Return to Innocence

This article is about the song by Enigma. For the 2001 film, see Return to Innocence (film).
"Return to Innocence"
Single by Enigma
from the album The Cross of Changes
Released 4 January 1994
Format CD, cassette, 12" (30 cm)
Recorded 1993 A.R.T. Studios, Ibiza
Genre New-age, worldbeat
Length 4:03 (243 sec)
Label Virgin / EMI
Writer(s) Michael Cretu
Producer(s) Michael Cretu
Enigma singles chronology
"Carly's Song"
"Return to Innocence"
"The Eyes of Truth"

"Return to Innocence" is a song by German musical group Enigma. It was released in January 1994 as a single from their second album, The Cross of Changes.

It became one of the project's most popular international singles, reaching number one in over 10 countries (including Greece, Norway, Sweden and Ireland), number three on the UK Singles Chart, the Top 5 in Austria, Canada,[1] Germany, New Zealand, Netherlands, Switzerland and South Africa. It reached the Top 20 in Italy and France. It was also the project's biggest hit in America, reaching number two on the US Modern Rock Tracks chart, number four on the US Billboard Hot 100, and number six on the U.S Top 40 Mainstream.[2]


The song's melodic and talking vocals in English are provided by Angel X (Andreas Harde), a passive short talking vocal by Sandra ("That's not the beginning of the end, that's the return to yourself, the return to innocence"), while an Amis chant is repeated, which opens the song. That chant was sampled from the Taiwan aboriginal group Ami's "Jubilant Drinking Song" (Sapiliepah a Radiw in Amis) without the singers' permission of that moment. Kuo Ying-nan (born Difang Duana) (郭英男) and Kuo Hsiu-chu (郭秀珠), both Amis, were in a cultural exchange program in Paris in 1988 when their performance of the song was recorded by the Maison des Cultures du Monde and later distributed on CD. The producer of Enigma, Michael Cretu, later obtained the CD and proceeded to sample it. In addition, the drum beat of the song was sampled from the Led Zeppelin song "When the Levee Breaks, played by John Bonham."[3]

The song was used to promote several types of media in the mid-1990s, including film and TV commercials. In autumn 1994, the song was featured in an episode of the TV show My So-Called Life. In 1995, the song was used as the closing theme in Disney's live-action film Man of the House, as well as in the opening and closing of an Outer Limits episode. In 1996, the song was further popularised when it was used in a television advertisement to promote the 1996 Summer Olympics.

Julien Temple directed the video, which depicts a man's life in reverse, starting with him dying and ending with his birth. (See also List of Enigma videos#The Cross of Changes).

In March 1998, Kuo Ying-nan and Kuo Hsiu-chu sued Cretu, Virgin Records, and a number of recording companies for unauthorised usage of their song without credit.[4][5] The case was settled out of court for an undisclosed amount of money and all further releases of the song were credited (including royalties) to the Kuos.[6] Cretu has stated that he had been led to believe that the recording was in the public domain, and that he did not intentionally violate the Kuos' copyright.[7]

Single track listing

4-track CD single
  1. "Radio Edit" 4:03
  2. "Long & Alive Version" (remixed by Curly M.C. and Jens Gad) 7:07
  3. "380 Midnight Mix" (remixed by Jens Gad) 5:55
  4. "Short Radio Edit" 3:01
5-track CD single
  1. "Radio Edit" 4:03
  2. "Long & Alive Version" (remixed by Curly M.C. and Jens Gad) 7:07
  3. "380 Midnight Mix" (remixed by Jens Gad) 5:55
  4. "Short Radio Edit" 3:01
  5. "Sadeness (Part I) (Radio Edit)" 4:17

Charts and certifications


Chart (1994) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[8] 16
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[9] 4
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[10] 16
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[11] 4
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)[12] 6
France (SNEP)[13] 11
Germany (Official German Charts)[14] 5
Ireland (IRMA)[15] 1
Italy (FIMI)[16] 12
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[17] 6
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[18] 8
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[19] 5
Norway (VG-lista)[20] 1
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[21] 1
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[22] 5
UK Singles (The Official Charts Company) 3
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[23] 4
U.S. Billboard Adult Contemporary[24] 40


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Germany (BVMI)[25] Gold 250,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[26] Silver 200,000^
United States (RIAA)[27] Gold 500,000[28]

^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. Canadian RPM Singles Chart (Week of April 11, 1994)
  2. Enigma Album & Song Chart History | Retrieved October 25, 2009.
  4. Channel News Asia (1998-03-28). Taiwan Aborigines Sue Enigma, Music Companies at the Wayback Machine (archived October 27, 2009). Channel News Asia.
  5. Craig Rosen (1999-03-04). Enigma Sued By Aboriginal Couple Over Song Rights. LAUNCHcast.
  6. Richard F. Roper (1999-06-23). Taiwanese Settle Lawsuit Claiming Their Original Composition Was Stolen; They Will Now Set Up Foundation. Business Wire.
  7. RTI Article (archived), EnigmaLair,
  8. " – Enigma – Return to Innocence". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  9. " – Enigma – Return to Innocence" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  10. " – Enigma – Return to Innocence" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  11. Canada peak
  12. Pennanen, Timo (2006). Sisältää hitin - levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla vuodesta 1972 (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Tammi. ISBN 978-951-1-21053-5.
  13. " – Enigma – Return to Innocence" (in French). Les classement single.
  14. " – Enigma – Return to Innocence". GfK Entertainment Charts.
  15. "Irish Singles Chart – Search for song". Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved July 6, 2011.
  16. "Hit Parade Italia - Indice per Interprete: E". Hit Parade Italia. Retrieved July 6, 2012.
  17. "Nederlandse Top 40 – Enigma search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40.
  18. " – Enigma – Return to Innocence" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  19. " – Enigma – Return to Innocence". Top 40 Singles.
  20. " – Enigma – Return to Innocence". VG-lista.
  21. " – Enigma – Return to Innocence". Singles Top 100.
  22. " – Enigma – Return to Innocence". Swiss Singles Chart.
  24. Top Adult Contemporary 1961-2001 by Joel Whitburn (Billboard Books, 2002)
  25. "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Enigma; 'Return to Innocence')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie.
  26. "British single certifications – Enigma – Return to Innocence". British Phonographic Industry. Enter Return to Innocence in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select single in the field By Format. Select Silver in the field By Award. Click Search
  27. "American single certifications – Enigma – Return to Innocence". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH
  28. "Best-Selling Records of 1994". Billboard. BPI Communications. 107 (3): 57. January 21, 1995. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved May 5, 2015.
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