In the Air Tonight is a song by Phil Collins which first appeared on his 1981 album, Face Value. It was the first single of Collins’ solo career, and remains one of his best-known hits. The recording is notable for its atmospheric production and macabre theme. Released in January 1981 in the UK, the single was an instant hit, quickly climbing to Number 2 in the Singles Chart.
The lyrics of the song take the form of a dark monologue directed towards an unnamed person (possibly his then wife, as Collins wrote the song while going through a divorce). The singer describes having witnessed an unspecified act perpetrated and anticipating an equally unspecified consequence (I can feel it coming in the air tonight… and I’ve been waiting for this moment for all my life).
The mood is one of restrained anger until the final chorus when an explosive burst of drums releases the musical tension, and the instrumentation builds to a thundering final chorus.
The song’s popularity in the 1980s increased after a nearly complete recording of it was featured in the pilot episode of the American television show Miami Vice (“Brother’s Keeper”), thus becoming one of the first pop/rock songs to be featured as part of a TV programme in this manner.
The song also features prominently in the 2009 comedy film The Hangover in which boxer Mike Tyson is seen air drumming and singing along to it. He says it’s his favourite song.
If you want to learn more, visit Wikipedia’s article on In the Air Tonight.
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