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In the air tonight’ by Phil Collins: Lyrics, backstory, covers, drum solo...

ESPN to premiere new “In The Air Tonight” version on Monday Night Football with Chris Stapleton, Snoop Dogg, and Cindy Blackman Santana. Let’s take a look at what makes Collins’ song so special

ESPN to premiere new "In The Air Tonight" version on Monday Night Football with Chris Stapleton, Snoop Dogg, and Cindy Blackman Santana.

Phil Collins’ 1981 hit “In the Air Tonight” has long been intertwined with the sports world, captivating fans and athletes alike over the years.

ESPN recently unveiled an exciting update to this iconic song, featuring a “reimagined” version performed by country star Chris Stapleton, rapper Snoop Dogg, and drummer Cindy Blackman Santana.

This refreshed rendition will make its debut during ESPN’s Monday Night Football doubleheader, injecting a fresh and captivating vibe into the broadcasts.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter shared a 30-second preview of the reimagined “In the Air Tonight” on Twitter.

The song will serve as the opening anthem for two Monday Night Football games. It will kick off the Carolina Panthers vs. New Orleans Saints matchup on ESPN at 7:15 p.m. ET and set the stage for the Pittsburgh Steelers vs. the Cleveland Browns game on ABC at 8:15 p.m. ET.

This reimagined version of “In the Air Tonight” will continue to precede every Monday Night Football broadcast throughout the season. Additionally, it will feature in ESPN’s Week 18 Saturday Doubleheader, the Super Wild Card, and the first Divisional playoff game.

Now, let’s delve into the meaning behind Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight.”

“In the Air Tonight” lyrics, backstory, covers, drum solo

Released in January 1981, this haunting song was penned by Collins, the English drummer and singer/songwriter, who co-produced it with Hugh Padgham. It marked his inaugural solo single after his stint as the lead vocalist for the rock band Genesis.

“In the Air Tonight” served as the lead single for Collins’ debut album, “Face Value,” and achieved significant chart success, reaching number two on the U.K. Singles chart and number 19 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.

Origin of Collin’s “In the Air Tonight”

So, what gives the song its haunting quality? Its origins lie in Collins’ emotional turmoil following his divorce from his first wife, Andrea Bertorelli. The song reflects the haunting emotions he experienced during that period.

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

Collins revealed, “I wrote it after my wife left me. Genesis had done a tour that was far too long. She said to me, ‘We won’t be together if you do the next tour.’ I said, ‘I’m a musician. I have to go away and play. Just hold your breath when I’m over there.’ Then Genesis toured Japan. When I got back, she said she was leaving and taking the kids.”

Collins’ inspiration

After his difficult divorce, Collins turned to songwriting, creating a melancholic piece in D-minor with spontaneous, emotional lyrics that he scribbled on scrap paper after hearing his vocals. He used a talkback recording tool for the drum fill and incorporated a Roland CR-78 drum machine for the rest.

Urban legends, fueled by dark lyrics, have emerged about the song’s meaning, with some suggesting it was autobiographical or linked to a drowning incident. However, Collins has consistently embraced the song’s mystery and denied these myths.