Phil Collins

Philip David Charles Collins (born January 30, 1951 in Chiswick, London) is an English rock and pop musician. He is best known as the lead singer and drummer of progressive rock group Genesis and as a Grammy and Academy Award-winning solo artist.

In total, 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.

In the 1980s, the group scored a string of successful albums, including Duke (1980), Abacab (1981), Genesis (1983) and Invisible Touch (1986). The latter album’s title track reached number one on the American Billboard charts, the only Genesis song to do so. The group received an MTV “Video of the Year” nomination in 1987 for “Land of Confusion”, another popular single from the album, although ironically they lost to Gabriel’s solo hit, “Sledgehammer”. 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.”

Collins released his most successful album, No Jacket Required, earlier that same year. It contained the hits “Sussudio“, “One More Night” and “Take Me Home”. The album featured Sting, Kate Bush 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. No Jacket Required went on to win the Grammy for 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.” “Sussudio” also drew criticism for sounding too similar to the Prince song “1999”, a charge that Collins did not deny. Nevertheless, the album went straight to #1 in the US (selling faster than “Thriller“) and UK.

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 hit of the 1980s. Other songs included “Something Happened on the Way to Heaven”, “Do You Remember?” (US release only), and “I Wish It Would Rain Down” (the latter featuring long-time friend Clapton on guitar). Songs about apartheid and homelessness demonstrated Collins’ turn to politically-driven material. This theme recurred on his later albums. A live album, Serious Hits… Live! (1990), followed.

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