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"Return to Innocence"
Single by Enigma
from the album The Cross of Changes
Released January 4, 1994
Format CD, cassette,12" (30 cm)
Recorded A.R.T. Studios, Ibiza
Genre New Age
Length 4:03 (243 sec)
Label Virgin / EMI
Producer Michael Cretu
Certification Gold (RIAA)
Enigma singles chronology
"Carly's Song"
"Return to Innocence"
"The Eyes of Truth"

"Return to Innocence" is a 1994 song created by the musical group Enigma. The single was the first from their chart-topping second album, The Cross of Changes.

It became one of the project's most popular international singles, reaching number one in over 12 countries (including Greece, Norway, Sweden and Ireland), number two on the US Modern Rock Tracks chart, number four on the US Hot 100,[1] number two on the UK Singles Chart, the Top 5 in Austria, Germany, New Zealand, Netherlands, Switzerland and South Africa. It reached the Top 10 in Italy and France.


In the song, the main vocals are provided by Angel X (Andreas Harde), while the aboriginal Taiwanese chant was sampled from the "Jubilant Drinking Song" without the singers' permission. 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, France, Europe in 1988, when their performance of the song was recorded by the Maison des Cultures du Monde and made into a 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".[2]

The song was used to promote several types of media in the mid-1990's, including film and TV commercials. In 1995, the song was used as the closing theme in Disney's live-action Man of the House. In 1996, the song was further popularized when it was used in a television advertisement to promote the 1996 Summer Olympics. It is a popular misconception that the vocal is done by a Native American.

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. 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. 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.[3]

The music video for the song was filmed in Ibiza, Spain, where Cretu also lives. The video shows a man's life going in reverse, starting with him dying (the scene was probably influenced by the 1930 Alexander Dovzhenko film Earth[4]) and ending with his birth, where he returns back to innocence (see here).

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


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