"I Can't Dance" as written by and Michael/collins Rutherford....
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.
The 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.

Cause, I can't dance, I can't talk.
The only thing about me is the way I walk.
No, I can't dance, I can't sing
I'm just standing here selling.

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 I walk.
I can't dance, I can't sing
I'm just standing here selling

And checking everything is in place
You never know who's looking on
A perfect body with a perfect face


Lyrics submitted by Demau Senae

"I Can't Dance" as written by Tom T. Hall

Lyrics © IMAGEM U.S. LLC

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

I Can't Dance song meanings
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15 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentHe was going to call this song "Blue Jeans" and couldn't find words to the chorus, just the background beat. Then they gradually came up with this and it stuck. Good choice though. Blue Jeans belongs to a commercial or something.
    LeArtiston March 26, 2003   Link
  • +2
    Song MeaningI recall reading many years ago that the song was written in response to the big changes in the music industry caused by the rise of MTV. Rather than needing to just have appealing songs, suddenly bands/performers had to be able to look really good in music videos: young, attractive, good at acting/dancing, generally the sort that advertisers would pay a lot to air commercials near and sponsors would want to associate with their products. It didn't matter how brilliant they were at singing or songwriting anymore, and the only kinds of dancing that counted were the really 'cool' type kids would want to emulate.

    The music video illustrates the situation. It begins at a location very similar to one used by ZZ Top, whom handled the image issue by focusing on hot women. Collins is then shown being rejected in favor of an iguana (cold-blooded creature), then a dog (simple trained animal) which also steals & wrecks his jeans, and the whole band is cheated right out of their pants. This is interspersed with footage that documents how fake such videos are. After the song is over, Collins remains on-screen to spoof Michael Jackson and show that he's only considered unable to dance because the kind he can do isn't the cool kind MTV wanted.
    XyzzyMagicaton November 20, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis is another exampple of Genesis mick take side. It's about the levi's 501 adverts they had on at a time where they'd have some poncy male model just showing off or doing something stupid. These models were put in these adverts coz of they're looks desppite the fact that they couldn't dance act or anything and the only thing they had going for them was the way that they walk.
    timbo.hon January 05, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthe image i keep getting, especially in the chorus, is that he's singing about pop artists with no talent - they can't dance and they can't talk (their opinions and thoughts are useless to society) and all they can do is sell everything (their attractive body and their popular music is what they sell to the public)

    'checking everything is in place
    You never know who's looking on
    A perfect body with a perfect face - uh-huh.'

    gives me an image of talentless celebrities making sure they look all nice and pretty and perfect for the media so as to avoid arousing bad publicity, because the media is ALWAYS looking on.

    this song was made decades ago, and the talentless perfect pretty pop idols are still around today.

    lastly, i like the part:
    'She's got a body under that shirt,
    but all she wants to do is rub my face in the dirt.'

    but in The Way We Walk live album, he replaces the last line with: 'the only thing she'll rub is my face in the dirt'
    such a cheeky comment on celebrity worship. guys wanting to get with a pretty popstar.

    this theme sort of ties in with the rest of the songs too. prog rock is usually about a unified theme throughout the whole album, so it makes sense to me. though it's amazing that they were just having fun with this song yet there's still a alot of artistic quality in the music and the lyrics


    BrEnNo1023on July 22, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOh my God, craiqus, you are so !uckin stupid!!! Genesis was still a great band with P.C up front. You need to be hit in the head with a very blunt object immediately!
    ckm4everon April 14, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is about how an unlucky schmuck he is. Yes, the beat matters more than the lyrics, which do seem mostly like filler. You know you got filler when they rhyme "talk" with "walk" - geez, stop doing that folks!
    stoolhardyon December 31, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentease up there ckm4ever, you must realise that Genesis took a major turn in their post Gabriel era, not only changing sound and theme, but musical style. Pop Genesis isn't my flavor either. Timbo has it spot on. Thoes ads all the actors do is walk :)
    Garbzon April 11, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentFirst comment of this song in years hehe. Yeah, it's not as proggy as REAL Genesis but it's good fun. Good tune I guess.
    Absolute Blisson October 28, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWanna think about the lyrics? Listen and make an interpretation of the songs "Fading Lights" and "Driving The Last Spike" those are in the same album were this song is: "We Can't Dance". Genesis is a great band, both eras (PG and PC) are very representative of their own times, the 70's every group was doing progressive rock and in the 80's even metal was poppy. Genesis recorded this song just for fun... and it's very funny, even the video make me have a nice time. Craigus don't be too purist, sometimes we say that bandas are boring for putting the same thing in all their records and when they change a little bit we desmay... je je je. Happy New Year to all of you!
    javierruiz77on January 02, 2009   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningI was surprised to see that no one has yet mentioned the surface setting of the song, which is a man cruising a beach for scantily clad women, but having no luck since he has no substance past an initial swagger.

    I came looking for this song because I couldn't figure out where he was going with "selling" at all, since in the surface version, unless he's a street vendor or a prostitute (neither of which really fits), I'd call what he's doing "posing." Thanks, XyzzyMagicat, for giving some background on the satire of the music industry.
    gementon January 18, 2011   Link

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