Yes, urban legends are terribly troublesome because some people will believe just about anything. How could David Cameron have gotten to be Prime Minister if that wasn't true?
But the urban legends that people believe the most are those surrounding musicians. Which is why Michael Jackson's hardcore fans still believe, despite all evidence to the contrary, that MJ only ever went under the surgeon's knife twice.
Our celeb mate Phil Collins is the subject of an urban legend - or several, in fact - surrounding the song In The Air Tonight. Many people believe the subject matter in the song is to do with a drowning incident or rape or murder that Phil witnessed, and was unable to help in any way. Or that Phil's friend drowned while a man stood idly by and did nothing about it. People who believe these stories are clearly unaware of metaphor. We had heard all these rumours and asked Phil point blank one day while playing lacrosse, "What up with that song, yo?"
"Well," sez Mr. Collins (for it was he), "It was like this..."
"I was practising my juggling one day and I went into a trance-like state. During this trance the juggling balls seemed to go ever higher and sort of come down in slow motion. At the same time, a soundtrack started playing in my head and I could hear the instrumentation for the entire song, just writing itself. When I awoke from this trance I legged it over to the studio and laid it down. I added the 'in the air tonight' bit myself as a reference to the juggling balls in slo-mo."
A likely story, Phil. We know more to this tale. Hugo Weaving, famous for portraying the Elf king in The Lord Of The Rings, was a co-star of Phil's in the 'riotous romp' Frauds. He was a big fan of Phil's, always loved the song and created the rumours so that it would gain popularity. Trouble is, the rumours got out of hand and now we have all these people believing Phil has got it in for some guy who refused to aid a drowning person.
Looks like this one still has legs, so we hopefully have done a public service by putting our two cents in. You're welcome.