Phil Collins has sung great songs like ‘Another Day in Paradise’, ‘In the Air Tonight’ etc. He recently spoke about the story behind the song ‘In the Air Tonight’ one of his hit songs.
In ‘The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon’ Jimmy Fallon spoke to Phil about what he felt was the story behind the song. Jimmy spoke about how Phil saw a man let another person drown, called the man to his concert, sang ‘In The Air Tonight’ and showed the light on him to tell him about the fact that he knew what that man had done.
However, Phil revealed that none of that story was true. In fact the real reason behind his song was the anger regarding the divorce with his wife at that time. Phil talked about it and said
I was just pissed off, you know I was angry. Well you know, you go through a divorce. Sometimes its like ‘oh please I love you I love you I love you dont hang up dont hang up’, and then its like ‘well fuck you’ and then of course thats when a song like ‘In The Air Tonight’ comes out. There is obviously a lot of anger in there.Phil Collins
In another interview, Phil talked about the song in a little more detail. He was constantly on the phone with his wife and they argued a lot.
I was angry, I was miserable, I was sad, I was depressed by not having my family around, I was constantly on the phone to her(his ex wife) and the phone kept going down. You know we argued a lot as people do when they are going through that time.
The lyrics were all improvised. I dont know what its about. The more people say to me what its about, I just say I can promise you it isn’t about whatever you think it is about cause I dont know what is about. There is a lot of anger in there I think but I didnt really ever intend it to be that way. It is just spontaneous lyrics I guess I wasnt afraid to show my feelings.
My ex wife got very mad when I wrote this song because she felt I was capitalizing on the sadness. A lot of people including my ex wife were very surprised that I could actually say that kind of thing but to me that is what writing songs is all about.Phil Collins