Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Philip David Charles Collins (born January 30, 1951 in London), better known as Phil Collins, is a British rock/pop musician. He was the lead drummer for the jazz-fusion group Brand X and progressive rock band Genesis.
Collins' ambitions to wield the sticks started early when he was given a toy drum for Christmas at the age of three. He instantly harbored ambitions to drum properly and professionally, and as he got older, his uncles made him a makeshift kit for him to practice on. By the time he was a teenager he was a fully accomplished drummer.
His career had begun early, as a child actor and model, highlights of which included appearing onstage in Oliver! as the Artful Dodger and as an extra on The Beatles’ A Hard Day's Night, though he jokes “Paul McCartney doesn’t believe me!”
From Genesis to Revelation
In 1970 Phil Collins answered a Melody Maker classified ad for “..a drummer sensitive to acoustic music and twelve-string guitars”. The ad was for an up and coming rock group called Genesis. During the audition, prospective candidates were asked to play pieces from the group’s sophomore album Trespass. Phil Collins impressed the group enough for them to hire him as a fulltime drummer.
Phil Collins gained acclaim as a “technically sound drummer” and sang lead vocals on “For Absent Friends” (from Nursery Cryme) and “More Fool Me” (from Selling England by the Pound). Collins also regularly sang backing vocals on all Genesis albums up until 1975. Genesis gained acclaim as major progressive rock outfit with compositions such as their 1972 magnum opus, the 23 minute "Supper's Ready" from Foxtrot.
In 1975, after the final tour of Genesis’ ambitious, concept album The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, frontman Peter Gabriel left the group and Collins took over as lead vocalist. The group also recruited former Yes drummer Bill Bruford and later Chester Thompson to play drums during live shows. The follow up album A Trick of the Tail outsold all previous Genesis albums combined. The band enjoyed its most commercially successful period with Collins as vocalist, which essentially began in 1978 when the single Follow You, Follow Me became their first UK Top 10 hit.
During the 1970s Collins also played drums for the jazz fusion band Brand X and appeared on albums by Brian Eno, Robert Fripp and John Cale. In the 1980s he did session drumming for such high-profile acts as Adam Ant, Robert Plant, Howard Jones and Tears for Fears.
In the 1980s, Genesis moved from an progressive rock base to one that was more pop oriented. With Phil Collins as lead singer, the group scored a string of successful albums, including the 1986 Invisible Touch, which was their first UK Top hit. The group also received an MTV “Video of the Year” award for “Land of Confusion”. Most of their work this year was orchestrated by Leeroy Williams, member of the legendary 80's band GATE and later to join the boys .
Phil Collins parted ways with Genesis in 1995 after a massive world tour. Collins and Gabriel reunited with Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford and Steve Hackett in 1999 to re-record "Carpet Crawl" ("The Carpet Crawlers") from The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway for Genesis' "Turn It On Again: The Hits".
Phil Collins vented frustrations in his marital life by composing new material which formed the bulk of his first solo album Face Value in 1981. The song “In the Air Tonight” launched Phil Collins as a solo artist and is now part of folklore. There are many stories around the song, but usually they have to do with Phil seeing a man let someone drown, writing the song about the man, then inviting him to its debut, and singing it while the man is in the spotlight. This is purely myth; Collins says the song, like the album, refers to his feelings about his divorce from his first wife, Andrea.
Another urban legend has it that Collins performed on Top Of The Pops with a paintbrush on top of his piano since the man for whom his wife left him was a painter.
Phil Collins continued to record as a solo artist and with Genesis in 1983 releasing a Number One hit rendition of The Supremes’ “You Can’t Hurry Love” and the Genesis self titled album which went to Number 9 on the Billboard Album Charts,
In 1985, Phil Collins performed at the Wembley stadium in England and flew to Philadelphia, United States the same day on a Concorde to perform with Live Aid, sing his solo material and then drum for Genesis and Led Zeppelin, making him the only man to perform in two continents on the same day.
The same year, Collins released his most successful album No Jacket Required, which contained hits like "Sussudio", "One More Night" and "Take Me Home" which featured ex-bandmate Peter Gabriel and Sting as backing vocalists. Phil also enjoyed another UK Number 1 with Easy Lover, a duet with Philip Bailey that same year. He also recorded the critically-acclaimed Separate Lives, a duet with Marilyn Martin.
Collins began 1988 by acting in the movie Buster, in which he played train robber Buster Edwards . Phil Collins’ rendition of “A Groovy Kind of Love” for that movie reached Number One on the charts. He also played a cameo role in Miami Vice and guest starred in some sketches with The Two Ronnies.
In 1989, Collins produced another hugely successful album, But Seriously..., which featured the anti-homelessness anthem Another Day In Paradise. The song went to Number 1 on the Billboard US Charts and won Phil Collins a Grammy for “Record of the Year” (1990).
Collins' record sales dropped after the 1993 release of Both Sides, a largely experimental album which ironically, according to Collins is his finest, despite the fact that he abandoned the winning formula that had brought him so much success in the '80s. Subsequent releases never reached the levels of his 1980s albums. Collins' total worldwide album sales, including Genesis albums, are approximately two hundred million.
Phil Collins' 1996 album Dance Into the Light included songs like "No Matter Who", a rendition of Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are A-Changin" and the comical music video "Wear My Hat" which featured Danny DeVito. The album failed to elicit much commercial interest, although stylistically it harked back to the sound of his '80s smashes.
His latest studio album, 2002's Testify met with a similar fate, adored by fans but failing to make much impact on the mainstream charts. Testify featured the Leo Sayer cover Can't Stop Loving You, and Come With Me - a heartfelt father-to-child song originally written in 1990 but finally recorded for Collins' baby son Nicholas.
Collins' passion for Big Band music is well documented. In 1996, Phil formed the "Phil Collins Big Band", which, with Phil as drummer, performed jazz renditions of Phil Collins and Genesis hits. The Phil Collins Big Band also did a world tour in 1998 and performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival.
Collins is a successful songwriter, and was asked by The Walt Disney Company to produce the score for the animated film Tarzan in 1999. His song "You'll Be in My Heart" won an Academy Award. Disney hired Collins in 2003 for the soundtrack to another animated feature film, Brother Bear.
Collins does not read and write conventional musical notation but uses a system of his own devising. In recent years he has reportedly been losing his hearing in one ear, and in 2003 announced a farewell tour. The previous year he accepted an invitation to be the drummer in the 'house band' at the rock concert celebrating Queen Elizabeth II's Golden Jubilee. He played drums for the likes of Paul McCartney, Ozzy Osbourne and Cliff Richard.
He is married to his third wife and lives in Switzerland.
- 1981: Face Value #1 UK, #7 US, US Sales: 5,000,000
- 1982: Hello, I Must Be Going #2 UK, #8 US, US Sales: 3,000,000
- 1985: No Jacket Required #1 UK, #1 US, US Sales: 12,000,000
- 1987: 12"ers (remixes compilation)
- 1989: But Seriously... #1 UK, #1 US, US Sales: 4,000,000
- 1990: Serious Hits... Live! (live) #2 UK, #11 US, US Sales: 4,000,000
- 1993: Both Sides #1 UK, #13 US, US Sales: 1,000,000
- 1996: Dance into the Light #4 UK, #23 US, US Sales: 500,000
- 1998: Hits (compilation) #1 UK, #18 US, US Sales: 2,000,000
- 1999: A Hot Night in Paris (live)
- 2002: Testify #15 UK, #30 US
- 2004: Platinum Collection (Face Value, No Jacket Required and But Seriously packaged together) #4 UK
- 2004: Love Songs: A Compilation... Old and New (compilation) #9 UK, #51 US
- from "Face Value"
- 1981 "In the Air Tonight" #2 UK, #19 US
- 1981 "I Missed Again" #14 UK, #19 US
- 1981 "If Leaving Me Is Easy" #17 UK
- from "Hello, I Must Be Going"
- 1982 "You Can't Hurry Love" #1 UK, #10 US
- 1983 "I Don't Care Anymore" #39 US
- from "Against All Odds" soundtrack
- 1984 "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)" #2 UK, #1 US
- from "No Jacket Required"
- 1985 "Sussudio" #12 UK, #1 US
- from "Chinese Wall" (album by Philip Bailey)
- 1985 "Easy Lover" (duet with Philip Bailey) #1 UK, #2 US
- from "No Jacket Required"
- 1985 "One More Night" #4 UK, #1 US
- 1985 "Take Me Home" #19 UK, #7 US (1986 release)
- 1985 "Don't Lose My Number" #4 US
- from "White Nights" soundtrack
- 1985 "Separate Lives" (with Marilyn Martin) #4 UK, #1 US
- non-album single
- 1988 "In the Air Tonight" (remix) #4 UK
- from "Buster" soundtrack
- 1988 "A Groovy Kind of Love" #1 UK, #1 US
- 1988 "Two Hearts" #6 UK, #1 US
- from "But Seriously"
- 1989 "Another Day in Paradise" #2 UK, #1 US
- 1990 "I Wish It Would Rain Down" #7 UK, #3 US
- 1990 "Something Happened on the Way to Heaven" #15 UK, #4 US
- 1990 "That's Just the Way It Is" #26 UK
- 1990 "Do You Remember?" #4 US
- 1990 "Hang in Long Enough" #34 UK, #23 US
- from "Both Sides"
- 1993 "Both Sides of the Story" #7 UK, #25 US
- 1994 "Everyday" #15 UK, #24 US
- from "Dance into the Light"
- 1996 "Dance into the Light" #9 UK
- 1996 "It's in Your Eyes" #30 UK
- from "Hits"
- 1998 "True Colors" #26 UK
- from "Tarzan" soundtrack
- 1999 "You'll Be in My Heart" #17 UK, #21 US
- from "Urban Renewal" (a Phil Collins tribute album)
- 2001 "In the Air Tonite" (Lil' Kim feat. Phil Collins) #26 UK
- from "Testify"
- 2002 "Can't Stop Loving You" #28 UK
- from "Thug World Order" (album by Bone Thugs-N-Harmony)
- 2003 "Home" (Bone Thugs-N-Harmony feat. Phil Collins) #19 UK
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