Phil Collins Talks About How He Came Up With His Iconic Drum Fill on ‘In the Air Tonight’

Legendary musician Phil Collins sat down with the great Dan Rather in 2016 to discuss, among other things, Collin’s iconic drum fill on his 1981 hit song “In the Air Tonight”.

Phil Collins talks with Dan Rather about his first solo hit single, “In The Air Tonight,” a track that’s received revitalized attention in pop culture in recent years, largely due to its iconic drum solo.

Collins explained that the inspiration for the fill came to him after playing drums on the Peter Gabriel song “Intruder” in 1980.

There was a studio in London called The Townhouse which had this stone room and that’s where I’d recorded with Peter Gabriel …he invited me to play on some tracks on that album…there was a song called “Intruder” on that which was basically my drum part…I fell in love with the engineer who got the sound so when I did my solo album I … got together with him.

Collins stated that he wanted the drums to really stand out in the song. He used the analogy of a Facehugger to describe what he envisioned.

When we came to mix it we know we really went to town on it and it was my album so the drums could be as loud as I wanted …you’re kind of lulling people in drawing people in and then suddenly punching him in the face with this. We used to call it the Facehugger sound.

Phil Collins Iconic Drum Solo

Here’s the iconic music video for the song.

Here’s the Peter Gabriel song “Intruder” that features Collins’ drumming.

via Boing Boing

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.