This Website is for non-commercial use

  • Few words for this project +

    All started back to 70's, the time I was student in Montreal, Canada. On Sunday, April 21st, 1974 I was Read More
  • How to read the website +

    From this content page you can choose easily the article you are interested....Just go through the Table of Contents Read More
  • Genesis Biography in a glance +

    One of the most successful rock acts of the 1970's, Genesis, forming in Godalming, England in 1966, enjoyed a longevity Read More
  • 1

Website Articles - Alphabetical

Friday, 20th April 2018


"In the Air Tonight" is a song by English singer-songwriter Phil Collins, the lead vocalist and drummer for the rock band Genesis. It first appeared on Collins' 1981 solo album Face Value. Released as a single in the United Kingdom in January 1981, the song was an instant hit, quickly climbing to No. 2 on the UK Singles chart. It was also an international hit peaking at No. 19 on the Billboard Hot 100 in mid-1981 and number 1 in the Netherlands. It was later certified Gold by the RIAA representing 500,000 copies sold. The track remains one of Collins' best-known hits. The song's music video directed by Stuart Orme received heavy play on MTV when the new cable music video channel launched in August 1981.

The recording is notable for its atmospheric production and macabre theme. Collins wrote the song about the anger he felt after divorcing his first wife, Andrea, in 1979. In a 1997 BBC Radio 2 documentary, the singer revealed that the divorce contributed to his 1979 hiatus from Genesis until the band regrouped in October of that year to record the album Duke.

"In the Air Tonight" remains a popular selection on many classic rock radio stations. It is the song most often associated with Collins' solo career, and he has performed versions of it at many events, most notably at Live Aid, where he played the song on a piano on the same calendar day in both Philadelphia and London. He also performed the song at The Secret Policeman's Ball, which was his first live performance as a solo artist.

The lyrics of the song take the form of a dark monologue directed towards an unnamed person:

    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

Musically the song consists of a series of ominous chords played by a Sequential Circuits Prophet-5 over a simple drum machine pattern (the Roland CR-78 Disco-2 pattern, plus some programming); processed electric guitar sounds and vocoded vocals, an effect which is increased on key words to add additional atmosphere. 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.

Collins wrote the song in the wake of a failing relationship with his wife. Collins has described obtaining the drum machine specifically to deal with these personal issues through songwriting, telling Mix magazine: "I had to start writing some of this music that was inside me." He improvised the lyrics during a songwriting session in the studio: "I was just fooling around. I got these chords that I liked, so I turned the mic on and started singing. The lyrics you hear are what I wrote spontaneously. That frightens me a bit, but I'm quite proud of the fact that I sang 99.9 percent of those lyrics spontaneously."


Go Back