With its spooky production and hammering drum patterns, the song pulled off the gargantuan feat of making television viewers believe Philip Michael Thomas and Don Johnson wearing pastel suits amidst mountains of cocaine was a plausible setting in which a crime other than forced sodomy could actually occur. It's no wonder that a song with that much force behind it would have an equally powerful back story attached to it.
It varies wildly depending on who you're talking to, but the most popular story behind the song, and the one awkwardly quoted by Eminem in the almost as popular "Stan," goes like this: As a kid, Collins witnessed a tragic incident in which a man drowned as another man who could have helped stood by and did nothing. Later, presumably through some form of leprechaun magic, Phil tracked the no-good Samaritan down and arranged for him to be sitting in the front row of the concert where he debuted "In the Air Tonight," singing the song directly to the man who sat uncomfortably under a spotlight.
Were it not for that one Genesis video that starred a Ronald Reagan puppet, this would qualify as the creepiest moment of Phil Collins' career. Continue Reading Below Aaaaah! What It's Actually About: Not a damned thing. Some songwriters do try to tell a story with every song, but others like, say, Phil Collins tend to just pick out words that sound catchy when matched up with the music like, say, "Sussudio".
On the VH1 Classic series "Classic Albums," Collins explained that he made up the lyrics to "In the Air Tonight" in the studio, based on what he felt was appropriate for the vibe of the song. Yes, after all that, it turns out the song literally has less coherent meaning than "My Humps. Apparently, Tom Petty fans are a morose bunch. According to an extremely popular story, Petty wrote the song about a University of Florida student who jumped to her death from the balcony of her dorm room.
Continue Reading Below Continue Reading Below Advertisement It's an understandable conclusion if you take a look at some of the lyrics. Among the references that draw the attention of suicide song enthusiasts are "old " which is the name of the highway in Florida that runs past the dorm where the suicide allegedly occurred and "she stood alone, on the balcony" which is generally what people do shortly before hurling themselves off said balcony. Toss in the fact that Petty is from Gainesville where the University of Florida is located and what you have is one perfectly reasonable theory about the meaning of the song.
It's not true at all. In the book "Conversations With Tom Petty," the ugly-stick-beaten rocker set the story straight. In his words, the story is an "urban legend" and was actually written while he was living in Encino, CA. The in question refers to an expressway that ran outside the apartment he lived in at the time. And unlike the Jagger song, Petty has no reason whatsoever to lie since it pretty much makes the lyrics less cool than people want to believe they are.
You might chalk that up to the crazy drum pattern a presumably coked-up Mick Fleetwood wrote to accompany the song, which Stevie Nicks composed entirely on piano. But what about the lyrics? After all, it would sound like an ordinary everyday love song, were it not for the song being written by a heterosexual woman to someone named Sara.
So what's the deal? Well, one ungodly depressing theory suggests the song is about Don Henley. And if the image of a naked Don Henley flopping his manhood around with Stevie Nicks isn't enough, it gets worse.
Some have suggested the mysterious "Sara" in the song is a child Nicks was pregnant with that was aborted. Why would she abort the child? Did you miss the fact that the father was Don Henley? In particular, the lyric "when you build your house, call me home" seemed to have particular importance as Henley was in fact in the process of building a house.
And according to Nicks, the original version of "Sara" was minutes-long and featured several verses. Continue Reading Below Advertisement That's got all the makings of someone sharing every detail of their personal life, ill-fated relationships with Don Henley included, and then realizing how bad an idea it was, and scaling it back.
At this point, people writing about either musician pretty much take it for granted that the story's true. Plus, 18 minutes is a lot of song to fill. For all we know, there was a verse or two about us in there. By now, most people understand that a song about a Vietnam Vet who ends up unemployed and in jail isn't exactly an endorsement of trickle-down economics.
What you might not know is that you probably made the exact same mistake as Reagan about the admittedly less awesome John Mellencamp song "Our Country. Those fucking Chevy commercials need to stop.
Since approximately week three of the season, NFL fans nationwide have entered into each and every commercial break paralyzed by the fear that, at some point during the break in action, the words "The dream is still alive" will act as the harbinger that signals the beginning of the 30 least pleasurable seconds of their Sunday football watching experience.
The least pleasurable, that is, until the whole experience is repeated 15 more times throughout the game. And the game after that. It's not surprising that Chevy chose the song. Thanks to the ultra patriotic verse from the ad, and the whiff of almost territorial nationalism in declaring the country OURS, you can't help but think of a NASCAR infield full of flag-waving hillbillies. If that's what comes to mind, you don't know shit about John Mellencamp.
The problem is that the , times you've heard it, the song started at this verse: But anyone who thinks Mellencamp is going to start catering to the Toby Keith set ignores one important fact about the man. Springsteen wasn't the only guy who spurned Reagan in ' Mellencamp also refused Ronald Reagan when he asked to use his blue collar anthem "Pink Houses" on the '84 campaign trail. The verse we all know and hate from "Our Country" is actually the last verse.
Now check out the verses that come before it. We're not sure whether or not to blame Mellencamp for letting Chevy take the song out of context. Maybe he was being subversive, letting them use the song for an ad campaign aimed at the people who would most hate its real message.
If so then it's being subversive in a way that makes him approximately three bajillion dollars in endorsement money. Which in itself is perhaps a meta-statement about the state of American popular culture as a means of protest.
Or maybe he just really likes money. How Bad Behavior Built Civilization , a celebration of the brave, drunken pioneers who built our civilization one seemingly bad decision at a time.