Deep Dive: Genesis, TONIGHT, TONIGHT, TONIGHT
Genesis was already three hits deep into the blockbuster Invisible Touch album when the band finally got around to making "Tonight, Tonight, Tonight" the fourth single from the LP. With a running time of almost nine minutes, it wasn't exactly built for radio play.
"People tend to say now we're just a commercial group who write pop songs, but 'Domino' and 'Tonight, Tonight, Tonight' are more like the old Genesis," Phil Collins told CREEM magazine in 1987. "We have always written collectively, and any individual songs have been credited to the group anyway. We thought if one person got the credits, he would get all the royalties, and it would create an unfair imbalance."
According to keyboardist Tony Banks, it was a proposal from Michelob beer that ultimately changed the course of the tune. Incorporating the track into a flashy TV commercial gave the band and song massive exposure. Part of an even bigger advertising campaign where Michelob utilized rock artists including Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood to woo drinkers, "Tonight, Tonight, Tonight" found new life on prime-time TV. The spot helped Michelob generate a substantial uptick in sales. Ironically, the song that fueled a beer spot was about making a cocaine deal, and fighting a losing battle to addiction.
The song came with a stylistic music video, filmed in the famous Bradbury Building in downtown Los Angeles. A popular movie location, it's probably best known for its use in Blade Runner.
Debuting on the Hot 100 at #45 for the week of February 14, 1987, "Tonight, Tonight, Tonight" rocketed up the charts, peaking at #3 on the same chart for the week of April 4, 1987. The #1 song in America at the time: Starship's "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now."