture LP
Recorded January – April 2005 at Groovemaster Studios inChicago, Illinois
Genre Heavy metalhard rock
Length 4:47
Label Reprise
Writer(s) Mike RutherfordTony Banks,Phil Collins
Producer(s) Johnny K
Disturbed singles chronology
"Just Stop"


"Land of Confusion"


"Ten Thousand Fists"


The American heavy metal band Disturbed released a cover of the song on their third studio album, Ten Thousand Fists. The song became the fourth single from that album. Vocalist David Draiman commented that the aim of covering the song was, "taking a song that's absolutely nothing like us and making it our own."[13] The line "And the sound of your laughter" in the original's bridge was replaced by "In the wake of this madness".

It was accompanied by a music video animated by Todd McFarlane, known as the creator of the comics series Spawn. McFarlane had previously animated the music videos for the songs "Freak on a Leash" by Korn and "Do the Evolution" by Pearl Jam. According to McFarlane, the music video is "a big view of the corporate world and how it all ties into just one big beast for me... The world is run by one giant thing, which is driven by greed and lust."[14] "Land of Confusion" reached number 1 in the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks; it is Disturbed's first number 1 single on that chart.

Music video[edit][edit | edit source]

The video starts out with the Guy, Disturbed's mascot, falling to earth. It then shows military forces bearing the symbol of dollar sign[14] within a circle of white that is within a field of red, followed by legions of black-clad soldiers reminiscent of Adolf Hitler's Schutzstaffel.[15] The video then shows the Guy, escaping bondage from chains, as the military forces continue to assault cities and civilians. Later on, leaders of various nations of the world (bearing close physical resemblance to the then respective national leaders) are shown sitting at a table with the same dollar sign on it. Eventually the Guy confronts the soldiers, and leads the people in rebellion. Flags of several powerful nations are then shown, with the final flag sporting the dollar sign. The Guy leads the rebels to the United Nations Headquarters[15] where they disrupt a meeting of the U.N. representatives. The Guy then leads the angry mob into a back room where they confront the real power behind the throne, a gigantic, bloated Fat Cat. The mob then drags him to the ground and once immobilised, the Guy destroys the Fat Cat, who explodes into a shower of dollar bills.

UK enhanced version[edit][edit | edit source]

  1. "Land of Confusion"
  2. "Sickened"
  3. "Land of Confusion" (Video)

UK, European & US vinyl 12" limited edition picture disc[edit][edit | edit source]

  1. "Land of Confusion"
  2. "Sickened"

European version[edit][edit | edit source]

  1. "Land of Confusion" (Version 1)
  2. "Land of Confusion" (Version 2)

Personnel[edit][edit | edit source]

Charts[edit][edit | edit source]

Genesis version[edit][edit | edit source]

Chart (1986–87) Peak


Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40) 27
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40) 10
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)[16] 18
Ireland (IRMA) 9
New Zealand (RIANZ) 9
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan) 10
Swiss Singles Chart 8
United Kingdom (The Official Charts Company)[2] 14
US BillboardHot 100 4
US BillboardTop Rock Tracks 11

Disturbed version[edit][edit | edit source]

Chart (2006) Position
United Kingdom (The Official Charts Company) 79
US Alternative songs 18
US Billboard 105
US Mainstream Rock Tracks[17] 1
US Modern Rock Tracks[17] 18
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