Song Stories: “You’ll Be In My Heart,” by Phil Collins

What Music Speaks, part seven

Tracy Lynne Oliver
Gay Mag
Published in
4 min readAug 29, 2019


Illustration by Louisa Bertman

“You’ll Be In My Heart,” Phil Collins, Tarzan (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

WeWe buy the VHS for Disney’s animated feature, Tarzan, in late 1999. I’m twenty-seven, he’s three.

One of the feature songs, “You’ll Be In My Heart” by Phil Collins (that will go on to win an Academy Award for Best Original Song), becomes the song of you and of me. Of us; my second born child, my first born son. You’re three.

“Come stop your crying, it will be all right”

Even before this song came out, I called you, “my heart,” a boy-child I never thought I could love as much as I did my girl-child — my first-born, my complete joy, my entire heart. A mother’s worry when her belly grows big for the second time is that there will be nothing for the next. How could a love you would willingly die for be given again without it diluting, or being somehow lesser, fraudulent? When your gender was revealed, my worries came once more. Years of being barraged by my brothers’ endless torments and tortures taught me — girls, safe; boys, bad. Would I be able to find the love for you that you would need? That I, a mother, was supposed to give?

Even before this song came out, I called you…