On hearing that someone has covered Phil Collins’ classic In The Air Tonight, your first question might not be ‘who’s singing it?’ but ‘who’s playing the drum fill?’ And, in the case of the re-recording that’s been made to soundtrack ESPN’s Monday Night Football in the US, the honour goes to Cindy Blackman Santana.
An acclaimed jazz drummer and bandleader, Blackman Santana also spent 18 years as the touring drummer for Lenny Kravitz, beginning her stint after she’d appeared in the video for Are You Gonna Go My Way? In 1993.
As you’d expect, she has no trouble recreating Collins’ famous fill, while vocals are provided by Chris Stapleton - who also plays guitar - and Snoop Dogg.
Can you feel it? 🔥The new Monday Night Football Anthem is HERE!@ChrisStapleton x @SnoopDogg x @Drumstress pic.twitter.com/hbuTMMHIT9September 19, 2023
It also has a long history in the NFL community. Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin played it to his charges the night before Super Bowl XLIII, in 2009, and Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward, who played in the game, would later say: “It was fascinating to me to see how one song could get you in that mode to go kick some tail”.
ESPN has also confirmed that music from Timbaland and Justin Timberlake will feature in its Monday Night Football coverage this season.