Born Philip David Charles Collins on the 30th January 1951 in Chiswick, Middlesex to Greville and Winfred Collins, Phil Collins is a drummer, singer, actor and record producer, best known as a big part of the rock band Genesis. Alongside Peter Gabriel, Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford, Steve Hackett and other members, the band have had great success throughout the 70´s, 80´s, 90´s and 2000´s playing their own brand of rock.
Genesis released 15 studio albums, with Collins as a member of the band, as drummer, backing vocals and main vocals including: Nursery Cryme (1971), Foxtrot (1972) Selling Music by the Pound (1973), The Land Lies Down on Broadway (1974), A Trick of the Tale (1976), Wind and Wuthering (1976), And Then There Were Three (1978), Duke (1980), ABACAB (1981), Genesis (1983), Invisible Touch (1986) and We Can´t Dance,(1991) then following on into his own successful solo career with albums ; Face Value (1981), Hello I Must Be Going (1982), No Jacket Required (1985) and But Seriously...(1989), Both Sides (1993), Dance into the Light (1996), Testify (2002), Going Back (2010).
....But let´s go back a little bit. Phil Collins started out in showbiz as an actor. Starting acting lessons aged 14 at the Barbara Speake stage school. His 1st major role was in 1964 starring on the west end as the Artful Dodger in Oliver!
Later, he appeared as an extra in the film: A Hard Days Night and other minor roles including as an extra in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (his scene was cut before release). Collins soon gravitated towards music as a keen drummer and his first band role was with Flaming Youth. After releasing one Album Ark2, the band split and Collins began auditioning for other bands, eventually replying to an advert for a drummer with the band Genesis. The audition took place at the home of the parents of Peter Gabriel and he joined the group in August 1970. Genesis, were a great success and the first Genesis album released after Collins joined was Nursery Cryme in 1971.
In 1975 Phil was married to Canadian Andrea Bertorelli. Phil adopted Andrea´s daughter Joely and the couple had a son Simon. The marriage would last just 5 years due to the pressures of writing, recording and touring.
In 1978 after extensive recording and touring with Genesis, the band had a short hiatus, during which Collins went to Vancouver to be with his family and try and save his marriage, He ultimately failed in his reconciliation attempts and he returned to the UK where Rutherford and Banks were working on solo projects. Whilst waiting to record Genesis´ next album, Collins wrote his first Solo Album, Face Value, which was released in 1981.
Citing his divorce in 1980 as the main inspiration behind the songs on the album, Face Value was an international success and was number one in 7 countries also selling 5 million copies in the USA. Collins was still touring and recording with Genesis and started doing some solo touring as well at this time. The Genesis album ABACAB was released in 1981.
Collins´ second solo album, Hello I Must Be Going was released in 1982. This album was another commercial success, reaching number 2 in the UK album charts and number 8 in the U.S, selling 3 million copies. A solo tour followed to promote the album with great success in 1983.
1984 saw Collins get married again. This time to American Jill Tavelman, the couple had a daughter Lilly. The marriage was to last just 10 years, again under the strain of the constant writing, producing and touring.
1984 also saw Collins release the singles Against All Odds from the film of the same name, Easy Lover with Phil Bailey, (Earth Wind and Fire) and take part in the original Live Aid single in aid of the Ethiopia famine.
In 1985 came the release of Collins´ best selling album No Jacket Required reaching number one in the UK and USA and earning 3 Grammy awards including Album of the Year. That year Collins took part in the Live Aid concerts famously appearing at both the Wembley stadium concert and the JFK stadium in Philadelphia on the same day!!!
Although his solo career had taken off in spectacular fashion, (some journalists saying he was bigger than Genesis), Collins refused to leave the band saying, “the next member to leave Genesis will finish it”.
Collins´ first film role came in 1988 when he appeared in Buster, a successful movie about the great train robbery also starring Julie Walters. As well as starring in the film, Collins contributed four songs to the film score.
In 1989, Collins released his fourth studio album, But Seriously. This album was another huge commercial success spending 15 weeks at number one in the UK and 3 weeks in the US, with singles from the album winning all sorts of awards worldwide.
In 1991 Collins re-united with Banks and Rutherford, to record the Genesis album Invisible Touch, reaching number one in the UK, number four in the US and selling 4 million copies.
In 1996 Collins finally left Genesis to concentrate on his solo career. After leaving Genesis, Collins formed The Phil Collins Big Band, touring summer jazz festivals playing jazz renditions of Genesis songs. Again the project was a success.
1999 saw Collins write, perform and produce the soundtrack for the Disney movie Tarzan and the lead song, You´ll Be In My Heart spent 19 weeks as number 1 in the Billboard chart. He also won a Golden Globe award and an Academy award for best original song. Collins married his third wife in this year Orianne Cevey, A Swiss national who had worked as a translator for him and they had two sons Nicholas and Matthew. In the same year Collins was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In June 2002, he accepted an invitation to perform at Buckingham Palace, at the Party at the Palace event for the Queens Golden Jubilee.
A comeback Genesis tour with Collins, Banks and Rutherford happened in 2007 covering Europe and North America ...it was again a great success.
Inducted in the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame in 2010, Collins is still working hard. He toured as recently as 2017 on the Not Dead Yet Tour which, whilst initially planned as a short European tour, ended up as a world tour with venues selling out in seconds.
Throughout all this touring and recording with Genesis and as a solo artist, Collins wrote, produced, performed or collaborated with many artists including; Phil Bailey, Eric Clapton, Thin Lizzy, Robert Plant, John Martin, Adam Ant, Howard Jones, The Who, Tears for fears, Paul McCartney, Elton John, Mark Knopfler, Sting, Adele and many more.
Like all of the greats, the thing that stands out with Phil Collins is his hard work and dedication to music. His music has cost him marriages, relationships and to some extent his health but his music stands the test of time. Ladies and gentlemen I give you Phil Collins.