|"I Touch Myself"|
|Single by Divinyls|
|from the album Divinyls|
|Released||19 November 1990|
|Studio||Groove Masters Studio, Santa Monica|
|Divinyls singles chronology|
"I Touch Myself" is a song written and recorded by the Australian rock band Divinyls. It was released in November 1990 as the lead single from their fourth album, diVINYLS, and is a paean to eroticism, orgasm and female masturbation.
The single achieved great success, reaching number four on the U.S Billboard Hot 100 on 18 May 1991; meanwhile in their native country, Australia, the single reached the number one position. The song was written by Divinyls band members Christina Amphlett and Mark McEntee and professional songwriters Tom Kelly and Billy Steinberg. It has since been covered by numerous artists.
Christina Amphlett and Mark McEntee wrote the song in 1990 with the songwriting team of Tom Kelly and Billy Steinberg (who have written songs such as "I'll Stand by You," "Like a Virgin," "Eternal Flame," "True Colors" and "So Emotional"). Billy Steinberg had "I Touch Myself" in his notebook; he had written the first verse and the chorus lyric. Amphlett liked it immediately. The next day, McEntee, Steinberg, Kelly, and Amphlett got together and wrote the rest, an unusual move, as Steinberg and Kelly rarely collaborated with others. Putting the song together took a lot of trial and error. It was recorded to two-inch tape, making it difficult to edit. After significant experimentation they came up with an unusual structure with the bridge placed after the first chorus. It is written in the key of F major.
Billboard described it as a "modern rock smash" and noted lead singer Christina Amphlett's video appearance as "eye-catching".Music & Media stated in their review of the song that "once you have heard this excellent pop song, it will stay in your mind for the rest of the week. On the one hand it's only a step away from Blondie bubblegum, on the other hand it has the same fatal attraction as Maria McKee's Is This Heaven". British magazine Music Week commented, "I Touch Myself has already been a number one single in their native Australia, and is now in the US Top 10. It won't do that well here, but its loose, post-punk execution and killer hook add up to a hit." Caroline Sullivan from Smash Hits called it "one of pop's finer nanoseconds" in her review of Divinyls.
The song's music video, directed by Michael Bay, was nominated for three MTV Video Music Awards, including Video of the Year. It was published on YouTube in March 2009. As of October 2020, the video has been viewed over 31,2 million times.
The song was featured in the 1997 comedy film Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, in the scene where Austin dances to make the Fembots' heads explode.
In 2014, some of Australia's leading female artists came together to reincarnate Amphlett's anthem, "I Touch Myself". Each provided their own interpretation and distinct style to the song in an effort to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer, which Amphlett succumbed to in 2013.
In Australia "I Touch Myself" was released on 19 November 1990 on 7" and cassette, and the CD single was released on 3 December 1990. The single debuted at No. 77 on 2 December 1990. On its tenth week on the chart, the song reached No. 1, replacing Vanilla Ice's debut single "Ice Ice Baby", and stayed there for another week. The single was certified Platinum in Australia.
"I Touch Myself" debuted on the UK Singles Chart at No. 69 and on its eighth week it peaked at No. 10, spending a total of twelve weeks in the chart. When released in the United States, the song caused a minor controversy. However, it managed to reach the top five of the Billboard Hot 100 chart, peaking at No. 4, and at No. 2 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart, after receiving extensive play on modern rock radio, which was more accepting of the song's subject matter. Divinyls are considered a one-hit wonder in the US, as "I Touch Myself" was their only Stateside Top 40.
^shipments figures based on certification alone