August 1981: Phil Collins' "In the Air Tonight" Peaks at #19

Phil Collins of Genesis during Genesis in 1981 Concert at The Spectrum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc)
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(Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc)

Timing is everything, and synchronicity is real: 39 years after peaking on the Billboard Hot 100, Phil Collins' "In the Air Tonight" is a hit once again. The source of this new resurgence in the classic 1981 track is Indiana's Tim and Fred Williams Twins, collectively known as the Williams Twins. Their viral video reacting to the song for the first time is shining a bright new light on the track for a new generation of music fans.

RELATED: WATCH: Williams Twins Send Phil Collins' "In the Air Tonight" Back Up the Charts

Back in 1981, "In the Air Tonight" was released as the lead single of Collins' debut solo album, Face Value, in early January. The song was a hit around the world, peaking at #2 on the UK singles chart. Collins was blocked by John Lennon's "Woman," with record buyers still reacting to the ex-Beatle's tragic murder in December 1980. A top 10 hit in several European countries, the track hit #1 in Austria, Germany, Switzerland and Sweden.

As for America, "In the Air Tonight" peaked at a respectable #19 on the Hot 100 for the week of August 15, 1981. The #1 song in America that week: Diana Ross and Lionel Richie with "Endless Love."

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(Sylvain Gaboury/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
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It took time before audiences heard it the way she intended.

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