"Paperlate" was the lead song from the second of two EPs by the British rock group Genesis. The EP, titled 3 X 3 (as it featured three tracks and the band comprised three musicians), peaked at #10 on the album charts in mid-1982. The success of the EP led to an appearance on Top of the Pops. In America, "Paperlate" was released as a standard single, backed by "You Might Recall." It was also featured on the American version of the band's Three Sides Live album, of which all three tracks from the 3 X 3 EP are included on Side Four.
The title came from a line in the 1973 Genesis song "Dancing with the Moonlit Knight" ("Paper late, cried a voice in the crowd"), which Genesis rehearsed at a soundcheck, leading to the conception of the song. "Paperlate" is one of two Genesis songs that features the Earth, Wind & Fire horn section, the other being "No Reply At All", also from the Abacab sessions. Collins has often used the group for other projects, including his debut solo album, Face Value. A music video was also created, utilizing the band's 27 May 1982 appearance on Top of the Pops.
Dave Thompson of allmusic said that "Paperlate" was 3 X 3's selling point, and describes the song as "a horn-honking romp with just the ghosts of '60s soul playing around its chorus and a buoyancy that fed readily into the mood of the U.K. charts of the day."
Guillermo Vázquez Malagamba of "Prog Archives" says that the song has a lot of Phil Collins' influence, due to the horns of Earth, Wind & Fire. He adds that "This song has very good drums and some "Prog-like" tempos."
3 X 3's lead song was "Paperlate", and the EP debuted at #30 on the UK charts, peaking at #10 later on. "Paperlate" became a Top 40 hit in the US, peaking at #32 on the U.S. Billboard charts, and #2 on the US Mainstream Rock Charts.