21 Comments

  1. It’s timeless, and Mike Tyson referenced the drum solo in The Hangover (which is somehow already more dated than the song)

  2. Never heard the song, as far as I know, and “Phil Collins” is only a vaguely recognizable name to me. But that’s because 1981 is well past the point where I paid much attention to contemporary popular music, so to me this apparent reference fails as not being geezerish enough. (Rezeeg reference ?)

  3. Easy peasy… “In the air tonight” has no drums until this very point in the song, where they famously come in VERY aggressively. One of the best known drum entries of all time as far as I’m concerned. I’m surprised it’s a mystery.

  4. Looking up my local stations, our Classic Rock played the song at 8:37 this morning between Steppenwolf’s Magic Carpet Ride and the Guns n Roses version of Live and Let Die. Our “not so Oldies” station only shows me the last two hours, and Phil wasn’t on it. I’m not going to bother trying the Adult Contemporary or Rock stations

  5. It’s one of the most famous drum fills of all times. It’s almost obligatory to air-drum to it if the song is playing. Naturally, gorillas would chest-drum instead of air-drum, that’s just a gorilla thing…

  6. Not the invention of the gated reverb drum sound, but probably the breaktrough showcase of the gated reverb drum sound. You kind of HAVE to try to drum on SOMETHING when you hear it. And if you’re a gorilla, then it’s your chest, I guess.

  7. This (song, gorilla, drum entry) was a popular ad for Cadbury’s chocolate a few years ago in the UK, though I don’t know if it travelled further afield.

  8. Mitch4, it’s the ghost of Phil Collins who is really the star.

    ianosmand, this is not the first use of gated reverb but Phil Collins is the inventor (or at least an essential participant), says this video.

  9. Just in case there’s anyone who hasn’t already listened to the song, the quote in the comic doesn’t occur until the 3:30 minute mark. I liked Genesis, but I never really cared for much of Collins’ solo material. The first three minutes of this track were interminable.

  10. Within a few years of Peter Gabriel going solo Genesis got rather naff as well. Not as bad as his Collins’ solo work, true, but not really worth listening to.

  11. It truly is an awesome drum fill. (Contra arseetoo, there are drums before it comes in. Sounds like bongos, right from the beginning.) I’ve even been known to sit in the car after reaching my destination until it comes in. I wonder if there’s also a reference here to the fact that Collins did the songs for Disney’s Tarzan including Trashing the Camp, which features a number of young gorillas doing some pretty heavy percussion.

  12. SingaporeBill, of course you’re right about SFPC and the ghost — I was glossing over the wrinkles. Still, though the ghost is the larger recurring character, the still-living Collins does make the occasional appearance, generally to protest his depiction as a ghost.

    Thanks, DemetriosX, for bringing up a point that I, as a newbie to actually listening to this song felt unsure about raising, but I noticed those bongos from the beginning and thought “Is this the right clip? What do they mean, ‘no drums’ until late?”.

  13. Isn’t it James Caan’s ghost who keeps showing up despite the still living actor popping up to protest? Phil Collins usually wears a mask and pretends to be some ordinary person with the same name.

  14. Introvert audience participation: air-drumming to “In The Air Tonight,” air windmills on the ending of “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” miming hitting a baseball during the third stanza of John Fogerty’s “Centerfield.”

  15. DemetriosX, I think you’re right; and I think we’ve posted these same things, in the same order, at least once before.

  16. …. bad robotic arm swinging and dramatic head-turn pauses during the call/response of “Mr. Roboto”… “wayne’s world” style headbanging during the drum return of “Bohemian Rhapsody”.

  17. Darren, you left out shirtless hammerpants dancing throughout “Rasputin”. I know I have to get moving around the store when that comes on the radio.

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