Phil Collins – In the air tonight
Phil Collins released “In the air tonight” on early January 1981, ashis first solo single. He was mainly known as the drummer of Genesis and later as their voice, after Peter Gabriel’s departure.But after that day in 1981 he will simply be Phil Collins for the whole world. He actually wrote this song for Genesis a couple of years earlier, but when his friends Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford heard it, they decided that it was such a personal thing, that it was fair to leave it for his solo album. And so this became the first single from “Face value”, Phil’s first solo album.
Actually all has already been said and written about this song; Phil wrote it whil he was divorcing from his first wife, and the song expresses all the rage and stress he accumulated. Dark in sounds and in the video, it unleashes an incredible energy when the drums take off.
By the way, Phil Collins used a particular technique in this song for the first time. It’s called gated reverb, and it electronically modifies the sound of the drum. Phil modified it so originally that it really became his signature, and we can today recongnize quite easily a song where Phil Collins plays the drums, like for example Frida’s “I know there’s something going on“, or “Do they know it’s Christmas“.
There’s a funny story about the song’s lyrics: a urban legend says that Phil Collins really lived or at least witnessed what he describes, somebody left drowning without people lending a hand. And every time the legend gets richer, with added details. But Phil denied it lots of times, and said that it was just an example for the rage he felt inside, without any specific reference. In thatperiod his wife was going to live with a house decorator, and he finally went to perform this song at “Top of the Pops” with a paint brush and a bucket on his piano! A real icon and a symbol of the 80s!
So you can wipe off the grin, I know where you've been
It's all been a pack of lies
And I can feel it coming in the air tonight, Oh Lord
I've been waiting for this moment for all my life, Oh Lord
Phil Collins on Wikipedia