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Music: Phil Collins

Phil Collins (born January 30, 1951) is an English singer-songwriter and occasional actor, best known as the drummer for Genesis and as a successful solo artist. Collins has won seven Grammys, two Golden Globes, and an Oscar over his long career.

Collins joined Genesis before the sessions for their third album, Nursery Cryme. At first, he was only the drummer, but became lead vocalist for the band after Peter Gabriel's departure. In the late 1970s he continued a busy career as a session drummer as well, working with former bandmate Gabriel and Brian Eno, among others. Collins is credited with transforming Genesis from a prog band to a pop band, and his time as lead singer was the most commercially successful era for the band.

Collins has also had a tremendously successful solo career, selling 33 million records in the US alone with one diamond album (No Jacket Required) there. His biggest hits include "In the Air Tonight," "Sussudio," "One More Night," and "Another Day in Paradise." He also composed the songs for the Disney animated films Tarzan and Brother Bear, as well as three for Buster, in which he also starred.

Outside of music, Collins is a supporter of animal rights and PETA, and donates to the Prince's Trust charity, resulting in his appointment to a Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order.

He is also the father of actress Lily Collins, whose credits include The Blind Side, Mirror, Mirror, and Mortal Instruments.

He retired from the music industry in 2011 to spend more time with his family, however in late 2013 he indicated he was writing music again and might consider touring in the future.

Solo discography:

  • Face Value (1981)
  • Hello, I Must Be Going! (1982)
  • No Jacket Required (1985)
  • ...But Seriously (1989)
  • Both Sides (1993)
  • Dance into the Light (1996)
  • Testify (2002)
  • Going Back (2010)

Live Albums:
  • Serious Hits... Live! (1990)
  • A Hot Night in Paris (1999) (with the Phil Collins Big Band)

Compilations:
  • ...Hits (1998)
  • Love Songs: A Compilation... Old and New (2004)

Soundtracks:

Box Sets:
  • The Platinum Collection (2004)


Phil Collins and his music provide examples of these tropes:

  • Award Bait Song: "You'll Be In My Heart", a song he wrote for the Disney movie Tarzan which netted him an Academy Award.
  • Best Served Cold: "In The Air Tonight".
  • Black Sheep Hit: "In the Air Tonight", his first hit from back in 1981. Considering a frequent criticism of him is that his songs are saccharine Narmy synth-heavy mopefests, this one gains lots of points for being creepy, ominous, and having that awesome air-drumming-inducing breakdown. Cracked themselves cited it as "Collins' sole flirtation with being awesome".
  • Breakaway Pop Hit: "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)," one of his most popular songs, was written for the mostly-forgotten film Against All Odds.
    • "Separate Lives," Collins's famous duet with Marilyn Martin, was recorded for the less famous White Nights.
    • "Two Hearts" and "Groovy Kind of Love", the former a Collins original and the latter a cover, were both recorded for the obscure film Buster.
  • Breakup Song: "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)". In fact, pretty much every one of his albums are full of this type of song.
  • Cover Version: Face Value ends with a cover of "Tomorrow Never Knows".
    • Which segues into a few lines from "Over The Rainbow".
      • Which counts as a Throw It In. Word of God says that Collins learned of John Lennon's assassination while recording that song, and he sang the lines from "Over The Rainbow" without even really thinking about it.
    • Hello, I Must Be Going! features a cover of (Diana Ross and) the Supremes' "You Can't Hurry Love".
    • As mentioned above, the soundtrack to his 1988 film Buster features a cover of "A Groovy Kind of Love", originally made famous by the Mindbenders.
    • He did a cover of "True Colors", originally by Cyndi Lauper, for ...Hits.
    • He covered Dylan's "The Times They Are A'Changin'" for Dance Into The Light.
    • His latest album, Going Back, consists entirely of covers from the Motown library (or '60's soul in general).
    • He covers John Martyn's "Tearing And Breaking" on his Love Songs compilation.
    • He contributed to many tribute albums, too: "Golden Slumbers" for a George Martin tribute and "Burn Down The Mission" for the Two Rooms tribute stand out.
  • Darker and Edgier: Both Sides, and to a lesser degree, ...But Seriously, are notably darker than No Jacket Required.
  • Dream Team: That's Sting, Peter Gabriel and Culture Club background singer Helen Terry singing backing vocals on "Take Me Home".
    • Sting also appears on the same album, singing on "Long Long Way To Go".
  • The Eighties: The time of his greatest popularity and, to most fans, his prime.
  • '80s Hair: His overly permed mullet was the source of much Snark Bait.
  • Former Child Star: Averted. He was a somewhat well-known child actor and played The Artful Dodger in a West End production of Oliver!. He also had teeny tiny blink-and-you'll-miss-him roles in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and A Hard Day's Night, but he became much more popular in his adult years.
    • He did some acting in the long break between But Seriously and Both Sides: he starred in a little-known Australian movie called Frauds alongside a very young Hugo Weaving (he took the role that these days would be reserved for Weaving!) and had a cameo as a police inspector in Hook.
  • Generation Xerox: His son Simon, of Genesis-influenced Progressive Rock band Sound of Contact, is noted to sound very similar to Collins sr, in both singing voice and drumming style. Notably, Simon released a cover of Genesis' "Keep It Dark" in 2007 (compare the cover with the original) and guested on Steve Hackett's 2012 version of Supper's Ready, making many fans check the liner notes again to check if it really wasn't Phil singing.
  • Genre Roulette: Face Value includes: the (in)famous "In the Air Tonight", a love ballad with Brazilian percussion ("This Must Be Love"), a swinging, disco-influenced rearrangement of "Behind the Lines", an acoustic Blues song ("The Roof Is Leaking"), two energetic Instrumentals ("Droned", "Hand in Hand"), an R&B-influenced pop song ("I Missed Again"), a stripped-down piano and strings ballad ("You Know What I Mean"), a Funk-influenced song ("Thunder and Lightning"), an upbeat, McCartney-esque pop song ("I'm Not Moving"), a full-band, orchestrated Breakup Song ("If Leaving Me Is Easy") and a cover of "Tomorrow Never Knows".
    • The music video for "Don't Lose My Number" perfectly illustrates the idea (in an attempt to convey how Collins was struggling with a good video concept). It has elements of Westerns, Samurai movies (or possibly a parody of the video for Culture Club's "It's a Miracle"), Mad Max, parodies of The Police's "Every Breath You Take" and David Lee Roth's "California Girls", an aerobics video, and Phil's head superimposed onto a cartoon fly's body (which was a parody of the end of the video for The Cars's "You Might Think").
  • Hey, It's That Place!: The video for "Take Me Home" is the absolute embodiment of this trope.
  • Humoresque Progression: The chorus of "Something Happened on the Way to Heaven" uses the relative-major variant.
  • I'm Your Biggest Fan: "Wear My Hat".
  • Instrumentals: "Droned" and "Hand in Hand" on Face Value, and "The West Side" on Hello, I Must Be Going!. None are "proper" instrumentals, technically: "Droned" includes vocal percussion from violinist L. Shankar and wordless vocals by Phil, "Hand in Hand" has a children's choir chanting along with the main melody, and "The West Side" features Scatting by Phil.
  • Intercourse with You: "Like China" from Hello, I Must Be Going.
  • Lighter and Softer: No Jacket Required, deliberately invoked by Collins as he felt his image was getting too dark. However, it was followed up with the much darker ...But Seriously and Both Sides.
    • Also done for "I Missed Again". The original song was called "I Miss You, Babe" and had a much slower arrangement and sadder lyrics about Collins' divorce. He proceeded to increase the tempo and rewrite the lyrics to make them humorous instead, resulting in quite a bit of Lyrical Dissonance between the Motown-inspired music and the newly sarcastic lyrics about a man complaining that a woman took too long to tell him to stop bothering to win her over.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: "I Cannot Believe It's True" and "It Don't Matter to Me," from Hello, I Must Be Going!
  • Morality Ballad: "Another Day In Paradise", a song about the plight of homeless people.
    • Also see: "That's Just the Way It Is," about The Troubles; "Colours," about apartheid; "Both Sides," about looking at both sides of the equation; and "River So Wide," about prejudicenote .
  • Murder By Inaction: A popular Urban Legend surrounds the song "In The Air Tonight". The legend usually involves someone watching someone else drown to death and being unwilling to help along with several other variations. In actuality, the song was about a divorce.
  • New Sound Album: No Jacket Required largely jettisoned the remaining Progressive Rock elements from the previous two albums such as instrumental tracks, stark production and creepy Darker and Edgier songwriting and lyrics, and focused on R&B-influenced mainstream pop-rock.
    • Both Sides was entirely recorded by Phil at his home studio, retaining the pop stylings but using a starker, more intimate production. Dance Into The Light keeps the studio polish and pop hooks, but adds a World Music element and ditches the drum machines.
  • Noodle Incident: "In the Air Tonight" again. Phil never actually says what he saw the other person do.
    • Although there is an urban legend that this song is about Phil Collins witnessing a murder by drowning, Word of God states that the lyrics don't have any real meaning, and were written entirely on the spot; the angry and helpless tone of the song was inspired by the painful divorce that Phil was going through at the time he wrote it.
  • Obsession Song
  • One of Us: Collins has confessed to being a video game addict. He even got to play himself in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories.
  • Pants-Free: The cover of Dance Into The Light, with its color palette, logo placement and motion blur, almost makes Collins into this. The back cover even more so.
  • Perfectly Cromulent Word: "Sussudio"
  • Pop-Star Composer: As said above.
    • His 1996 album Dance Into the Light contains a song called "Lorenzo." As the title and lyrics imply, the song is about the boy from the real life-inspired film Lorenzos Oil. Its lyrics were a poem written by Lorenzo's mother, and Phil asked if he could set her verses to music.
  • Promoted Fanboy: See: One of Us above.
  • Real Life Writes The Song: Many songs refer to his crumbled first marriage and childhood.
  • Rearrange the Song: Face Value inclues a much faster, disco-influenced cover of "Behind the Lines", which was originally recorded as the opener for Genesis' album Duke. Phil has stated that the idea for the cover came about after the original version was recorded, when the tape was played back at double speed and "suddenly this other song appeared".
  • Refrain from Assuming
    • "Something Happened on the Way to Heaven" is not called "Please Believe in Me."
    • "Against All Odds" is not titled "Take a Look at Me Now", but the mistake was so common that the latter was included in the title in parentheses.
  • Shout-Out: The "Don't Lose My Number" video is one gigantic shout out.
    • His second album's title, Hello, I Must Be Going! is a Marx Brothers reference.
  • Show Within a Show / Imagine Spot: The "Don't Lose My Number" music video.
  • Take That: Quite a few aimed at his first wife. See: Break the Cutie above, and, the entirety of his first four solo albums.
    • "Colours" takes digs at powerful people who would not stand up to African apartheid. "Tell me, what can you say/Tell me, who do you blame/Like a mirror, you see yourself/These people each have a name."
    • He was also on the wrong end of one from South Park after he beat them out for the 1999 Best Original Song Oscar. note 
    Trey Parker: We were fully expecting to lose...just not to Phil Collins.
  • Translated Cover Version: Collins translated many of his own songs into French and sang them.
  • Urban Legends: People misinterpreted the lyrics Well, if you told me you were drowning/I would not lend a hand from "In the Air Tonight" and somehow created a story about how Phil saw a guy refusing to help a friend of his who drowned as a kid, then at a concert saw that guy again and exposed him to the audience, driving him to commit suicide. Wow, Beware the Nice Ones indeed.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: "In the Air Tonight". He has admitted that he made up the lyrics on the spot with no real meaning. This just makes the song creepier. Other songs such as "Don't Lose My Number" also fit.

Cocteau TwinsMusic of the 1980sAlice Cooper
Choro ClubMusicians/PopClari S

alternative title(s): Phil Collins
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