This was one of the first songs Phil Collins wrote on his own. He was going through a very difficult time - his first wife Andrea had left him and taken their two children with her. Phil found himself alone in the house he once shared with them, and began writing songs - sad ones.
"Misunderstanding" finds Collins getting stood up and failing to understand that the girl wants nothing to do with him. Despite all evidence to the contrary, he keeps blaming her evasiveness on "some misunderstanding."
In a way, Collins is looking at himself as a witness observer - his story about a man who is delusional in love reflects his hopeless attempts to put his marriage back together (they divorced in 1980). At the time, Collins had much deeper concerns than being left out in the rain, and those concerns are laid bare on the song "Please Don't Ask
," which is one of his most personal tales. "Misunderstanding" has a lot more distance, and also a lot more hit potential. Both songs were used on the Genesis album Duke
; Collins poured out more of his heart on his first solo album, Face Value
, which was released the following year.