Singer, songwriter, drummer, keyboardist and actor, Philip Collins was born in London, England in 1951.
Before his musical career took off, Phil was a child actor, who appeared as the Artful Dodger in the London production of Oliver. He also appeared as an extra in the Beatles film, “A Hard Day’s Night” in 1964 and he also appeared in the Dick Van Dyke film, “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.”
Phil also knew, at an early age, that music was going to be a part of his life, when he received a drum set for Christmas at five years old. He played with several bands in high school, but cut his first album in 1969, when he signed as a drummer for the group Flaming Youth. After a year, and with little success, Flaming Youth disbanded.
In 1970, Phil answered a classified ad for a drummer and won the audition, which was held at Peter Gabriel’s parent’s home, for the band, Genesis. Gabriel left the group in 1975, to follow a solo career, and Phil took over lead vocals.
Genesis didn’t have its first Top 40 hit until 1978 with “Follow You, Follow Me.” Phil cut his first solo album in 1981 while still singing lead for Genesis and would continue to do so through 1987. Phil’s solo efforts produced many hits including, “In The Air Tonight” in 1981, which was used on the TV show “Miami Vice” and in the Tom Cruise film, “Risky Business.”
On the charts, as a solo artist and with Genesis, Phil has had 37 Top 40 hits on Billboard’s weekly charts with seven of them going to number one. Here’s a look at Phil Collins’ twenty biggest hits, according to Billboard’s Weekly Top 40 Charts.
1. Another Day In Paradise – 1989 – Phil’s biggest record went to #1 for four weeks and had some help with backing vocals by David Crosby.
2. Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now) – 1984 – originally titled “How Can You Just Sit There” this is the title song from the film “Against All Odds.”
3. Groovy Kind Of Love – 1988 – a #2 song for The Mindbenders in 1966, this is one of 2 number one songs from the film “Buster” starring Phil Collins.
4. Two Hearts – 1989 – the other number one song from “Buster”, it won the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song.
5. One More Night – 1985 – this song was used, for a while in the 1990’s, by The American Red Cross, in their public service announcements promoting shelters.
6. Separate Lives – 1985 – more movie music. This time, Phil shares the microphone with vocalist Marilyn Martin and was featured as the love theme from the film “White Nights.” Written by Stephen Bishop (“On And On”), he was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Song.
7. Sussudio – 1985 – Phil says the word “sussudio” was an improvised lyric and has no meaning.
8. Invisible Touch – 1986 – the only number one single Genesis ever had, a limited edition of a live version of this single was released in 1992.
9. Easy Lover – 1985 – a duet with Philip Bailey, was actually Bailey’s song with Phil helping out and it appeared on Bailey’s “China Wall” album.
10. In Too Deep – 1987 – from the Genesis album, “Invisible Touch”, Phil was asked to write a song for the soundtrack to the movie “Mona Lisa.”
11. I Wish It Would Rain Down – 1990 – from the album “…But Seriously”, guitar work on this song comes from the legendary Eric Clapton.
12. Tonight, Tonight, Tonight – 1987 – this Genesis single was featured in Michelob beer commercials.
13. Land Of Confusion – 1987 – most Genesis fans remember this song for its music video that featured many puppets of celebrities from Ronald Regan to Mick Jagger.
14. Do You Remember? – 1990 – featuring backing vocals by singer/songwriter Stephen Bishop.
15. Don’t Lose My Number – 1985 – Phil admits that even he doesn’t fully understand the meaning of the lyrics. The single was never released in the UK.
16. Throwing It All Away – 1986 – written by Genesis guitarist Mike Rutherford who would go on to form the band “Mike and the Mechanics.”
17. Something Happened On The Way To Heaven – 1990 – originally written for the film “War Of The Roses” starring Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner and Danny DeVito.
18. That’s All – 1984 – the first top ten single for Genesis.
19. Take Me Home – 1986 – another single featured on the NBC-TV series “Miami Vice”, this single features backing vocals from Peter Gabriel and Sting.
20. You Can’t Hurry Love – 1983 – a number one single for The Supremes in 1966 and Phil’s first solo top ten song.
Phil has also played in the jazz rock group, Brand X and, in 1996, he formed the Phil Collins Big Band.
Phil has been married three times and has five children. He currently resides in Switzerland to be near his children.
In 2009, he dislocated some vertebrae in his neck, while touring with Genesis. The operation on his neck left it so his hands couldn’t function normally, thus making his ability to play drums or piano difficult.
Phil still records and he released an album in 2010 called, “Going Back.”