The song also came out of an experience that Gabriel had on a plane. He told Mojo
magazine September 2013: "Pan Am had started doing mileage programmes. I got up to 100, 000 miles from touring, so I booked a free flight from LA to Rio. The catch was that I had to travel economy. On the way onto the plane, I said hello to the bass player in Earth Wind & Fire (Verdine White
"After we took off," Gabriel continued, "the plane developed a fault - something with the landing gear - and the pilot told us we had to fly over the Pacific and dump some fuel. That's when everyone became very scared, writing farewell letters. I even scribbled some notes. Earth Wind & Fire's bass player came back from First Class to see me in economy and just said (in a sonorous voice ) 'Pray brother.' The pilot got us down, thank God. In Rio, I met the drummer Djalma Correa. I worked on some ideas with him, and that led to the track that 'Mercy Street' was built around."