One of the most popular hype songs of all time will now come with a Country and Hip-Hop crossover twist to help usher in the new theme song for Monday Night Football.
Country superstar Chris Stapleton, Hip-Hop legend Snoop Dogg, and drummer Cindy Blackman have collaborated to deliver “In the Air Tonight,” which makes its debut ahead of the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers battle on ESPN. Yet, the song wouldn’t be so popular if it weren’t for a future Grammy winner and music legend from London.
“In the Air Tonight” Background
The song was described in 2015 as being at “the vanguard of experimental pop.” It has since become a go-to track before athletes take the field, regardless if it’s a high school or professional sports event. The drum breaks, and the hook “I can feel it coming in the air tonight” still resonates through the speakers.
And it would’ve never been made possible if it weren’t for Phil Collins.
The native of London began writing the song in 1980. In 2021, Rolling Stone named it one of the 500 greatest songs of all time.
But what was the inspiration behind it?
In a 2016 interview with Rolling Stone, Collins shared that the original intent of the song was to describe the grief he had for his wife leaving him. But as he stroked his pen writing down the lyrics, he felt the emotions of what “In the Air Tonight” would become.
“I wrote the lyrics spontaneously. I’m not quite sure what the song is about, but there’s a lot of anger, a lot of despair, and a lot of frustration,” Collins said.
But now, it is a popular workout and hype song for athletes. Two-time Super Bowl champion Ray Lewis once had the song on his pregame playlist.
Collins even captured a video of NBA superstar Steph Curry singing it inside his car. Collins’ hit is one of the more sampled songs today by other artists.
Who Else Has Used “In the Air Tonight?”
Here are notable musicians who have used Collins’ hit for their own songs:
Meek Mill: The Philadelphia rapper and Eagles superfan sampled the song for his intro on the critically acclaimed 2018 album “Championships.”
Tupac Shakur: One year after his death, the rapper used a sample of the song for his track “Staring Through My Rear View,” which featured his group Outlawz and was released in 1997.
DMX: The late rapper and actor Earl “DMX” Simmons used bits of Collins’ hit for his track “I Can Feel it” from his 1998 hit album “It’s Dark and Hell is Hot.”
Lil’ Kim: The New York female MC gave her spin on the track in 2001, renaming it “In the Air Tonite.”
Shaquille O’Neal: Even NBA legend and part-time rapper Shaq got an assist from “In the Air Tonight” for his 1996 song “Edge of Night,” which featured R&B legend Bobby Brown delivering the hook.
Reactions to New Version Ahead of MNF
The reactions to the song have already surfaced across social media.
“What a trio,” posted Joe Pompliano of Pomp Investments.
ESPN is debuting its new Monday Night Football anthem tonight featuring a cover of Phil Collins’ “In The Air Tonight” by Chris Stapleton, Snoop Dog, and Cindy Blackman. What a trio 🔥pic.twitter.com/PqfgIrQEjz
— Joe Pompliano (@JoePompliano) September 18, 2023
“Seems like I’m going to love this,” posted Ex-DFI founder Justin Macmahan on X (formerly known as Twitter).
Is it weird that I’m really excited to see this? My dad and I used to watch MNF together every week and the theme song would get me so excited. We also loved listening to In the Air Tonight, so it seems like I’m gonna love this
— Justin Macmahan (@JustinMacmahan) September 18, 2023
Even Kentucky state representative of the state’s 96th district Patrick Flannery became an instant fan of the new version.
New MNF theme is 🔥 https://t.co/rrBHXD4AJG
— Patrick Flannery (@PatrickFlannery) September 18, 2023