Famous Like Me > Singer > C > Phil Collins
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Profile of Phil Collins
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|Also Know As:
|Date of Birth:
||30th January 1951
|Place of Birth:
||Chiswick, London, England, UK
Philip David Charles Collins (born January 30, 1951 in London), better known as Phil Collins, is a English rock/pop musician. He was the lead drummer for the jazz-fusion group Brand X and progressive rock band Genesis, and, after the departure of the latter's lead singer Peter Gabriel, lead singer of Genesis.
Phil Collins has collaborated with such well known musicians as George Harrison, Paul McCartney, Robert Plant, Eric Clapton, Mike Oldfield, Sting, John Cale, Brian Eno, Peter Gabriel and Ravi Shankar.
Collins' ambitions to wield the sticks started early when he was given a toy drum for Christmas at the age of five. He instantly harboured ambitions to drum properly and professionally, and as he got older, his uncle 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 on stage 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. After arriving early, Collins was asked to wait for the other drummers to take their turns. Collins listened and spent his time in the family pool learning the pieces before he sat down at the drum kit. By the time he was to audition he knew all the parts and was quickly hired by the band.
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 was also Genesis’ primary backing vocalist up until 1975. Genesis gained acclaim as a major progressive rock outfit with compositions such as 1972's "Supper's Ready", their 23 minute magnum opus from Foxtrot.
In 1975, after the final tour supporting Genesis’ ambitious, concept album The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, frontman Peter Gabriel left the group. After an unfruitful search for a new singer, 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 although on some longer pieces live Phil would play drums as well. 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”.
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 "The Secret Policeman's Other Ball" with a paint can on top of his piano since the man for whom his wife left him was a painter. While this really did happen, Phil denies that it happened on purpose.
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.
He wrote and performed the award-winning title song to the movie Against All Odds in 1984 and appeared as drummer at the Band Aid recording at the end of the year.
In 1985, Phil Collins performed at Live Aid at both Wembley stadium in England and JFK Stadium in Philadelphia, United States. He accomplished the feat by performing early in the day as a solo artist and with Sting at Wembley. Immediately after his performance he boarded a Concorde to perform his solo material and drum for Led Zeppelin.
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. The film also spawned the hit single Two Hearts, which Collins wrote in collaboration with legendary Motown songwriter Lamont Dozier. 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). Other songs included Hang in Long Enough, Do You Remember?, and I Wish it Would Rain Down (the latter featured long-time friend Eric Clapton on guitar). Collins received some criticism for his anti-homelessness song Another Day In Paradise as he himself at the time was a millionaire and yet he was asking others to give money, people who were fairly poor themselves. Yet, he could have given millions as in his career he earned over £50,000,000.
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 1980s. Subsequent releases never reached the levels of his 1980s albums. Collins' total worldwide album sales, including Genesis albums, are approximately 200,000,000.
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 sold over 800,000 copies in the US going past Gold but sold less than previous albums, although stylistically it harked back to the sound of his 1980s smashes and its subsequent tour played sold out arenas across the US in 1997.
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 as it was overrun by rap, hip-hop, nu-metal and teen pop. 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. (His son Matthew was born in December 2004.)
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 Clayton House, Begnins Switzerland, overlooking Lake Geneva, about 20 miles east of the city of that name. He acquired the house from its former owner, Scottish F1 racing champ, Jackie Stewart of Dumbarton. Beginning in 2004, Collins embarked on his so-called "First Final Farewell Tour", a nod to the many farewell tours of other popular artists. Given a prognosis of an viral ear infection, Collins wanted to complete one last large-scale tour internationally and spend more time with his family. He is expected to continue touring through 2006, while working with Disney on the completion of a Broadway production of Tarzan.
Here are all the current members of Phil's touring band.
- Phil Collins - drums, lead vocals
- Gerald Albright - saxophone
- Bill Cantos - backing vocals
- Ronnie Caryl - rhythm guitar, backing vocals
- Brad Cole - keyboards, vocoder on In The Air Tonight.
- Luis Conte - percussion
- Lynne Fiddmont-Lindsey - backing vocals
- Dan Fornero - trumpet
- Connie Jackson-Comegys - backing vocals
- Amy Keys - backing vocals
- Harry Kim - trumpet, Horns director
- Arnold McCuller - backing vocals
- Leland Sklar - bass guitar
- Daryl Stuermer - guitar
- Chester Thompson - drums
- Lamont Van Hooke - backing vocals
- Arturo Velasco - trombone
Former touring band musicians
- Bridgette Bryant - backing vocals (But Seriously tour, 1990)
- Rhamlee Michael Davis - trumpet (Hello, I Must Be Going!-But Seriously tours, 1982-1990)
- Nathan East - bass guitar, backing vocals (Both Sides-Dance Into the Light tours, 1994-1997)
- Mo Foster - bass guitar (Hello, I Must Be Going! tour, 1982)
- Michael Harris - trumpet - (Hello, I Must Be Going!-No Jacket Required tours, (1982-1986)
- Ricky Lawson - drums - (Both Sides tour-Dance Into the Light tour, 1994 - 1997)
- John Mahon - percussion, (MusiCares 2000)
- Don Myrick - saxophone, (Hello, I Must Be Going!-But Seriously tours, 1982 - 1990)
- Peter Robinson - keyboards, vocoder - (Hello, I Must Be Going!-No Jacket Required tours, 1982-1986)
- Louis "Lui Lui" Satterfield - trombone, (Hello, I Must Be Going!-But Seriously tours, 1982-1990)
- Fred White - backing vocals (But Seriously tour, 1990)
- Andrew Woolfolk - saxophone (Both Sides-Dance Into the Light tours, 1994-1987)
Former studio musicians
- Stephen Bishop - backing vocals
- Gary Barnacle - saxaphone
- Alex Brown - backing vocals
- Paul Bushnell - bass guitar
- Eric Clapton - guitar
- David Crosby - backing vocals
- Martyn Ford - strings conductor
- David Frank - bass guitar, keyboards
- Peter Gabriel - backing vocals
- John Giblin - bass guitar
- Nick Glennie-Smith - keyboards
- Alphonso Johnson - bass guitar
- Marva King - backing vocals
- Arif Mardin - strings conductor
- Dominic Miller - guitar
- James Muhoberec - keyboards
- Pino Palladino - bass guitar
- Joe Partridge - slide guitar
- Tim Pierce - guitar
- Eric Rigler - pipes
- James Sangar - additional programming
- Ronnie Scott - tenor saxaphone
- L. Shankar - vocal effects
- Shorokav - violins
- Sting - backing vocals
- Helen Terry - backing vocals
- Steve Winwood - Hammond Organ
All past touring members worked with Phil in the studio except for Bryant, Lawson, Mahon, and White.
- 1981: Face Value #1 UK, #7 US, US Sales: 5,000,000, Worldwide Sales: 19,000,000
- 1982: Hello, I Must Be Going #2 UK, #8 US, US Sales: 3,000,000 Worldwide Sales: 15,000,000
- 1985: No Jacket Required #1 UK, #1 US, US Sales: 12,000,000 Worldwide Sales: 32,000,000
- 1987: 12"ers (remixes compilation) Worldwide Sales: 1,000,000
- 1989: But Seriously... #1 UK, #1 US, US Sales: 4,000,000 Worldwide Sales: 26,000,000
- 1990: Serious Hits... Live! (live) #2 UK, #11 US, US Sales: 4,000,000 Worldwide Sales: 22,000,000
- 1993: Both Sides #1 UK, #13 US, US Sales: 1,000,000 Worldwide Sales: 10,000,000
- 1996: Dance into the Light #4 UK, #23 US, US Sales: 500,000 Worldwide Sales: 5,000,000
- 1998: Hits (compilation) #1 UK, #18 US, US Sales: 2,000,000 Worldwide Sales: 15,000,000
- 1999: A Hot Night in Paris (live) Worldwide Sales: 1,000,000
- 2002: Testify #15 UK, #30 US Worldwide Sales: 5,000,000
- 2004: Platinum Collection (Face Value, No Jacket Required and But Seriously packaged together) #4 UK Worldwide Sales: 1,000,000
- 2004: Love Songs: A Compilation... Old and New (compilation) #9 UK, #51 US Worldwide Sales: 3,000,000
- CAREER: 155,000,000 Albums sold (314,000,000 including Genesis)
- 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 "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
- 1985 "Sussudio" #12 UK, #1 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 Colours" #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" #27 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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