One of the best-known pop-rock anthems of the 1980s, featuring one of the era’s most iconic drum solos, has been updated this year, just in time to make sure NFL fans are ready for some “Monday Night Football.”
Phil Collins’ 1981 hit “In the Air Tonight” was recreated by country star Chris Stapleton, rapper Snoop Dogg and drummer Cindy Blackman Santana and used as the show’s music video opening during Monday night’s Week 2 double-billing. will be Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers on ESPN and Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers on ABC.
ESPN said in a news release Monday morning that the “reimagined” version of the song will “elevate the excitement and passion at every game” by combining “nostalgia with intensity.” The network also provided a 30-second preview of the clip on social media.
“In the Air Tonight” may be better known today than it was shortly after its release 42 years ago. While the song peaked at number 2 on the UK Singles Chart, it only reached number 19 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Collins said the song was inspired by her divorce during the recording of her first solo album, “Face Value,” gaining popularity a few years later with its inclusion on the popular TV show “Miami Vice.” In 2020, it received another jolt of popularity thanks to a viral reaction video posted on the TwinsthenewTrend YouTube channel.
“In the Air Tonight” tops Apple Music’s most streamed songs of the 1980s. Part of its enduring popularity likely comes from Collins’ haunting vocals, which sound almost as good as those performed by Stapleton, based on the preview clip.
But the song is perhaps best known for Collins’ drumming, particularly a single 3-second sonic blast that blasts through the static musical landscape in the song’s first 3 minutes and 40 seconds. Again judging from the new version’s preview clip, Blackman Santana seems capable of handling that classic blast of percussion.
“I’m so excited and honored to be a part of this incredibly iconic event, song and video with Chris and Snoop.” Tweeted Blackman Santana, a 63-year-old jazz/rock drummer who has been married to guitarist Carlos Santana since 2010. “It was a blast! MNF, ESPN… here we come!
For many years, Hank Williams Jr. provided the musical introduction to “Monday Night Football,” “Are you ready for some football?” In his song, “All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight.” Butcher Brown’s version of Little Richard’s “Rip It Up” was used as the broadcast intro in 2020 and 2021, and last year was replaced by Marshmallow’s remix of the traditional MNF theme “Heavy Action”.
ESPN said the original, instrumental version of “Heavy Action,” which has been associated with the show since 1976, will remain in its usual place after leading the intro video and broadcast.