Phil Collins

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Phil Collins

Drummer, singer, songwriter, producer

For the Record

Selected discography


Pop music superstars often strive for the gaudy, flamboyant effect. Phil Collins, a plain, balding rock drummer, would rather let his songs speak for him. Since the late 1970s Collins has served as the lead singer for the British rock band Genesis, and he has simultaneously enjoyed a dramatic solo career complete with Grammy Awards and a long string of Top Ten hits. The affable Collins has also achieved a measure of critical respect beyond the bounds usually accorded to pop musicians; many of his mysterious, wrenching songs about heartbreak and suspicion are hailed for their revolutionary use of rhythm. New York Times correspondent Stephen Holden notes that Collins has defined a new relationship between rock rhythm, singing and songwriting in which shifting multicolored drum textures determine the musics emotional as well as its rhythmic climate. Holden adds: As both a songwriter and an instrumentalist, Collins is especially adept at sustaining a mood of suspense, often heavily tinged with menace. His shadowy song lyrics are suffused with dread and the suggestion of passions so pent-up they could explode violently, though they never do.

Ever since Collins began his solo work, observers have speculated that he would eventually leave Genesis. Collins has proven them wrong, managing to write, record, and tour with the group regularly. Collins is candid, however, about how much his individual success means to him. I feel like Im in the middle, reaching out to do lots of little things, he told Rolling Stone magazine. One of the things I do is Genesis. Another is producing other peoples records Another thing I do is play on other peoples records. But the main thing is my records. These solo albums, including Hello, I Must Be Going and No Jacket Required, have sold in excess of six million copies worldwide, assuring their creator fame and fortune. I make more money on my own than I do with Genesis, Collins admitted, so the bottom line, mercenary level is that theres no reason for me to be in Genesis except that I enjoy it. But, honestly, in the end, Im doing something on my own, my little self, and thats the most gratifying of all.

Phil Collins has been passionately involved with music since his early childhood. The youngest of three children, he was born in the affluent London suburb of Hounslow in 1951. By the time he was five, Collins was experimenting with drums, and his parents bought him a full drum set when he was ten. At first both of his parents seemed inclined to push him in other directionshis father toward a nine-to-five office job and his mother toward an acting career. Collins agreed to try his hand at acting, joining the prestigious Barbara Speake Stage School in 1964. From there he received

For the Record

Full name Philip Collins; born in 1951 in Hounslow, England; son of an insurance agent and a theatrical agent; married Jill Tavelman, 1984 (second wife); children: (first marriage) Joely, Simon.

Drummer and vocalist with the rock band Genesis, 1970, lead singer and songwriter for Genesis, 1975. First worldwide tour, 1978, subsequent tours in 1982 and 1987. Other Genesis members include Mike Rutherford (guitar), Tony Banks (keyboards), Daryl Stuermer (bass), and Chester Thompson (drums).

Solo performer, songwriter, and producer, 1979. Recorded and produced first solo album, Face Value, 1980, has subsequently produced albums for Eric Clapton (Behind the Sun), Frida Lyngstrom (Somethings Going On), and Philip Bailey (Chinese Wall). Has made numerous solo tours in the United States, Great Britain, Europe, and the Far East. Star of film Buster, 1988. Performer for the Band Aid concerts to provide famine relief for Ethiopia, July 13, 1985.

Awards: Grammy award and Academy Award nomination, both 1985, both for Against All Odds ; Grammy awards, 1986, for best album, No Jacket Required, best song, One More Night, and best male vocal performance.

Addresses: Office Hit and Run Music Ltd., 81-83 Walton St., London SW3 2HP, England.

several professional dramatic roles, including one as the Artful Dodger in a London stage production of Oliver! He still preferred music, though, so in 1967against his mothers wisheshe dropped out of school to work as a rock drummer.

Growing up in Great Britain, Collins was naturally influenced by such groups as the Beatles and the Who. He was equally fascinated, however, by the Motown music of the Suprêmes, the Four Tops, and the Temptations. When he began to make his own music, he incorporated the black American rhythm and blues and soul sounds, modifying them to fit the circumstances of his white, middle-class background. By 1970 Collins had earned a reputation as an able studio drummer, so he was asked to audition for an up-and-coming art rock group, Genesis. Collins won the audition and began a long tenure in comfortable anonymity, hidden behind the drums, as the group built its reputation around the flamboyance and theatrics of its leader-auteur, Peter Gabriel, according to Rob Hoerburger in the Chicago Tribune. Genesiss somewhat unique style combined American influences such as folk and soul with long, brooding symphonic suites and allegorical rock operas. Just as the group began to experience a high level of success in Britain and Europe, Gabriel quit to pursue a solo career. The other members of GenesisCollins, Mike Rutherford, and Tony Banks, decided to keep performing as Genesis.

Genesis auditioned more than one hundred lead singers in an effort to replace Gabriel as the British press declared the group dead and buried. Finally Collins, who had never considered singing lead, realized that he was as able as any of the performers he had auditioned. He took over both the performing and the songwriting duties, realizing that changing tastes necessitated a more upbeat, less cerebral style. In 1978 Collins came to a momentous decisionGenesis would have to reach out to an American audience through an extended tour. That choice, he admits, cost him his first marriage, since his wife resented the long separations required by the music business. A long divorce proceeding ensued that left Collins demoralized, bitter, alone and, eventually, rich, to quote Hoerburger in Rolling Stone. Although his intentions were anything but mercenary, Collins began to write intensely personal songs about the breakup of his marriageballads that were quite different in style and emotion than any of his Genesis work. He recorded the songs on his first solo album, Face Value, released in 1981.

Face Value was more successful than any of the Genesis albums had been, reaching the top ten on the Billboard album chart and spawning two hit singles, I Missed Again and In the Air Tonight. Amidst rumors of the breakup of Genesis, Collins returned to the group with new songs for it as well. Late in 1981 Genesis released Abacab, its first million-seller, and embarked on a lengthy, multi-million dollar international tour. Only when the tour ended did Collins return to solo work with his next hit album, Hello, I Must Be Going. He also offered his talents as a producer and arranger to several other artists, including Frida Lyngstrom of Abba, Eric Clapton, and Philip Bailey of Earth, Wind, and Fire. Collins and Bailey were particularly pleased when their duet, Easy Lover, topped both the pop and soul charts.

By 1985 Collins had scored a string of hits, both with Genesis and on his own. Still, critics made much of his bald, paunchy appearancesometimes to the exclusion of serious commentary on his work. In Rolling Stone, for instance, Hoerburger wrote: The pop audience was primed for its own Cabbage Patch Kid, and Collins, with his catchy, smartly produced music, fit the bill; he was homely, and he sold. No Jacket Required, Collinss 1985 album, forced reviewers to take the artist seriously. An instant top ten albumit hit number one faster than did Michael Jacksons ThrillerNo Jacket Required won three 1986 Grammy awards and yielded three major hit singles, One More Night, Sussudio, and Dont Lost My Number. Additionally, Collins had earned a Grammy in 1985 for Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now), an evocative song about unrequited love. Chicago Tribune contributor Rick Kogan perhaps sums up the revised opinion on Collinss work when he writes: After hearing and observing Collins eminently satisfying and frequently spectacular performance, one is left not with a series of niggling questions but rather with renewed admiration for the forcefulness of well-crafted songs played in a straightforward manner.

Phil Collins is a driven artist who constantly works hard, but he is an unusual star in that he prefers to live frugally, dress comfortably, and perform without fancy frills. Having achieved his goal of making not successful pop music but respectable pop music, Collins intends to keep following his own fruitful pathemotion-laden lyrics, soul-inspired rhythms, and inventive harmonies, sung in his inimitable rough tenor. In Rolling Stone, Hoerburger concludes that these days Collins is free to do just about whatever he wants. Now, everyone knows who he is, and everyone seems to want him. Collins has brought the music industry to its knees by being an agreeable man who makes agreeable music. Collins offered a similar appraisal of himself in a Newsweek profile. I dont spend a lot of money on anything, he said. Im not fashionable, so I cant compete. I dont keep up. I just go my own sweet way.

Selected discography

With Genesis

Foxtrot, 1972.

Selling England by the Pound, 1973.

Genesis Live, 1973.

The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, 1974.

A Trick of the Tail, 1976.

Wind and Wuthering, 1977.

Seconds Out, 1977.

Spot the Pigeon, 1977.

And Then There Were Three, 1978.

Duke, 1980.

Abacab, 1981.

Three Sides Live, 1982.

Genesis, 1983.

Invisible Touch, 1986.

Solo albums

Face Value, Atlantic, 1981.

Hello, I Must Be Going, Atlantic, 1982.

No Jacket Required, Atlantic, 1985.


Chicago Tribune, March 13, 1983; May 19, 1985.

Newsweek, May 27, 1985.

New York Daily News Magazine, June 30, 1985.

People, July 8, 1985; July 6, 1986.

Rolling Stone, February 3, 1983; May 23, 1985; July 16, 1987.

Anne Janette Johnson

views updated

Phil Collins

Singer, songwriter, drummer

For the Record

St. Gabriels Replacement

Finding His Face Value

Both Sides of Fame

On with the Show

Selected discography


One could not have lived through the 1980s without hearing the ubiquitous voice of British singer/songwriter/drummer Phil Collins. Immensely popular, with over 200 million albums soldcounting solo, with former band Genesis, and myriad other side-projectsCollinss position in the rock world is framed by a strange dichotomy; the regular guy image against his marital scandals of the late nineties, the tons of albums sold versus the Phil Collins free weekends radio promotions of the late eighties, and the fact that the bloke drummed on Brian Eno solo albums while later doing a soporific cover of The Mindbenders A Groovy Kind of Love. Collinss career and image is caught between top forty huckster and art rock maestro, an oddly lucrative position for someone whos survived in the fickle world of rock music.

Collins was born in the west London suburb of Chiswick, one of three children, to an insurance vendor and a childrens talent agent. His mother, using her position in the entertainment field, encouraged Collins to pursue acting, which most notably led to a walk on part in the Beatles first feature A Hard Days Night and the role of The Artful Dodger in a West end production of the musical Oliver!. However, music was Collinss true love and easily edged his mothers thespian aspirations for the him out of the picture. At the age of three he had taken up drums, and by age 14, he was playing in several school age R&B/mod bands. While minor acting jobs continued, Collins was gaining a reputation as a session drummer and by the age of 18 quit acting all together.

In 1968, Collins joined Flaming Youth, a progressive rock band who released one album, Ark 2, which went nowhere. While Flaming Youth as a band did little to enhance Collinss reputation, he continued to play sessions, even working on a few unreleased cuts for George Harrisons 1970 triple LP, All Things Must Pass.

In August 1970, after passing on a chance to audition for the drummers seat in Yes, Phil and fellow Flaming Youth member Ronnie Caryl, decided to audition for the already in progress Genesis. Having been dropped by mentor/producer Jonathan King, the man responsible for Everyones Gone to the Moon, after two albums and little success, Genesis was a band in need of a new direction. Studio inexperience and an odd instrument line up (no permanent drummer and 12-string guitars) hindered the band. A shot in the arm was needed, which Collins and other newcomer, guitarist Steve Hackett readily provided.

Collinss first recordings with Genesis appeared on the groups third album, Nursery Cryme. Prefiguring his

For the Record

Born Phillip David Charles Collins January 30, 1951, in Chiswick, London, England; son of an insurance agent and childrens theatrical agent; married Andrea Brett (marriage ended, 1978); married Jill Tavelman, 1984 (marriage ended, 1994); children: Joely, Simon (first marriage), Lily (second marriage).

Joined Genesis as drummer in 1971; moved to lead vocals after departure of Peter Gabriel in 1975; drummed for Brand X from 19751979; started solo career in 1981 while still continuing with Genesis; left Genesis in 1996 to concentrate on solo work. Has produced albums for Eric Clapton (Behind the Sun), Frida Lyngstrom (Somethings Going On), and Philip Bailey (Chinese Wall). Performed as part of Band Aid, a concert to provide famine relief for Ethiopia, July 1985.

Awards: Received seven Grammy Awards since 1985, including two for Against All Odds, and one for best album, No Jacket Required.

Addresses: Record company Atlantic Records, 75 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10019.

later role in the band, the album also includes his first recorded lead vocal on the track For Absent Friends. The group, for now solidified in line-up, kept on for three more studio albums. Some measure of success was achieved through their first British hit single I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe) from their fifth album Selling England by the Pound. Gabriels attempt at rock opera, The Lamb Lies down on Broadway, also drew attention for its sound and storyline. Still, virtually unknown in America and reeling from the public dismay of the double Lamb LP, Genesis seemed at another crisis point. This was further inflamed by the departure of Peter Gabriel who, because of family obligations, decided to leave the band. Without the vocal antics of Gabriel, Genesiss future looked uncertain.

St. Gabriels Replacement

After auditioning several vocalists to no avail, Collins reluctantly assumed vocal duties and made his debut in 1976, on Genesiss seventh studio album, A Trick of the Tail. While still holding on to the bands usual programming excesses, Collins brought in elements of jazz/fusion and Latin sounds, the latter particularly on the track Los Endos. Collins explained to Modern Drummer writer William F. Miller, I got that beat almost directly from a Santana album I was really inspired by it. The jazz/fusion style can be traced to his involvement with the experimental rock band Brand X, who he joined around 1975 and undertook two tours with in 1976 and 1979. Collins had also been touring annually with Genesis to promote their albums. Genesis did not suffer because of Collinss dual commitments. A Trick of the Tail sold more copies than any other Genesis LP to date.

Never restraining himself to simply one or two projects, Collins also participated in countless other sessions as player and producer. From 1973 to 1993 he drummed for the likes of Argent, John Cale, Eric Clapton, Brian Eno, Robert Fripp, Bruce Hornsby, Robert Plant, and Thin Lizzy and produced LPs for Adam & the Ants, Steven Bishop, Clapton, Frida Lyngstrom, and John Martyn. All the while, Collins still kept up with Genesis on their yearly album releases and tours, which continually gained popularity. Collinss prolific and tireless work schedule was not without problems though, and the strain finally took its toll on his personal life. Given an ultimatum by his wife Andrea, to choose between rock and family, Collins chose rock. By late 1978, he found himself a bachelor and with Genesiss first US top 40 single Follow You, Follow Me, found his career a success.

This dizzying array of events was the catalyst that finally brought Phil Collins to major worldwide stardom. Destroyed by the dissolution of his first marriage, Collins had, as a cathartic move, started recording home demos of his own songs. The fruition of these efforts led to the release of his first solo album Face Value in 1981 and most notably the creation of perhaps his most well known song In the Air Tonight. Often noted for its heavily up-front drum sound, the production influence could be heard on records throughout the rest of the eighties. The sound, according to Collins in Modern Drummer, could be traced back to his work on Peter Gabriels third solo album, I played a bit while [producers Steve Lillywhite and Hugh Padgham] fooled around with miking combinations, compressors, noise gates. All of a sudden, I heard this sound.

Finding His Face Value

The ten years with Genesis had finally paid off; Collins was reaping the benefits of sold out stadium tours and million selling albums. With Genesis and on his own, Collins became a household name. The more his music leaned towards mainstream pop and away from progressive rock, the more records Collins sold and the more his reputation grew as a nice/ordinary guy of rock. Rob Hoerburger wrote in Rolling Stone, If Collins was the first to admit that he didnt look like a pop star, that he was short and paunchy, then it was also true that his appearance worked to his advantage. The pop audience was primed for its own Cabbage Patch Kid, and Collins, with his catchy, smartly produced music, fit the bill.

After exploring the downside of life and relationships on Face Value and his second LP Hello, I Must Be Going, Collins made a concerted effort to put out something more uplifting. The result was his mega-selling third solo album, the 1995 release No Jacket Required, which spawned no less than four top 40 singles with two, One More Night and Sussudio, hitting Billboards number one spot. Around the same time, Collins won a Grammy award for his single Against All Odds, taken from the movie soundtrack of the same name. Collins also scored another number one with Separate Lives, a duet with Marilyn Martin, taken from the movie White Nights. With No Jacket Required and the next years Genesis entry Invisible Touch, which added a further five hits to the canon, there was no escaping Collins and his safe, accessible pop. A deserved break followed, leading Collins to an interesting career reversal.

Following a guest appearance as a bad guy on TVs Miami Vice, Collinss acting bug was resurrected. In November 1988 Collins told Rolling Stones Adam White, I enjoyed [the Miami vice spot] tremendously I was so overwhelmed by this feeling that I had found something else that I could do. Collinss acting skills were tested again when he took the lead role in the British film Buster. A biopic of Buster Edwards, a small time London criminal who took part in the 1963 Great Train Robbery, the film actually garnered controversy for such a lighthearted treatment of a crime that reaped 2.6 million pounds for the criminals. Controversy aside, the film did modestly well in the box office and sent two more Collins singles to the top of the charts, Two Hearts and the aforementioned A Groovy Kind of Love.

Both Sides of Fame

By this time Collins had entered the exclusive club of British rock royalty populated by the likes of Paul McCartney, Clapton, and Mick Jagger. Richer than rich, Collins could do films, play Prince Charless benefit concerts, and own, with Genesis, his own studio where albums could be worked and worked over again until perfection was achieved. From maven of progressive rock to an established institution, one could not go more mainstream than Phil Collins. At the risk of alienating the original Genesis fans, Collins had unapologetically sold millions of albums of radio ready pop and had felt it time to record an LP of more serious, socially relevant songs. Out came his 1989 album But Seriously, his fourth solo effort. While Collins did achieve one more number one song and a Grammy with Another Day in Paradise, the bubble seemed to have burst. Collins never quite regained the mass pop acceptance of his mid-1980s heyday. This could be explained in Collinss increasingly adult contemporary sound and with no blame to him, the changing face of pop music in the early-1990s. With an enormous, and fairly well received, circus motif tour and live album, Phil Collinss fans remained extremely dedicated.

Genesis by this time had taken a backseat to Collinss solo career. They were to reunite once more in 1991 with the We Cant Dance album. A heavily processed and mechanical sounding album, it marks a return to longer story based songs which had fallen by the wayside around the time of their 1980 release, Duke. A couple of moderate hits were culled from the album and a greatest hits stadium tour ensued, with a pair of live albums rounding it out. This turned out to be the last work Collins would do with the band. He handed in his resignation on March 28, 1996. Amazingly, Genesis, with only two remaining members, continued to record. They announced their choice for new lead singer, the virtually unknown Ray Wilson, in early 1997, and started work on a new album.

On with the Show

Collinss second marriage fell to the wayside and in 1994, his divorce from Jill Tavelman became public knowledge. His career continued, however, and he recorded two more albums, the dark, 1994 effort Both Sides and the African influenced Dance into the Light, released in 1997. But, his strength remained in the stadium tours he undertook. Steve Morse of the Boston Globe wrote, Phil Collins is learning what Pink Floyd and the Rolling Stones have known for years: Your new record doesnt have to be a hit in order to mount a hit tour.

Throughout the 1990s, Collins remained upbeat. Making a move to Switzerland, he continued to tour and record. Collins told Mark Brown of the Orange County Register, Everything from the personal side of things has settled down beautifully. Ive got a lot of free air in my life. It feels great.

Selected discography

Solo work

Face Value, Atlantic, 1981.

Hello, I Must be Going, Atlantic, 1982.

(With others) Against All Odds (soundtrack), Atlantic, 1984.

No Jacket Required, Atlantic, 1985.

(With others) White Nights (soundtrack), 1985.

12ers (remixes), Atlantic, 1987.

(With others) Buster (soundtrack), Atlantic, 1988.

But Seriously, Atlantic, 1989.

Serious Hits Live!, Atlantic, 1990.

Both Sides, Atlantic, 1993.

Dance into the Light, Atlantic, 1996.

With Brand X

Unorthodox Behaviour, Passport, 1976.

Moroccan Roll, Passport, 1977.

Livestock, Passport, 1977.

Product, Passport, 1980.

Do They Hurt?, Passport.

Is There Anything About?, Passport, 1982.

With Genesis

Nursery Cryme, Charisma, 1971.

Foxtrot, Charisma, 1972.

Live, Charisma, 1973.

Selling England by the Pound, Charisma, 1973.

The Lamb Lies down on Broadway, Atco, 1974.

A Trick of the Tail, Atlantic, 1976.

Wind and Wuthering, Atco, 1977.

Seconds Out, Atlantic, 1977.

And Then There Were Three, Atlantic, 1978.

Duke, Atlantic, 1980.

Abacab, Atlantic, 1981.

Three Sides Live, Atlantic, 1982.

Genesis, Atlantic, 1983.

Invisible Touch, Atlantic, 1986.

We Cant Dance, Atlantic, 1991.

Live: The Way We Walk I: The Shorts, Atlantic, 1992.

Live: The Way We Walk II: The Longs, Atlantic, 1992.



Boston Globe, March 21, 1996.

GQ, October 1996.

Modern Drummer, March 1997.

Orange County Register, November 3, 1996.

People, July 8, 1985; August 8, 1994.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, March 20, 1997.

Q, November 1996.

Reuters New Media, March 28, 1996.

Rolling Stone, May 23, 1985; November 17, 1988; November 5, 1990.


Nathan Shafer

views updated

COLLINS, Phil 1951–

(Philip Collins, Phillip Collins)


Full name, Philip David Charles Collins; born January 30, 1951, in Chiswick, London, England; son of Greville (an insurance agent) and June (a children's theatrical agent) Collins; married Andrea Brett (some sources cite name as Andrea Bertorelli), 1975 (divorced, 1977); married Jill Tavelman, 1984 (divorced, 1994); married Orianne Chevey (an interpreter and businessperson), July 23, 1999; children: (first marriage) Joely (an actress), Simon; (second marriage) Lily Jane; (third marriage) Nicholas Grev Austin.

Addresses: Contact—Atlantic Recording Corporation, 1290 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10019; Soundtrack Music Associates, 15760 Ventura Blvd., Suite 2021, Encino, CA 91436.

Career: Musician, singer, composer, actor, and producer. Flaming Youth (rock band), member, c. 1968; Genesis (rock band), drummer, 1971–75, lead vocalist/songwriter, beginning 1975; Brand X (jazz band), drummer, beginning 1975; solo recording artist, 1981—; The Phil Collins Big Band (jazz band), leader, beginning 1998; music appeared in commercials.

Awards, Honors: Grammy Award nomination, National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, rock vocal—male, 1983, for "I Don't Care Anymore," from the album Hello, I Must Be Going; Academy Award nomination, best music, original song, Golden Globe Award nomination, best original song—motion picture, Grammy Award, best pop vocal—male, Grammy Award nomination, best song, 1985, all for "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)," from Against All Odds; Grammy Award nomination (with others), best album of instrumental score written for a motion picture or television special, 1985, for Against All Odds; Grammy awards, album of the year, best pop vocal—male, and (with Hugh Padgham) producer of the year (nonclassical), all 1985, for No Jacket Required; Grammy Award nomination (with others), best music video—short form, 1985, for No Jacket Required; Grammy Award nomination (with Philip Bailey), best pop vocal—duo or group with vocal, 1985, for "Easy Lover"; Most Performed Song from a Film Award (with others), BMI Film & TV Awards, 1988, for "In Too Deep," from Mona Lisa; all with Lamont Dozier: Grammy Award, composing—best song written specifically for a motion picture or for television, 1988, Golden Globe Award, best original song—motion picture, Academy Award nomination, best music, original song, Most Performed Song from a Film Award, BMI Film & TV Awards, 1989, all for "Two Hearts," from Buster; Grammy Award (with Hugh Padgham), record of the year, 1990, for "Another Day in Paradise"; Billboard Award, top adult contemporary male artists, 1990; American Music Award, pop/rock favorite album, 1991, for But Seriously; American Music Award, pop/rock favorite male vocalist, 1991; appointed a Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order, 1994; named MusiCares performer of the year, National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, 1997; received star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, 1999; Annie Award nomination, outstanding individual achievement for music in an animated feature production, 1999, for "Two Worlds," from Tarzan; American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) Award, top box office films category, 2000, for Tarzan; Academy Award, best music, original song, Golden Globe Award, best original song—motion picture, ASCAP Film and Television Music Award, most performed songs from motion pictures, and Grammy Award nomination, best song written for a motion picture, all 2000, for "You'll Be in My Heart," from Tarzan; ASCAP Award, ASCAP Film and Television Music awards, top box office films, and Annie Award nomination (with Mark Mancina), outstanding music in an animated feature production, both 2004, for Brother Bear; Golden Satellite Award nomination, International Press Academy, best original song, 2004, for "Great Spirits," from Brother Bear. Also received other Grammy awards, Silver Clef awards, awards from the Variety Club of Great Britain, and an Elvis Award.


Film Appearances:

(Uncredited) Screaming fan, A Hard Day's Night, United Artists, 1964.

(As Philip Collins) Mike Lucas, Calamity the Cow, 1967.

(As Phillip Collins) Genesis: A Band in Concert (also known as Genesis in Concert), 1977.

Himself (member of Secret Police choir), The Secret Policeman's Other Ball, Miramax, 1981.

The Secret Policeman's Private Parts, 1984.

Crawling King Snakes member, Porky's Revenge (also known as Porky's 3: Revenge), Twentieth Century–Fox, 1985.

Buster Edwards (title role), Buster, TriStar, 1988.

Uncle Ernie, The Who Live, Featuring the Rock Opera Tommy, 1989.

Inspector Good, Hook, TriStar, 1991.

Jackson Dover, Calliope, 1993.

Roland Copping, Frauds, Live America, 1993.

Voices of Muk and Luk, Balto (animated), Universal, 1995.

Voice of Lucky the Vulture, The Jungle Book 2 (animated), Buena Vista, 2003.

Film Song Performer:

"Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)" (theme song), Against All Odds, Columbia, 1984.

(With Marilyn Martin) "Separate Lives," White Nights, Columbia, 1985.

"In Too Deep," Mona Lisa, Island Pictures, 1986.

"Two Hearts," Buster, TriStar, 1988.

"Two Worlds,""You'll Be in My Heart," and other songs, Tarzan (animated), Buena Vista, 1999.

Performer of songs that have appeared in other films.

Film Work:

Musician and backing vocalist, Back to the Future, Universal, 1985.

Musician and backing vocalist, Porky's Revenge (also known as Porky's 3: Revenge), Twentieth Century–Fox, 1985.

Song producer, Playing for Keeps, Universal, 1986.

Song arranger and producer, Tarzan (animated), Buena Vista, 1999.

Co–producer, Everything's Jake, 2000.

Television Appearances; Movies:

Eddie Papasano, And the Band Played On, HBO, 1993.

Television Appearances; Specials:

Live Aid, various channels, 1985.

Phil Collins: No Jacket Required—Sold Out, HBO, 1985.

Kraft Salutes the Magic of David Copperfield ... In China, CBS, 1986.

The Noel Edmonds Show, ABC, 1986.

The Prince's Trust All–Star Rock Concert, HBO, 1986, 1987.

A Blues Session: B. B. King & Friends, Cinemax, 1987.

Bruce Willis: The Return of Bruno, HBO, 1987.

ABC Presents a Royal Gala, ABC, 1988.

Atlantic Records 40th Anniversary: It's Only Rock 'n' Roll, HBO, 1988.

Freedomfest: Nelson Mandela's 70th Birthday Celebration, syndicated, 1988.

The Prince's Trust All–Star Rock Concert, The Disney Channel, 1988.

Wicked Uncle Ernie, Fox Presents Tommy Performed by the Who, Fox, 1989.

The Songwriters Hall of Fame 20th Anniversary ... The Magic of Music, CBS, 1989.

The Best of Cinemax Sessions, Cinemax, 1990.

Late Night with David Letterman Eighth Anniversary Special, NBC, 1990.

Seriously ... Phil Collins, CBS, 1990.

An American Saturday Night, 1991.

Eric Clapton: 24 Nights, 1991.

Queen: The Days of Our Lives, syndicated, 1991.

Two Rooms: Tribute to Elton John & Bernie Taupin, ABC, 1991.

Genesis: Opening Night, ABC, 1992.

One Child—One Voice, TBS, 1992.

The Way We Walk, Part 1, Fox, 1992.

The Way We Walk, Part 2, Fox, 1992.

Together for Our Children—M.U.S.I.C., syndicated, 1993.

ABC Back to School Concert: Virgin Records' 21st Anniversary, ABC, 1994.

The Who's Tommy: The Amazing Journey, The Disney Channel, 1994.

Host, You Can't Do That! The Making of "A Hard Day's Night" (also known as The Making of "A Hard Day's Night"), PBS, 1995.

Vanessa Williams & Friends: Christmas in New York, ABC, 1996.

Music for Montserrat, SET pay per view, 1997.

Himself, In My Life, Bravo, 1998.

A&E's Live by Request Starring Phil Collins, Arts and Entertainment, 1998.

The Nobel Peace Concert, Fox Family Channel, 1998.

Phil Collins—The Big Band, PBS, 1998.

A Hot Night in Montreux, Comcast Cable Communications, 1999.

Tarzan in Concert with Phil Collins, ABC, 1999.

Super Bowl XXXIV, ABC, 2000.

Himself, The Beatles Revolution (documentary), ABC, 2000.

Himself, Stand and Be Counted (documentary), The Learning Channel, 2000.

An Evening of Stars: A Celebration of Educational Excellence, syndicated, 2000.

(In archive footage) Himself, Freddie Mercury, the Untold Story, 2000.

Phil Collins in Paris, ABC Family Channel, 2001.

The Jubilee Girl (documentary), BBC, 2002.

(In archive footage) Himself, 50 Most Awesomely Bad Songs ... Ever, VH1, 2004.

Television Appearances; Awards Presentations:

Presenter, The 11th Annual American Music Awards, 1984.

The American Music Awards, 1986.

The 28th Annual Grammy Awards, 1986.

MTV's 1990 Video Music Awards, MTV, 1990.

The 1990 Billboard Music Awards Show, 1990.

The 33rd Annual Grammy Awards, 1991.

Host, The 1992 Billboard Music Awards, 1992.

The 1993 Billboard Music Awards, 1993.

The American Music Awards, 1994.

Presenter, The 42nd Annual New York Emmy Awards, 1999.

Himself, 72nd Annual Academy Awards Presentation, ABC, 2000.

Presenter, The 42nd Annual Grammy Awards, CBS, 2000.

Presenter, The 58th Annual Golden Globe Awards, NBC, 2001.

The 34th Annual Songwriters Hall of Fame Awards, Bravo, 2003.

2003 Radio Music Awards, NBC, 2003.

Presenter, The 76th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 2004.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

Terry, "Unwelcome Visitor," R3, BBC, 1965.

Himself, Album Flash, 1984.

Phil Mayhew, "Phil the Shill," Miami Vice, NBC, 1985.

"Shannon/Phil Collins," American Bandstand, ABC, 1985.

The Last Resort (also known as The Last Resort with Jonathan Ross), Channel 4, 1988.

Himself, America's Top 10, syndicated, 1988.

The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, NBC, 1990.

Late Night with David Letterman, NBC, 1990, 1991.

ABC in Concert, ABC, 1991.

Himself, "Wetten, dass...? aus Kiel," Wetten, dass ... ?, 1991.

The Late Show with David Letterman, CBS, various episodes, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1998.

The History of Rock 'n' Roll, Vol. 6 (also known as The History of Rock 'n' Roll and My Generation), syndicated, 1995.

Himself, "Going Platinum," New York Undercover, Fox, 1996.

Himself, "Wetten, dass ... ? aus Hannover," Wetten, dass ... ?, 1996.

The Rosie O'Donnell Show, syndicated, 1996.

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, NBC, multiple episodes in 1996.

The Howard Stern Show, E! Entertainment Television, multiple episodes in 1997.

Himself, "Wetten, dass...? aus Erfurt," Wetten, dass ... ?, 1998.

Parkinson, BBC, 1998.

Himself, Brass Eye, Channel 4, 2001.

Himself, Top of the Pops 2, 2001.

Himself, TROS TV Show, 2002.

Himself, V Graham Norton, Channel 4, 2002.

The View, ABC, 2002.

Himself, GMTV, ITV, multiple episodes in 2002 and 2004.

Himself, "Brother Bear," Movie Surfers, 2003.

Himself, "Mike Rutherford," This Is Your Life, 2003.

Himself, "2nd December," Film 03, BBC, 2003.

Himself, "Sticky Fingers," Whoopi, NBC, 2003.

Himself, Children in Need, 2003.

Himself, God kveld Norge, 2003.

Himself, Pulse, Fox, 2003.

Himself, RI:SE, Channel 4, 2003.

Himself, TV total, 2003.

Himself, Verstehen Sie Spass?, 2003.

Himself, The Wayne Brady Show, syndicated, 2003.

Also appeared as himself, Tiswas, Associated Television and Central Television; voice of Lucky the Vulture, "The Jungle Book II," Toon Jam (animated); singer of theme song, A–Z 3—Deep Space Secrets; performer of song "Two Worlds," Cartoon All Stars to the Rescue: STOP DIGIMON!; and appeared in MTV Music Awards—The Series.

Television Appearances; Pilots:

Street Beat, syndicated, 1990.

Stage Appearances:

The Artful Dodger, Oliver! (musical), London production, 1964.

Live Aid, Philadelphia, PA, and London, 1985.

Radio Appearances:

The Howard Stern Show, multiple episodes in 1997.



Face Value, Atlantic, 1981.

Hello, I Must Be Going (featuring "I Don't Care Anymore"), Atlantic, 1982.

No Jacket Required, Atlantic, 1985.

12'ers, Atlantic, 1987.

But Seriously, Atlantic, 1989.

Serious Hits Live, 1990.

Smart Pack, Atlantic, 1990.

Both Sides, Atlantic, 1993.

Both Sides [Bonus Live Disk], Alex, 1995.

Dance into the Light, Atlantic, 1996.

Hits, Atlantic, 1996.

In My Life, MCA Records, 1998.

Testify, Atlantic, 2002.

Albums with Flaming Youth:

Ark2, 1968.

Albums with Genesis:

Nursery Cryme, Atlantic, 1971.

Foxtrot, Atlantic, 1972.

Genesis: Live, Atlantic, 1973.

Selling England by the Pound, Atlantic, 1973.

The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, Atlantic, 1974.

Trick of the Tail, Atlantic, 1976.

Wind and Wuthering, Atlantic, 1976.

Seconds Out (live double album), Atlantic, 1977.

And Then There Were Three, Atlantic, 1978.

Follow You Follow Me, 1978.

Duke, Atlantic, 1980.

Abacab, Atlantic, 1981.

Three Sides Live (live double album), 1982.

Genesis, Atlantic, 1983.

Invisible Touch, Atlantic, 1986.

Invisible Touch Live, 1988.

We Can't Dance, Atlantic, 1991.

Live Volume 1: The Way We Walk, Atlantic, 1991.

Live Volume 2: The Way We Walk, Atlantic, 1991.

Turn It On Again: The Hits, Atlantic, 1999.

Albums with Brand X:

Unorthodox Behaviour, Caroline Records, 1976.

Livestock, Caroline Records, 1977.

Moroccan Roll, Caroline Records, 1977.

Product, Caroline Records, 1979.

Do They Hurt?, Caroline Records, 1980.

Is There Anything About, Caroline Records, 1982.

X–Trax, 1987.

Plot Thins: History of Brand X, 1997.

Missing Period, 1998.

Albums with the Phil Collins Big Band:

A Hot Night in Paris, Atlantic, 1999.

Albums with Others:

Rock Roots, 1975.

The Secret Policeman's Other Ball: The Music Originally (soundtrack), 1981.

Against All Odds (soundtrack), Atlantic, 1984.

White Nights (soundtrack), Atlantic, 1985.

Atlantic Rock & Roll, Atlantic, 1991.

Royal Gala Concert, Kock Records, 1992.

Power of Love: 16 Great Soft Rock Hits, Madacy Records, 1996.

The Songs of West Side Story, RCA Victor, 1996.

Atlantic Records: 50 Years, Atlantic, 1998.

Best of Smooth Jazz, Vol. 4, Warner Bros. Records, 1998.

First Generation: 25 Years of Virgin..., MCA Records, 1998.

Live from the Board, Imprint, 1998.

Now, Vol. 44: 42 Top Chart Hits, EMI Recorded Music, 1999.

Tarzan (soundtrack), Buena Vista, 1999.

Billboard Top Hits 1990, Rhino Records, 2000.

Heartbreak of Rock, Virgin Records, 2000.

Today Show Summer Concert Vol. 1..., Redline Records, 2000, also released as Today Presents ... Concert Series Vol. 1, NBC Records, 2002.

Billboard Top Hits of the 90s, Rhino Records, 2001.

80s Pop Hits, Sony Records, 2001.

Chicken Soup ... Another Helping of Celebratin'..., Rhino Records, 2002.

Disney's Superstar Hits, Disney, 2002.

Everything 80s, Time/Life Music, 2002.

Hit Me with Your 80s, Hip–O Records, 2002.

Party at the Palace, Virgin Records, 2002.

Ultimate Power of Love, Madacy Records, 2002.

Billboard #1s: The 80s, Rhino Records, 2003.

Brother Bear (soundtrack), Disney, 2003.

La magia de Disney y sus super estrellas, Disney, 2003.

Album Producer:

John Martyn, Grace & Danger, 1980.

Frida Lynstrom, Something's Going On, 1982.

Adam Ant, Strip, 1983.

Tangerine Dream, Risky Business, 1984.

Eric Clapton, Behind the Sun, 1985.

Philip Bailey, Chinese Wall, 1985.

Back to the Future Soundtrack (soundtrack), 1985.

Eric Clapton, August, 1986.

Howard Jones, Action Replay, 1986.

Howard Jones, One to One, 1986.

Eric Clapton, Crossroads, 1988.

Four Tops, Indestructible, 1988.

Buster Soundtrack (soundtrack), 1988.

Adam Ant, Antics in the Forbidden Zone, 1990.

Philip Bailey, Inside Out, 1990.

Genesis, We Can't Dance, 1991.

Two Rooms: Songs of Elton John & Bernie Taupin, 1991.

David Crosby, Thousand Roads, 1993.

Howard Jones, Best of Howard Jones, 1993.

Adam Ant, Antmusic: The Very Best of Adam Ant, 1994.

Tribute to Curtis Mayfield, 1994.


(With Philip Bailey) "Easy Lover," c. 1985.

"Another Day in Paradise," c. 1990.

"You'll Be in My Heart," c. 1999.

Recorded several singles as a solo artist and with the group Genesis.


(With Genesis) Mama Tour Live, 1984.

Eric Clapton and Friends, 1986.

Himself, Queen—The Magic Years: Volume One—The Foundations, MPI Home Video, 1989.

Himself, Queen—The Magic Years: Volume Two—Live Killers in the Making, MPI Home Video, 1989.

Himself, Queen—The Magic Years: Volume Three—Crowded in Glory, MPI Home Video, 1989.

Live at Knebworth, 1990.

Phil Collins: A Closer Look (also known as Phil Collins: Both Sides Tour '94), 1994.

Music for Montserrat, 1997.

Phil Collins: Live and Loose in Paris, 1998.

Classic Albums: Phil Collins—Face Value, 1999.

(With Genesis) The Genesis Songbook, Eagle Rock, 2001.

(With Genesis) Genesis: The Way We Walk—Live in Concert, Pinnacle Vision, 2001.

Music Videos:

Appeared in several music videos as a solo artist and as a member of the group Genesis; appeared in the music videos of others.


Film Songs:

(As Phillip Collins) Genesis: A Band in Concert (also known as Genesis in Concert), 1977.

"Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)" (theme song), Against All Odds, Columbia, 1984.

"Separate Lives," White Nights, Columbia, 1985.

"In Too Deep," Mona Lisa, Island Pictures, 1986.

"Two Hearts," Buster, TriStar, 1988.

"Two Worlds,""You'll Be in My Heart," and other songs, Tarzan (animated), Buena Vista, 1999.

"Great Spirits" and other songs, Brother Bear (animated; also known as Tierra de osos), Buena Vista, 2003.

Collins's songs have appeared in other films.

Television Music; Series:

"Go' rov & go' weekend," beginning 2003.

Television Music; Movies:

Songs, Die Musterknaben 2, 1999.

Television Music; Specials:

Phil Collins: No Jacket Required—Sold Out, HBO, 1985.

Songs, Kraft Salutes the Magic of David Copperfield ... In China, CBS, 1986.

Songs, Tarzan in Concert with Phil Collins, ABC, 1999.


Face Value, Atlantic, 1981.

Hello, I Must Be Going, Atlantic, 1982.

No Jacket Required, Atlantic, 1985.

12'ers, Atlantic, 1987.

But Seriously, Atlantic, 1989.

Serious Hits Live, 1990.

Smart Pack, Atlantic, 1990.

Both Sides, Atlantic, 1993.

Both Sides [Bonus Live Disk], Alex, 1995.

Dance into the Light, Atlantic, 1996.

Hits, Atlantic, 1996.

In My Life, MCA Records, 1998.

Testify, Atlantic, 2002.

Albums with Flaming Youth:

Ark2, 1968.

Albums with Genesis:

Nursery Cryme, Atlantic, 1971.

Foxtrot, Atlantic, 1972.

Genesis: Live, Atlantic, 1973.

Selling England by the Pound, Atlantic, 1973.

The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, Atlantic, 1974.

Trick of the Tail, Atlantic, 1976.

Wind and Wuthering, Atlantic, 1976.

Seconds Out (live double album), Atlantic, 1977.

And Then There Were Three, Atlantic, 1978.

Follow You Follow Me, 1978.

Duke, Atlantic, 1980.

Abacab, Atlantic, 1981.

Three Sides Live (live double album), 1982.

Genesis, Atlantic, 1983.

Invisible Touch, Atlantic, 1986.

Invisible Touch Live, 1988.

We Can't Dance, Atlantic, 1991.

Live Volume 1: The Way We Walk, Atlantic, 1991.

Live Volume 2: The Way We Walk, Atlantic, 1991.

Turn It On Again: The Hits, Atlantic, 1999.

Albums with Brand X:

Unorthodox Behaviour, Caroline Records, 1976.

Livestock, Caroline Records, 1977.

Moroccan Roll, Caroline Records, 1977.

Product, Caroline Records, 1979.

Do They Hurt?, Caroline Records, 1980.

Is There Anything About, Caroline Records, 1982.

X–Trax, 1987.

Plot Thins: History of Brand X, 1997.

Missing Period, 1998.

Albums with the Phil Collins Big Band:

A Hot Night in Paris, Atlantic, 1999.

Video Music:

Phil Collins: The Singles Collection, 1990.



Billboard, September 14, 1996, p. 10; July 24, 1999, p. 47; November 9, 2002, p. 59; November 16, 2002, pp. 32–33, 38, 47.

Down Beat, October, 1998, p. 26; February, 2000, p. 16.

People Weekly, July 8, 1985, p. 38.

Playboy, October, 1986, pp. 57–64, 174–76.

Rolling Stone, February 3, 1983, p. 37; May 23, 1985, p. 35.

Scholastic Update, October 4, 1985, p. 38.

Time, May 18, 1998, p. 102.

views updated


Born: Phillip Collins; Chiswick, London, England, 31 January 1951

Genre: Rock, Pop

Best-selling album since 1990: Testify (2002)

Hit songs since 1990: "Can't Stop Loving You," "Through My Eyes," "You'll Be in My Heart"

With a prolific and successful solo career, singer/drummer Phil Collins transcended the chart and sales triumphs of his former progressive-rock band, Genesis, in the late 1980s. It was a surprise to everyone, including Collins himself. Unlike the complex rock that Genesis specialized in, Collins carved out a niche as a genteel adult-contemporary pop crooner who incorporated R&B and funk influences.

Young Roots

Collins had an early start in entertainment. As a child he was so enamored of playing the drums, his parents bought him a drum kit. Later he appeared in the London West End stage production of Oliver (1964) as "the Artful Dodger." Collins was also an extra in the Beatles movie A Hard Day's Night (1964). Following minor stints with local bands Hickory and Flaming Youth, Collins broke into the major leagues when he responded to an ad in Melody Maker and auditioned for the job as the drummer for Genesis in 1970.

Collins played drums on the band's tours and next five albums: Nursery Cryme (1971), Foxtrot (1972), Genesis Live (1973), Selling England by the Pound (1973), and the double album The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (1974). Collins was a major part of the band's evolution as a progressive rock group. The music was increasingly sophisticated, as the lyrics became complex and dark.

But in May 1975, after a show at St. Etienne, France, lead singer Peter Gabriel announced he was leaving the band for personal reasons and launching his own solo career. Although Genesis auditioned hundreds of singers, band members expressed most confidence in Collins.

Though less theatrical than Gabriel, Collins possessed a more soulful voice. With Collins at the helm, the band surprised everyone with its increasing recording and touring success, especially cynics who doubted Genesis sans Gabriel would work. And Then There Were Three (1978) went gold, as did Duke (1980).

Solo Turns

The next year, Collins released his first solo album, Face Value (1981), which was an immediate success. The first single, "In the Air Tonight," shot to number one on the English charts. "I Missed Again" was another hit single.

For Collins the album was more than just his first solo outing. As a first-time songwriter he realized success. "I thought, 'This is a dream, this can't be happening to me.' It was only an album of demosliterally," Collins told the Washington Post in 1987. "What's on the record is my demos with just a little bit of tarting up. And the lyrics to 'In the Air' were essentially improvised. I just opened my mouth at home to see what a voice would sound like on top of those chords, and those were the words that came out. I'm constantly being surprised." Collins did not deny that many songs were personal as he was in the process of a divorce.

Collins followed with even more successful albums: Hello, I Must Be Going! (1982) and No Jacket Required (1985), which has sold more than 12 million copies and won a Grammy for Album of the Year. On the former, the big hit was his cover of the Motown trio Supremes' "You Can't Hurry Love," which proved Collins's appreciation for R&B had not diminished. Again, the album took on personal, sometimes angry themes from Collins's life. He approached several songs from the perspective of looking back on his divorce, including "I Don't Care Anymore," "Do You Know, Do You Care?," and "I Cannot Believe It's True."

Reaching the Top

Collins reached his artistic peak on No Jacket Required, fully incorporating the big horn brassy sound into hits like "One More Night," "Sussudio," and "Don't Lose My Number." Collins by now was seemingly everywhere thanks to his work with Genesis and his own chart hits. He won a Grammy Award for the song "Against All Odds" (1984) from the hit movie by the same name.

On . . . But Seriously (1989), he downplayed drum machines and keyboards in favor of live instrumentation. The compact disc produced four hit singles including "Hang in Long Enough" and "Find a Way to My Heart." Also notable was Collins's searing, gospel-influenced ballad "I Wish It Would Rain Down," which features guitar hero Eric Clapton.

Collins stayed busy with Genesis albums and tours in the year before his next work, Both Sides (1993). With dark tones and somber reflections, the album resembles the wistful Face Value. On songs like "There's a Place for Us," "I've Forgotten Everything," and "Can't Turn Back the Years," Collins appeared to be entering a more mature, philosophical period. In 1995 he announced he was leaving Genesis permanently. Dance into the Light (1996) is a lighter affair with more R&B, dance-pop influenced material.

Spot Light: "You'll Be in My Heart"

By the mid-1990s Collins had hit a wall, unable to produce hits and falling off the pop culture radar. While his previous record sales had been huge, not everyone was happy. Whether it was the beginning of an all-Collins-all-the-time backlash or there was increasing credence that Collins's R&B-influenced work was not so much tribute as it was appropriation, critical acclaim was minimal. But his work on the Disney movie Tarzan (1999) soundtrack was like a tonic. The song "You'll Be in My Heart" won an Academy Award for Best Original Song. His five songs on the Tarzan soundtrack won a Grammy Award. Then Hollywood's Foreign Press Association gave Collins a Golden Globe Award for "You'll Be in My Heart." Ultimately, as "You'll Be in My Heart" demonstrates, Collins's true talents lay in his family-friendly image and his ability to entertain mass audiences.

Collins kept working at a blistering pace though he began slipping from the pop culture radar. He assembled his Phil Collins Big band to produce A Hot Night in Paris (1999) and kept working on other projects including the popular Tarzan (1999) soundtrack, which provided a massive boost to Collins's pop resurgence.

Testify (2002) continues the maturing theme in Both Sides, with songs about solace and solitude, breakups and fatherhood. Hits include "Can't Stop Loving You" and "Through My Eyes." Collins made a smooth transition from heading the supergroup Genesis in the 1970s to his emergence as a superstar in the 1980s, all while working as a prolific songwriter and producer. While critical praise was moderate, his commercial success was massive (250 million album sales), and insured that his artistic influence would be felt for generations.


Face Value (Atlantic, 1981); Hello, I Must Be Going! (Atlantic, 1982); No Jacket Required (Atlantic, 1985); . . . But Seriously (Atlantic, 1989); Both Sides (Atlantic, 1993); Dance into the Light (Atlantic, 1996); A Hot Night in Paris (Atlantic, 1999); Testify (Atlantic, 2002). With Genesis: Selling England by the Pound (Atco, 1973); The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (Atco, 1974); And Then There Were Three (Atlantic, 1978); Abacab (Atlantic, 1981). Soundtracks: Against All Odds (Atlantic, 1984); Tarzan: An Original Walt Disney Records Soundtrack (Universal/Walt Disney, 1999).

ramiro burr

views updated

Collins, Phil

Collins, Phil, Genesis drummer who became a pop icon; b. London, Jan. 31, 1951. One of pop music’s most unlikely stars, Phil Collins began his career as a child actor, largely thanks to his mother, a talent agent. In his early teens, he was one of the screaming extras in the Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night and played the Artful Dodger in a London stage production of Oliver.

However, Collins’s passion was for playing the drums. After a brief stint with the short-lived band Flaming Youth, he took the drummer’s throne in the progressive rock group Genesis. Upon the sudden exit of lead vocalist Peter Gabriel, Collins sat through hundreds of auditions for a new vocalist, although he had already done the job on several songs, like “More Fool Me” from Selling England by the Pound. The band finally agreed that Collins should take over as singer. On stage, he was freed from his drumming chores by former Yes drummer Bill Bruford. As he long maintained that he was a drummer who sang, however, he kept his playing sharp during hiatuses from Genesis by working with the jazz-rock group Brand X.

With Collins on vocals, Genesis started to move away from progressive rock bombast to a more smooth pop sound. After building a following over the course of several albums, And Then There Were Three... finally broke the band in a big way on the U.S. pop market. The song “Follow You, Follow Me” reached #23 on the pop charts. Their next album, Duke furthered this with the AOR hit “Turn It On Again.” “Misunderstanding” from the same album hit #14.

In 1980 Collins started working on a solo album featuring the Earth Wind and Fire horn section, among others. At the same time, Genesis started work on a new album and Collins brought the horn section with him. His album Face Value spawned the soulful “I Missed Again,” featuring the horns, which climbed to #19, as did the gold follow-up, “In the Air Tonight.” The album also went gold and hit #7, and eventually sold over five million copies. As the singles from Face Value started tapering off, Genesis’ ABACAB hit.

Collins continued his solo career with Hello, I Must Be Going in 1982, led off by a cover of the Suprêmes’ “You Can’t Hurry Love.” The song hit #2 in England and went to #10 in the U.S. The follow-up single, “I Don’t Care Anymore” reached #39. Collins also became active as a producer, working on the solo album Something’s Going On by Frida from Abba and Strip by Adam and the Ants.

Collins’s popularity rose to such an extent that filmmaker Taylor Hackford asked him to write the theme to his 1984 film Against All Odds. Taking an out-take from Face Value and slightly rewriting it, he came up with “Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now).” The song did better than the film, standing three weeks at the top of the charts and going gold, earning Collins an Academy Award nomination and a Best Pop Vocal Performance Grammy. Collins himself started acting again, taking a guest role on the TV show Miami Vice.

The next year, his affiliation with EWF continued, this time in the form of a duet with the group’s vocalist Phillip Bailey. That tune, “Easy Lover,” was the #2 song on the charts for a couple of weeks and went gold. Collin released No Jacket Required and the album and single “One More Night” both hit #1 on their respective charts the same week.

The single went gold, as did the following charttopping single, “Sussudio.” “Don’t Lose My Number” followed that into the #4 slot. While the album had one more single in it, the #7 “Take Me Home,” Collins also topped the charts again with “Separate Lives,” a duet with Marilyn Martin cut for the film White Nights. No Jacket Required eventually earned Collins a diamond award (for sales in excess of ten million), as well as Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male, Grammys. It represents the height of Collins’s career as a recording artist, as well as a performer in clever video clips. (”Take Me Home” featured Collins singing the song from various locations around the world; “Easy Lover” showed Collins and Bailey clowning around on a soundstage.)

Over the next couple of years, Collins’s solo career slowed down. His work with Genesis garnered a massive hit album, Invisible Touch, which generated five Top Ten singles and went quintuple platinum. Additionally, Collins took the lead role in the film Buster, playing the mastermind behind the Great Train Robbery. Two songs from the soundtrack album, “Groovy Kind of Love” and “Two Hearts,” topped the charts, with the former earning a gold record. The film, however, failed to launch a second career for Collins as a leading man.

In 1989 Collins released his next solo album, ...But Seriously. It led off with the gold single “Another Day in Paradise,” a rather bleak meditation on homelessness that spent four weeks at the top of the charts. “I Wish It Would Rain,” featuring Eric Clapton (with whom Collins had toured), went to #3, and the subsequent two singles—”Do You Remember” and “Something Happened on the Way to Heaven”—both rose to #4. The album went triple platinum that year, adding another million sales along the way, and topped the charts for three weeks. Collins took the album out on tour, releasing a recording of the show as Serious HitsLive! The live album went to #14, eventually selling 4 million copies.

Collins turned his attention back to Genesis for a while, releasing the album We Can’t Dance, and two live albums drawn from the following tour. The title track “I Can’t Dance” was a hit, and was promoted by a clever video that satirized glitzy dance-oriented video artists like Michael Jackson and also TV advertisements for blue jeans. Despite this success, the band was on its last legs. Collins left the band officially in 1995.

Collins played every instrument on his next solo release, Both Sides. The album “only” went platinum, hitting #13 on the charts and yielding two singles: “Both Sides of the Story” hit #25 and “Everyday” got as high as #24. His next album, Dance in the Light went gold, but didn’t generate any hits. This gave Collins license to try something different, and he took a big band on tour, recording an album conducted by Quincy Jones. While on the road with the big band, Atlantic released a greatest hits album, ...Hits. Meanwhile, Collins worked on composing music and songs for the Disney animated movie Tarzan. The album went platinum and the single “You’ll Be in My Heart” garnered Collins his first Academy Award in 2000.


Face Value (1981); Hello, I Must Be Going (1982); No Jacket Required (1985); 12’ers (1987); But Seriously (1989); Serious Hits—Live! (1990); Both Sides (1993); Dance into the Light (1996); ...Hits (1998); Hot Night in Paris (1999) Tarzan (1999).

—Hank Bordowitz

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