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 and number 14 in the UK in late 1986. It made number 8 in the Netherlands. The music was written by the band, while the lyrics were written by guitarist Mike Rutherford. The song's video featured puppets from the 1980s UK sketch show Spitting Image.
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 a cash 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 Mussolini, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Mikhail 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 jewelry) watch a television showing various clips (apparently from the Spitting Image show itself), including Johnny Carson, Leonard 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 Turner, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Bill Cosby and Hulk 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 labeled "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.
List of famous people and characters seen in the video
The band: Phil Collins, Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford
The White House: Ronald Reagan, Nancy Reagan, Bonzo
Field of heads: Mikhail Gorbachev, Margaret Thatcher, Leonid Brezhnev, Barbra Streisand
Podium of speeches: Benito Mussolini, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Mikhail Gorbachev, Muammar al-Gaddafi
TV screen: Johnny Carson, Ed McMahon, Walter Cronkite, Richard Nixon, Leonard Nimoy (as Spock), Bob Hope
TV Station: Prince, Tina Turner, Madonna, Grace Jones, Pete Townshend, Michael Jackson, David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger
Singing Crowd: David Letterman; Queen Elizabeth II; Clint Eastwood; Sting; Prince Andrew; Sarah, Duchess of York; Yoko Ono; Hulk Hogan; Mr. T; Bruce Springsteen; Bill Cosby; Arnold Schwarzenegger, Popeye; Jane Fonda; Dolly Parton; Princess Diana; Bette Midler; Tammy Faye Bakker; Paul McCartney; Pope John Paul II; Elton John; Walter Matthau; Ringo Starr; Prince Philip
Jimmy Carter Henry Kissinger Robert Maxwell David Owen Richard Branson Prince Charles Idi Amin Bob Hawke Sylvester Stallone François Mitterrand Tammy Faye Bakker Thomas Gottschalk Leopoldo Galtieri Helmut Kohl Erich Honecker, Urho Kekkonen Alan Greenspan
in crowd: Freddie Mercury Joan Rivers Cyndi Lauper
Stephen King Bob Geldof Faye Dunaway Cliff Richard Boy George Jimmy Somerville Florence Henderson