"In the Air Tonight" is the first solo hit by which music artist?
"In the Air Tonight" is the first solo hit single by the English drummer, singer-songwriter, record producer, and actor Phil Collins (January 1951). It was released as the lead single from Collins's debut solo album, "Face Value", in January 1981.
Collins co-produced the single with Hugh Padgham who became a frequent collaborator in the following years. The song climbed to No. 2 on the UK Singles chart, but was held off the top spot by the posthumous release of John Lennon's "Woman".
It reached No. 1 in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, and Sweden, and the top 10 in Australia, New Zealand, and several other European territories. It peaked at No. 19 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States, but reached No. 2 on the Rock Tracks Chart, later being certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), representing 500,000 copies sold. The song's music video, directed by Stuart Orme, received heavy play on MTV when the new cable music video channel launched in August 1981.
"In the Air Tonight" remains one of Collins' best-known hits, often cited as his signature song, and is especially famous for its drum break towards the end, which has been described as "the sleekest, most melodramatic drum break in history" and one of the "101 Greatest Drumming Moments". The song was ranked at number 35 on VH1's "100 Greatest Songs of the 80s" in 2006. In 2007, Mike Gruss, a former columnist for The Virginian-Pilot, referred to the song as a "soft rock classic".