♫ In The Air Tonight ♫ (Redux)

Tonight, I more or less spun the wheel, said “Eenie, Meenie, Minie, Moe” and let the chips fall where they may.  I liked where they fell … can never go wrong with Phil Collins … and so here we are … In the Air Tonight!


I could have sworn that I had played this one here before, for it is among my favourites by Phil Collins, but a thorough search did not find it, so apparently I dreamed I played it!  It happens … some days I wake up thinking that I’ve already cooked supper, or taken a shower, when in fact all I’ve done is sleep!

Collins wrote this song about the anger he felt after divorcing his first wife, Andrea Bertorelli, in 1980 – he was so devastated that he left Genesis for a short time. All of the original songs on the Face Value album, including the follow-up hit I Missed Again, were at one time intended to be “messages” to his first wife in an attempt to lure her back to him.

The lingering tension caused by the divorce led Collins to the title, as these negative feelings were In The Air, and affecting not just the couple getting divorced, but the entire family.

By the time the album was released, Collins had moved on and was dating Jill Tavelman, who became his second wife. His split with Jill would inspire the songs on Collins’ 1993 album Both Sides.

The meaning of this song became a pervasive urban myth. The story, which is not true, is that Collins watched as a man who raped his wife drowned. Another version has Collins writing this about about a man who watched another drown, and singing it to him at a concert. Yet another variation claims that when Collins was a young boy, he witnessed a man drowning someone but was too far away to help. Later, he hired a private detective to find the man, sent him a free ticket to his concert, and premiered the song that night with the spotlight on the man the whole time. We repeat, these stories are not true.
This was Collins’ first single as a solo artist; he claims that he offered it up as a Genesis song, but that his bandmates rejected it, saying it was “too simple.” Tony Banks of Genesis insists that Collins never played them the song.

There are shorter versions of this song, but I like this one for its dramatic presentation …

In the Air Tonight
Phil Collins

I can feel it coming in the air tonight, oh Lord
And I’ve been waiting for this moment for all my life, oh Lord
Can you feel it coming in the air tonight, oh Lord, oh Lord

Well if you told me you were drowning, I would not lend a hand
I’ve seen your face before my friend, but I don’t know if you know who I am
Well I was there and I saw what you did, I saw it with my own two eyes
So you can wipe off that 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
Well I’ve been waiting for this moment for all my life, oh Lord
I can feel it coming in the air tonight, oh Lord
Well I’ve been waiting for this moment for all my life, oh Lord, oh Lord

Well I remember, I remember, don’t worry, how could I ever forget
It’s the first time, the last time we ever met
But I know the reason why you keep your silence up, oh no you don’t fool me
Well the hurt doesn’t show, but the pain still grows
It’s no stranger to you and me

I can feel it coming in the air tonight, oh Lord
Well been waiting for this moment for all my life, oh Lord
I can feel it in the air tonight, oh Lord, oh Lord
Well I’ve been waiting for this moment for all my life, oh Lord
I can feel it coming in the air tonight, oh Lord
And I’ve been waiting for this moment for all my life, oh Lord
I can feel it in the air tonight, oh Lord, oh Lord, oh Lord

Well I’ve been waiting for this moment for all my life, oh Lord, oh Lord
I can feel it in the air tonight, oh Lord, oh Lord, oh Lord, oh Lord
Well I’ve been waiting for this moment for all my life, oh Lord, oh Lord, oh Lord

Songwriters: Phil Collins
In the Air Tonight lyrics © EMI Music Publishing, Concord Music Publishing LLC

20 thoughts on “♫ In The Air Tonight ♫ (Redux)

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