Meaning of “Another Day in Paradise” by Phil Collins
“Another Day in Paradise” is a Grammy Award winning song performed by English singer and songwriter Phil Collins. The profound lyrics of this song mainly talk about the social problem of homelessness. In the song, the narrator (Collins) tells the story of a random man on the street who ignores the plights and suffering of a homeless woman despite the fact that she calls out to him for help. The man deliberately acts as though he can’t hear her and crosses the street to avoid the homeless woman and her plight.
The lyrics then go on to beg everyone listening not to ignore the plights of the homeless. It tells us that for us, it’s just another day in paradise, but for them this isn’t the same. Collins then uses the lyrics to plead to the almighty God, telling Him that “there must be something” He can say.
Speaking of the song in an interview with British newspaper The Mail on Sunday, Collins said he wrote the song after he visited Washington DC in the United States. According to him, while in Washington, he witnessed to his shock the number of people living in boxes on the streets.
Collins’ face to face encounter with a homeless person
In multiple interviews, Collins has said that he once found himself in the situation of the man who ignored the homeless woman in the song. Collins said ironically while cutting “Another Day in Paradise” in London, he came face to face with a homeless woman just after coming out of the studio. According to him, the woman had two children with her and begged him for some money. And how did Collins react? Interestingly, Collins admitted acting almost the same way as the man in the song. He said despite the fact that he eventually didn’t ignore the woman and her children, he neither stopped nor gave her any money. Collins’ reason of telling his story of his encounter with the homeless woman was just to let the world know that the average person reacts the same way like the man in the song when approached by a homeless person or a beggar.
Facts about “Another Day in Paradise”
- “Another Day in Paradise” was written entirely by Phil Collins.
- Collins and Hugh Padgham produced this track.
- The song was first released in the United Kingdom on 23rd October, 1989. It was the first single released from Collins’ highly successful fourth solo studio album …But Seriously.
- Over the years, this track has been the recipient of a number of major music awards. Some of these prestigious awards include a Grammy Award and a BRIT Award.
- The song’s backing vocals are performed by American singer David Crosby.
- Collins and Crosby performed the song live at the 33rd Grammy Awards. The performance was not only regarded as one of the best performances at that year’s Grammys but also gained a spot on the Grammy’s Greatest Moments Volume I album which came out in 1994.
- “Another Day in Paradise” peaked at the number 1 spot in many countries including Germany, Italy, Canada and Sweden. On the US Billboard Hot 100, the track reached number 1. On the UK Singles Chart, it peaked at number 2.
- “Another Day in Paradise” is considered one of the greatest songs ever written. It was placed at the 86th spot on Billboard’s Greatest Songs of All Time in 2009.
- Over the years, several singers have covered the song. One of the most notable covers of this song was done by American singers Brandy and Ray J in 2001.
- Collins played both the drums and keyboard on the song.
- Contrary to popular belief, Collins’ longtime friend and collaborator Daryl Stuermer did not play on this song. Who played the guitar then? Renowned Argentine-born guitarist Dominic Miller played guitars on this track.
- In addition to being praised for the song, Collins has also received heavy criticism over its subject matter. Many of Collins’ critics have accused him of not having the right to sing about poor people because of his enormous wealth. According to his critics, he was just exploiting the plights of the poor to sell records. Collins however, rubbished the criticisms in an interview with the New York Times saying that just because one has loads of money doesn’t make one get out of touch with reality.
- In addition to “Another Day in Paradise” being the first number-one single on the Billboard Hot 100 in the 1990s, the song is also Collins’ seventh and final single to reach the No. 1 spot in the United States.
“Another Day in Paradise” at the Grammy Awards
This tune was nominated for as many as four Grammy Awards during the 33rd Annual Grammy Awards in 1991, winning one. The song received a nomination in the following categories at the Grammys:
- Record of the Year. It won in this category.
- Song of the Year. It lost in this category “From a Distance” written by Julie Gold and performed by Bette Midler.
- Best Music Video, Short Form. Paula Abdul’s song “Opposites Attract” won in this category.
- Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male. The song lost to “Oh Pretty Woman” by Roy Orbison.
Phil Collins and Crosby performing “Another Day in Paradise” live at the 33rd Annual Grammy Awards held in New York on February 20, 1991.