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On a 1997 episode of VH1 Storytellers, Collins said: "This is one of those examples of improvising lyrics. You know, sometimes you can use the lyric, other times you're in big trouble, because what you write doesn't mean anything. So I set up this drum-machine pad, and I got some chords, and I started to sing into the microphone, and this word came out, which was "sus-sussudio." It just literally came out, at the time... that was back when I could dance, so I kind of knew I had to find something else for that word, then I went back and tried to find another word that scanned as well as "sussudio," and I couldn't find one, so I went back to "sussudio." Then I thought OK, let's give it a meaning, what is it? The lyrics are based on this schoolboy crush on this girl at school. It's happening with my daughter now, she's 8 years old and she loves this boy, but she won't tell him, like in the lyrics this boy loves her but they don't talk about it... how do they know? 'I know she likes me, I know she likes me, doesn't know my name, doesn't know I exist, but I know she likes me'... So that's what the song is about, so "sussudio" became a name for this person, and since it's become a name for a horse. My older daughter's got a horse called Sussudio, and I'm sure there are children all over the world with the name Sussudio, so I apologize for that."
As was the rest of the album, this was recorded in Collins' living room shortly after he married his second wife.
When this was released in 1985, critics assailed Collins for its similarity with Prince's hit "1999
." Collins responded by saying that he was a "big Prince fan" and that his original version of "Sussudio" sounded even more like Prince.
"Sussudio" is a girl's name in the lyrics, but it is also the name Collins gave to the song's drum track.
This was the second US #1 hit from the No Jacket Required album. The first was "One More Night."
Collins recalled to The Mail on Sunday: "This is me trying to write a dance tune! It always fascinated me that the horn players would come in and play a song of mine and suddenly make it R&B. It was influenced by Prince, of course, and was the first time I worked with dance synth programmers."
Collins used The Phenix Horns on this track, who were famous for their work with Earth, Wind & Fire. Collins started working with them in 1981 when he put them on his solo track "I Missed Again
" and also on the Genesis song "No Reply At All
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