Cindy Blackman Santana tackles the iconic In The Air Tonight drum fill as she joins Chris Stapleton and Snoop Dogg on a new version of the song for ESPN’s Monday Night Football

Cindy Blackman Santana
(Image credit: ESPN)

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.

See more

After a reaction video went viral in 2020, In The Air Tonight became popular with a whole new generation of listeners. Its fill since has been recreated many times, often for comedic effect

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.

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it.