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Phil Collins

Background information
Birth name Philip David Charles Collins
Born 30 January 1951 (1951-01-30) (age 59)
Chiswick, London, England
Genres Progressive rock, rock, pop, jazz fusion
Occupations Singer-songwriter, musician, actor
Instruments Drums, vocals, piano, keyboards, guitar
Years active 1967–present
Labels Virgin, Atlantic, WEA
Associated acts Genesis, Brand X, Flaming Youth, Philip Bailey, Eric Clapton, The Phil Collins Big Band

Philip David Charles "Phil" Collins LVO (born 30 January 1951)[1] is an English[2][3][4] singer-songwriter, drummer, keyboardist and actor best known as a drummer and vocalist for English progressive rock group Genesis and as a solo artist.

Collins sang the lead vocals on eight American chart-toppers between 1984 and 1989; seven as a solo artist and one with Genesis. His singles, often dealing with lost love, ranged from the drum-heavy "In the Air Tonight", to the dance pop of "Sussudio", to the political statements of his most successful song, "Another Day in Paradise". His international popularity transformed Genesis from a progressive rock group to a regular on the pop charts and an early MTV mainstay.

Collins's professional music career began as a drummer, first with obscure rock group Flaming Youth and then more famously with Genesis. In Genesis, Collins originally supplied backing vocals for front man Peter Gabriel, singing lead on only two songs: "For Absent Friends" from 1971's Nursery Cryme album and "More Fool Me" from Selling England by the Pound, which was released in 1973. On Gabriel's departure in 1975, Collins became the group's lead singer. As the decade closed, Genesis's first international hit, "Follow You, Follow Me", demonstrated a drastic change from the band's early years.

His concurrent solo career, heavily influenced by his personal life, brought both him and Genesis commercial success. According to Atlantic Records, Collins's total worldwide sales as a solo artist, as of 2002, were 150 million.[5] He has won seven Grammy Awards, an Academy Award, and two Golden Globes for his solo work.


Early life and career

Collins was born in Chiswick, London. He was given a toy drum kit for Christmas when he was five. Later, his uncle Mark Wade made him a makeshift one that he used regularly. As Collins grew older these were followed by more complete sets bought by his parents.[6] He practiced by playing alongside the television and radio, and never learned to read and write conventional musical notation; instead, he uses a system he devised himself.[7]

His professional training began at fourteen when he entered Barbara Speake Stage School.[8] He began a career as a child actor and model, and won his first major role as The Artful Dodger in the London production of Oliver!. He was an extra in The Beatles' A Hard Day's Night – one of hundreds of screaming teenagers during the TV concert sequence and seen fleetingly in a close-up. He was also in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang as one of the children who stormed the castle at the end of the movie but was edited out.[9] He also auditioned for the role of Romeo in Romeo and Juliet (1968),[10] a role won by fellow "Artful Dodger" actor, Leonard Whiting.[11] Collins was among the last three finalists for the role of "I.Q." on the American children's television show The Bugaloos (he lost out to English actor/musician John McIndoe[12]).

Despite the beginnings of an acting career, Collins continued to gravitate towards music. While attending Chiswick Community School he formed a band called The Real Thing and later joined The Freehold. With the latter group, he wrote his first song titled "Lying Crying Dying".[13]

Collins's first record deal came as drummer for Flaming Youth who released a single album, Ark 2 (1969). A concept album inspired by the recent media attention surrounding the moon landing, Ark 2 (with Ronnie Caryl, Brian Chatton and Gordon (Flash) Smith), failed to make much commercial success despite positive critical reviews. Melody Maker featured the album as "Pop Album of the Month", describing it as "adult music beautifully played with nice tight harmonies".[14] The album's main single, "From Now On", failed on the radio. After a year of touring, band tensions and the lack of commercial success dissolved the group. In 1970, the 19-year old Collins played percussion on the George Harrison song "The Art of Dying". Harrison credited him in the liner notes to the remastered CD version of the album released in 2000.[15]

Genesis era

In 1970, Collins answered a Melody Maker classified ad for "...a drummer sensitive to acoustic music, and acoustic twelve-string guitarist".[16] Genesis placed the ad after having already lost three drummers over two albums.[17] The audition occurred at the home of Peter Gabriel's parents. Prospective candidates performed tracks from the group's second album, Trespass (1970). Collins arrived early, listened to the other auditions while swimming in Gabriel's parents' pool, and memorised the pieces before his turn.[18]

The music video for "Land of Confusion" featured the members of Genesis in puppet form, with the single cover (parodying the With the Beatles album and using puppets from the satirical TV show Spitting Image).

Collins won the audition. Nursery Cryme was released a year later. Although his role remained primarily that of drummer and backing vocalist for the next five years, he twice sang lead vocals: once on "For Absent Friends" (from Nursery Cryme) and once on "More Fool Me" (from Selling England by the Pound).

In 1974, while Genesis were recording the album The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, Brian Eno (who is credited with "Enossification" for electronic vocal effects on the track "Grand Parade of Lifeless Packaging") needed a drummer for his album Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy).[19] Collins was sent to fill the gap, and played drums in lieu of payment for Eno's work with the band.

In 1975, following the final tour supporting the concept album The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, Gabriel left the group to pursue a solo career. Collins became lead vocalist after a lengthy but ultimately fruitless search for Gabriel's replacement (where he sang back up with the over 400 hopefuls that reportedly auditioned).[20] In the short term, the group recruited former Yes and King Crimson drummer Bill Bruford to play drums during live shows, although Collins continued to play during longer instrumental sections. Bruford's drumming can be heard on the track "The Cinema Show" on the live album Seconds Out. He was soon replaced by ex-Frank Zappa band member Chester Thompson, who became a mainstay of the band's live line-up. Collins, however, continued to play drums on all of the band's studio recordings.

The first album with Collins as lead vocalist, 1976's A Trick of the Tail, reached the American Top 40, and peaked high as #3 on the UK charts. Said Rolling Stone, "Genesis has managed to turn the possible catastrophe of Gabriel's departure into their first broad-based American success.".[21] Following the recording of Genesis's next album Wind and Wuthering guitarist Steve Hackett left the group to pursue his own solo career. The group decided to continue as a trio for recording with Mike Rutherford playing guitar and bass in the studio, although the lineup was regularly augmented by Chester Thompson and American guitarist Daryl Stuermer for concert tours.

Collins simultaneously performed in a jazz fusion group called Brand X. The band recorded their first album, Unorthodox Behaviour, with Collins as drummer, but because Genesis was Collins's priority, there were several Brand X tours and albums without him. Collins credits Brand X as his first use of a drum machine as well as his first use of a home 8-track tape machine.[22]

Collins also performed on Steve Hackett's first solo album, Voyage of the Acolyte, on which he sang lead vocals and played drums.

As the decade closed, Genesis began a shift from their progressive rock roots and toward more accessible, radio-friendly pop-rock music. The album …And Then There Were Three… featured their first UK Top 10 and U.S. Top 40 single, "Follow You, Follow Me".

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In the 1980s, while Collins developed as a songwriter and established a parallel career as a solo artist, Genesis recorded a series of highly successful albums including Duke, Abacab, Genesis, and Invisible Touch. The latter album's title track reached #1 on the American Billboard singles chart, the only Genesis song to do so. The group received an MTV "Video of the Year" nomination in 1987 for the single "Land of Confusion" (which featured puppet caricatures created by the British satirical team Spitting Image) but lost out to Peter Gabriel's solo hit, "Sledgehammer".[23] Reviews were generally positive, with Rolling Stone's J.D. Considine stating, "every tune is carefully pruned so that each flourish delivers not an instrumental epiphany but a solid hook."[24]

Collins left Genesis in 1996 to focus on his solo career;[25] The last studio album with him as the lead singer was 1991's We Can't Dance. He and Gabriel reunited with other Genesis members in 1999 to re-record "The Carpet Crawlers" for Genesis's Turn It on Again: The Hits. When in the mid-2000s discussions of a possible Genesis reunion arose, Collins stated that he would prefer to return as the drummer, with Gabriel handling the vocals.[26] Eventually Turn It On Again: The Tour was announced for 2007, with the Collins/Rutherford/Banks lineup.

In March 2010, Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio was asked to pay tribute to Genesis, one of his favorite bands, upon being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. In addition to Anastasio's speech, Phish appeared and performed two Genesis songs, "Watcher of the Skies" and "No Reply At All." Even though Collins and his Genesis bandmates (minus Peter Gabriel) attended the ceremony, they did not perform.

Solo career

The dominant theme running through Collins's early solo recordings (although never specifically mentioned in his songs) was the acrimonious breakdown of his first marriage and then-recent divorce. Two songs he wrote on the Genesis album Duke, "Please Don't Ask", and the Top 20 hit "Misunderstanding", dealt with failed relationships. One year earlier, he had played drums and sung backing vocals on John Martyn's Grace and Danger, an album whose main theme is also marriage breakup.

With the recording of his first solo album, Face Value, Collins attributed his divorce as his main influence,[27] as can be inferred from songs such as "If Leaving Me Is Easy".

In September 1981, he made his live debut as a solo performer, appearing at the invitation of producer Martin Lewis at the Amnesty International benefit show The Secret Policeman's Other Ball at the Theatre Royal in London. Collins performed two songs "In The Air Tonight" and "The Roof Is Leaking" accompanying himself on the grand piano. His performance was augmented by Daryl Stuermer on acoustic guitar and banjo. The performance was the first time that Collins had performed live as a soloist and the first time that he performed at a charity show. In addition to performing his two solo songs, Collins joined the chorus on the finale of Bob Dylan's "I Shall Be Released" performed by the all-star Secret Police led by Sting, and featuring Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Bob Geldof, Midge Ure and Donovan. Collins would subsequently team up with Geldof and Ure to play drums on the 1984 Band-Aid single "Do They Know It's Christmas", and with Sting to perform together at the Geldof-organized Live Aid in 1985.

Collins's performances were prominently featured on the Secret Policeman's Other Ball – The Music album released in 1982, which was a Top 30 album in the UK, U.S. and other countries. His performance of "In The Air Tonight" was included in both the UK and U.S. versions of the movie of the show. His performance of "The Roof Is Leaking" was included in the U.S.-only home-video sequel The Secret Policeman's Private Parts in 1983.

In 1982 he produced Something's Going On, a solo album by Anni-Frid Lyngstad (Frida), of ABBA fame. Frida, who had just parted with bandmate and husband Benny Andersson, had been impressed by Collins's solo efforts. Consequently, she approached Collins with her own solo project. The resulting album, featuring Collins on drums, spawned the 1982–83 international smash hit "I Know There's Something Going On" (Russ Ballard) and Collins’s duet with Frida titled "Here We'll Stay." An edit featuring Frida on all vocals was released as a single. A one hour documentary about the making of this album can be seen on Frida - The DVD. Swedish television filmed the whole recording process from day one in the studio to the release party. The programme includes interviews with Phil and Frida, as well as all the musicians on the album.

Songs inspired by Collins’s marital problems formed the bulk of his first two solo albums. His second album, Hello, I Must Be Going!, released in 1982, included songs such as "I Don't Care Anymore". Collins’s early albums had a dark presence, usually heavy on the drums. Regarding Face Value, he says, "I had a wife, two children, two dogs, and the next day I didn't have anything. So a lot of these songs were written because I was going through these emotional changes."[28] There were occasional poppier influences–Face Value's "Behind the Lines", for example, was a jazzy remake of a Genesis song he co-wrote. Face Value was a critical and multi-platinum success, and saw Collins’s profile increase further. Hello, I Must Be Going! gave him a UK #1 for his cover of The Supremes' "You Can't Hurry Love". The album went triple-platinum in the United States, like its predecessor. The Supremes' cover was his first Top 10 U.S. hit (it also hit the Top 10 of Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart). The album also reached #2 on the UK album chart, spending well over a year there.

Two years before, Collins had played drums on Peter Gabriel's third self-titled record (often referred to as Melt), the first record to feature the "gated reverb" sound, which was used on the song "Intruder". Gabriel reportedly "didn't want any metal on the record" and asked Collins to leave his cymbals at home, to concentrate on the sound of his kit more heavily than usual. Studio engineer Hugh Padgham augmented the drum sound by using a microphone normally intended for studio communication rather than recording and feeding it through a signal processor called a noise gate. This allowed the reverberation added to the drums to be suddenly cut off before it naturally decayed. The result was the arresting "gated reverb" which became Collins signature sound. This was the same 'big drum sound' used on such songs as "In The Air Tonight", "Mama" by Genesis, and Frida's "There's Something Going On".

A turning point in Collins's musical style came when he was asked to provide the title track for the film Against All Odds, a song which he re-worked to become "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)" from an original Face Value session out-take entitled "How Can You Sit There?". The emotionally-charged ballad shot to #1 in the U.S. and #2 in the UK.

In 1984, Collins produced Philip Bailey's Chinese Wall album. He performed a duet on one of the album's tracks, "Easy Lover" which went to #2 on the U.S. pop chart and spent four weeks at #1 in the UK. Collins worked with the horn section of Bailey's band, Earth, Wind & Fire (later known as the Phenix Horns) throughout the 1980s, both on solo and Genesis tracks. By the end of 1984, Collins participated in Bob Geldof's Band Aid charity project, as well as, playing drums on the Band Aid single "Feed The World (Do They Know It's Christmas)", a drum part he laid down in one take (while being filmed).

Collins with drum set and music stand.

Collins released his most successful album, No Jacket Required, in early 1985. It contained the hits "Sussudio", "One More Night", "Don't Lose My Number", and "Take Me Home", as well as the less known yet equally robust "Who Said I Would", and "Only You Know and I Know". The album featured Sting, Helen Terry and ex-bandmate Peter Gabriel as backing vocalists. He also recorded the successful song "Separate Lives", a duet with Marilyn Martin, and an American number one, for the movie White Nights. Collins had three American number one songs in 1985, the most by any artist that year.[29] No Jacket Required went on to win several Grammy awards including Album of the Year.

No Jacket Required received criticism that the album was too safe, despite its upbeat reviews and commercial success. A positive review by David Fricke of Rolling Stone ended, "After years on the art-rock fringe, Collins has established himself firmly in the middle of the road. Perhaps he should consider testing himself and his new fans' expectations next time around."[30] "Sussudio" also drew criticism for sounding too similar to Prince's "1999", a charge that Collins did not deny.[31] Nevertheless, the album went straight to #1 in the U.S. and UK.

In 1985, Collins was invited by Bob Geldof to perform at the Live Aid charity event. Collins had the distinction of being the only performer to appear at both the UK concert at Wembley Stadium and the U.S. concert at JFK Stadium in Philadelphia. He accomplished this by performing early in the day at Wembley as both a solo artist and alongside Sting, then flying on a special Concorde flight to the USA enabling him to perform his solo material, and drum for Led Zeppelin and Eric Clapton in Philadelphia.

Howard Jones re-recorded his song "No One Is to Blame", from his Dream into Action album, featuring Phil Collins as drummer, backing vocalist, and producer.[32] He has also played drums on singles for Robert Plant and Tina Turner on their respective albums. Collins also produced and played drums on the Eric Clapton albums Behind the Sun, August, and Journeyman, and appeared in the videos for Clapton's "Pretending" and Bad Love. He also toured with Clapton during 1986 in support of the release of August as the band's drummer, appearing in both of Clapton's concert videos Live from Montreux and Eric Clapton and Friends. Collins was also a regular fixture through the 1980s and early 1990s at the Prince's Trust concerts. Collins's solo success, as well as his concurrent career with Genesis, led to a 1985 cover story in Rolling Stone, with the tag reading "Phil Collins Beats the Odds".

In 1988, Collins starred in the movie Buster about the Great Train Robbery, which took place in England in the 1960s. The movie received good reviews and Collins contributed four songs to the films soundtrack. "Two Hearts" – , which he wrote with Lamont Dozier; a cover of "A Groovy Kind of Love" (originally a 1966 hit for The Mindbenders, lyrics by Toni Wine, and music by Carole Bayer Sager, but with the melody of the Rondo section of Muzio Clementi's "Sonatina in G major", op. 36 no. 5.); "Big Noise", written by Phil Collins and Lamont Dozier, which included Collins on vocals (although the song was not released as a single, an instrumental version of this song appeared as the B-side to the single version of "A Groovy Kind Of Love".) The final song, "Loco In Acapulco", was another collaboration between him and Dozier, with the vocals performed by the legendary Motown group The Four Tops.

In 1989, Collins produced another successful album, ...But Seriously, featuring the anti-homelessness anthem "Another Day in Paradise", with David Crosby on backing vocals. (Collins later went on to co-write, sing and play on the song "Hero" on Crosby's 1993 album Thousand Roads.) "Another Day in Paradise" went to Number 1 on the Billboard Charts at the end of 1989 and won Collins a Grammy for Record of the Year (1990). In the process, it became the last #1 U.S. pop hit of the 1980s. The album ...But Seriously became the first #1 U.S. album of the 1990s. Other songs included "Something Happened on the Way to Heaven" (#4 U.S., #15 UK), "Do You Remember?" (not released in the UK, but a #4 hit in the U.S.), and "I Wish It Would Rain Down" (the latter featuring Clapton on guitar) (#3 U.S., #7 UK). Songs about apartheid and homelessness demonstrated Collins’s turn to politically-driven material. This theme recurred on his later albums. A live album, Serious Hits… Live!, followed.

During this period, Collins appeared on various albums as a guest vocalist. Collins appeared on David Crosby's Thousand Roads album, singing the backing vocals for the single "Hero". Collins also appeared on the Curtis Mayfield album, A Tribute to Curtis Mayfield, covering Mayfield's song "I've Been Trying". He also sang a cover of Elton John's hit "Burn Down the Mission", in Two Rooms: Celebrating the Songs of Elton John & Bernie Taupin. Collins also sang on Quincy Jones' Q's Jook Joint album, singing "Do Nothing till You Hear from Me". Collins also sang on The Songs of West Side Story, providing lead vocals for "Somewhere", which was also released as a single.

Collins’s record sales began to drop with the 1993 release of Both Sides, a largely experimental album that, according to Collins, included songs that "were becoming so personal, so private, I didn't want anyone else's input".[33] Featuring a less polished sound and fewer up-tempo songs than his previous albums, Both Sides was a significant departure. Collins used no backing musicians, performed all the vocal and instrumental parts at his home studio, and used rough vocal takes for the final product. The album was not well received by radio. Its two biggest hits were "Both Sides of the Story" and "Everyday". Collins worked on the album completely independently of his record company, and took them by surprise when he delivered them a completed album that they were unaware he was making.

Collins attempted a return to poppier music with Dance into the Light, which Entertainment Weekly reviewed by saying that "(e)ven Phil Collins must know that we all grew weary of Phil Collins."[34] It included minor hits such as the title track and the Beatles-inspired "It's In Your Eyes". Although the album went Gold in the U.S., it sold considerably less than his previous albums. Only the title track made a brief appearance on Collins’s then forthcoming Hits collection. Despite this, its subsequent tour regularly sold out arenas.

In 1996, Collins formed The Phil Collins Big Band. With Collins as drummer, the band performed jazz renditions of Collins’s and Genesis's hits. The Phil Collins Big Band did a world tour in 1998 that included a performance at the Montreux Jazz Festival. In 1999, the group released the CD A Hot Night in Paris including big band versions of "Invisible Touch", "Sussudio", and the more obscure "The Los Endos Suite" from A Trick of the Tail.

A Hits album released in 1998 was very successful, returning Collins to multi-platinum status in America. The album's sole new track, a cover of the Cyndi Lauper hit "True Colors", received considerable play on US Adult Contemporary stations while peaking at #2.[35] Some of Collins’s earlier hits (e.g. "I Missed Again", "If Leaving Me Is Easy", etc.) and other successes were not included in this compilation.

Collins's next single, "You'll Be in My Heart", from the Disney animated movie Tarzan, spent 19 weeks at #1 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart – the longest time ever up to that point—and Collins won the Oscar. It was his third nomination in the songwriters category, after being nominated in 1985 and 1989.

Critical Reception

Metacritic's roundup of album reviews found his most recent studio album, 2002's Testify, to be the worst-reviewed album by the time of its release, though it has since been "surpassed" by three more recent releases.[36] The album's "Can't Stop Loving You" (a Leo Sayer cover) was yet another #1 Adult Contemporary smash hit for Collins. Testify sold 140,000 copies in the United States by year's end, although a successful worldwide tour followed.[37]

Sound Samples

  • "In the Air Tonight" (1980)
    The ambiguous lyrics of Collins's first solo hit, "In the Air Tonight", have spawned an urban legend about Collins witnessing of a murder.[38]
    "Sussudio" (1985)
    The dance pop of No Jacket Required, including this number one hit, won Collins a Grammy Award for "Album of the Year".
    "Another Day in Paradise" (1989)
    The last of Collins's seven American number one singles, "Another Day in Paradise", was a topical song that discussed the plight of the homeless, and won Collins a Grammy Award for "Record of the Year".
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Court Case

On 29 March 2000, Phil Collins launched a case against two former backing singers to recoup $780,000 (£500,000) in royalties that were overpaid. Louis Satterfield, 62, and Rahmlee Davis, 51 claim they signed a contract giving them 0.5 per cent of the royalties from a live album recorded during Collins' 'Serious' tour in 1990. Their claim was they were an integral part of the whole album, however Collins responded the two should only receive royalties from the five tracks they were involved in. Collins, instead of asking for the money back – $390,000 (£250,000) from each, instead sought to recoup the funds by withholding future royalties, which amounted to a less than an annual sum of $20,000 (£12,500)each.

Robert Howe, representing Phil Collins Limited, said at the time: "The defendants claim loyalties in respect to recordings to which they have made no contribution. They appeared in five out of 15 tracks but say they are entitled to full loyalties on the whole album, which flies in the face of common-sense." Howe further said that Collins felt the two men had been well rewarded in relation to the nine-month tour. "He [Collins] is not seeking for them to put a hand in their pockets and pay back as much as a penny," according to Mr Howe.[39]

On 19 April 2000, the British High Court ruled that the two musicians would receive no more royalty money from Phil Collins. The amount that Collins was seeking was halved, and Louis Satterfield and Rhamlee Davis, the American performers who originally brought the suit forward in California, would not have to repay any of it. Collins had not sought actual repayment but wanted a declaration from the court that he could stop paying royalties to the performers who claimed they were entitled to royalties on all 15 tracks of an album recorded during Collins's 1990 Serious tour. The judge ruled however the men should have been paid for only the five tracks on which they performed, including the hit "Sussudio".[40]

Collins reported losing his hearing in his right ear in 2000, and in 2003 announced his last solo tour.[41] He called it the "First Final Farewell Tour", a tongue-in-cheek reference to the multiple farewell tours of other popular artists. He continued touring through 2006 while working with Disney on a Broadway production of Tarzan, a musical which received generally poor reviews.In 2007, Collins reunited with his Genesis bandmates for a tour of Europe and North America. He accepted an invitation to drum for the "house band" celebrating Queen Elizabeth II's Golden Jubilee. He has played drums for Paul McCartney, Ozzy Osbourne, Cliff Richard, Eric Clapton, as well as Led Zeppelin. Also in 2007, Collins appeared at the Live Earth Concert with Genesis. Following the band's performance, presenter Jonathan Ross had to apologise to viewers watching the televised version as Collins had used a swear word while singing the lyrics of "Invisible Touch".

2009 – Present

In October 2009, it was reported that Collins was to record a Motown covers album. He told a German newspaper, "I want the songs to sound exactly like the originals", and that the album would feature up to 30 songs.[42]. In January 2010, Chester Thompson said that the album had been completed and would be released some time soon. He also revealed that Collins managed to play the drums on the album despite the adverse effects of his recent spinal operation.[43] According to Bob Babbitt, who plays bass on the album, the album is due to be released in September 2010. [44]

With the exception of Paul McCartney, Collins is the only recording artist that has ever been a principal member of a band that has sold at least 100 million albums worldwide, and sold at least 100 million albums worldwide as a solo artist.[45] According to Billboard, when his work with Genesis, his work with other artists, as well as his solo career is totalled, Collins has the most top 40 hits on the Billboard charts for the 80s.[46]

Drums and other equipment

Phil Collins uses Gretsch drums and Sabian Cymbals. Drums (all single headed concert toms except for the snare): 20" Bass Drum, 18" Floor Tom, 16" Floor Tom, 15" Mounted Tom, 12" Tom, 10" Tom, 8" Tom, 14"x4" Snare, 14" Phil Collins Special.

Cymbals: HH Medium Crash 20" – HH Extra Thin Crash 17" – Hi-Hats 15" – HH Chinese 20" – HH Medium-Thin Crash 16" -HH Chinese 22" – HH Raw Bell Dry Ride 21".[47]

Until 1986, Collins played Paiste and Zildjian Cymbals. Other drums he's used over the years are Premier, Noble & Cooley, Pearl, Simmons (electronic drum company) and Ludwig drums. He uses a Ludwig Speed King pedal and Pro Mark sticks.

Other instruments which have become synonymous with Collins's sound (particularly in his post-1978 Genesis and subsequent solo career) include the Roland CR-78, Sabian Hardstyle Techno digi drum pad Z-45 and Roland TR-808 drum machines and the Yamaha CP-70 electric grand piano.

Films, theatre and television

The majority of Collins's film work has been through music. Four of his seven American number one songs came from film soundtracks, and his work on Disney's Tarzan earned him an Oscar. Collins even sang German, Italian, Spanish and French versions of the Tarzan soundtrack for the respective film versions. Collins's acting career has been brief. As a child, he appeared in three films, although two of the films were for brief moments as an extra. Besides the aforementioned A Hard Day's Night (1964), Collins's first lead role was in a children's film Calamity the Cow (1967).[48]

Collins wrote and performed the title song to Against All Odds in 1984. The song became the first of his seven American number one songs and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Song. Collins was not invited to perform the song at that year's presentation, although he was in the audience as the song's composer. Collins had arranged his U.S. tour to accommodate the possibility of appearing on the telecast in the event his song was nominated for an Oscar. It is believed that the producers of that year's Academy Awards show were not aware of his prominence as a musical performer. A note to Collins's label from telecast co-producer Larry Gelbart explaining the lack of invitation stated, "Thank you for your note regarding Phil Cooper (emphasis added). I'm afraid the spots have already been filled". Collins instead watched Ann Reinking perform his song.[49] For a long time afterwards, he would introduce his performance of "Against All Odds" at his concerts by saying: "Miss Ann Reinking's not here tonight, so I guess I'll have to sing my own song".

As a vocalist, Collins sang Stephen Bishop's composition "Separate Lives" for the film White Nights (1985) as a duet with Marilyn Martin. The single of the recording became another Number One hit for Collins. The song itself was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song (a category that honours the composer, not the vocalists). Bishop's song had parallels to some of the songs on Collins's first two albums. Writer Stephen Bishop noted that he was inspired by a failed relationship and called "Separate Lives" "a song about anger".[50] When the song was being nominated for an Academy Award, in interviews about the original snub by the Academy for "Against All Odds", Collins would jokingly say "the hell with him – I'm going up too," referring to if Bishop's song were to win the award.[51]

Collins's first film role since becoming a musician came in 1988 with Buster. His rendition of "Groovy Kind of Love", originally a 1966 single by The Mindbenders, reached Number One. The film also spawned the hit single "Two Hearts", which he wrote in collaboration with legendary Motown songwriter Lamont Dozier; the two artists would go on to win a Golden Globe for Best Original Song and receive an Oscar nomination in the same category, the second such honor for Collins. Movie critic Roger Ebert said the role of Buster was "played with surprising effectiveness" by Collins, although the film's soundtrack proved more successful than the movie did.[52]

Collins provided the voices to both Muk and Luk in the 1995 animated feature Balto.

Collins had a starring role in 1993's Frauds, which competed for the Palme d'Or at the 1993 Cannes Film Festival.[53] He had cameo appearances in Steven Spielberg's Hook (1991) and And the Band Played On (1993). He was also considered for the role of the villain Howard Payne in the movie Speed that was later played by Dennis Hopper.[citation needed] He supplied voices to two animated features, Balto (1995) and The Jungle Book 2 (2003). A long-discussed but never completed project was a movie titled The Three Bears. Originally meant to star him alongside Danny DeVito and Bob Hoskins, he often mentioned the film though an appropriate script never materialized.[54]

Tarzan: An Original Walt Disney Records Soundtrack Collins performed the soundtrack to the animated film Tarzan (1999) for The Walt Disney Company. Collins won an Academy Award for "You'll Be in My Heart", which he performed at that year's telecast as well as during a Disney-themed Super Bowl halftime show. The song, which he also recorded in Spanish among other languages, became his only appearance on Billboard's Hot Latin Tracks.[35] Disney hired him, along with Tina Turner, in 2003 for the soundtrack to another animated feature film, Brother Bear, and had some airplay with the song "Look Through My Eyes".

On television, he twice hosted the Billboard Music Awards. He also appeared in an episode of the series Miami Vice, entitled "Phil the Shill", in which he plays a cheating con-man. He also guest starred in several sketches with The Two Ronnies. Most recently, he had a cameo appearance on the television series Whoopi.

In 2001, Collins was sought out by the satirist Chris Morris, and appeared in the Brass Eye 'Paedophile Special' endorsing a spoof charity called 'Nonce Sense'. At one point Collins, dressed in a matching baseball cap and t-shirt emblazoned with the name of this fictitious charity, stares into the camera and declares: "I'm talking Nonce-sense."

In 2005, Collins's work on Brother Bear was expanded as Disney used the song "Welcome" as the theme for Walt Disney's Parade of Dreams, the main parade celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Disneyland.

In 2006 Disney's Tarzan was adapted for Broadway. Collins contributed 11 new songs and instrumental pieces, and was deeply involved in the production. Unlike the movie, where Collins sang all the material, the characters sang on stage.

Phil Collins as he appears in the video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories.

Collins made an appearance as himself in the 2006 PlayStation Portable and PlayStation 2 video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, set in 1984. Joseph Martignette, also a left-handed drummer, plays the role of Phil Collins in the game. He appears in three missions in which the main character must save him from a gang that is trying to kill him, the final mission occurring during his concert, where the player must defend the scaffolding against saboteurs while Phil is simultaneously performing "In The Air Tonight." After this, the player is given the opportunity to watch this performance of 'In the Air Tonight.' "In The Air Tonight" was also featured in the soundtrack of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories and it was also featured in the movie Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film For Theaters, the 2009 movie [The Hangover and the 2007 Gorilla commercial for Cadbury's Dairy Milk chocolate. The advertisement also helped the song re-enter the New Zealand RIANZ Singles Chart at number three in July 2008, the following week reaching number one, beating its original 1981 #6 peak. Phil Collins had several ties to the hit show Miami Vice with no less than 5 songs used in the course of the series as well as having starred in the episode "Phil The Shill."

Phil Collins was portrayed in the hit cartoon South Park in the episode "Timmy 2000" and again in "Cartman's Silly Hate Crime".

Personal life

Collins married:

  1. Canadian Andrea Bertorelli in 1975. They met as students in a drama class in London,[55][56] in 1975. They had a son, Simon Collins, and Collins adopted Bertorelli's daughter Joely Collins, now a Canadian actress. They divorced in 1980, after she started an affair with their painter and decorator. Collins later appeared on the BBC's Top of the Pops singing his 1981 solo hit "In The Air Tonight" with a pot of paint and brush positioned on his piano.[57]
  2. Collins met his second wife, Jill Taverman, in 1980. They were married from 1984[58] to 1996. They had one daughter, named Lily Collins, who was born in 1989.[59] Collins openly admits that some of their divorce-related correspondence was by fax (one, about access to their daughter, was reproduced in The Sun), but denies that this took her by surprise.[56] Collins paid Jill £17M as final settlement.[57]
  3. After a five year romance, Collins married his third wife, Orianne Cevey, in 1999.[57] The couple have two sons, Nicholas and Matthew. They bought Sir Jackie Stewart's former house located in Begnins, Switzerland, overlooking Lake Geneva. Announcing their separation on 16 March 2006, they were divorced in January 2007. Collins reportedly paid Cevey £25M in settlement.[57] Collins has said he will continue to live in Switzerland to be near the children. He is presently residing in Féchy, while also maintaining homes in New York City and Dersingham, England.[57] In 2008, Collins was quoted in People Magazine: "Marriage is a difficult proposition. But I haven't given up on it, either.[citation needed]"

Collins was appointed a Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order in 1994 in recognition of his work on behalf of the Prince's Trust.[60]

Bob Geldof said of Collins after recording the drums for the Band Aid single "Feed The World (Do They Know its Christmas)", "Phil Collins, is a magnificent soul, he has touched the world through his music and he continues to fight against world poverty. He is one of life's true heroes."[citation needed]

Collins has stated he is a supporter of animal rights and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). In 2005, he donated an autographed drumstick in support of PETA's campaign against Kentucky Fried Chicken.[61]

Collins also has a lifelong interest in the Alamo. He has collected hundreds of artifacts related to the famous 1836 battle in San Antonio, Texas, narrated a light and sound show about the Alamo, and spoken at related events.[62]

Collins is often mentioned in the British media as being a supporter of the Conservative Party and an opponent of the Labour Party. Shortly before the 2005 election (when Collins was living in Switzerland), Noel Gallagher is reported as saying: "Vote Labour. If you don't and the Tories get in, Phil is threatening to come back."[63] However, Collins has since stated that although he did once claim many years earlier that he might leave Britain if most of his income was taken in tax, which was Labour Party policy at that time for top earners, he has never been a Conservative Party supporter and he left Britain for Switzerland in 1994 purely because he met a woman who lived there. He said of Gallagher: “I don’t care if he likes my music or not. I do care if he starts telling people I’m a wanker because of my politics. It’s an opinion based on an old misunderstood quote.”[64] Despite his claim that he did not leave Britain for tax purposes, he was one of several super-rich figures living in tax havens who were singled out for criticism in a report by the charity Christian Aid in 2008.[65]

In September 2009, it was reported that Collins could no longer play drums, due to a recent operation to repair dislocated vertebrae in his neck.[66] However, a statement from Collins on the Genesis band website said, "There isn't any drama regarding my 'disability' and playing drums. Somehow during the last Genesis tour I dislocated some vertebrae in my upper neck and that affected my hands. After a successful operation on my neck, my hands still can't function normally. Maybe in a year or so it will change, but for now it is impossible for me to play drums or piano. I am not in any 'distressed' state, stuff happens in life."[67]


Studio albums

Number One singles

Year Single Peak positions
1982 "You Can't Hurry Love" 1 10
1984 "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)" 2 1
"Easy Lover" (With Philip Bailey) 1 2
1985 "One More Night" 4 1
"Sussudio" 12 1
"Separate Lives" (With Marilyn Martin) 4 1
1988 "A Groovy Kind of Love" 1 1
"Two Hearts" 6 1
1989 (Charted in 1990) "Another Day in Paradise" 2 1

"In the Air Tonight" re-entered the New Zealand charts in 2008 at #3 and then peaked at #1, after featuring in the 'Cadbury Gorilla' advert.

See also


  1. ^ GRO Register of Births MAR 1951 5e 137 EALING – Philip D. C. Collins, mmn = Strange
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ [2]
  4. ^ Ogunnaike, Lola (2003-06-14). "Songwriting Hit Makers Donning Their Laurels -". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-01-01. 
  5. ^ Atlantic Records press release. "Phil Collins Celebrates TESTIFY with Weekend Today Performance and NYC In-Store" 11/15/02.
  6. ^ Coleman, R. Phil Collins: The Definitive Biography, Simon & Schuster. London. 1997. Pgs 29–30. ISBN 0-684-81784-5
  7. ^ Classic Albums: Face Value DVD, 2001, Eagle Home Entertainment
  8. ^ Face Value from the Official Genesis Biography. . Retrieved 10 January 2006.
  9. ^ [3] . Retrieved 21 July 2009.
  10. ^ Coleman, Pg 51.
  11. ^ The Guide to Musical Theatre
  12. ^ Phil Collins at the Internet Movie Database . Retrieved 17 October 2007.
  13. ^ Hewitt, A. Official Biography . Retrieved 9 January 2006.
  14. ^ Coleman, Pg 55.
  15. ^ The Official George Harrison website
  16. ^ Coleman, Pg 61.
  17. ^ Billboard magazine online. "Genesis" Biography. Accessed 16 January 2006. ]
  18. ^ Coleman, Pg 63.
  19. ^ Thompson, 2004. p.117
  20. ^ "Phil Collins | Music Videos, News, Photos, Tour Dates, Ringtones, and Lyrics". MTV. Retrieved 2010-01-01. 
  21. ^ Nicholson, Kris. A Trick of the Tail review. Rolling Stone. 20 May 1976. Retrieved 10 February 2006.
  22. ^ Official Brand X biography from the Phil Collins website. Retrieved 14 January 2006.
  23. ^ MTV Video Awards, Past Winners. Retrieved 16 January 2006.
  24. ^ Considine, J.D. Invisible Touch review. Rolling Stone. 14 August 1986. Retrieved 8 February 2006.
  25. ^ Hewitt, A. Official Biography. . Retrieved 9 January 2006.
  26. ^ Heller, C. "Phil Collins Said Open to Genesis Reunion". 6 November 2005. Retrieved 14 January 2006.
  27. ^ Bronson, F. The Billboard Book of Number One Hits. Billboard Books, New York. 2003. Pg. 604. ISBN 0-8230-7641-5
  28. ^ Thompson, D. Turn It On Again: Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins, and Genesis, Back Beat Books. San Francisco. 2004. Pg 181. ISBN 0-87930-810-9
  29. ^ Whitburn, J. The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits. Billboard Books, New York. 2000. Pgs. 143–144. ISBN 0-8230-7690-3
  30. ^ Fricke, D. No Jacket Required review. Rolling Stone. 9 May 1985. Retrieved 8 February 2006.
  31. ^ Bronson, Pg. 611.
  32. ^ Dean, Maury (2003). Rock N' Roll Gold Rush. Algora. p. 453. ISBN 0-87586-207-1. 
  33. ^ Coleman, p.181.
  34. ^ Browne, David. Dance into the Light review. Entertainment Weekly. 1 November 1996. Retrieved 10 February 2006.
  35. ^ a b Billboard magazine, Phil Collins Chart History. Retrieved 13 January 2006.
  36. ^ Metacritic, All-Time High and Low Scores. Retrieved 17 November 2006.
  37. ^ Thompson, Pg 260.
  38. ^ "In the Air" page at
  39. ^ "Phil Collins sues backing band to reclaim 'overpaid' royalties'". 
  40. ^ "Phil Collins wins claim he overpaid musicians'". 
  41. ^ Retrieved 13 January 2006.
  42. ^ [4]
  43. ^ [5]
  44. ^
  45. ^ See List of best-selling music artists for information and references of sales figures.
  46. ^ Anderson, John (1990-01-07). "Pop Notes". Newsday. 
  47. ^ "Phil Collins of Genesis Drum Charts, Videos, and Tips". 1951-01-30. Retrieved 2010-01-01. 
  48. ^ Phil Collins at the Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 13 January 2006.
  49. ^ Bronson, Pg. 586.
  50. ^ Bronson, Pg. 624.
  51. ^ Williams, Stephen (1985-10-04). "A Phil Collins Special And `Miami Vice' on Record". Newsday. 
  52. ^ Ebert, R. Buster review. 25 November 1988. Retrieved 10 February 2006.
  53. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Frauds". Retrieved 2009-08-18. 
  54. ^ Baker, G. A. Penthouse interview, 1993. Retrieved 13 January 2006.
  55. ^ GRO Register of Marriages: SEP 1975 17 0245 SURREY MID E. – Philip D. C. Collins = Andrea Bertorelli
  56. ^ a b Radio Times 27.11.2002
  57. ^ a b c d e "Phil Collins pays third wife a record £25million in divorce settlement". Sunday Mirror. 2008-08-16. Retrieved 2008-08-16. 
  58. ^ GRO Register of Marriages: AUG 1984 17 1515 SURREY SW -Philip D. C. Collins = Jill Tavelman
  59. ^ GRO Register of Births: APR 1989 17 1579 SURREY SW, Lily Jane Collins, mmn = Tavelman
  60. ^ London Gazette: 53696, page 4. Accessed 25 May 2008.
  61. ^ Kentucky Fried Cruelty
  62. ^ Dallas Morning News: 4 March 2009 [6]
  63. ^ Bainbridge, Luke (13 October 2007). "The 10: right-wing rockers". The Observer. Retrieved 11 October 2009. 
  64. ^ "Phil Collins casually serves notice of his retirement". 
  65. ^ "Tax evasion 'costs lives of 5.6m children'". 
  66. ^ "I can never play the drums again, says Phil Collins | Mail Online". 2009-11-09. Retrieved 2010-01-01. 
  67. ^ "Official Site for Genesis - join now for exclusives!". Retrieved 2010-01-01. 


External links

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From Wikiquote

Philip David Charles Collins (born January 30, 1951), better known as Phil Collins, is a British rock/pop musician. Collins’ presence on popular music was most evident in the mid-to-late 1980s. He is best known as the lead singer and drummer of progressive rock group Genesis and as a Grammy winning solo artist.



  • The world is in your hands, now use it.
    • "Dance Into the Light"
  • Wait for it, wait for it! Anticipation is half the fun. So I've been told...
    • Live at Wembley Stadium DVD, July 1987
  • Stewart Copeland is an amazing drummer. I just wish he didn't think he was amazing. Sting is a lovely bloke. We've become friends. I felt honored to be on stage with him at Live Aid.
    • Playboy interview, October 1986
  • [On his Live Aid appearance with members of Led Zeppelin] They wanted me there early to rehearse the old Zeppelin songs, but I couldn't make it and I told them, "Listen, I know the songs. I know them backward and forward." Well, that day the tempos were all over the place, and it may have seemed like it was my fault, because I was the one who hadn't rehearsed, but I would pledge to my dying day that it wasn't me. In fact, it was Tony Thompson who was racing a bit; he was a bit nervous, I guess. It came off because of the magic of being Zeppelin; but I remember in the middle of the thing, I actually thought, How do I get out of here?
    • Playboy interview, October 1986
  • I can't remember those words (Lyrics) even when we were on tour[1]
    • From "Telling Stories", when Collins was asked to sing "Home By The Sea", a song by the band Genesis from the album "Genesis".


  • I wish it wasn't like this. I sit and watch stuff on the television, I think, 'Why, why, why.'
  • I'm happy to sit behind the drums and let Peter be the singer. If (a reunion) happens, I'll be there. If it doesn't happen ... it would just be because there are too many things in the way.
  • I'm nice until I have a reason not to be. I work hard and people sense that. But I'm different things to different people. To the middle-aged housewife I'm some-one who looks like a "little boy lost"; to the people who know only One More Night and Against All Odds, I'm probably this sweet and sensitive guy. But there are many other songs, many other sides. I don't like that sickly sweet image.
  • They're rude and not as talented as they think they are. I won't mince words here but they've had a go at me personally.
  • They're the only ones brave enough to give me these opportunities.
  • We're all still good friends. We spent like 30 or 25 years of our life in the same office, ... Just because we don't play in the same band anymore doesn't mean we don't see each other and enjoy each other's company.
  • Basically when offering advice to those wanting to make it in the music industry I give fairly simple advice. Sellout and write catchy tunes, it's all for the money and chicks.

About Collins

In the 1991 novel American Psycho and the 2000 film, serial killer Patrick Bateman expresses his appreciation for Collins' work in a memorable scene with two prostitutes:

"Do you like Phil Collins? I've been a big Genesis fan ever since the release of their 1980 album, Duke. Before that, I really didn't understand any of their work. Too artsy, too intellectual. It was on Duke where Phil Collins' presence became more apparent. I think Invisible Touch was the group's undisputed masterpiece. It's an epic meditation on intangibility. At the same time, it deepens and enriches the meaning of the preceding three albums. Christy, take off your robe. Listen to the brilliant ensemble playing of Banks, Collins and Rutherford. You can practically hear every nuance of every instrument. Sabrina, remove your dress. In terms of lyrical craftsmanship, the sheer songwriting, this album hits a new peak of professionalism. Sabrina, why don't you, uh, dance a little. Take the lyrics to Land of Confusion. In this song, Phil Collins addresses the problems of abusive political authority. In Too Deep is the most moving pop song of the 1980s, about monogamy and commitment. The song is extremely uplifting. Their lyrics are as positive and affirmative as anything I've heard in rock. Christy, get down on your knees so Sabrina can see your ---------. Phil Collins' solo career seems to be more commercial and therefore more satisfying, in a narrower way. Especially songs like In the Air Tonight and Against All Odds. Sabrina, don't just stare at it, eat it. But I also think Phil Collins works best within the confines of the group, than as a solo artist, and I stress the word artist. This is Sussudio, a great, great song, a personal favorite."

External links

Wikipedia has an article about:

Simple English

File:Phil Collins
Phil Collins

Philip David Charles "Phil" Collins (born 30 January 1951) is an English singer and drummer. He was born in Chiswick. He plays with the band Genesis. He is very well known for his career away from the band, as a solo singer. His most well known album is No Jacket Required, which has sold over ten million copies in the US. One of his most well known songs is "In the Air Tonight", which had a long running rumor that it was about a drowning that Collins had witnessed.

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