Phil Collins: A Retrospective

Phil Collins restrospective: A looks at his history with Genesis and as a solo artist.

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If you listen to music any at all, it doesn’t matter what genre is your favorite, then you have probably heard a Phil Collins song or two in your lifetime. Very few artists can claim the success that Phil Collins enjoyed back in the 1980s through the early 90s. According to his web site, Phil Collins has won 7 Grammy Awards, 2 Golden Globes and has been nominated for 2 Oscars. That is quite impressive to say the least.

Phil Collins: Early Years

Phil Collins was born in London in 1951. On his fifth birthday, he received a toy drum kit as a present, and thus began his love of drums. He began his career actually as an actor, making childhood appearances in the The Beatles’ “A Hard Day’s Night” and in the movie “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.” He won the role of the Artful Dodger in the British production of “Oliver!” when he was fourteen. However, Collins gravitated towards music. He was heavily influenced by American soul and R&B artists, in particular the artists of Motown, such as Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross and The Temptations. He was also influenced by jazz music.

Phil Collins Joins Genesis

In 1970, Phil Collins joined the British progressive rock band Genesis, replacing their third drummer in as many years. For the next five years he was the back beat of the band. Then, in 1975, lead singer Peter Gabriel left the band to pursue a solo career. An extensive search for a replacement led the band to just behind the drum kit. Phil Collins earned the job as the new lead singer of Genesis. Over the next six years, Genesis would flourish with Collins singing lead, but their best years wouldn’t come until the 1980s.

Face Value

In 1981, Phil launched his own solo career. He had not left Genesis, but rather was doing the solo album as a side project. “Face Value” was released in February of 1981, and it became a worldwide smash hit. The album included what is perhaps the most iconic song that Phil Collins ever recorded, the haunting “In The Air Tonight.” This helped to propel Phil into a solo career that was perhaps unparalleled.

Throughout the remainder of the decade, Collins would score hit after hit, releasing three more solo albums, along with recording several movie soundtrack scores, including the smash hit “Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)” for the movie “Against All Odds.” He also recorded with Genesis, and the band’s biggest hits to date came out on their 1986 album “Invisible Touch”, which featured the hits “Throwing It All Away” and “Land of Confusion.”

Phil Collins would score several hits throughout the decade with songs such as “One More Night”, “I Wish It Would Rain” and “Another Day In Paradise” for which he won Record of the Year in 1989 and would get solid airplay for almost three years.

Phil Collins: The 90s And Beyond

During the 1990s, Phil Collins’ success seemed to dwindle. He did not score nearly as many hits during that decade as he did during the 80s, however Phil was undaunted and continued releasing albums. Finally, in 1998, Collins released “…Hits”, a compilation album of his biggest songs, which did quite well on the album charts and served as a reminder of just how successful Phil Collins had been. In 2000, he accomplished a rarity, when his song “You’ll Be In My Heart”, which was recorded for the soundtrack to the Disney film “Tarzan”, won a Golden Globe, an Oscar and a Grammy.

Phil Collins restrospective: A looks at his history with Genesis and as a solo artist.

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In 2010, Phil Collins released “Going Back”, which included his covers of some of his favorite songs from his youth, primarily Motown covers and soul standards. The album did well internationally and has sparked Collins’ love for music. Hopefully it will inspire him to return to the studio once again and produce another smash album. Until then, all Phil Collins fans can sit and listen to his past successes and dream of what might come.

What was your favorite Phil Collins song?

About Jay Crawford

Jay is a die hard sports fan {football and college basketball being his favorites}. His favorite teams are the Carolina Panthers and Tarheels and, of course, his alma mater, the Appalachian Mountaineers. He spends his free time listening to music, especially KISS, Def Leppard, the Eagles and a lot of the newer country music, and watching comic book and action movies. The more special effects - the better.


  1. Definitely the You’ll be in my heart takes the cake for my favorite Phil Collin’s song. It was a master creation.
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  2. Against all odds is my favorite but i like alot of his stuff.

  3. I definitely like Phil Collins but can’t seem to remember which of his songs I like best! (He is one year younger then me!).
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  4. It would probably have to be “In the Air Tonight”. That’s just so iconic. I really liked his first album more than any other one he did.
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  5. It’s nice to learn more about him. I was familiar with his face, but not his music,.

  6. I am terrible pairing artists with their songs – I do love Phil Collins. I didn’t know that he started his solo career while still a member of Genesis. So interesting!
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  7. I liked Genesis and loved when he went solo.
    I got to a venue once, very early, to be first in line for concert tickets…but when they came in to sell the said everyone who had a wrist band from the radio should come to the front of the line. That left me w/the option of nosebleed seats only, so I left sans ticket.. Pity that, cuz I know it was a fabulous show!

  8. I used to love Phil Collins back in the day. He’s a very talented artist for sure.,

  9. Is it weird to say I liked his Brother Bear songs? hahaha I think I was spending too much time with kids and I was excited to see them focused on the movie. And maybe I shed a tear or two. :/

  10. I can sing to the top of my lungs when I am alone entire songs. But I am really bad with sing names and usually who the artist is
    Very interesting retrospective
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  11. Phil Collins is one of my all-time favorite singers. There is just a realness about his lyrics that has always appealed to me.
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  12. Dancing in the Street is probably my FAVORITE Phil Collins song ever! I love this, I just had to pull his songs up things to this post so that I could listen to them again!!
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  13. I have always liked Phil Collins. I actually think my favorite song by him is that song from Tarzan. “You’ll be in my Heart.”
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  14. Thanks for the history! I honestly didn’t know much about him before this post.

  15. Phil Collins is an icon. I think he has such an amazing, unique voice.

  16. I have to be honest – I’ve never really got into Phil Collins personally, I remember a friend being a fan and I couldn’t work it – that however was many years ago perhaps I need to give him another listen. x
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  17. I love Phil Collins I went to see one of his concerts when I was in high-school. He put on a wonderful show and still has a great voice.

  18. Didn’t realize how many of his songs I knew until now.
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    • Dawn McAlexander

      For me, when I don’t listen to someone for a while, I forget how many of their songs I know and then it’s like it’s new all over again. πŸ™‚

  19. I’ll admit that I listened to Phill Collins songs as a kid growing up in the 80s! Definitely some great hits!
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  20. I’m horrible about putting names to songs. I was surprised I knew most of the songs but I didn’t know who sang them!
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  21. I love Phil Collins. One of my favorites. Pretty hard to pick just one song. Maybe Take Me Home. However, if you asked me tomorrow, I might say something different. πŸ˜‰

  22. I love Phil Collins ‘In the Air Tonight’ is one of favorite song. I can seriously play it over and over and never get tired of it.
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  23. Phil Collins is definitely a great artist/musician! My favorite song of his is definitely ‘In The Air Tonight.’
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  24. I remember Phil Collins and used to listen to him all the time. I loved that movie too1
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  25. The first concert I went to with my friends was Genesis’ Invisible Touch tour. It was so awesome.

  26. I love Phil Collins, we just talked about him and his songs at work the other day… Hard to believe that some of the younger generation have no idea who Phil Collins is/was… I just love him..thanks for sharing
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  27. I didn’t had any idea it has been such a long time – I also had a few favorites of music from Phil!
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  28. I’ve heard many songs by Phil Collins. He’s a good artist and I’ve enjoyed some of his music. Nice to see it all put together
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  29. Hands down, he is one of my all time favs. In The Air Tonight rocked it. πŸ™‚

  30. “One More Night” is my favourite Phil Collins song (I like others too such as “Mama” and “In The Air Tonight”).


  31. tough question!!! There are so many Phil collins songs that get stuck in my head all day! Of course you’ll be in my heart is the most famous for most of us who love Tarzan, but the hits cd is what made them favorites for me!

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