Deep Tracks: Phil Collins – Long Long Way to Go

Long Long Way to Go (1985)

This song is probably my favorite Phil Collins song (I still cannot believe it was not a single) from No Jacket Required and clearly foreshadows the type of lyrics that are coming on his next album . . . But Seriously. At first listen, most recognize the distinct sound of Sting on backing vocals. Sting and Collins met during the recording of the Band Aid single “Do They Know It’s Christmas” and they performed together at Live Aid; after Collins ask Sting to sing on this song. The strength of this song is in the lyrics. The speaker in the song seems a bit frustrated with the way things are in the world – we talk a good game, but there is no real improvement, “While I sit here trying to think a things to say / Someone lies bleeding in a field somewhere / So it would seem that we still got a long long way to go / I’ve seen all I want to see today.” This tone continues as the speaker is forced to admit that people are not treating each other humanely. Most of the criticism, though, is directed at us, those who hear about the tragic events. We get the information from television that creates in us a clear separation from the actual events. We do not have to care if do not want to – all we have to do is walk away; ignoring the problem is too easy. Collins (and Sting) sing, “Turn it off if you want to / Switch it off it will go away / Turn it off if you want to / Switch it off or look away.” I do not think that things have changed much in the thirty-one years since this song was recorded. I love how the song ends abruptly after the chorus changes from “Switch it off” to “Turn it off.” Just like “In the Air Tonight”, this song was used in an episode of Miami Vice.

2 thoughts on “Deep Tracks: Phil Collins – Long Long Way to Go”

  1. This song was also used in an episode of the TV series Cold Case – Mind Hunters is the episode name (Season 2 | Episode 9).

    The song is played at the very end of the episode – appropriately too given the abrupt ending of the song – It fitted into the episode rather well.

    Liked by 1 person

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