I Can’t Dance – Genesis Song Meaning

It’s interesting how many great songs didn’t come into being because the authors or their colleagues couldn’t see the potential hits. For example, the story of the song I Can’t Dance by the Genesis group could end before it could begin, because the band members did not believe in the track’s future success and viewed it as a funny joke.

The history of creation and the meaning of the song I Can’t Dance

Here is how it was. The boys were in the studio working on a new album when Mike Rutherford surprised them with a guitar riff he had just composed, and Phil Collins immediately jumped in with “I can’t dance.”

Mike later said that he was inspired by a Levi’s commercial that featured the song Should I Stay Or Should I Go by punk band The Clash. In general, everyone laughed, but no one took this improvisation seriously, since it was not only too simple, but also did not correspond to the Genesis style at all.

But then Banks worked on the sound a bit, and he and his colleagues changed their minds about the song. As it turned out, not in vain. I Can’t Dance, released as the second single from We Can’t Dance, peaked at number seven on the UK Singles Chart and Billboard Hot 100. It later won a Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Duo or Group Performance.

Clip I Can’t Dance – Genesis

A hilarious music video was filmed for the song, mocking the falseness and pretentiousness of TV commercials. Collins once said that they wanted to make fun of models advertising jeans. Allegedly, every line in the song “I Can’t Dance” describes their typical behavior.

Cover versions

Ray Wilson, after leaving Genesis, performed I Can’t Dance in a blues style.

Interesting Facts

  • After the active rotation of the video on music TV channels, the dance, which was performed by members of the Genesis group, became popular. Collins came up with it by observing the inept actions of those learning to tap dance.
  • In the video for I Can’t Dance there is a link to the video for the song “Black and White” by Michael Jackson.

I Can’t Dance Genesis Lyrics

hot sun beating down
Burning my feet just walking around
hot sun making me sweat
Gators getting close, hasn’t got me yet

I can’t dance, I can’t talk
Only thing about me is the way I walk
I can’t dance, I can’t sing
I’m just standing here selling everything

blue jeans sitting on the beach
Her dog’s talking to me, but she’s out of reach
She’s got a body under that shirt,
But all she wants to do is rub my face in the dirt

Cos, I can’t dance, I can’t talk
Only thing about me is the way I walk
I can’t dance, I can’t sing
I’m just standing here selling
Oh and checking everything is in place,
You never know who’s looking on

Young punk spilling beer on my shoes,
Fat guy’s talking to me trying to steal my blues
Thick smoke, see her smiling through
I never thought so much could happen just shooting pool

But I can’t dance, I can’t talk
The only thing about me is the way that I walk
I can’t dance, I can’t sing
I’m just standing here selling
Oh and checking everything is in place
You never know who’s looking on
A perfect body with a perfect face

I Can’t Dance Lyrics

The sun is burning
Sand burns feet while walking
I sweat in hot rays
The alligators are getting close but haven’t caught me yet

I can’t dance, I can’t speak
My only “trick” is how I walk
I can’t dance, I can’t sing
I just stand here and sell everything

Blue jeans sitting on the beach
Her dog talks to me but she’s out of reach
There’s a body under her shirt
But all she wants is to dunk my face in the mud

‘Cause I can’t dance, I can’t speak
My only “trick” is how I walk
I can’t dance, I can’t sing
I just stand here and sell everything
Oh, and check if everything is in place
You never know who might be watching you

Young punk spill beer on my shoes
Some fat man is trying to chatter to dispel my sadness
Through thick smoke I see her smiling
I would never have thought that so many things could happen while playing billiards

But I can’t dance, I can’t speak
My only “trick” is how I walk
I can’t dance, I can’t sing
I just stand here and sell everything
Oh, and check if everything is in place
You never know who might be watching you
Perfect body with perfect face

Song quote

It was one of those passages that you might think lead nowhere. It sounded fun, but it wasn’t really special.

Tony Banks

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