This mellow song about an impending revolution was a surprise hit in the UK, where it was #1 for three weeks in the summer of 1969. It was written and sung by the group's drummer, John "Speedy" Keen, who got to know Pete Townshend through session work - Keen wrote the song "Armenia City in the Sky," which appeared on the album The Who Sell Out in 1967. Townshend took an interest in Keen's songwriting and assembled a band around him, pairing him with 16-year-old guitarist Jimmy McCulloch and the group's namesake, jazz pianist Andy "Thunderclap" Newman.
Keen was driving a truck to supplement his income when he wrote the song, which he didn't take very seriously. "It was a reflection of what I was seeing at the time," he told ZigZag in 1975. "I wrote it about two months before we recorded it and we put it out as a joke."
The hastily assembled Thunderclap Newman were not up to form as a live band, but when this song took off, they were sent on a long tour that became their undoing. Their shows were poorly received, and time on the road meant time away from the studio and writing songs. They split up soon after, releasing just one album, Hollywood Dream in 1970. The group was extant for only two years.
"'Something In The Air' was very hard to live up to because it wasn't done under any pressure and it was very hard to get that same feel when we knew we had to produce another single," Keen explained.
Pete Townshend engineered, arranged and played bass on this song. The Who never had a #1 hit in the UK or US - "Something In The Air" is the only song he worked on that went to the top in either of those territories.
Pete Townshend also produced "Accidents," which was the follow-up single and went to #46 in the UK. The group split up soon after. Newman took up the saxophone and returned to the pub circuit; McCulloch joined Paul McCartney's group Wings before dying of heart failure in 1979. Speedy Keen released two solo albums and continued on as a session musician.
This was used in a memorable scene at the end of the 1969 film The Magic Christian when Peter Sellers and Ringo Starr give away "free money," with a hitch: the bills are submerged in a vat of blood and urine. The song also features in the 2000 movie Almost Famous and the 1996 comedy Kingpin. In America, the song was just a minor hit, so Kingpin and Almost Famous were when many Americans heard the song for the first time.
This was used in a commercial television advertisement campaign for DirecTV.
Bertrand - Paris, France