Miami Vice Wiki
This article is about the Phil Collins song. For the cover by Nonpoint, see In the Air Tonight (Nonpoint Song).
In the Air Tonight


Featured in Episode
Phil Collins (see below)
Top Chart Position (Hot 100)
19 (August 15, 1981, two weeks)
Year Released
Face Value
Phil Collins
RIAA Certification
Sequence song appears
(Brother's Keeper) Crockett and Tubbs drive through Miami night
(A Bullet for Crockett) Opening with Crockett and Tubbs going to drug deal
Previous Song(s)
Brother's Keeper "All Night Long (All Night)"
Blood and Roses" Winners & Losers"
Next Song(s)
Heart of Darkness "She's a Beauty"
A Bullet for Crockett "Don't Dream It's Over"

The famous scene the song appears in

"In the Air Tonight" is a song by Phil Collins, featured on the album Face Value in 1981 and released as a single in January of that year. It appeared in the Miami Vice episodes "Brother's Keeper" and "A Bullet for Crockett".

The scene in "Brother's Keeper" during which the song appears is widely considered one of the most iconic and influential in television history, and marks one of the very first times a commercial pop/rock song was featured in a television program in this manner.

A cover version by Nonpoint was later used in the Miami Vice film, one of the few direct connections between the movie and the original series.


  • "In the Air Tonight" is one of 11 songs that were reused in more than one episode of Miami Vice.
  • The song was included on the soundtrack album Miami Vice.
  • Despite being just one of over 300 songs used on the show, "In the Air Tonight" is often considered one of the defining pieces of music from the Miami Vice series and the two are closely related to this day.
  • Indicative of its association with the show, the song was used in the first teaser trailer for the Miami Vice reboot series, which featured a black Lamborghini Countach driving through the Miami night -- an obvious nod to the famous "In the Air Tonight" scene in "Brother's Keeper" (clips of which also appear in the video).
  • The song's instrumental sections have been sampled by current acts L.L. Cool J and Lil' Kim.
  • There is an urban legend associated with the song (with numerous variations), which says the lyrics are based on a tragic event Collins witnessed, usually a drowning (as in the song's lyrics), in which a man could have helped the victim, but did not do so. In more macabre versions, the onlooker was in fact responsible and intentionally drowned the victim, rather than simply being a bystander. The story says that many years later Collins saw the man in the crowd at a concert (or alternatively invited him to the show) and sings the song to him, often with a spotlight pointed at him. Afterward, the man is arrested for his crime or, in some versions, is wracked with guilt and has a heart attack or commits suicide. Despite the fact that Collins has repeatedly debunked the legend, saying he came up with 99% of the song's lyrics "on the spot", many people still believe the myth to be true.
  • The song is one of several featured in Miami Vice that was performed at the iconic Live Aid event in 1985. In fact, Collins performed the song twice -- first as part of a set with Sting at Wembley Stadium in London (where the duo also played "Long, Long Way to Go"), before boarding Concorde and flying to Philadelphia in time to play again at the JFK Stadium. He introduced his second set with the quip, "I was in England this afternoon. Funny old world, innit?"
  • The song is also one of several used in the series that was later included in the video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, which was heavily inspired by the show. In fact, Phil Collins appears in the game as himself and "performs" a live version of the song (actually taken from his No Ticket Required video) at a concert in the game. The regular album version also appears on the fictional in-game radio station Emotion 98.3.



Miami Vice - In the air tonight

Scene with "In the Air Tonight" from "Brother's Keeper"