It's worth noting that this song was also frequently heard accompanying shots of Sonny Crockett
's Ferrari Daytona
driving through Miami
in the television series 'Miami Vice
'. It has since become an unofficial anthem for the show; whenever one is mentioned, the other is not far behind. This stems from the curious fact that, in 1986, Phil Collins
was seen to be genuinely cool, a major songwriting talent (despite his cover of Tomorrow Never Knows
from his first album).
Whilst the song begins with a plinky-plinky Roland CR-78 drum machine it is extremely famous for the thunderous drum break roughly three quarters of the way through, or 'the bit with the drums' as it is generally called. Using a technique known as gated reverb (invented by Hugh Padham whilst working on Peter Gabriel's third solo album, 'Peter Gabriel'), it ushered in the era of the 80s big drum sound which became as much a cliche as 'Miami Vice' itself (indeed, Jan Hammer's theme for the series used the same effect). At the time, however, 'In the Air Tonight' was thoroughly modern.
And in addition it's the first track on Collins' 1981 album 'Face Value', and reached number 2 in the UK singles charts and number 19 in the American equivalent.